Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Do Not Go Quietly Into The Night

I have certain blogs I like to read every day, as I'm sure we all do. A lo of people are talking food shortage this week. Food shortage, the price of oil and extreme weather are all hot topics, and they're all related, and they could individually or collectively affect the price of your day. A loaf of bread, your daily two cups of coffee and bagel, dinner, the bag of cookies or that apple you have stashed.... all of it can be affected by a two cent jump in the price of crude oil and a bad weather event between the produce shipper and your favorite grocery store.
I'm not one of these "the world is over" types, but the writing is on the wall, we can't ignore it anymore. So what do we do? What do those of us in the city do if we have very little or no yard? We get creative. We get tough. We become survivors.
This is my call to action.
Start paying attention to competing grocery prices. Easier said than done, I know, I hate grocery shopping. Start saving those coupons, scour the sale papers, find them online for your local grocery stores. Buy dry goods differently. Buy a little more than you normally would if you can. Try and aim for one now, one to save. This applies to a great deal of your list. Can you get two loaves of bread this week? One for now, one to freeze. Instead of getting three apples, get five. Can you afford an extra tin of tuna? You get the idea.
Then, learn how to store these things wisely. Get a system together that will allow you to keep track of when you bought them and when they'll expire. I work in retail, so I'm keenly familiar with this system. Keep track of the things you buy for backup. Have a place you can store them so the kids won't run through your stash of animal crackers, let's say. (Mine love those packets of dried noodles and would happily eat 4 a day, per person if we let them. This calls for creative stashing)

Not everyone can afford to do this all the time. I certainly can't. We buy an extra jar of peanut butter here, an extra can of tuna there, an extra box of dog treats on pay week, and we store them in a large plastic tote bin. It might not look like we have much, but that stash has proven to be a small saving grace during weeks we hit a leaner-than-normal stretch. We do a little at a time, as we can.

Start teaching yourself what you need to know to make your own food. We've been saving a bit of money lately, and eating a little better by making more of our own bread. Not all the time. We still have lives and I still have a full time job. But instead of buying a loaf of bread six times a week, I'd say we're down to maybe three. We have a bread maker that's seeing a lot of action these days, and the bread we're eating is better for us than that white, over-processed stuff with ingredients I can't pronounce. The bread we make still has white flour in it, I'm outvoted there, but what we're making has whole wheat in it too, and less sugar and more honey, which is healthy in so many ways it needs it's own post. So we're buying less and eating healthier.

Get creative with dry goods food storage. I know of one person that has saved large pop bottles and stores their pasta, dried beans, dried soup powder, drink crystals and cereals in those bottles. Because they have next to no cupboard space, they store those bottles in a suitcase, under their bed! Now THAT'S creative!
I am lucky enough to have made a connection with a Tim Horton's coffee shop next to my store. They save me the buckets the frosting comes in and I have a variety of buckets in a range of shapes and sizes. Now we have a bucket for flour, one for sugar, a small, rolling compost bucket.... you get the idea.

As you may know, we're trying to grow our own veggies and herbs here in our apartment. We're teaching ourselves how to grow responsibly with our experiments in green manure crops, small scale composting and a soon to be attempted permanent indoor garden. It's not always successful, but we keep trying. Why?
Because I refuse to roll over and give up. I hear about the food shortage in Canada and it makes me angry. We shouldn't be short of food in a country that is supposed to be one of the world's greatest places to live. We have kids, so we can't just give up. We have brains and hands and we can still do something about it so that we do NOT go quietly into the night, hungry and weak.
I am not hungry and weak, I can still take even small steps to feed my family.
You can feed yours too.
Do not go quietly into the night.
Do something.
Stand up and fight for your next meal!


maeva said...

remember bread dough can be a base for pizza and russian peroshki(meat or vegtable pies inside bread that can be deep fried or packed)

and left over bread is bread pudding or pain perdue aka french toast. ( yes i know who has leftovers with teenagers in the house) remember bread dough can be frozen and used later... you can also wrap meat and veggies or veggies and cheese inside a loaf of bread dough and bake that up, slice it up and you have a one pot meal

just saying....

Debra said...

we've been shopping per flyers and, as you suggested, buying up when we can. We also use the Bulk Barn when we're out that way (not making a special trip because of gas prices) to stock up on pastas and grains. We've cut back on breads because of waist-size and grain prices (and they may get worse [the grain prices, not the waist size] because the feds want to disban the wheat board). We're also growing herbs, specifically the ones like dill and cilantro where you only want a wee bit for a dish but have to buy almost a bush at the shops.

Carolyn said...

Great suggestions Maeva, thanks!

Carolyn said...

Good plan, Debra! I love the Bulk barn, thank goodness Sault Ste. Marie has one! We're planning on making more of our breads and sweet treats to cut down on the treats we buy. We've also started saving yogurt and pudding cups, both to keep them out of the landfill as long as possible, and to use as temporary seedling cups.

Canadian Doomer said...

:) Hey, even this Doomer doesn't say the world is over. I say it's going to change, though, and the changes are going to be rough.

One thing that I've learned this month, as a city dweller who wasn't able to get a community garden plot - find a small hobby farmer who has excess food. Go driving around until you find signs that say "Rhubarb for sale" or "Blueberries" or whatever it is that farmer's wives in your area sell to make pocket money. Be nice, buy lots at a time, ask lots of questions, and make sure they know you'll be coming back for more.