It’s been over 2 months now since I initially launched my most challenging experiment thus far and I am at the point now where I have to end the experiment as it is now.
For those of you who have not been following, this experiment was based around the premise of only eating the food that we could grow here, and what is grown/made locally. Beyond those items, I allowed myself the ability to purchase oil, butter, eggs, wheat powder, vinegar and sugar from the market so that I could make and preserve our own food. The reason I did this was to see 1) if I could live locally and sustainably, to 2) put my money into our community and 3) try to stop myself buying some of everything a the market and force myself to learn how to cook real food and by doing that 4) pay off some debt.
It was challenging at first, and then I kind of got into the groove. However, it’s been quite difficult to maintain this challenge in a household with more than just me. It’s been incredibly expensive too. I did not think things through thoroughly before setting the ‘rules’ for myself on this challenge. What that resulted in was me spending 4€ on a can of local salmon pate instead of 27 cents for a bag of macaroni. This is no way is helping my debt issue. It has been an amazing feeling knowing that I’m eating sustainably and locally, but I just cannot keep up the momentum. I need food items to eat with the vegetables and I need to be able to purchase items that I can afford. I need to be able to buy fruit for my family. And if there is a bowl of fruit on the table, why am I not allowing myself to eat it? This is why I am ending the experiment.
I am ending the experiment as it is now, anyway. My plan is to thoroughly integrate this challenge for myself in my day to day life. I will continue to buy locally and purchase as much produce as possible from local farms. But I will also make smart purchasing decisions in the market. I will allow myself that cheap bag of macaroni, and a can of tuna with the occasional avocado. I will still try to make bread and muffins instead of buying them, but I will not feel conflicted about buying food items for my family that are affordable options.
The great thing about this experiment is that I learned so much! I met many local farmers and am looking forward to returning for big orders to last us the winter. (Fingers crossed) I have learned how to cook a variety of items from just a few options, not to mention varying preserving methods.
I have learned that I don’t need to waste my money on piles of unfulfilling foods. A few potatoes fills my stomach for longer that 2 plates of pasta.
I have learned how to forage for mushrooms and berries (though I still don’t trust myself to do it on my own).
I have learned that having a small portion of locally caught fish is just as filling as a huge plate of pasta with sauce. I have also learned that if I just eat right, I don’t need all the extra stuff I was loading into my shopping cart.
So, what do you think?