Poor Man Survival
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How to Build a Local Food Community
by Emily English
I am blessed in that there are several farmers markets, farm stands and even an Amish market in the rural area that I live…I do miss the Amish cheese factory where I grew up in Ohio and the annual Apple Butter Festival, events which are rare where I live now.
It is estimated a family of four spends an average of $1200 per month on food and prices continue to climb and will do so for the foreseeable future.
As I continue to develop our mini-farm I’m discovering it isn’t just food costs that are soaring, anything construction or home improvement related seems to be a budget buster. I marvel at how young families and small farms manage today.
Young people today often have the desire to own small farms, work with livestock, to take care of things but often lack the land, the capital and the know-how to start their own farm operations.
I grew up in a more urban setting and was an area leader and teacher for Junior Achievement but have learned the importance of 4-H and AgLink programs available in many areas. As I write in my book on How to Survive the War on the Middle Class, food stocks and seed can prove to be the best investment any family can make today…
Here’s guest contributor Emily English’s take on building a local food community.
When it comes to food satisfaction, few things compare to eating lettuce from the yard, eggs from your neighbor’s chickens and butter from cows raised on a farm you’ve visited yourself. Besides locating better-tasting, more nutritious and fresher food, buying locally puts you in the center of a web of food producers, transparently connecting economy and nutrition. But for those of us who don’t live on or next door to a farm, finding local food sources can seem difficult. Where do we start? How do we find others who want the same thing? All it requires is a little research, relationship-building and action.
The first step in building a food community is meeting the right people. Search for local farms via websites such as localharvest.org and eatwild.com. Find farmers market listings at the United States Department of Agriculture or visit “Our Markets” at LocallyGrown.net to find online farmers markets. When visiting area stores and restaurants, look for signage that indicates local products are sold there. Once you track these down, start talking to people about where and how they source their food. “Like” farms and other producers on Facebook, or visit their websites to see if you can sign up for emails or other communication.
You might also make good connections by tapping into the foodie culture in your area. Check bulletin boards at the library, natural food stores and grocery co-ops for cooking classes and speakers. Try culinary academies, area colleges and libraries. Check event listings on the websites of local publications and the chamber of commerce. When you meet people who seem connected with area food culture, ask them how they stay in touch — many groups have listservs, enewsletters, websites or Facebook pages dedicated to communicating with one another.
Straight to the Source
Food sourcing doesn’t get more direct than buying from the farm. Find farms at LocalHarvest, then call to see if they sell direct to consumers. Buying directly often results in lower prices, especially if you pick it yourself. For example, Clark’s Pecan Grove in Mayflower, Ark., lets you take home half of what you pick for free. Berries are 20 percent off if you pick them yourself at Blue Heaven Blueberry Farm in Springdale, Ark.
Or buy an entire share of one year’s harvest from a farm by joining a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. Most CSAs provide ample opportunity to connect with other members. When I was the farm manager for a small CSA in rural Arkansas, it was incredible to see the relationships forged over fresh produce. At weekly pickups, strangers realized they were neighbors and members shared recipes, traded gardening tips and made plans to attend food-related events together. Find a CSA program near you through the USDA’s National Agricultural Library.
Excerpted from Mother Earth Living, a national magazine devoted to living wisely and living well. To read more articles from Mother Earth Living, please visit www.MotherEarthLiving.com or call (800) 340-5846 to subscribe. © 2014 Ogden Publications Inc.
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Survival Seed Bank-Non GMO ½ Acre- 8500 Vegetable Seeds
The solutions to surviving the war on the Middle Class can be found in our new e-book.
Discover life-saving ways in which you can survive and prosper during The End of the Monetary System As We Know It. This is the information that your financial advisor, your doctor, your police precinct and your government hope you never discover…plus learn how food is your best investment!
Yours in freedom,
Bruce ‘the Poor Man’
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