When you move frequently, you get to see and learn many things. One of these things is how the cost of food varies from state to state. Though not glamorous, it is one of those topics that can make or break your excitement for the new home. If you’ve ever stared at the grocery receipt in confusion, wondering if you were double charged, you know exactly what I mean.
With the low demand for healthy food in our new location, prices were higher than I liked. So research mode kicked in. Farmers Markets, Co-ops, CSAs, farms, Health Food stores, Fruit & Veggie stands, delivery food options. You name it and I considered it. This is a familiar process for me, one that happens with every move, but it was more challenging this time around. Our location was not my friend. Neither was the fact that many places here simply don’t have websites. Google was failing me (yes, it can happen). I kept searching in hopes of finding something less expensive.
My solution arrived when a fellow Marine Corps spouse told me about a farm that offers classes on sustainability & has some “pick-your-own” options. I contacted them about setting up a work/trade situation. I was in luck! They agreed to set something up and I made the trek to check it out. I was greeted by a gaggle of geese, a peacock, some chickens, turkeys, & cats. I was later introduced to the goats, pigs, horse, bunnies, and many other wonderful creatures. If you know my love for animals, you can see how this was a good fit.
I was “hired” on to help around the farm in trade for food & I now happily drive out to the farm once per week & help out with anything that needs an extra set of hands. This week we are supposed to be pruning and replanting blueberries! My payment comes in the form of food. Happy, healthy food that I feel good about eating. It could be eggs, milk, butter, chicken, ham, turkey, fruits, veggies or anything else that is available at the time.
However, I get much more out of it than just food. My payment also comes in the form of exercise while working around the farm (much more movement than when I’m working at home on the computer), time in nature and with animals, time away from the phone/computer/technology. I learn skills about growing my own food and I get to network & brainstorm with other like-minded people. Plus, who can turn down some time with baby goats? Not to mention that we eat following the seasons which has known to be very good for your digestion and overall health.
Not a bad deal, eh? So the next time you go cross eyed over the grocery bill I encourage you to think outside of the box. Get creative. Find some small farms around you or get involved with a co-op. Overall, get to know your food & your farmer. You might make some new friends or discover an unknown hobby. You don’t need to have amazing farming skills to be useful. Just some curiosity & willingness to try something new.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you ever worked on a farm? Where do you get your healthy food? Comment below & we can all share healthy food resources.
One of my favorite websites to find healthy food options is www.localharvest.com Hopefully it will help you too!
*Just for clarification, defined by me, healthy means local, organic (or beyond organic), sustainable, humane; I think you get the idea.