Alternative Ways To Get The Food You Need
If you are like most people, you purchase the majority of your food from the grocery store or a restaurant. This is the most logical and common way to attain the food your body needs to survive. But there are other ways to get the food you need. The grocery store, while having the largest selection does hold a monopoly on food. There are plenty of other sources for food.
- Stores other than grocery stores, such as gas stations, drug stores or even restaurants sell food to the public. When I lived in Colorado, the corner gas station routinely had the best milk prices around. Drug stores frequently put food items on sale each week. Just yesterday I got boxes of Lipton tea bags at Walgreens for much cheaper than the grocery store. Some carry out restaurants are willing to sell single ingredients to the public for cheaper than the grocery store. I have a friend who gets her pizza toppings "a la carte" from the corner pizza joint every week.
- Have you thought to order food online before? You can order food in bulk from Amazon - particularly specialty foods - for cheaper than the grocery store frequently. Another source for food is daily deal sites such as Groupon. In the last month I have used Groupons to purchase coffee beans, meat packages, fruit baskets, and organic snack foods from online retailers for less than half what I would have paid in a traditional grocery store.
- Join a Community Supported Agriculture program - or CSA. Every other Friday I pick up a meat and produce package from a local farmer through our CSA. Everything is locally grown and organically raised. It is nice to get such fresh, well grown foods without ever stepping foot into a store.
- Grow your own. Just because you need to eat, doesn't mean you need to buy all of your food. Raising your own - veggies, eggs, meat, honey, and more - is a great way to become less dependent on the grocery store.
- Forage for foods in the wild. You have to be careful here and really know what you are looking for. I wouldn't want anyone to accidently eat something poisonous. But you can frequently forage for edible foods in your own neighborhood. We have wild blackberry bushes growing in the park down the street that we frequently pick for a dessert in the summer. You can pick dandelion leaves for a salad, fruit from wild fruit trees or bushes, or mushrooms (be careful!) from the forest.
- Hunt your own. This goes along with foraging, but hunting or fishing for your own meat is a great way to get very nutritious foods for very little money.
- Barter with a friend. You can barter anything in the world, as long as both parties walk away happy. Try offering your services for some home-cooked meals or ingredients.
- Dumpster dive. This will probably be the least popular option out there, but grocery stores and restaurants throw away so much food that is still edible. I hate seeing anything go to waste. There are many people that refuse to pay for food at all and only forage, barter or dumpster dive for all the food they need. Freegans are the most known group of dumpster divers, but many people do it to some extent. And most of the food that is recovered is still perfectly packaged in the original containers.
The less dependent I am on the grocery store to supply my food the safer I feel. I have read in numerous articles that the average grocery store stocks about a three day supply of food. If for some reason the elaborate system that brings food to the store shelves were to get messed up or shut down - it wouldn't take long at all for the shelves to be cleared. Having alternative food sources is a great way to become more self-sufficient.