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DISCOVER

Nicki on Shutterstock

Nicki's Journey

LEARN

 F A R M I N G

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When you grow your own food, generate your own energy, and work from a home office or farm for your livelihood, the so-called “costs of living” largely disappear. 

Plant a garden 

This is the basic building block for anyone looking to walk a simpler path in life in the modern world. Especially with rising fuel costs and resulting food costs increases it is imperative to minimize the impact on a families financial situation. More and more of the average families monthly income is slowly being eroded by the cost of just putting food on the table. I understand a lot of people do not have a lot of land to totally grow their own food but there are many options available to grow in small footprint and help at least offset the cost of groceries.

**For people on government food assistance programs you have the option of purchasing edible plants, herbs, and trees on your EBT or SNAP cards at retailers such as Walmart. This can help stretch your temporary assistance out forever!

Check out this self watering vertical garden made from recycled materials!

Plant a herb garden 

Have you seen how much both fresh and dried herbs are at the grocery store are? It’s insane. The amount of space needed to raise a small herb garden is minimal and there is nothing like fresh herbs. You can use them in tinctures, fresh, or dry them for long term storage.

Plant soft fruits 

Along with strawberries also plant raspberries, blackberries, blueberries etc.. They do not take up a lot of space and will produce fresh and tasty fruits year after year

Plant a few fruit trees 

with varieties that are available on the market today you can plant a few fruit trees that with pruning and training will be bountiful in several years without taking up much room at all. You can also grow three fruit trees up twisting them together from sprout to create a fruit tree variety plant! It is sometimes called a 'fruit salad' tree.

Plant Perennials you can eat 

Growing up in the city -Akron, Ohio - we did not have a very large yard, but we did have a small garden space and perennials that supplied a food source each year with not work on my part. Asparagus, Rhubarb, and Strawberries, are a few you can try.

https://www.rareseeds.com/ Has an excellent selection of heirloom non GMO seeds

Learn to save seeds 

Buy heirloom open-pollinated seeds and learn to save the seeds from this years produce to be able to plant next year. I know of families that have been passing their seed stock down through the family for well over 100 years and haven’t had to buy a seed ever.

Learn how to can your own food 

This goes hand in hand with planting a garden, a garden will produce way to much food at one time for any family to consume it all before it goes to waste. Having the skills to be able to preserve what you produce is imperative for a families long term self sufficiency. If your garden is to small at the moment to produce enough food to put  away in the pantry there are other options available. Search out and visit farmers markets, talk to the farmers about buying in bulk which can save you some money. Ask the farmers about gleaning the fields after harvest time. A lot of farmers will allow people to harvest produce that has been leftover and missed after the commercial harvesting is done. Look into a local produce supplier for restaurants. Most of them have a walk in window where people can go in and buy bulk produce. You can buy a 25 pound case of tomatoes for about 18 dollars right now which is a huge cost savings over the grocery store and that would make quite a few jars of spaghetti sauce.

Keep Bees!

Not only will the pollinate the fruits and vegetables you are growing but they can provide you with natures sweetener HONEY! Bee keeping is an awesome hobby and you will be rewarded nicely, after all, honey has some powerful properties From a sustainability stand point bees are the little helpers of the garden and orchard. These little workers will pollinate your plants, produce fresh honey, create bees wax for soap making, candle making, furniture polish, etc..

Get a dehydrator 

Or make one!! Dehydrating Food and Canning go hand in hand. The options you have with a dehydrator  is only limited by your imagination. You can make jerky, fruit roll ups, dehydrate eggs, etc. Fruits make a tasty healthy snack for young and old. Most locations in the country have local orchards that are a great place to buy fruits cheaply and dehydrated apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon last a long time on the pantry shelf  and are delicious.

 Learn to make your own adult beverages 

Cider, Wine and Beer. They are simple to make and you can make them for a fraction of what it costs to buy the mass produced product available in the stores today. I listed them in the order that I believe is the easiest to make in your own home. Wine you can make out of just about anything, even things that you would never think of such as tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin and dandelions. Experimenting is half the fun in my opinion.

Raise a few small backyard animals 

The amount of space required by a small flock of chickens or rabbit hutch is minimal and is a great source for nutrients for you and your backyard farm. There is nothing better than making breakfast or a cake with eggs fresh from the source. Plus they are a great asset with help keeping bugs and insects in check and will gladly take care of any extra vegetables or fruit from the garden for you.

Compost everything 

People think compost is smelly and disgusting. If your compost is creating a nuisance smell, you are doing it wrong. It is estimated that 30 to 40 percent of food Americans buy ends up in the trash heap. Any waste from leftovers either goes into to the compost pile by either being fed to the chickens and after working its way through the chickens ends up in the compost bin or we will put it directly in the piles. All raked leaves, newspaper, cardboard, weeds, grass clippings etc goes directly into our compost pile.

Learn how to forage for mushrooms

Mushrooms are fairly easy and can be grown directly out of logs and will come back when properly printing spores. Mushrooms such an Portabella can pass as meat in density and consistency. learn how to find edible mushrooms in the wild. Learn how to harvest them. Learn how to spot the Psychedelic variety if the opportunity strikes!!

Make your own dairy products 

Dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, butter and ice cream are going through the roof right now and it is one of the simpler things to make in your kitchen. It is a fun project to get the kids involved with as well.