In my last post I wrote about needing to get creative with family finances. We have had our first success in finding out about a local food growing cooperative called Glastonbury Healing Gardens Cooperative. We have already joined and done a few hours work in exchange for some organic vegetables. This is a wonderful way to access organic fruit and vegetables that are locally grown. It provides us with space to plant our own food and it fulfils our wish to do something which is community focused as a family. It is also a lovely outdoor space which our daughter will get to experience. There is a childrens area with beds for them to grow things too and they keep chickens and bees. We have already met some lovely people there and there are regular community events such as shared meals.
We have decided to apply for an allotment which we plan on using to grow the vegetables we use frequently and which we can store to cover our needs for a number of months. We envisage this including such things as potatoes, leeks and beans. Whereas, at the Healing Gardens where there is an emphasis on sharing resources, we plan on growing things like spinach, garlic and herbs. We are really excited about how this will help meet our food needs. I’ve also decided to up my game when it comes to foraging so I’m awaiting the berry harvest and am looking into foraging courses and plan on preserving food for later use. I’m also researching local pick your own fruit farms to see if this will be a way of cutting costs. We plan on converting our under stairs cupboard into a storage pantry and we will probably need to purchase a deep freezer at some point.
Hopefully these sorts of measures will help cut costs and allow us to eat a good proportion of local and organic food. I plan on budgeting by meal planning so I know what I need to buy but when it comes to this it is important not to be too rigid. Yesterday for example I managed to buy four whole cooked chickens for £1.35. I wouldn’t normally buy these but this was a bargain too good to miss. Since the chickens were cooked already I am somewhat limited in how I can stretch these out. Normally I would freeze portions and stock and these would create numerous meals. However I still managed to use these as the basis for four meals which we will eat over the next few days.
If you are going to eat dairy then this is a key area to switch to organic if you can. I’ve been making organic butter every week for a few months now and it is delicious. We buy milk and cream from local organic farms. I’m thinking of making yoghurt but I’ve yet to convince my partner they this will be worthwhile. I bake bread a few times a week enabling me to feed my family organic bread for no more then the cost of regular supermarket bread. I’m sure there is much more that I can do to stretch our food budget but I think we were at a good starting point.