11 Frugal Ways to Use Kitchen Scraps


 Save money and improve everything from your soil to your gut health with this list of 11 frugal ways to use kitchen scraps! #frugaltips #frugalfood #foodwasteSave money, reduce food waste and and improve everything from your soil to your gut health with this list of 11 frugal ways to use kitchen scraps in your home and garden.

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We’re such a wasteful society, especially here in the west. The mounds of waste we create every day is staggering.

For the most part, we think nothing of throwing away items that are considered to be more valuable than gold in countries where people are less fortunate. Even here in North America, our grandparents and great grandparents who lived through the Great Depression would be appalled at how much we have and how little we value most of it. 

We’re spoiled for choice, quality, and the affordability and year-round availability of just about anything and everything we could possibly want. And quite frankly it’s made us -as a whole- ungrateful, entitled gluttons. 

We waste everything from bags and packaging to clothing and fabric to metals and electronics to wood and building materials… The list goes on and on. But in a world where one in nine people are starving, one of the most outrageous things that we waste a ton of is food. In fact, we waste more than just a ton.

Globally, we waste somewhere around 1.3 BILLION tonnes of food annually: roughly one third of all the food produced in the world.

Not only is wasting food irresponsible given the stats on worldwide hunger -not to mention damaging to the environment- it’s also very costly. In Canada alone, it’s estimated that the average household wastes upwards of $1,450 worth of food every year! That is crazy talk!

While one obvious way to cut down on our food waste is to simply use up what we buy before it spoils (or preserve it for later), we still have a tendency to waste insane amounts of nutritious and beneficial food scraps and by-products, simply because we don’t know how to use them. Well, that is about to change my friend!

Below is a list of 11 common kitchen scraps that won’t just save you money and reduce food waste for the sake of being a responsible citizen, they’ll also benefit you, your home and your garden by providing safe, natural alternatives to store-bought products of all kinds. 

 

1. Banana Peels

Bananas are full of potassium, which is one of the key ingredients in good, rich soil. While you can (and should) add banana peels to your compost, you can also dry them and grind them up into small pieces to fertilize your garden or brew a compost tea by adding banana peels to water and letting it sit for few days. You can then use the compost tea to water your garden with and those nutrients will seep into the soil. 

Banana peels can also be used as a natural home remedy for removing warts, whitening teeth, and soothing skin irritations. 

 

2. Eggshells

Eggshells are loaded with calcium, which is another key ingredient in good soil. Just like bananas, you could (and should) add your eggshells to your compost, but you can also use the eggshells alone to fertilize and protect your plants.

Crushed eggshells can be added or worked into the soil around plants to give them that extra boost of calcium. They’re especially beneficial for tomatoes, which are heavy calcium feeders. We started adding a handful or two of crushed eggshells to our soil right before transplanting our tomato seedlings a few years back and we’ve noticed a huge decline in the number of tomatoes with blossom end rot ever since.

Crushed eggshells can also be sprinkled on top of soil around the base of plants to protect them from pests like slugs, snails and beetles. 

To make your own eggshell fertilizer/pesticide, rinse your eggshells after using and then let dry completely, then grind into tiny pieces using a blender or coffee grinder. I put our eggshells in an open container on our counter until they’re completely dry, then I crush them and transfer them to a closed storage container until I have enough to grind up. I store the ground eggshells in a mason jar until I need to use them.

 

3. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds increase the acidity of your soil and are yet another amazing addition to your compost bin or for use directly on your soil. They’re a great natural fertilizer for plants that thrive in more acidic soil, like blueberries, peppers and potatoes.

You can also use the grounds as an exfoliant by mixing dried, used coffee grounds with an oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or pretty much any type of cooking oil. Then rub the oil/coffee grounds mixture all over your body while showering to exfoliate. Alternatively, you can add them to homemade soap for a similar effect.

If saving for later use, dehydrate or allow coffee grounds to dry completely before storing as they will go moldy if stored wet. 


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4. Tea (Bags and Looseleaf)

Tea is another good candidate for your compost pile due to the variety of natural herbs and ingredients found in organic teas. Looseleaf can be thrown directly into the compost while you should remove any staples from bagged tea first.

In the home, tea can be used in as a bath soak (think green tea and herbal teas like peppermint and chamomile), and can even be used as an odor eliminator and even a carpet/floor cleaner.

 

5. Citrus Peels

Lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits have more nutrients in their peels than they do in the flesh and juice we’re used to consuming. And yet, so often, we throw the peels away! 

Instead, save the zest to add flavour and nutrients to your cooking and baking. And save peels to make infusions and extracts like infused oil, citrus extract using vodka or infused vinegar, which can be used as a natural cleaning solution. You can even use dried orange peels to make your own all-natural Vitamin C Powder for when you’re sick, or save them for Christmas and use them as decor!

Citrus peels are also a source of natural pectin, so you can use the zest to help your jams and jellies set without using store-bought pectin. For even more ideas on how to use citrus peels, check out this post.

 

6. Apple Peels

While there are many reasons to eat apple peels, including the high fibre and nutrient content and even fat-fighting compounds to help keep you svelte, there are an equal number of reasons to save them.

Apple peels, like citrus peels, are an excellent source of natural pectin. The greener the apple, the higher the pectin, so choose crisp, organic green apples and use the peels (and core) to make your own liquid pectin

Or you could use the peels and the core to make your own homemade apple cider vinegar. All you need to do is submerge the apple scraps in water and allow them to ferment for a few weeks, then strain out the solids and compost them or feed them to your chickens and reserve the apple cider vinegar to use in all sorts of different ways.

 

7. Veggie Peels and Scraps

Onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, garlic… These are all vegetables we typically peel and/or chop the root and stem ends off of before we eat them. And where do all the peels and ends end up? Well, hopefully not in the garbage!

Of course, all of these are good to compost. But aside from the compost bin, there are lots of ways to get more use out of your veggie scraps and make them (and your money) stretch.

One of my favourite ways to use veggie scraps is to flavour stocks and soups. I toss my onion and garlic ends and peels, carrot peels and celery ends in a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer along with any chicken carcasses and bones and when I have enough saved up I make a big batch of broth

With potato skins, I like to fry them up in a little bacon grease and then sprinkle them with a pinch of salt for an extra frugal version of homemade potato chips!

Tomato skins can be set aside when making tomato sauce and then dehydrated and ground to make tomato seasoning, and same with pepper skins.

Many fruits and veggies that are beginning to turn can also be juiced or turned into jam. And of course, if you’ve got chickens, pigs, rabbits or goats, they’ll eat much of what’s leftover!

 

8. Carcasses and Bones

If you can, buy whole or bone-in meats because you can use the bones to make stock and broth after you’ve eaten the meat. Chicken and other poultry carcasses can be boiled down with a few tasty veggie scraps (like those mentioned above) to make chicken stock or broth (the difference basically being the bone to meat ratio of the carcass).

Ham and beef bones are also great for making soup stocks. Ham bones are especially flavourful and yummy when used as a base for hearty soups like corn chowder or pea soup, and beef broth is fantastic as a base for beef stew and French onion soup.

Bone broth is also one of the latest health trends due to its healing minerals and compounds like collagen, which supports healthy muscles, bones, joints, skin, hair and even gut health.

 

9. Animal Fats

Back in the pioneer days, lard was THE CHOICE for cooking, baking and frying. Thanks in large part to smart (but shady) marketing on behalf of Crisco at the turn of the century, lard became a four-letter word and has only recently begun gaining in popularity again.

Lard is made out of pig fat, namely the fat around the liver and the fat around the backbone. If you raise and/or butcher your own pigs, you should definitely be rendering your own lard as well! But if not, you might be able to get your hands on some cheap (or even free!) pig fat from your local butcher, which you can then turn into lard for all of your cooking needs, (especially pie crust; Nothing compares to a perfect, flaky pie crust made with lard. Mmmmm…)

You can also render the fat from cows to make tallow, a key ingredient in traditional soap and candle-making. And poultry fat (especially fattier birds like duck and goose) is excellent for frying foods. And last but not least, bacon fat is a must-save kitchen scrap in any kitchen. (Seriously, is there anything more delicious than potatoes and onions fried in bacon fat? The answer is no.)

 

 

10. Stale Bread

Stale bread is perfect for making croutons, grinding up into breadcrumbs, baking into bread pudding, turning into french toast and for stuffing into a turkey or chicken at your next family dinner.

I store bread that’s more than a couple days old in the fridge to prevent it from going moldy. Once stale, I either dry it out and turn it into croutons or breadcrumbs, or keep it in the fridge until I can use it in a recipe like French toast or bread pudding.

 

11. Greywater

While this isn’t technically considered a kitchen or food scrap, it deserves mention since we probably waste more water than we do food. But aside from not leaving taps running and filling the sink to wash our food and dishes instead of washing them under a running faucet, we can reuse waste water from our kitchens too.

Greywater is wastewater from our sinks and bathtubs. Unlike blackwater (aka “sewage”) that comes from our toilets, grey water is considered fairly clean as it does not contain any of the potentially harmful microbes that are found in, well, everything we flush down toilet water.

Greywater can be used to water plants and lawns, although you should be cautious about not using any chemicals in your sink that could kill off or contaminate plants. Grey water from washing organic fruits and vegetables is the most beneficial and can be used on food plants as a fertilizer. Dishwashing water is better used on ornamental flowers and lawns. 

Not only is reusing greywater a frugal and environmentally-friendly way to water your garden, it’s also especially handy during summer droughts when water restrictions can otherwise prevent us from watering lawns and certain plants.

* You can also use rainwater to water plants. Learn how to make a rain barrel out of a garbage can.

 

Save Your Kitchen Scraps for Victory!

During the Second World War, housewives across the allied nations were implored to grow victory gardens and save all sorts of household and kitchen scraps to support the war effort. Having just come out of the Great Depression, this generation was already used to saving and stretching everything to get the most possible use out of each and every item. Nowadays, many of us have never faced the type of hardships or times of scarcity that our grandparents and great grandparents did before us, so we take for granted, we waste and we consume without thought or purpose.

Common kitchen scraps like eggshells, animal by-products and vegetable peels are among this list of kitchen scraps that can be used and reused to enhance everything from your soil to your gut health. Find out what you should be saving to reap the benefits over and over again.

A British propaganda poster from WW2 calling on citizens to save their kitchen waste to fee livestock that would, in turn, feed British citizens and hungry soldiers. Photo courtesy of James Vaughan.

Now, while saving and reusing your kitchen scraps won’t save the planet, solve world hunger or win the war, it will save you money, keep perfectly good, nutritious food out of the landfill and do wonders for your health, your home and your garden. And the more people who begin to recognize, appreciate and preserve the value of food that is so often discarded without second thought, the more hopeful our future will be over all. So do your part for victory! Save your scraps. Stretch your dollars. And be part of the change that the world needs right now.

 

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CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

13 Comments

  1. Robert

    As regrds coffee grounds, pretty much every coffee shop near me gives away big bags of their used grounds for free. I’m sure it’s the same in other places.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Yes, this is a great way to get them! I do try to use organic when I can.

      Reply
  2. SOS Survival Products

    Thanks for sharing this. You can use kitchen scraps for survival, right? Vegetables, fruits, and meat can all be used in different recipes to create meals that will sustain you during a difficult time. One way to use kitchen scraps is to create vegetable stock. This is a simple recipe that can be made with just a few ingredients. All you need is water, vegetables, and herbs. The vegetables can be onion skins, celery tops, carrot peels, and any other vegetable scraps that you have. The herbs can be fresh or dried. Simply simmer the vegetables and herbs in water for about an hour, then strain the liquid and store it in a jar or container.

    Reply
  3. Nanette

    I love the article! Here’s another tip that I use… When I bake chicken or pork roast, drain and refrigerate the pan juice. Later, skim off the fat and strain out the excess seasonings. I pressure can these, but freezing does well also. You will have stock for cooking rice, mashed pots, etc.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Great tip Nanette, thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  4. Trudy

    Banana peels are excellent for cleaning, moisturizing, and polishing leather shoes. I worked in an old building with hardwood floors, and my black shoes would get very dusty. I’d take the banana peel from my lunch and clean my shoes. I’d then wipe them down with paper towel or a soft cloth to remove any banana residue. Banana peels are also great for removing salt stains from leather winter footwear.

    Reply
  5. Holly Whiteside

    Great list, and yes WE CAN DO IT!

    A few of my favorite scrappy saves…

    Sour milk is acidic, so with baking soda it gives an extra rise to pancakes, cakes, muffins, and such. Just like buttermilk! It makes lovely cakes, so don’t throw it out, just bake it!

    Save the seeds from pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash and such. Lightly clean it (not perfectly, so it has more flavor), salt it and bake in an oven to make a lovely snack food or to add into breads.

    Whey (a biproduct of making cheese) is high in protein and great for replacing the water in baking, or using in place of water to boil pasta, make oatmeal, or cook rice. It can even be used to make smoothies that are higher in protein.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Great tips! I definitely wouldn’t have thought about keeping sour milk but it makes total sense. And whey… Hopefully one day I’ll be lucky enough to make my own cheese!

      Reply
  6. Barbbette N.

    An even better use of banana peels is to EAT them – Yes, you read that right. Just make sure to buy organic. You can find a great recipe on Chef Jana Pinheiro’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYPXkrWy7iY

    I have been making this recipe for several years & it is delicious.

    P.S. The brand & style of BBQ sauce makes a difference in the taste.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Oh wow! I had no idea! Actually, I have heard of people putting whole bananas (peels included) into their blender and making smoothies with them. But I’ve never heard of them being made into a sauce! So cool. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  7. Geetanjali Tung

    Great article ! I do believe in a self-sufficient life. Make use of everything in the best possible way. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thanks for reading!

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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The world is changing faster than ever.

We’ve barely had time to adapt to the “new normal” and still things are continuing to shift, change, and in some cases spiral more each day.

From rising inflation and persistent supply chain issues, to a looming recession and food shortages that are expected to get worse after a very tough farming year, to a war on European soil and the threat of cyber attacks and (God forbid) a nuclear attack, to the future of digital IDs and increasingly pervasive government control over every aspect of our lives, it’s no wonder more people are looking for ways to escape the matrix and “opt out” of the system.

I consider myself an optimistic realist: I hope for the best and I live fully and freely in the moment, but I prepare for the future accordingly based on what I can see unfolding in our world. And honestly, I find this “sweet spot” to be incredibly empowering.

This is why I do what I do and why I share it with you on a regular basis; I WANT TO EMPOWER YOU TOO!

That’s why I created The Society of Self-Reliance: A private membership that connects you with the resources, support and community you need to reclaim your independence and become more self-reliant in every aspect of your life.

From growing and preserving your own food to crafting and using herbal medicine to life skills like how to manage it all and stay calm in stressful situations, how to prepare for emergency situations and much more, if you’re ready to learn invaluable skills that will help you take control of your family’s food security, health and wellbeing, time, finances, and ultimately over your own future, The Society of Self-Reliance was created for you!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be reopening the Society doors for a limited time starting next week, and wanted to give you the heads up NOW so that you can get on the waitlist and make sure you don’t miss out when enrollment opens.

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In the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, I sat down with Ann Accetta-Scott of @afarmgirlinthemaking to talk all about what people need to know about buying and selling a homestead property.

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Whether you’re looking to purchase your first homestead or trying to sell an existing homestead and upgrade to a bigger property, Ann had some great insights to share that can save you time, stress and money when you’re ready to make your move.

Check out the full interview in the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine: link in bio @anna.sakawsky or visit www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe, login to the library (if you’re already a subscriber) or view a sample of the current issue!

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This is why people don’t trust our medical system!!!

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I’ve hesitated about posting this reel over and over because I know I’ll probably get backlash, hate and vitriol from some people in return. But I wouldn’t be being true to myself if I didn’t speak the truth that’s on my heart and mind…

If you haven’t noticed, there are currently thousands of Canadians sharing their stories and using the hashtag #trudeaumustgo on their social media posts right now in response to the divisive rhetoric and actions of our prime minister over the past few months. But our media has downplayed the issue and has attributed most of the hashtags to “bot” accounts and foreigners trying to influence our politics.

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The other day when I had a few minutes to spare, I was out in the garden doing a little work when my neighbour said hi over the fence.

I lamented to her about how busy we’ve been and how hard it’s been to keep on top of this year. Very sincerely, she replied “wait until you have another one,” referring to our baby on the way.

“You’ll be moving back to the suburbs so quick, mark my words,” she said.

Now, I don’t for a second think there was any ill intent behind her statement, but still, it took me aback.

“We’ll never move back to the city or the suburbs,” I replied with a laugh. “This may be hard work but we love it.”

She then repeated her statement and followed it up with “just you wait and see.”

I decided not to continue the back and forth. After all, I told myself, it doesn’t matter if she or anyone else knows what’s truly in your heart. It doesn’t matter if she understands that there’s no amount of difficulty that would make me run back to the suburbs and leave this life behind. In fact, our dream is to upgrade to a bigger property someday where we can grow an even bigger garden and add more livestock to our homestead!

Likewise, I visited the city last weekend for a family event and as always, I had at least a couple people ask me “so when are you moving back to the city?”

Seven years later, and still we have friends and family members who think this is just a phase we’re going through, and eventually we’ll come to our senses and move back.

I used to get offended by these questions because I felt unseen; I felt like nobody took this life that I’m so passionate about seriously, and thought it was “cute” that I was “playing farmer” for a bit, but eventually I had to grow up and become part of the “real world” once again.

Now I just smile and reply “never:)”

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Let me know below 👇
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• Preparedness tips, tricks and advice to help you be ready for anything on the homestead (and in life!)
•The ultimate guide to growing garlic at home and it as both food and medicine
• Drool-worthy recipes that feature garlic as the star!
• Expert advice from A Farmgirl in the Making’s Ann Accetta-Scott on what to look for (and look out for) when buying or selling a homestead property
• Advice on how to learn and grow from perceived homesteading “failures”

And more!!!

Go to modernhomesteadingmagazine.com or click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky to subscribe or login to the library and read the latest issue if you’re already subscribed!
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When I first started homesteading, I had a burning desire to become more self-sufficient and live a more sustainable life.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a rebel at heart, and learning how to homestead and become more self-reliant was a way for me to “throw a proverbial middle finger to the system” and live life on my own terms.

As a teenager, I was the girl who drove around town with punk rock music blaring from my car, Misfits sticker on the back and studs around my wrists. I felt misunderstood and angsty and like I desperately didn’t fit in with the world I grew up in.

I always knew in my soul that I wanted something different; Something more.

Today I’m the mama with stretch marks on my belly and battle scars on my heart. I’m the woman who gardens and cans food and makes her own tinctures and believes in something greater than herself and fights every day to stay free in a world that feels increasingly engineered to keep us hopelessly dependent.

Today I feel whole and at peace, and connected to a higher power and a higher purpose. I feel like I’ve finally found the place where I belong.

This journey has been about so much more than homesteading for me, and I've learned, lost, gained and loved so much more than I ever could have imagined.

Because, as I've said before, homesteading doesn't happen in a vacuum. Life is always happening at the same time.

This is the full, raw and unfiltered story of my homesteading journey, and how I've gained so much more than a pantry full of food along the way.

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The news we’ve all been waiting for…

IT’S A BOY!!!

After so many years and too many losses, our hearts are so full and it feels like we are inching closer to our family finally being complete.

I’ve always known in my heart and soul that we were meant to have a girl and a boy. I know, it sounds cliché and very “nuclear family,” but years ago I saw a psychic who told me I would have a girl who loved to be centre stage and had a personality larger than life, very much how our daughter has turned out!

She also said I would have a boy who would be much more introverted and in tune with nature and with his own intuition. That’s yet to be seen, but I’ve always had this unwavering vision of a son and a daughter that fit these descriptions, and my heart has been set on a son ever since we had Evelyn.

Of course, things went sideways for a few years. Shortly after Evelyn was born, I became pregnant again, but we made the heartbreaking decision to terminate that pregnancy at 24 weeks due to a severe medical diagnosis. We lost our son, Phoenix Rain on June 15, 2018. Our hearts were shattered and have never fully healed.

Over the next few years, I had 3 more early miscarriages. None of the doctors knew what was causing them as most didn’t seem to have any sort of genetic explanation. We were told it was “something environmental,” but weren’t given any clues as to what that could be.

After pushing to see several specialists last year (after our most recent loss), and being told once again that there was “nothing wrong with me,” I finally got another opinion and found out I had something called Chronic Endometritis: A low-grade infection in my uterus that I believe in my heart was caused by my c-section with our daughter; A c-section I didn’t want and probably didn’t need, but felt I needed because I was under pressure to make a decision before the surgeon went off duty.

I’ll never know for sure, but when I pushed for more testing and finally got a simple round of antibiotics, the endometritis cleared up. I got pregnant again almost immediately and so far we now have a healthy baby boy on the way.

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We’re living through interesting times. Many people have even used the term “unprecedented times,” and while that may be true in that there has perhaps never been another time in history when we’ve faced so many existential threats all at once (ie. a global pandemic, climate change, political divisions, AI advancing at an incredible rate, cyber attacks, nuclear threats, globalization, food shortages, supply chain issues, hyperinflation, social media and the age of information/misinformation, etc. etc. all converging at once). But despite all of this, we are not the first generation(s) of humans to face hardships and threats of great magnitude, and in fact we’ve had it better than any other previous generations for most of our lives, especially here in the west.

The fact is, there are lots of things we can do to ensure we’re not sitting ducks when these threats come knocking at our door. But it takes action on our part, not waiting around for someone else to fix things or take care of us.

In the Summer issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, I sat down with The Grow Network’s Marjory Wildcraft to talk all about the realities of our current climate, including worsening inflation and looming global food shortages, as well as what every day people like you and I can actually DO to improve our food security, become more self-sufficient, care for our families and communities and ensure our own survival and wellbeing even in difficult and uncertain times like these.

While I don’t believe in fear mongering, I do believe in acknowledging hard truths and not burying your head in the sand. That being said, things may very well get worse before they get better, and we would all do well to start learning the necessary skills, stocking up on essential resources and preparing now while there’s still time.

Check out the full interview in the summer issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine. Link in bio @anna.sakawsky to subscribe or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe or login and read the current issue.

#foodshortages #selfsufficiency #selfreliance #foodsecurity #foodsecurityisfreedom #homesteading #growyourownfood #fightinflation #stayfree
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