As part of my 2015 Grocery Challenge, you may see me talking about “food blessings“, which simply means, food that I got free in one way or another. There are many ways that you can be blessed with free food for your family, here are a few of those ways.
Volunteer at a Food Pantry
Often times, food pantries will offer up any leftover perishables to those who are helping out. Once the day ends, if there are fruits, veges or meat left, they would rather it go home with those who help than to throw it out or see it go bad.
Become a Personal Shopper for the Elderly
In the city that I live in, there are multiple elderly housing units. These people can have a very difficult time getting to and from the store, and will often offer you some food in exchange for doing their shopping, or bringing them to do their shopping. Make friends with them, listen to their stories, because they are always cool, and help them out, you may be rewarded for your efforts.
Ask at local stores
When food is about to expire, stores tend to throw them away. When you get to know the owner or manager of smaller local stores, you may have the ability to take any of the food that is going to expire. They are going to get rid of it anyway, and more often than not, they have to pay for garbage removal, so if they can avoid filling their garbage cans, it helps save them money too. A local natural food store here will let me take any of their expiring fruits and veges for our rabbits. Sometimes all it takes is asking!
Barter with friends and family
You have lots of shampoo and toilet paper that you got with coupons? Let your friends and family know that you would be willing to trade your overstock for some food that you can use. This usually works great with those who run farms and those who hunt! They usually have enough food to share, and are looking to barter food for other items. It’s a win-win!
Shop toward the end of the day at Farmer’s Markets
The day has come and gone, with the bulk of people shopping early to get the absolute best of the best. If you don’t care for a ding or bruise, shop later in the day. Once it comes time for closing, many vendors are willing to give away what is left. Ask them if they need help cleaning up their area in exchange for some of their leftover produce.
Throw a party
I’m not kidding! Invite all your friends and neighbors to a PotLuck party. Not only will it be loads of fun, but there will be loads of leftovers! You can ask that they bring their dishes in disposable pans, so that you don’t have to wash and return the pans to them, but if you don’t mind washing then the less disposable there is, the better. You provide drinks and music and keep the leftovers.
Forage for food
Wherever you live, in a rural or urban environment, there’s food to be had if you know where to find it. Since every environment is different, you’ve got to take the initiative yourself and invest in a local guide book for plant identification and go out looking for edible plants, berries, nuts, and other produce. Stay on public land and avoid trespassing, wash the things you find, and carefully check them and you’ll be fine.
Hunting can be expensive, with the cost of a gun, ammunition, licensing and tags. However, fishing can be done on the cheap and it can provide a lot of meat if you go on a regular basis. Make a schedule and go one day a week, relax, kick back and pull in some food!
Yes, you read right! grab some gloves and a flashlight and head to your local stores, but don’t go in the front door as usual, instead go around to their dumpster and see the treasure inside! America throws out $165 billion worth of food each year! This is about half of the food produced! Why so much waste? Read my post on Dumpster Diving HERE.
There are other ways as well, and as I come across them, I will add them to the list. if you know of any that I haven’t listed, please let me know in the comments below.