Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to get to know your food a little more closely.
My kids on a visit to a special event at the farm where we occasionally buy meat and eggs.
If the recent media coverage of bacteria in commercial meat sources isn’t enough reason to consider buying locally (see Fox News and the New York Times for two examples), think of it as another way to potentially cut your budget while purchasing quality food.
When you can talk to the farmer, sometimes you can get interesting discounts or freebies that make hefty purchases worthwhile, like extra livers with your 1/8 of a cow or chicken feet or random neck and back parts for pennies. More importantly, you understand where your food is coming from and how it has been raised. That connection is so often missing in our culture of shrink-wrapped steaks and clamshelled lettuce. On a human level, you will appreciate it.
As someone who grew up in a small town with a business owner as a father, I also have to plug the economic and communal beauty of either keeping your money local or spending with small business owners (or both!).
RELATED: If you’re ready to take a stab at a little farming yourself, check out these lazy gardening tips.
You probably can think of even more ways to motivate yourself (do share!), but here’s this week’s challenge in a multiple choice list – there’s got to be one little task on this list that you can accomplish this week:
- Have a conversation with the local butcher or farmer where you already get your meat, milk or eggs. Ask them about their growing practices but also about how they’re doing. Farmers are people too, you know.
- Find a new place to buy locally, be it a farm stand, a butcher, a small business that is a good fit for your family.
- Email some local friends and ask if they either (1) have any ideas for you to find a new food source and/or (2) want to be on a personal email list for good food deals. You can all alert each other of the best places to find real food in your area and save on shipping when you see a great deal online.
- For those of you who are in a food desert or just don’t know where to look, check out an online family-owned supplier of properly prepared foods like Michaeleen of JoshEWEa’s Garden or a source for safe and natural body products like Renee of MadeOn Lotion.
- Find a CSA in your area and sign up – make sure to ask the farmer all sorts of questions about growing practices as well as the old, “Is there anything I can do to help?” question. Not only is that just charitable, but you can sometimes get a bit extra if you help load and unload or work a few hours on the farm itself. (10 Questions to Ask Your Farmer)
- If you buy everything at the store and aren’t sure you even want to change to local purchases, take this week to do a little research about the quality of your current food sources and what options might be available in your area.
Some resources for your research:
*What do all those egg labels mean?
*What kind of milk should I buy?
*Where does my meat come from?
*If you’re in the West Michigan area, check out my local real food resources page. I just decided I will buy bacon from nowhere but Crane Dance Farms after this morning, when we had our first taste test of their 100% nitrite and nitrate free product from pastured, happy pigs. Super impressed! My other sources were just “low nitrites.”
What are you going to do this week to get to know your food better? What do you already love about the food you’re eating? Where do you have room for improvement?
Totally New to Real Food?
If you need a hand, you can get Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food for Rookies eCourse, enrolling now, for the promo price of $145 (course is going up to $190 for good on May 7th!).
That’s $10/class, and Kelly is entertaining and informative to the hilt, I guarantee it. She’s got exclusive interviews with Sally Fallon throughout the course, simple family-friendly recipes (Kelly has a real, live teenager to feed), and money and time saving tips to keep your sanity. Read more about it HERE.
Coming Up This Week
Starting tomorrow and throughout the week I’ve invited farmers to talk about their livelihood, their animals, and the thought processes that go into their practice. From local, grassfed dairy and beef farmers to big breeders I met via Twitter, you’ll be amazed at the depth and breadth of this KS Farmers’ Panel. I can’t wait!
The Eat Well, Spend Less series was such as hit, and the nine of us would like to thank you all for reading and visiting the various blog hostesses, as well as the excellent comments and suggestions on all our posts. Check KS tomorrow for a wrap-up of the series and a giveaway that will help your grocery budget no matter what challenges you face!
Need More Baby Steps?
Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.
That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.
Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.