Well, for one thing, regulation of the U.S. food supply has become worthless, with hundreds of cases of mad cow and salmonella poisoning a year. Growing your own food ensures your safety, and may even save money in the long run by preventing expensive medical bills. But there's a lot more to it than that . . .
Buy for Less
Here are some tips for buying cheaper, healthier food:
- - Join a buying club for food (start here or here to see if there is an established one near you; if not, find a food coop here or here, and then ask them where you can find a buying club). As one website puts it:
"A buying club is a great way to get the organic food you want on the cheap. In a buying club, you may be able to get 30 percent to 40 percent off the retail price. Buying-club members purchase food and other organic products in bulk and then split the stash.
"These buying clubs are the best-kept secrets in America" . . .- Advertisement -
"Some distributors deliver to individuals or groups of individuals who have a minimum amount of an order," says Katherine DiMatteo, a senior adviser with the Organic Trade Association.
- - You can do the same thing with meat. Find a ranch here (you can type in the kind of meat you're looking for - "beef", for example - under "Name/Description/Product" and your zip code under "Where"?). Then form a buying club to buy the meat at a discount
- - Buy a share in a community-supported agricultural program. That buys you weekly boxes of fresh produce delivered to your door. To locate a program near you, see this, this and this
- - If there is a farmer's market near you, go there right before closing . . . the vendors will likely give you a discount. Also, ask about produce that doesn't look perfect, but still tastes good
- - Buy a large freezer. That way, when you find a good deal on meat or produce, you can buy in bulk (food keeps almost all of its nutritional value even when frozen). If you find a good deal on beef or pork, for example, buy a huge chunk of the animal
- - Buy produce in-season. It is usually cheaper
You can also grow some of your own food. But what do you if you live in a city, or far from land or water sources? Here are some tips:
- - A gardening table like this one allows you to grow over 22 pounds of tomatoes, 55 pounds of lettuce and 33 pounds of cucumber per season in just one square meter of space
- - You can grow vegetable gardens vertically
- - You can grow food hydroponically even if you're short on space and sunlight
- - Even easier, you can grow food "aeroponically"
- - Mushrooms will grow just about anywhere, and you can buy kits to make growing easy (see this, this, this and this)
You'll need water to do it. If you don't have ready access to water, consider collecting rainwater. This brochure from the University of Idaho tells you how (look here for more info).
Also consider using some "dried distillers grain" in the soil, which can dramatically reduce insect damage and increase the health of your plants (without pesticides).
You can raise cows, sheep, or other large animals.
For further information, see this resource for raising animals and this one for growing plants.
If you have access to wild game which you can hunt, it is actually healthier for you. (Wild plants, seeds and nuts can also be very high in nutrients.) If you don't, you can buy grass-fed beef, wild salmon, or other high Omega 3 sources.
So if you live near wild food sources, your meals can be both free and healthy (Don't eat your own lead buckshot or shoot yourself in the foot - get trained in the firearm safety before hunting. And don't poison yourself - check a local field guide first for plants. )
How is Doing this Going to Save the Bees?
But how is doing this going to save the bees?