Businessweek just published an article about the insane rise of food prices which is probably something we have already started to see, but will be continuing to get worse and worse. People – this is the time to begin some urban homesteading if you haven’t already! I don’t care if you even live in an apartment… you can grow sprouts and compost with worms in even the smallest of spaces.
Independence is the key here. Becoming independent of the “middlemen” will save a lot of money and you will feel CONFIDENT knowing that you are not dependent on those food trucks getting to the grocery store. Have you seen gas prices lately? Rising gas cost means rising food cost because those food trucks just suck it up while they are transporting those tomatoes from Mexico (if they can even get any this year!)
Here’s a few things on my docket this year that I have decided to do… it will help keep me independent of needing to buy so many groceries. Yesterday I made my regular trip to the grocery store, and I bought mostly produce and dairy with a few stock ups on things I got cheap or free with coupons. I’ll be posting more about coupons at some point, I have kind of a love/hate relationship with them and so I want to give it a few more weeks so I can find my “groove” with using them.
In any case, considering I buy my staples like rice, beans, and wheat in bulk already from Costco or the local LDS cannery, I usually only need to buy dairy products. Earlier this week I received an order from Leeners, which is an awesome site that sells stuff for do-it-yourselfers for home brewing, making candy, and in this case – cheesemaking supplies.
I bought a few extra gallons of whole milk this time and this week I will finally experiment with making various cheeses. Actually, allow me to make a list! So, keep in mind, we just moved out here a few months ago so I’m pretty much starting with nothing.
- I’m going to start making cheese. If I get 3/4lb of cheese out of a gallon of milk that costs $2.54, that will save us money. I do expect the milk cost to go up, but not as much as cheese since the milk comes from a dairy only 100 miles away. We’ll also start using soft cheese instead of storebought cream cheese and other spreadable cheeses.
- I’ve decided to become a beekeeper. I’m just going to get one hive, but this is for two reasons – I need to make sure all these fruit trees and my vegetables get pollinated. I had considered Mason bees, but their season is so short and I need pollinators through the summer… plus the honey and wax will go to good use. This has the potential of bringing in income if I end up having excess, as well. There is an investment but it will pay for itself after one season, which is pretty good!
- I’m getting chickens! In a few weeks I will have some laying hens, and there is a local feed farm that basically grows ingredients to make chicken and other animal feed. Costs are comparative to regular commercial feed, but it is grown nearby which again means less transportation costs. I probably won’t raise meat chickens this year but I might do it next year, since I can rent professional processing equipment for $20/day.
- Greenhouse – I may not get it finished in the springtime, but I will put in a greenhouse this year from free glass panels that are behind the storage shed. If I can get it finished this spring I should be able to grow a lot of warm climate produce and this will also potentially be a place for me to move my tropical plants.
- Gardens – I have tons of fruit trees and forage already here, but I will be putting in small veggie gardens wherever I can, here and there, to maximize available sunlight and grow as much of our own produce as I can. I may also be growing some remotely at our property, although with rising gas costs our trips out there will probably not come as often as I would hope. I would like to figure out a way to grow some feed for the chickens also to minimalize the bought feed – squash, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, comfrey, etc.
- More bulk buying – Gas costs being what they are for MY vehicle, I only am shopping once every 2 weeks and I am planning on increasing my bulk staple buying for things like wheat, rice, beans, sugar, etc. This is a good hedge against inflation of prices, and also it makes sense to me to have more on hand so I have to drive to the store less often. If I could get away with shopping once a month, I would do it. There’s a good chance I can do that during the summer when we will have fresh fruit and produce in season.
So those are the concrete plans! We all will need to combat the rising food prices in some way – what are you doing this year?