Stocking the Larder, Locally: Part Two

Part Two in a Three Part Series

Farmer's Market Flowers

Not too many years ago in the past I almost exclusively shopped at Wal-Mart (shh... don't tell anyone), it was cheapest after all. The only thing local there was the poorly paid and under-insured "associates".

To be fair our family budget was tighter. We were still paying down consumer debt (a folly we won't ever repeat) and saving for a house down payment. I wonder if my miserly shopping helped us save money? Probably, but now we're choosing to save money other ways so we can purchase food according to our values.

Our biggest money saver is owning a small home (we rent out the basement), on a small lot in the community my husband works in, walking distance from his job. A huge blessing and a choice I realize not everyone can make. But even if it weren't "easy" walking distance away he'd hoof it on foot, longboard or bike, that's the kind of guy he is.

Living close to employment, and sacrificing a larger lot in the "country", enables us to live very comfortably with only one car. In fact, it goes days not being used and during those times we sometimes lend it to friends so they don't need to own a car.

But wait, don't we have children? Yep, 3. And don't we camp? Yep, every month. How can we manage with just a car, not even any roof rack, trailers or other "carry more stuff" storage?

Light living is the name of the game.

Owning one, small, old car and not driving it a lot, having no debt and a smaller urban footprint (fancy speak for living on a small city lot and renting part of our house) are three biggies that enable us to buy more local food.

I heard the other day on NPR the "average US family" is now spending $100/week for gas (I nearly croaked). I'd rather pay $30/week and use the "savings" to buy more I-know-the-farmer grown food. To be sure, we're not driving in luxury. Our car is 15 years old, there's little squirmies living under the booster seats , and the AC stopped working years ago. But who cares we're eating well.

Where would you rather spend your money and time?

Local Farmer's Market

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  • Andie

    Andie on Aug. 1, 2008, 12:37 a.m.

    I loved reading this! Please don't ever step down off your soapbox, lol. You give me so much hope that I can do what I feel is "right" regardless of where I live. We were just visiting the farmers market today in fact! Thank you for posting such great information. a.


  • Samantha

    Samantha on Aug. 1, 2008, 1:07 a.m.

    I love that you rent out space in your home, your hubby walks to work, and you only have one car! That is awesome. This is where we fail miserably, I have a diesel Excursion and I don't know if you've enoticed but diesel is outrageous. But I still refuse to spend a ton on gas. My hubby works out of state and is only home on weekends so we HAVE to have 2 cars but his is a company vehicle. I limit my gas per week to $30 I'll occassionally spend $40 if I know I have to go somewhere out of the ordinary but usually it's $30. And when it's gone, I stop driving for the week. So basically I plan my week around my outside activities, if we go to the farm we also make a trip to the local grocer (NOT Wally World!), health food store, farm to pick up eggs, goat's milk, to a friends house all in one day and map out the day to be the best use of gas & time. I am pretty much a home body and happy with that but I would like to be able to walk more places but we are off the beaten path so it's just not possible. I will be oh so happy when our vehicle is paid off (15 months, woo-hoo) and then I plan to always pay cash for cars. I would much rather spend $$$ to better our health and environment than to spend it on stuff, wasteful consumer glorified stuff, ugh!!! Great post, I really enjoyed reading it.


  • AmandaT.

    AmandaT. on Aug. 1, 2008, 2:12 a.m.

    Don't stop....Stay on your Soapbox! I love reading your stuff...Did you see the documentary on Wal-Mart? I can't remember the name of it...I'll have to find it. After watching that back in March...We haven't shopped there since. We are also a one car family. The kids and I love to walk/bike to our destinations. As for groceries, I wish everyone would support there local farmers/stores. Right now we get about 80% of our food from local or Canadian farm/manufactures. It costs more...but we got rid of a lot of other things. Simple is the way to go...


  • renee

    renee on Aug. 1, 2008, 2:49 a.m.

    Thanks A. and Samantha for your comments. I guess I kind of worry that I may sound preachy "look how I'm doing it, aren't I great" and that's totally not what I'm trying to communicate. (hence I'm apologizing for the soapbox).

    I'm trying to share with folks the ups, downs, experiments and successes of living an (more)earth friendly, examined, wholesome and meaningful life in an urban context. Mind you don't know if I could do so if I lived in a truly urban setting, "inner city" of a major US city. I take my hat off to folks making a go of it in that environment.

    A. Yes! you can do what is right, right where you are. Live it!

    S. You amaze me. You're one of those women I look at and say "I don't know how she does it", to have your husband gone all week. I can't imagine what kind of mother I'd be!

    Thanks both for reading and encouraging me to post. I think it's important to talk about "how" to live a meaningful life, not just idealize the notion. yada, yada... I could go on....


  • Karen

    Karen on Aug. 1, 2008, 1:18 p.m.

    Excellent blog, Renee. Pertinent fodder for us North Americans who are often too comfy in our wasteful and excessive habits! Whoa - does this sound like I'm joining you on your soapbox??!


  • laura - dolcepics

    laura - dolcepics on Aug. 1, 2008, 6:28 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing all the ways you reduce waste and strive to live for the future. We've always tried to reduce garbage, drive less and buy less. We're definitely not as conscientious as you are though but we're trying. :)

    You've probably seen this site, but for those who haven't, it's a must see!


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