I was thinking how different my shopping habits are now than what they used to be. I used to go grocery shopping once a week, and didn’t think twice about running into a grocery store during the week for something I forgot or ran out of or needed for a new recipe. Now? I rarely go to a grocery store. Last year, I was popping in once every week or two just to grab a gallon of milk or a pound of bacon, but I don’t even do that anymore. Part of the reason is that I stocked up on pantry essentials last year and filled a large freezer with meats. Another reason is that I buy in bulk through Azure Standard – driving to a “drop point” once a month is not a big deal, but I don’t do that every month.
Having dairy cows eliminates the need to go out for dairy products. There’s the Farmers Market (ours is not very active), and most recently I started frequenting the Amish Market (packed with people!), which is about a 20-minute drive from where I live. My garden this summer mostly failed, but I got plenty of potatoes (now in cool storage totes) and squash (all dehydrated). All the pantries are packed, and I’m grateful because food shortages are real. I thought it might be helpful to others, who are concerned about grocery store “empty shelves”, if I shared my alternative ways to shop for food. In the long run, it’s cheaper and healthier.
Now, if you’ve noticed how the government and some private entities have purposefully crippled the supply chain, gobbled up farmland, manipulated the weather, promoted the idea that farm animals are bad for the environment, want you to eat lab-grown meat, and have been advertising the nutritional value of crickets and such, then you definitely need to find alternative ways to get food. The Powers That Be (TPTB) are determined to change the way we shop, eat, and live. In order to combat that and stick with all the good things the Lord has given us, it is imperative to find alternative ways of finding food. I, for one, am not going to eat the bugs or any gross thing grown in a lab (using very suspicious, immoral, and disgusting “cell lines”.)
A friend said to me, when I showed her the ingredients that included crickets on a package of food, “oh, I don’t care about the crickets”. I had to restrain myself from saying, “You darn well better care about the crickets!!” People just don’t understand that TPTB are more interested in control (and money) than they are interested in true health or the climate. TPTB are in the end stages of developing blockchain technology for our entire financial system that will require our cooperation in order to buy and sell food, track our activities, movements, and everything else. Reiterating: our cooperation will be required in order to buy or sell. If that doesn’t sound like Revelations, I don’t know what does. In my opinion, it is imperative that we develop, or explore, a completely separate (some call it a “parallel society”) way of buying and selling food.
Firstly, you need to get a baseline of food storage going while you still can. Canned goods are important to have on hand, so getting a baseline of canned vegetables, fruits, and meats in the pantry is critical because they last many years. Try Walmart, the Dollar General store, Costco, your favorite grocery store, however you can get that baseline accomplished. How many cans is dependent upon your family size and make sure that you own several sturdy can openers. Do the same with dried goods: rice, beans, lentils, pasta, etc. (Reference the 7 Year Food Plan). Once you’ve got the basics put away, it’s easier to change the way you shop moving forward. Many have expressed safety concerns about shopping alone, so minimizing going out to shop makes sense. If you must shop alone, make sure your spidey senses are operating, don’t be distracted, and if your state allows, carry protection with you. Personally, I’d carry even if the state laws don’t allow it because the Constitution is my primary governing document. Now, on to alternative methods for obtaining food.
Most folks know about Azure Standard, but just in case, I’ll provide some description here. They are a small, family-owned, business located in Oregon. They provide organically grown food (and many other products now that they’ve grown) to people across the United States. The food can be purchased in bulk or in small quantities. They truck the food, using their own trucks and leased trucks, on routes to “drop points” across most states now. You can go to their website (www.azurestandard.com) and find a drop point near you. A drop point is set up by someone who is interested in their foods/products and doesn’t mind coordinating the delivery day and time with other interested persons. It’s easy to sign up for a particular drop online. When I lived in Idaho, our drop point was coordinated by some folks who rented a moving truck, picked up from the primary drop point in Boise and trucked it up to our little town. We all chipped in for gas. There was only a handful of us at the drop, but we had a great time unloading the truck together and sharing information.
Here in Tennessee, our drop point has grown so huge that there are close to 100 people that participate, and they’ve added routes and drop points in our state. We never know exactly when our monthly delivery will be made until close to the date. It’s not particularly convenient, especially if you can’t be flexible. You can’t just not show up unless you have a friend who will pick up for you. No one is going to “hold” your food for you. You can’t pick a day or time for delivery. You often won’t know what is out of stock until your order ships, etc. We all help unload the truck and help one another load our cars and trucks. It’s actually a fun experience and it’s nice to see and meet like-minded people.
I’d encourage people to explore the Azure website and drop points. You can start your own drop if you can get enough people together to meet their minimum order requirement. Some products are really inexpensive if purchased in bulk. Some products are really expensive, depending upon many factors. I use Azure for bulk grains, lentils, beans, oatmeal, and have purchased butter and chicken in bulk before I raised my own. Check it out.
Costco & Walmart (a short mention)
Just about everyone knows about Costco and Walmart. There are some things I can’t find anywhere else at such good prices, such as bulk toilet paper, paper towels, dog food, bleach, batteries, certain clothing items, etc. Costco and Walmart are a fantastic place to get those baseline pantry items in large quantities. Get them however you can, as soon as you can, and you’ll rarely have to go back. I’m not a purist, but a realist.
Local Ranchers and Farmers
I’m excited that I live near the Amish and that they have a great market. A year ago, the market was small and not busy. Now, they’ve tripled their floor space, and they’re packed with people every day of the week except Sundays. The market has a wonderful deli, soft serve ice cream, fresh local dairy, fresh local produce in season, fresh local baked goods, local honey, and bulk items. I don’t find their bulk items to be as reasonably priced as Azure’s, but you can’t beat the local produce at great prices. I purchase beef and pork from local ranchers that I’ve gotten to know, and raise my own chickens and dairy cows (soon will have beef cows). If you can’t garden, the Amish certainly can. I picked up 2 cases of tomatoes and a case of pickling cucumbers very inexpensively (~40 lbs of tomatoes for $36!) I thought to myself that was a whole lot easier than planting them in order to watch the plants die.
The local Farmers Market is a great place to help you identify producers, in addition to finding fresh food. Some will sell to you “on farm”. Getting to know producers, in my opinion, will be critical in the future. Stop and talk to them – get to know them. Be the best customer you can be and never argue price or insult them. They are barely making it. Other ways of finding local producers is via social media, craigslist, local signs and shops. Ask around. I believe that we have the power to keep small ranches and farms alive, and we’re going to need them.
Grow Your Own
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this. If you don’t have space where you live now, do everything you can to locate people who do have space, rent some land if you can, and seriously consider moving to a location where you can grow your own food. I’d go so far as to say, I’d sacrifice having a nice home for having nice land. It’s not so easy to grow a big, beautiful, garden. I planted out one of those, and we had hardly any Spring rain April through June, and a heat wave that normally comes in August. That heat torched most of my tender, young, plants. If I was relying on that garden to survive, I’d be very disappointed, or I’d be eating nothing but potatoes and squash for a year, because that’s all that survived. You can’t just pull out your “survival seeds” and throw them in the ground!! You don’t even know if those seeds are going to be viable when you need them. It’s really important to start now and keep practicing. Join gardening groups, watch youtube videos, find local gardeners on social media, and practice, practice, practice. I’d advise grow lights in the basement, but with electricity costs skyrocketing, I don’t think that’s such a great idea anymore. It may be for you.
Work on finding people who grow food and get to know them. Let them know you will pay cash or barter for their food. Recently I traded some beef for some pork in bulk, some meat chickens for equipment. Consider yourself really fortunate if there are hunters in the family and if not, get to know some, or learn to hunt and fish. Most hunting families use hunting to fill their freezers and feed their families at a relatively low cost, and a lot of work, for them. Don’t assume they would be willing to part with that venison, elk, or bear meat. Always be respectful and offer something of equal or greater value if they are willing to part with it. Treat food like gold and don’t waste it (a whole other topic).
Preaching to the Choir and Bartering
I have recently dipped my toes into bartering with people outside my family. I think learning to barter is a skill I’ve yet to fully develop. I realize it’s going to be important come a time when the cash is controlled by TPTB. Right now, I’m working on having food that I can trade for physical help on the farm. I have lots of laying hens that can be traded as layers, meat, and eggs. I’m working at perfecting the large garden – try, try, and try again. In the near future, I will have beef and pork. A few people have expressed interest in the high quality raw milk my one dairy cow gives. I’m serious about developing the infrastructure on this small farm. In the future, I may not have cash, but I’ll have plenty of food that I can trade for things I need. I consider putting money into infrastructure now, a hedge against future inflation, and if the shelves are completely empty in the grocery stores, we will still have food to eat.
Unless a miracle occurs, and I don’t discount the Lord God ever, the food shortages and inflation are going to worsen in the coming years. For instance, the wheat harvest was greatly reduced this past year due to drought, and the drought affects what will be available next year. I’m sure you heard of Texas ranchers sending a vast majority of their beef cows to the sale barn because the dry land cannot support the cows. That’s going to affect available beef next year.
In case you don’t know, raising beef cows is a process that takes time – cows need to get pregnant, they need to carry the calf for ~9 months, the calf needs to grow to a suitable size for butchering, etc. It may take years for some ranchers to recover from this year’s losses. You’ve heard about all the chickens that were destroyed due to the bird flu, and you’ve seen how sparse the chicken is in grocery stores. There are no easy answers at the moment. Recovery is going to take time.
You can actually do something, right now, to ensure your family has enough to eat in the coming days. Even with bare shelves, there is still food in the grocery stores you can take advantage of while you develop alternatives. Don’t sit there and hope that everything is going to right itself. It may not. I realize I’m preaching to the choir here. I’m just hoping that there’s a small tidbit that will help someone find alternative ways of finding food. May the Lord bless you and keep you until His return.