Reduce your reliance on grocery stores

Big story on the national news last night was the lockdown in Shanghai. One of the busiest shipping ports in the world. So, we are in for more supply chain woes. This article popped up about reducing our reliance on grocery stores.

Interesting summation of the article:

"When all is said and done, the best thing you can do right now to reduce your reliance on the outside world is to stay calm and start small. You won’t be able to replace all of your grocery store staples. 

However, by replacing the big expenses like meat and produce in particular, you can reduce your reliance on it enough to make your family self-sufficient – and well-provided for in the case of an emergency."


  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 916 ✭✭✭✭

    I try cooking and making my own meals from the garden. Or, make a lot of something and put it into containers for food storage to make it stretch, and last for a longer time.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2022

    @RustBeltCowgirl Excellent article.

    I started setting up a pantry two years ago. I still have spices to add but I am set for at least two years.

    I have made a meal plan to make better use of my prepared meals and use everything with very little waste. It also saves money.

    I just recently realized I needed to add more beans to my pantry and decided to store them in glass containers. I grow my own beans to store.

    I also set up in my plans more dried foods in case there is an electricity issue where I live. I am lucky I can cook outdoors if need be But I have a electric based water pump at this time so I would have to reduce water use. I am working on a gravity water system.

    @SuperC I love its when I can make a meal from the garden or foraging the yard. My winters a long here but I do grow greens and small tomaotes indoors and hope to expand on that.

    And I have realized there may be food that I can not get for a bit so either learn to improvise or change my eating habits.

    There are many places that are already in a food shortage and I feel for them.

    And yes, start small and remain calm is great advice. I would also add rely and swap more with friends and family.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The real challenge here in the cold northern regions is that you can only grow your garden about half the year. To eat garden food the other half of the year, you have to plan very carefully to grow more than you need and "put it by".

    I'm a bit concerned about how dependent I am on my freezer. I plan to increase the amount of canning and dehydrating I do this year. Unfortunately once the power goes out, it's too late to do any preserving that depends on electricity.

    So you can't always react quickly to changing situations. Planning is critical. I'm sitting on my hands right now waiting for the snow to stop flying so I can put the next phase of the garden in!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I also have a 6 month cold season. Sometimes it semi tolerable and you can plant a little but your best bet it to wait Springs are colder and more unpredictable any more, but falls are long now and if I plant right I can grow until November. Before it was September or October for clod crops only. Now I have a semi preditable 7 months for regular crops and cold crops maybe 2 months.

    @VermontCathy I am also concerned about being dependent of a freezer. I could build a spring house for a few items but I am definitely dehydrating more food this year

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's definitely possible to have a high degree of self-reliance from gardening even in the colder regions. Settlers and small farmers did it for hundreds of years in North America, for thousands in Europe and northern Asia.

    What really annoys me is the obsession with "fresh" and "seasonal" food that you frequently see pushed today.

    To the extent that it is trying to wean people away from processed food, it's a good thing, but its proponents who live in places like California think in terms of year-round fresh food and have little understanding of other regions.

    There is absolutely a tension between "local" and "seasonal" that these advocates don't acknowledge. Eating locally often means preserving the harvest and eating as much as a year later. Eating fresh in cool climates would mean trucking in that "fresh" food from California or Mexico. There is no seasonal fresh food in Vermont in February!

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great topic!

    I also live in an area where we only have a 5-6 month growing season. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of planning that it takes to grow and preserve food to last a whole year. Honestly, I haven't been successful yet. I never seem to be able to grow enough to preserve large enough quantities. I'm far more reliant on the grocery store than I am comfortable with. I am making small improvements as time goes on. Learning the bio-intensive gardening method has helped.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Michelle D _The Family Garden Plan_ by Melissa Norris is a good overview of what you need to do to create a plan to grow and preserve a year's worth of garden food.

    The weakness of the method is that it cannot be done quickly. She recommends you track what your family actually eats and how much, then use that to calculate how much you will need to grow to get through a year. This is probably the best approach, but unless you did it in 2021, it's not enough information to plan your 2022 garden.

    Those of us in colder climates need more land, more planning, and more preserving to get through a year. I don't know anyone local to me who does.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy yes, I have that book. I have used it to track our eating and to plan this years garden. I'm hoping for a great outcome. As you said it takes a lot of land which I simply don't have. I have a lot of mouths to feed. I will have to keep finding more creative ways to do more here until I can purchase land.