Saturday, January 5, 2013
If you live in or near an urban neighborhood or a long established residential neighborhood, then chances are you're not tapping into the best kept secret for low "real food" prices! The backyard homesteader. I'm talking about your neighbors or someone less than 5miles away who's really into backyard beekeeping, sustainable gardening, composting, and free range chickens! Most of which are either retired and young couples hyper focused on self sufficiency. Now, I've been going to such a master for about 8 months now to buy delicious organic eggs, local avocado honey, and loaves of honey baked bread made with fresh ground organic wheat berries.
His name is Don Axe and his wisdom is deep. He grows a lot of organic food. Kale, chard, onions, garlic, peas, broccoli rabe, beets, carrots, fennel, parsley, leeks, butternut squash, and other cool season crops. And just this week I made a visit to buy eggs and bread, and toured his latest endeavor, a hydroponic green house, when I saw his raised bed full of what I love to eat and the LED light bulb turned on!
I grabbed a box and asked him if I could start a CSA box with him. He said, "Well, what do you want in your box?" And I said, "I'm willing to buy weekly for eggs, bread, and vegetables for some much money per week, what do you think?" He said, "Ok!" Now for anyone who knows all about CSA's or currently subscribes to one, you already understand the benefits of eating seasonally, but guess what... It doesn't get any cheaper and more local than in your neighbors backyard. Cheaper because you can barter for each bunch by buying in bulk. And they'll let you help grow the food! Also, I'm asking him to grow my favorites too like Romanesco broccoli, and strawberries!
Now, I don't want to create the false expectation that every Backyard Homesteader uses sustainable gardening practices nor is right for you. Many gardeners still know nothing about the harmful effects of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, or feeding their animals with GMO crop feeds like corn, alfalfa, or soy beans, so I cannot guarantee the quality of the food. However, if you discover that the homesteader you're talking to is either studying or teaching (and implementing) permaculture, biodynamics, organic soil amendments, vermicomposting, and or seed preservation, well then at least you're on the right track. Also the San Diego Master Gardeners has a program you can introduce your homesteader to be called a certified Earth Friendly Garden!
If you like my idea, follow me on Twitter and Facebook and use the sharing options below. Let's also share what kind of subscription agreements we come up with and boast about how much money we're saving in 2013! It's time to stop complaining and start getting to know the passionate people around us and live GMO free.