Yesterday at about 4pm when I ducked into a supermarket to buy extra white chocolate for a batch of Choccy Choc Chocs destined for the Gerringong Markets this weekend, I decided to abandon the challenge.
To be honest, Vanessa was out of the game after a week. But after a week we were just getting going, so we stuck with it. I had kind of hoped we might go 30 days, but as I headed for the checkout with a stack of white chocolate in my arms, I stopped in my tracks and thought: who for? The kids have been spectacular throughout, we're at the end of the school holidays and they have had no bought treats or anything, and so I picked up a bag of chips for them. Then I back tracked and picked up a bottle of dishwasher detergent and weetbix and a small bag of disposable nappies (Ivy's daycare centre won't use cloth and we were nearly at the end of our supply) and coffee. Yes, we do grow it here. And we're out of it. A bad crop this last summer. That's it. I didn't even buy dinner. But that little shop ended this particular challenge.
We made it through Easter. Through various visitors. And we've made it through the school holidays. Adam took the kids out for an icecream today. Hooray.
And you know what?
I didn't even go shopping today.
Because this whole challenge has completely changed the way I think about groceries.
You totally do not have to shop every week.
And my BIGGEST tip:
Do not go to the supermarket.
Because you quite possibly don't need to.
Can you make do with what you have? Can you barter something you have/ you've made/ grown with someone? Can you stay out of the crazy marketing machine that is the flourescent lit supermarket aisle?
Obviously we need to shop. As much as I love self-sustainability, I'm not in a position to grow, thresh and grind my own wheat for flour. Or grow rice.
Adam prepared the first of a series of big garden beds today (thank you piglets for doing the digging!) and the potatoes and garlic go in tomorrow. We are aiming to grow as many of our own vegies as possible and will be planting fruit trees with the same aim for a few years time. Can you grow your own food? We did this whole challenge with hardly any garden, and traded and bartered with friends who grew stuff. Worked beautifully. Would this work for you?
We can't imagine going back to shop-bought milk. We love our twice-weekly trip to the dairy. But if you need to buy milk at the supermarket, can you possibly buy a fortnight's worth at a time?
We need to think like pioneers. Or bushies. Shop once a month for staples. Flour, sugar, yeast, rice, oats: these are the things I could not have gotten by without. Preserve food: we expect fresh fresh fresh but of course if you're really thinking seasonally and locally we might not always have fresh, but we could organise ourselves to always have fruit, dried or in jars. We have to think creatively, because if someone brings you a fish, we value the life the fish gave best if we make the best use of it. You make stock, right? You'd never toss a picked over chicken carcass in the bin before roasting off the bones and making stock which then makes your pumpkin soup the next night?
So yes, we're out of the challenge because I wanted to buy these three excellent children of mine potato chips. And so I did. And they deserved an icecream at the end of the school holidays.
But if I thought frugally and economically before, that was nothing compared to my new outlook!
Thanks for following along here. I hope you're not disappointed we didn't make the 30 day mark.
How 'bout we do something together? A month-from-scratch? And I mean everything. Could you do it? Would you?!