How Would You Feed Your Family With No Money? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-30-2009, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a spinoff to the thread asking if you've ever starved. For the past few years, I've been urging friends and family to put aside extra food for hard times. Some started and others actually laughed at me. I explained how I had started a food stockpile by buying a couple bags of dried beans for $1.00 a piece each time I shopped, and I would just throw them in the back of the cupboard. Over time I added additional foods and took advantage of sales and bulk buying. I now have a years worth of food put aside. It really didn't seem to take much effort or money, just a bit of time.

Several of my friends, the ones that laughed at me were in the mortgage business and making 6 figure incomes. I also mentioned to them about learning to garden and about Angel Food Ministries. They also thought this was a joke. Well 3 of them have been laid off and all 3 have applied for food stamps and been turned down because their unemployment checks were too high to qualify.They all appeared embarassed to have to resort to food stamps but this was their first option of choice. One said to me recently, "I wasn't listening to you then, but I am now!" I had to tell her it was too late now! She can't even get Angel Food Ministries because she is a vegetarian and you have to buy the regular box which contains meat to qualify to get the fruit and vegetable box.

It seems to me that stockpiling, vegetable gardening and even Angel Food Ministries is so out of the realm of our usual thinking that these things are not even remotely considered a possibility. These options admitedly were not on my radar in the past either. People don't seem to think about food until hunger is right up on them. These three methods of obtaining food take a little foresight. There is also a learning curve for vegetable gardening. I know because my first year I only produced several cucumbers and heads of lettuce. I would have starved if this was all I had to eat for the year! I am growing vegetables inside in containers and outside in the ground. Most peoples first thought seems to be food stamps. Food banks are also an option people choose. I think its because of the convenience.

Still it seems to me that the 3 methods I endorsed stockpiling, gardening and Angel Food Ministries could be utilized in conjunction with one another to keep people from ever being food insecure if they planned a bit ahead. There are also other options such as hunting and fishing that some people employ. I like these methods because they indicate self reliance. I prefer to feed myself if I can.

I'm wondering how you would choose to feed your family if you came upon hard times? Would you plan ahead or prefer to get food stamps, the food bank or some other method, and why would you make this choice? I don't care to judge, I'd just like to try to understand your reasoning.
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Old 03-30-2009, 08:45 PM
 
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I plan ahead with food storage. And raising chickens.
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Old 03-30-2009, 08:46 PM
 
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I think that stockpiling dried legumes and other long-keeping things like rice is my plan of choice. But I would view that food as the stuff that keep us from actual hunger while we came up with a plan (public assistance, religious org assistance, whatever) to get our regular diet back in place (our regular diet runs us $400/month for a family of four, so I think we could get it back in almost any circumstance once we'd jumped through the application and waiting list hoops).
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:19 PM
 
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I get to answer the spin off of my spin off!



Well not everyone can get food stamps, or qualify.


Not everyone can use WIC (allergies here for example means I can't use half of it).


I am in a huge metro area and the food banks are running low! They are having a hard time keeping up with demand. I could only use a handfull and they are only open at certain times, and have a limit on how many times you can use them. Plus with the bad allergies we could not eat most of it.


Angel Food and SHARE... same issues. We can't eat most of it (not even the new "allergy" boxes from AFM ).


Most cahrities around here are tapped.






So that leaves us with: I store/stockpile food. Each year I dig up more of my large front yard to plant (Food Not Lawns anyone? ). I can have chickens here (up to 15) and I am debating it (neighbors have new BARKING dogs : ). I am getting on the waiting list for two community garden plots (they only cost $22 for the whole summer). I used some tax money to get an Excalibur Dehydrator (on sale with free shipping and free fruit leather tray ) and new grain grinder (and a TON of grain). Since I don't have 4 deep freezers I plan to dry more foods.


I will do as best as I can to provide for myself first.


In the event of everything going to sh*t... I will apply for whatever help I can to get my kids fed. No limits.




My future hope is to find some land, or house with at least an acre (and allows chickens and maybe goats) and have a self sustaining homestead. Fruit trees, berry bushes, huge gardens, greenhouse, chickens, milk goats, etc... :




OOOOOOOHHHHH... I also bought (on sale with free shipping ) a bunch of "how to cook with nothing" type cookbooks.

Resistance is futile Matey
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:26 PM
 
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At first Stockpile , and garden. After that my parents...they have a small CSA type farm that I could get just about everything we would "need" would not be allot of different foods ...lots of tomatoes LOL but we would not starve...but if I didn't have ANY money and stockpile we would be living with them and helping them with the farm. They they are plan B sadly and know it...Ive warned them , DH looses his job that's where we will be

Also Ive bought a foraging wild edibles a book. The kids and I walk around identifying plants and sampling...I only have us eat the really save things like dandelions and such , if it says " closely resembles this poisonous plant" we avoid
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:42 PM
 
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We have always stocked piled food since I first got married almost 20 years.

We do not have angel ministry in our area and right now the food banks here only takes 5 new clients a week.

I guess since we do not pay for a membership at Costco we would be doing samples every day.

Heidi
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:56 PM
 
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I guess since we do not pay for a membership at Costco we would be doing samples every day.
, whole foods has great ones you could eat like kings for free
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:08 PM
 
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Stockpile. I didn't answer in Thystle's thread, but I did go through a time as a child with bare cupboards and very limited food options. Now me & all my sisters NEED to have a stocked pantry. Running low is not an option. I actually feel anxious if I run out of something. I know it's all childhood issues, but hey, a well stocked pantry allows me to follow the sales too.

Thystle, I've been keeping my eye out for an Excalibur ever since seeing this series. Where did you get such a good deal?

Ami

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Old 03-31-2009, 12:15 AM
 
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, whole foods has great ones you could eat like kings for free
Hmm I have never been at whole foods when they had samples. What am I missing out on?

Heidi
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:35 AM
 
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Hmm I have never been at whole foods when they had samples. What am I missing out on?
Pita bread and hummus, gourmet cheeses and crackers, sushi, pastries, sometimes they have little protein shake samples, juice, just to name a few. It's like a smorgasboard of free yummy food.

Anyway, stockpiling and gardening first, then I'd go from there.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:37 AM
 
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Honestly, my worst case scenario, no money to feed my family plan is to get help from family. If we were truly desperate, we could probably stay with family until we were back on our feet. And the same is true in return (we would host family with no money to eat). We are lucky to have the family safety net, even though we don't even live in the same state.

As for stockpiling and gardening, apt living makes that difficult. I gardened when I lived in a house, but I don't get enough sun on my patio to invest in pots (I don't think I'd get any fruit off the plants). And stockpiling is tough in a apt, although I have begun to clear out closets and expand my pantry. I seriously doubt I could find space for a year's worth of food, but I could keep a month or so. As it is, I've gotten to the point that shopping day comes (Sat or Sun), and I really don't need anything except perishable items (fresh produce, milk, eggs, meats). So I just walk the aisles and stock up on what is on sale
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:55 AM
 
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1. our stockpile
2. our garden, fruit trees/bushes
3. trade services/sell seed starts
4. forage: I have a reference book for it
5. I had a sewing biz and I have a huge fabric stash, so I would begin making things to sell.
6. trade work with the farmer friend 3 miles from me to get eggs/milk.
7. Trade work with another farmer friend 12 miles from me to get meat.

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Old 03-31-2009, 02:13 AM
 
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Do you mean no money, or no income? Because while I have enough food to get by for a couple months, we keep 8 month's mortgage and grocery money in an emergency fund and that's what I would use to feed my family. I figure that would run out around the same time a stockpile would. If all my money *poofed* I would be on the streets anyway and a stockpile or garden wouldn't help.

We do have a small garden though - it wouldn't feed us much or for long.

Absolute worst case scenario, our family would feed us.

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Old 03-31-2009, 02:52 AM
 
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I'm wondering how you would choose to feed your family if you came upon hard times? Would you plan ahead or prefer to get food stamps, the food bank or some other method, and why would you make this choice? I don't care to judge, I'd just like to try to understand your reasoning.
I've been working on this for a few years now. My goal's to have at least a year's worth of food, give or take, on hand. Partly because I'm a food snob and strawberries/nectarines/peaches shipped all the way up here from California or tomatoes from a BC greenhouse just don't do it for me, partly because of pesticides and all that, party because I just like growing my own. And so far, we're doing okay despite the current economic insanity. (knock on wood)

I garden, I ask neighbors about harvesting from their fruit trees (the fruit otherwise gets eaten by deer or goes bad on the tree/ground), I can a bunch of goodies, I dehydrate, I freeze, and I'm working on my root cellaring options. I could probably even feed my mom and sister as well if they ended up here. And I have a friend here who's working on the whole livestock aspect with chickens, a cow and maybe pigs I think she said. So I'm all about bartering and that kind of thing. Oh, and I'm sending hubby off trout fishing and elk hunting this summer/fall, and we plan to forage in the state forest for fire wood (with our forest service permit) and huckleberries, and if I'm in the mood, thimbleberries or whatever else I may come across. Heck, even more dandelions would be fine (first year trying the roasted dandelion root to ground up for caffeine-free coffee for hubby - we'll see how it goes).

Plus I doubt we'd qualify for any kind of food stamps, and I think there's folks that have much more need for food banks than I do - I have a full pantry that we can and do rely on, they may have 4 cans of something in their kitchen cupboard. (I have at least 600-800 canning jars in various stages of use right now if that gives an idea...) I think I inherited my grandmothers' Depression-era thinking once I fully realized these kids I have are only going to eat what we can provide for 'em - so I had to get crackin'.

And honestly? While my mom has a full freezer, if TSHTF? She and my sister and most likely SIL and FIL would all attempt to converge on my (currently 5-person) house I'm sure. MIL might be okay with the new boyfriend, but who knows. I *know* these particular relatives of mine don't have a stockpile, let alone a long-range plan beyond a few months if that.
So those that say they'd get their family's help or go live with other family - how is that family planning for this? Just a thought...

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Old 03-31-2009, 03:14 AM
 
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Do you mean no money, or no income? Because while I have enough food to get by for a couple months, we keep 8 month's mortgage and grocery money in an emergency fund and that's what I would use to feed my family. I figure that would run out around the same time a stockpile would. If all my money *poofed* I would be on the streets anyway and a stockpile or garden wouldn't help.

We do have a small garden though - it wouldn't feed us much or for long.

Absolute worst case scenario, our family would feed us.
Well, I can cook almost anything (no failures yet! ) over a fire so if I had a stockpile I could cook it in the woods, plus I have a Coleman stove and some fuel and a BBQ grill . . . but being out of a house would mean no garden. I have a feeling if we had chickens on the street we would eat them pretty fast because keeping them in a large dog crate isn't exactly the best plan, but without a house/yard what else could you do?

My family would help us, and they do have a big garden plot that they haven't used in years so I'm sure I could get something growing if I had to relocate. Hopefully among the 5 of us adults, someone would still have a job and my parents house is paid for so at least we wouldn't be in too serious danger of losing that. Of course in that scenario, my dogs, cats and chickens would be happy to live on 10 acres in the country so they wouldn't complain! If the SHTF I would move in with them and try to get a garden and chicken tractor set up over there. Maybe I should start stockpiling fencing, cos they have NONE. lol My mom sucks at planning and her house is cluttery, but she does buy in bulk and then forget what she has so I can usually scrounge up food by digging around in her house. Unfortunately she didn't really learn much from her mom, when grandma had a stroke mom quit gardening and quit canning : so the canned goods I'm trying to eat up right now are quite old. They can't be saved or stockpiled any longer, but they're still feeding us right now.
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Old 03-31-2009, 04:25 AM
 
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We would probably get enough family help so we wouldn't starve. Honestly though, I keep a very well stocked pantry, and have a months worth of meat sitting in my freezer that I could easily stretch for 2.

When I was growing up, my parents were the "working poor", and there were many times when Mom's tendency to keep a well stocked pantry kept us fed in times of crisis.
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Old 03-31-2009, 04:45 AM
 
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I need to go somewhere with acorns, and make a meal out of them, like they did in "Into the Forest". Except there aren't many oaks around here. I might have to eat a neighbor or two, when I was really feeling protein starved.

I don't know, exactly, but I've thought of this a lot. I just cleaned out my pantry and threw out really, really old food. I always thought that one day I might be desperate enough that I'd wish I had it, but when I looked at this tiny, grayish bottle of mayonnaise that we got from hotel room service probably 10 years ago now, I couldn't imagine a time where I'd be hungry enough to eat that.

I have sprouting seeds just for growing sprouts inside the house, but I've never had a good outdoor garden where I live now. The growing zone is odd and my soil would need a lot of amendments. Maybe I should work on that this year.
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Old 03-31-2009, 04:48 AM
 
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1. Use up the stockpile.
2. Increase garden and use up seeds that I have stored.
3. Forage and fish.
4. Work with hunters in family and friends to preserve (can and dry) what they get.
5. Last resort - move 1.5 hours to the family farm.

This is assuming that all infrastructure has failed (for example national bankruptcy or other interruption of services.) Otherwise, we'd at least try to get help from the infrastructure.

Most importantly, I would work together with my local friends that are like-minded. Community has to be the #1 asset in these situations.
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Old 03-31-2009, 05:19 AM
 
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Learning to wild-harvest foods is also a smart idea. It won't keep you 100% fed, but in many regions there are lots of wild plants that, if correctly and safely identified, can help feed you and your family.

Right now I am harvesting lots of early spring greens: chickweed, nettles, dandelion... Later there will be other greens, berries, nuts, and the like.

I recommend getting a good field guide and taking "food walks" with someone who had solid experience with wildcrafting edible and medicinal plants.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:16 AM
 
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Most people I know have a bit of a food stockpile and use various strategies including food stamps if necessary. I don't know anyone in our area who has a garden, though, unless they are very wealthy. Gardens in the Los Angeles region tend to be luxuries for the very rich, or for old people who have lived in a house since the 1960s.
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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We garden, and I tend to keep a full-ish pantry. But I'm not going to be stocking up on a year's food. We keep an emergency fund, and I'd rather use it to buy food if needed than to keep a lot of food which I know I'm not organized enough to keep from getting old and unappetizing (basically wasting) through rotation. I'd rather have the cash to buy what we need when we need it.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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We have quite a bit stockpiled and are doubling it now that we have our food allergies sorted out.

Our garden has doubled this year (1000 sq ft) and I may double it again next year. I have plans to plant fruit trees in the fall.

We have a local community raising chickens, bison, goats, sheep. I get most of my meat locally and would do everything I could to deepen those connections.

And honestly, we will be living this scenario with my mom. She is moving in with us since she does not have enough to retire on. So, instead of us having the option of moving in with family, family is moving in with us.

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Old 03-31-2009, 01:46 PM
 
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Eat from our stockpile. We can and are dehydrating for the first time this year (that will allow me to put LOTS by!), we raise our own meats (chicken, guinea, rabbits, and soon goats-milk and meat), and what we don't raise, we can get for free at my mom's during the first part of the year (wild hogs). We garden, and are increasing that each year--like this year we finally have LOTS of asparagus!

And back in our woods there are wild rabbits, and squirrels, and who knows what else! Oh, and we can fish all we want, too, at my mom's. Also have access to wild plums, blackberries, razzleberries, wild grapes, pecans, and persimmons.

My oldest dd is studying to be a master gardener and a master naturalist, so we should be able to forage a TON!

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Old 03-31-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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Well assuming that we could not get food stamps or WIC, we would continue to do what we do already..

We have a small stockpile that we would use while our garden is growing We are starting a nice big garden this year and plan to preserve what we can with that, as well as eating it fresh.

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Old 03-31-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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I think it would make more sense to just put an extra 2-3 dollars aside each time you shop (in a savings account or the like) and then if you ever lose your job or can't feed yourself, spend that one food. Especially if you don't have tons of storage space.

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Old 03-31-2009, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay but I'm not hearing from anyone who says they would opt for food stamps or a food bank when that is clearly the choice most people make. I think I heard over 30 million people receive food stamps. Please fess up and state your reasons. As I said, I'm not here to judge. I'm just trying to understand.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:34 PM
 
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I have several weeks worth of beans, rice, couscous, flour, peas, green beans, and frozen meat, and when the seasons for them come I'll have months worth of strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, and apples put up. I might sign up for WIC for the milk and eggs if I had to, can't stockpile those and I think we qualify, then again we'd also have our baby emergency fund to help get us through at least short term. Next year we'll get chickens, once those lay eggs we'll have our own source for that.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:44 PM
 
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Okay but I'm not hearing from anyone who says they would opt for food stamps or a food bank when that is clearly the choice most people make. I think I heard over 30 million people receive food stamps. Please fess up and state your reasons. As I said, I'm not here to judge. I'm just trying to understand.
i already get food stamps off and on, but i have a small stockpile in case those resources aren't available, or any other reason we might need one. relying on food stamps is not my first choice though.

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Old 03-31-2009, 07:06 PM
 
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If we really had no money, I'd probably move back into my mom's. She has a big house, and a really big yard, so it would make sense to pool all our resources again. If nothing else, dh, ds1 & I (with some help from dd and ds2) could get her vegetable garden up and running again. She finds the yard a little much for just her and my stepdad.

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Old 03-31-2009, 07:25 PM
 
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I would use what we have in our pantries and freezers, increase our garden space, and then I would do things like Angel Food boxes, or food pantries, or WIC and food stamps.

Over the years, I've given lots to various food pantries. I would have no shame in using them if my situation was desperate. Now, if those things were not available --- I'd try to barter with friends who hunt, and raise chickens illegally (not allowed in my city).
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