The thought of embarking on a moneyless life initially filled me with anxiety about food supplies. Now, after two years, I am feeling very relaxed. In fact, I find myself basking in the abundance of food around me.
Born lucky (or privileged), in a comfortable middle-class white family in a safe Western country, I have never wanted for anything, least of all food. The concept of not having enough was a new one for me as I contemplated moneyless living.
Setting myself up initially on my friend’s farm, with an already existing garden full of food, was a fantastic first move. It was there, and fairly early on too, that I realised it takes very little food to feed little ol’ me. Add to that, my few hens laying eggs when the mood struck, my dear friend running a local cafe and visiting regularly with leftovers and new skills in consuming native food like Bunya nuts, put me in good stead. I relaxed a bit.
The next move was a bit tricky – Byron and no garden. This is where I got a bit clever and adapted to my temporary, city-dwelling, house-sitting, moneyless lifestyle. Food bases were covered with two main sources: helping out a lovely organic gardening guy for a couple of hours each week in exchange for some vege and volunteering at a local food rescue service two hours a week. Problem solved!
Now, lucky me, I have landed in my current location on the outskirts of town with plenty of room to garden. My new friend, Martyn, and I have big plans for producing food for ourselves and various children.
Sadly, the death of a close friend last November sent plans for food production in the summer flying out the window. As autumn kicks in, I am back to get my hands, toes and heart into the delicious dark soil.
Abundance from my own garden is a while off yet so my current food supplies are:
Green Goddess Farm (http://www.greengoddessfarm.net/) – I help keep their stall tables stocked and looking beautiful at the local organic markets of a Tuesday morning and get to take a bunch of stuff home.
Cafe leftovers – my dear friend finished up in her cafe a few months ago and had some leftovers she wasn’t going to use (things like out-of-date soy milk and this risotto/arborio rice that had some little critters in it).
Waste/bin food – sometimes snaffling vegies from friends’ homes if I know the poor produce is soon to be binned and sometimes collecting bits from local dumpsters. Martyn and I have enjoyed some wonderful pizzas recently based on dumpstered food!
Freebies – it’s mango season here so there are many of these beauties being passed around and I have been the lucky recipient of a few.
Birthday pressies – Aussie oats, local dryland rice and local raw honey are some goodies I was given for my birthday recently. I try to ensure gifts are low impact (meaning waste, recycled or local stuff).
And, of course, I’m still spending a lot of time with my recently widowed friend helping her out and sharing in the household food and cooking.
I am constantly grateful for the low impact food that keeps me sustained. The flip side, noticing the level of food waste around me, gets me thinking about how we take our abundance of food here in the West for granted.