“We can’t afford that”!
That’s what my husband said when we were on food stamps and I wanted to buy healthier whole food instead of our normal convenience food. But after showing him what I found on local harvest, that sourcing locally can actually be cheaper, he was totally on board. That was in 2008 and increased prices on gas and food were really starting to affect everybody.
Today many people feel like we are in the same, if not worse situation.
If you are feeling frustrated by limitations on what you can buy from the grocery store, or just noticing many things are in short supply and costs are skyrocketing. You may be thinking to yourself- there has to be a better way to provide food for your family. With the reality of impending food shortages, you may want to use Local Harvest to find a farmer or butcher near you. Because soon you may not be left with any options!
I used to believe that convenience food was way cheaper and just easier to feed my family when we were tight on money. At the time I was more concerned that medical bills from not eating healthy would be way more expensive. When I did more research I realized how much cheaper it actually was to source food locally and to cook from scratch. And today, it might actually be more beneficial to source your family’s food locally due to availability!
Why You Need an Alternative to the Grocery Store
Currently, some grocery stores might have cheaper prices on produce and meat than buying from a farm. But that might be changing very quickly. Have you seen the price of eggs lately?!? But being prepared for food prices rising due to supply chain issues and fuel costs might be a good idea. I always say you should have a backup plan for your backup plan.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “grocery stores typically only keep 3 days worth of food inventory”. That’s because it’s not cost-effective to keep tons of inventory. And prior to 2020, it wasn’t really an issue. Trucks were always delivering and people weren’t stockpiling food and toilet paper.
This is why you should be looking into ways to provide food for your family if things get worse.
The Biggest Benefits of Buying Direct From a Farm or Ranch
- Don’t have to worry about shipping issues
- Supports your local economy
- Higher quality food
- Buying in bulk is more of an option
- Buying seasonally saves money!
- You can buy shares of harvest or animal and share the cost with others.
Is it Really Cheaper to Buy Local?
Years ago I may have said prices at the farmer’s market tended to be a little higher. But some items were actually cheaper if you knew what to look for.
Buying in bulk is always cheaper and if you are buying meat in bulk from a butcher or farmer it can absolutely be more frugal than buying from Costco. This local farm in my old state is selling 1/4, 1/2, & whole cows for $5.00/lb and it’s grass-fed. The local Fred Meyer in the same area is selling lesser quality meat on average for $9.00/lb. If you bought all the same cuts of beef you would get by buying a 1/4 beef from your local farmer, the same cuts from your local grocery store would be almost twice the cost!!
I know what you’re thinking, who can afford to buy a whole or even half cow all at once?! Or maybe you don’t have enough freezer space. A great option is to go in with family or friends to lower the cost to you and you won’t have to store as much. And you’ll still be getting that great price per pound on meat!
Local Harvest: Your Tool for Finding Food for Your Family
Local Harvest was the website I first used to find inexpensive healthy food locally. It is an indispensable tool if you are trying to find better sources of food for your family!
You can not only find a farm or butcher near you; but you can also search for specific items like eggs, honey, maple, dairy, etc… I also used it to find my local farmer’s market.
Often they will not only list the farms information but also their website. It’s a great way to save money by cutting out the middle man (the grocery store).
Other Apps to Save Money and Buy Local
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- Local Farm Finder
- FFA Chapter Locator (ask them if they sell beef, pork, or chickens)
- The Peach Truck (bulk order boxes of farm-fresh peaches)
- Azure Standard (bulk grocery delivery)
Tips to Keep Your Family Fed During Food Shortages
Why You Should Be Cooking From Scratch
Buying basic staples is one of the best ways to save money and ensure that you always have what you need. And that is why it’s so important to learn how to cook from scratch.
Can Cooking From Scratch be Just as Fast as Convenience Food?
The biggest complaint I hear about cooking from scratch is…time. Many people feel like it takes forever to make a meal from scratch. And sure; if you’re making fresh bread or some elaborate meal, yes it takes time. But you can also make quick meals from scratch as well. Just think protein, veggie, and starch.
Instead of buying hamburger helper; always keep ground beef, noodles, and tomato sauce on hand. A meal like this usually only takes about 20min to make. It’s really all a matter of keeping a stocked pantry. The key to making tasty quick meals is having a good selection of herbs and spices. Many farmer’s markets sell amazing spices to help you cook from scratch. Or you could even consider growing your own!
Why You Can’t Afford Not to Source Food Locally
Where are you going to get food when groceries store shelves are empty? Supply-chain issues due to the ripple effect of Covid, increasing gas prices, and soaring inflation are going to cause shortages, it’s guaranteed.
It’s in your best interest to seek out your local suppliers given that the food you buy from them won’t have to rely on shipping. That is also why you will notice less extreme price increases than at the grocery store.
The added benefit, besides saving money, is that you will be supporting your local community. And if more people take advantage of their local farms, farmer’s markets, CSAs, and other local suppliers it will increase their output. After all, it’s basic supply and demand.
I hope you take advantage of the resources I’ve listed. And maybe you might consider becoming a resource for your local community. Whether it be setting up a garden and small produce stand or even selling your extra eggs.
If more people start to rely on their community farmers, maybe we won’t have to rely as much on big box stores or commercial grocery chains and more people will become self-reliant. Which is always a win!