My last post I tackled a bit of what you can do to avoid putting money into Big Grocer's (BG) pockets, if their politics make you sick to your stomach. You gotta eat, so boycotting them completely may seem out of the question, but I'll continue the alternatives here.
3) Learn to can and preserve your own food
As I mentioned in my last post, farmer's markets are often a big source of deals when it comes to buying in bulk. Buying a truckload of green beans though is not something that makes a whole lot of sense though if you don't know how to preserve that food.
Learning how to can and preserve your own food helps to bring freedom. And I mean that in the sense that you won't be dependent upon somebody else's food supply during winter if you have preserved your summer harvest. I'm a huge fan of Joel Salatin's books. You should check his work out.
(Probably Joel's two best books are Folks, This Ain't Normal and The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer. You can find them here amzn.to/32JQG8k and here amzn.to/300mdVS, respectively.)
One of the things that Salatin consistently points out is that the knowledge of food preservation was something that pretty much all of mankind was familiar with until the past 100 years. On top of that, having a full larder, root cellar, or at least a winter's worth of food stored in their house was also something that pretty much everybody did until the last 100 years or so (potentially a little less time).
Now, having more than a week's food supply stored in one's house is not only incredibly rare, but viewed as strange in today's society.
"But Aden! You're advocating for me to be a weirdo to my friends!"
Nope, not at all.
What I am advocating is being food independent, improving your food security through food storage, and potentially saving food money by canning your own food (Ben Falk points out how inflation affects food prices in his excellent book The Resilient Farm and Homestead. I recommend everybody with an interest in gardening/food security/homesteading read it. You can get it here: amzn.to/2Lwo8ZX)
And on top of all that, who says your friends have to know? How often do they come over rooting through your pantry?
4) Contact BG Management
Money talks. I absolutely agree with that, and if you incorporate my above thoughts, BG is going to take a serious financial hit. But sometime talking helps too, just so there's no confusion as to why sales seem to be slipping.
Emails and snail-mail letters are my two methods of choice here. I don't have the desire to spend an hour on hold on the phone. I can write a letter though and send it off real quick. The Left has been vocal, and that's why we're seeing the results that we're seeing with BG. Why can't we do the same?
5) Negative Social Media
I know that social media isn't very popular among most of my readers. Most of us prefer avoiding being monitored. But if you do engage in social media, why not use it for good? It seems that negative publicity is one of the main things that mega-corporations respond to, so why not plaster them with it if they're being ridiculous?
6) Find Alternative Big Grocers
Simple enough, right? You don't like what X has stated publicly? Then start shopping at Y, which hasn't stated anything against American freedom. Not much else to say right here.
Odds are you're not going to be able to break away from BG completely. Particularly if they're the only grocer in your vicinity. But, by just enacting a few of these options, you'll help to voice your opinion, increase your food security, and probably eat more healthier food as well. And if you don't do something, have you really any right to complain?
I boycott businesses that have come out publicly to be distinctly anti-American, or anti-freedom. If they voice those opinions, then they've lost this American's business, and I imagine I'm not alone in this self-imposed boycott. I can always find a similar retailer with similar goods that isn't politically naive.
At a point though, it begins to feel impossible. What do you do when it seems the majority of large companies you shop at have decided they no longer support the Bill of Rights?
Particularly, what do you do when your grocer decides such? I mean, you have to eat! So, what do you do? If you don't agree with your grocer politically, are you pretty much just screwed?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I've come to several conclusions that work.
1) Grow your own food
This is the low hanging fruit here (no pun intended). If you don't like what your grocer is doing, growing your own food is the first, and most visible choice that you can turn to. Odds are if you're reading my work, you have more of a self-reliance mindset.
Growing your own food is not only one of the first things that you can do to improve your independence, but it'll provide you with plenty of healthy, organic food that is not only locally sourced, but cheap as well.
I've kept very accurate tabs on all the money I've put into my gardens every year, as well as all of the produce that has come out of my gardens every year. Even despite the cost of tools, lumber (I use raised beds), seeds, and soil, I always come out ahead by the end of the season when I look at how much grocery money my gardens have saved me.
Everything I grow is completely organic. No sprays or fertilizers of any kind (other than homemade compost). I record every egg, every chicken, every tomato, and every pound of lettuce that I get. I've gone to the grocery store to learn what the price would be of a gallon of organic greens, a dozen free range eggs, and a pound of raw honey. Last year, I grew a little over $1100 worth of food.
That's a dramatic amount of money, that required maybe 5 hours of work a week. And I don't even consider it work either. It's just fun physical activity that I get to tool around with at the end of a hectic work day.
Now imagine the punch to the pocketbook that could be achieved if everybody out there removed $1100/year from Big Grocer's hands. I totally understand that not everybody has the space or ability to work a garden, but even if you grew a few potted tomato plants, a potted herb garden, or whatever else, that's still a sizable fist of money that you're keeping from your grocer.
You wanna learn more about gardening?
I highly recommend reading these books...
Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew amzn.to/2ZZxqH2
Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway amzn.to/2O26VJD
The Resilient Farm and Homestead by Ben Falk amzn.to/2Lwo8ZX
2) Start utilizing local farmer markets
There's a number of reasons I like farmer's markets. The food you'll find there is local, meaning you're helping your local economy, eating food that most likely wasn't spray painted to look pretty after being trucked cross country, and the food probably wasn't grown overseas somewhere (there's potential health reasons there) .
Most likely you visit your Big Grocer once a week. Thankfully, farmer's markets are often open once a week (typically Saturdays) as well. So as far as number of visits, there really isn't any disadvantage there other than the forced time frame. Is there as large of a variety of foods to choose from at your local farmer's market compared to BG? By no means, but that'll cause one of two things: you'll eat healthier; or you'll still drastically diminish the amount of your cash that flows into BG's pockets. Most likely it'll be both.
Farmers rock. You can often score major deals at farmer's markets when you buy in bulk. Buy a bushel of corn, and odds are the farmer will financially thank you (in the way of a discount) for not making him have to take that bushel back home at the end of the day.
What do you do with a bushel of corn? Well, that brings me to my next point, which I'll tackle in a future post.
In the meantime, if you'd like to find a farmer's market near you, I highly recommend using one of these sites (particularly if your search engine isn't showing anything):
Don't let the vegans fool you: not eating meat isn't as healthy as you may think.
Another interesting study showing an increased risk of stroke among vegans/vegetarians out of 50,000 study subjects. A 20% higher risk to be precise.
Why might that be? Eating highly processed foods could be one reason. Being miserable may be another (there is a link between chronic mood and overall morbidity/mortality). 'Cuz if you ain't getting enough calories, odds are you're going go to be a rather miserable personality.
To check out the study, click here:
And if you want to see the link between mood and health, click here:
I teach a lot of nutrition classes. I was a personal trainer for 2 years. I've worked in the fitness industry for 6 years. I studied nutrition all through my undergrad. I've a master's where a good portion of my time was spent studying nutrition. And I hate the vegetarian/vegan diet.
Just because something is labeled as vegan or vegetarian doesn't necessarily mean that it's healthy. French fries, potato chips, candy, and a host of other foods that won't help you to reach your health/fitness goals (notice I avoid the term 'unhealthy'), can all be successfully labeled 'vegan'.
The food industry knows that the terms "vegan/vegetarian" is automatically viewed as healthy by the general public.
Which brings me to Beyond Meat.
When I first heard about it, I wasn't a huge fan.
I was happy to see that there are other people out there who agree with me.
Writer. News junkie. Personal Trainer. Farmer.