Friday, June 3, 2011

Budget Strategies for Real Food {or Community Counts}

For those of you who have been following this year's health journey, you've seen us go from gluten-free and mostly raw, to staying gluten-free and moving towards a GAPS diet, but also needing to eat up all our non-GAPS staples (we buy in bulk, so this is taking a while).

As we introduced more GAPS-friendly ingredients into the kitchen, my grocery bill jumped right out of our budget and into the red, something we cannot afford to do.  Debt is not an option anymore.  Needless to say, some serious number-crunching has been going on around here.  Bottom line: meat and nuts are way more expensive than grains, but grains are way less healthy than meat and nuts.  How can I get the cost down?  Here's what I've been up to to answer that question:  Ask any friend of mine and they will tell you that I've become a crazed bulk buyer/organizer. 
  • I've organized a raw milk run rotation to a local dairy.  It's grown into three separate groups.  I'm now spending way less money on gas for raw milk from grass-fed cows.  Milk is covered.  
  • I signed up to be a group buyer with Tropical Traditions and Green Pasture.  Coconut oil and fermented cod liver oil are covered.  
  • Our pastured pullets should start laying a dozen eggs a day beginning late July, allowing us to sell just enough eggs to cover the cost of their supplemental feed, making our eggs free.  
  • I've been a drop coordinator with Azure Standard, letting our budget afford quality, organic bulk staples, and splitting what we can with friends.
  • After learning phrases like "hanging weight price" compared to the packaged price (and bringing our newly-formed real food buyer's community for a ride along the way - sorry, friends), we have managed to buy a whole organic, grass-fed, local cow for half the price we've been paying for beef.  Beef is covered.
  • Eventually (hopefully next year), we will dig an irrigation pond, allowing us to water a garden, orchard, and livestock, providing (practically) free food.  In the meantime, we buy locally-grown produce at the farmer's market, and in the fall, our beloved Abundant Harvest Organic boxes will be delivered to our area again, which also saves us a pretty penny.  Produce covered.
Does this take time?  Yes.  Is it really worth it?  It has been for me.  I might not be making a single penny's profit for all the extra work, but I'm gaining in other ways.  Not only are we able to afford way more real food than before my group buying craze... 

We are growing as a community (nothing brings a community together like good food). 

We are supporting local, organic farming.

We are helping the local economy.

U-Picking it up at a local farm.
We are making our grocery budget take a stand for what we believe in, not compromising with cheap food where people and the earth are being mistreated.

Stewarding the earth was our first job in the garden of  Eden.
This makes me happy.  If you are interested in group buying as well, here are some resources (again, not gaining a penny by promoting these folks, I just believe in them):
  • Find real milk locations near you here.
  • Look into becoming a Healthy Buyer's Club member with Tropical Traditions here (and please do learn about their company.  They are Christian-owned and hire locals to harvest and make coconut oil the way their forefathers have been doing it for centuries, preserving their heritage.  I'm happy to support this company.)
  • Apply to be a group buyer with Green Pasture here (there are perks for the group buyer coordinator).
  • Look into Azure Standard for organic bulk items here.
  • Find a source for local, grass-fed meat here.
  • Locate a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group for local, organic produce here. (And if you're in California, definitely give Abundant Harvest Organics a look).
We can do so much for this world, our health, our community, and our budget, just by putting in a little extra time to find good folks to buy good food from.  Let's be a movement with our grocery money.

I'm sharing this at Traditional TuesdaysSimple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fight Back Friday, & Save the Farm Friday.


  1. i love that you are doing this and organizing bulk/group orders - it really does help all of us so much and we are along for the ride! (we get to learn new terms along with you! haha!)

    my recent post: the rooster formally known as susan -or- letting go of false expectations

  2. Beautiful post! I totally agree about having what we spend money on be a philosophical decision. I so admire your dedication and the way you've turned a pricy grocery budget into an affordable one!

  3. What a great post! We are looking for ways to afford all the good things we should be eating, in place of all the cheap things we know we should be avoiding. I have heard of Azure Standard before, but I'll be looking into them a little more closely now. Thanks for the tips!

  4. Where in N. CA do you live? I'm in Lodi and looking for organic grass feed beef but have yet to find any.

  5. Katie, check out Prather Ranch. They are in Northern California and their beef is amazing!

  6. New visitor to your blog - LOVE your banner! Your blog is great!

  7. Ahhhh!! Now I see that you do have a love for Tropical Traditions. :-) They really are a great company. The owners have a passion for lower-income people to learn how they can afford to eat healthy. We are going to have our church partner with him in this in some way. I'll keep you up-to-date. I'm going to share your blog post here with Brian (he is the owner). He will love it!


I value your feedback. Thanks for taking the time to share yours!


Related Posts with Thumbnails