3 Ways to Get Free Organic Food (Without Growing It Yourself)


It's no secret that organic food is expensive, and not everyone has the space to grow a garden at home. But did you know there are ways to get organic food that's not just cheap, but free? Read on to learn how to get free organic food (without having to beg, steal or grow it yourself!) #getfreeorganicfood #savemoneyongroceries #savemoneyonorganicgroceriesWanna learn how to get free organic food without having to grow it yourself?

Sorry. Stupid question… Of course you do:)

* * *

It’s no secret that organic food isn’t exactly the most affordable option when you’re purchasing it from the store. This is, of course, one of the main reasons we grow a lot of our own organic food at home, because growing our own means we have access to free* organic food all season long, and we’re able to preserve the excess to enjoy year-round.

* I say “free” because it’s free to harvest, however there are, obviously, some costs involved in producing said food, although the costs are significantly less than if we were buying everything from the store.

But what if you’re not able to grow a garden at home? What if you’re just too busy to keep up with a large garden or don’t have the space to produce much? 

For starters, I do think that everybody can grow at least a few things at home, regardless of time, space or experience. Herbs, for example, require very little time and effort and can be grown in pots on a small balcony or even in a window box.

But the reality is, if you don’t have a ton of space and time, then growing a large garden that will provide your family with an abundance of free organic food all summer and fall just might not be feasible for you. And while I do believe it’s worth a little extra money to buy organic, many people simply can’t fit store-bought organic food into their budget. 

Now, there are definitely some more affordable ways to get your hands on organic food when it’s in season, including purchasing from local farms and roadside farmstands, visiting your farmers market, going to a u-pick farm or signing up for a CSA, but today I want to talk to you specifically about how to get FREE organic food, even if you don’t have a garden. Because while affordable is good, free is even better:)

Foraging

First up on the list is foraging. There are so many wild foods that you can go out and harvest no matter where you live, and of course wild foods are inherently organic because they haven’t been tampered with by humans.

Now, what you’re able to forage for at any given time depends largely on where you live, what grows wild in your area and what time of year it is. But generally speaking, most areas have at least some wild foods that can be foraged. Here are just a few organic wild foods you might be able to forage in your area:

  • Weeds and greens (including dandelion greens, chickweed, purslane, chicory, sorrel, plantain, lamb’s quarters, Japanese knotweed and stinging nettles, to name but a few)
  • Wild asparagus and/or fiddleheads (young ferns)
  • Wild mushrooms (including morels, chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, chicken of the woods, lion’s mane and many more!)
  • Wild onions
  • Seaweed (while I haven’t personally foraged seaweed, my understanding is that most if not all varieties are edible. If you know more about this please leave a comment as I would love to know more!)
  • Berries (including blackberries, wild strawberries and blueberries, huckleberries, saskatoon berries, elderberries, goose berries, mulberries and many more)
  • Wild apples, crabapples, plums, pears, persimmons, paw paws, etc.

It's no secret that organic food is expensive, and not everyone has the space to grow a garden at home. But did you know there are ways to get organic food that's not just cheap, but free? Read on to learn how to get free organic food (without having to beg, steal or grow it yourself!) #getfreeorganicfood #savemoneyongroceries #savemoneyonorganicgroceries

Even cities offer opportunities for foraging. When I still lived in Vancouver, it was a summer tradition to go blackberry picking at the end of August in parks and along dikes where the Himalayan blackberries grow wild and are considered an invasive species. 

Just be sure when foraging that you…

  1. are able to positively identify the food that you are foraging for and you know for sure that it is edible and safe to eat (this is especially true with wild mushrooms and also berries)
  2. don’t forage for wild edibles from polluted areas like busy roadsides or potentially contaminated industrial complexes, etc. (because then it’s not really organic, is it?)
  3. respect local laws and regulations and only forage where you are allowed (check local bylaws to find out where you can and can’t forage. Often times designated public parks are off limits, although an exception is sometimes made for invasive plants like blackberries).
  4. don’t over-harvest. The general rule is to harvest no more than one third of a particular wild crop in any given area and leave the rest for wildlife, other foragers and to allow the crop to go to seed and replenish itself each year.

Trading

Another great way to get “free” organic food is to trade with others in your area. Now, technically this isn’t really totally free because you’re trading something for it, but you don’t necessarily have to spend money.

If you’re growing or raising some of your own food, (maybe you’ve got eggs or you raise meat, etc.), but you don’t have any fruit trees, for example, you can trade what you’re growing for what somebody else is growing in your area.

It's no secret that organic food is expensive, and not everyone has the space to grow a garden at home. But did you know there are ways to get organic food that's not just cheap, but free? Read on to learn how to get free organic food (without having to beg, steal or grow it yourself!) #getfreeorganicfood #savemoneyongroceries #savemoneyonorganicgroceries

If you’re not growing anything, why not trade something homemade instead. Why not trade some homemade soaps or candles or bottles of homemade kombucha or SCOBYs or homemade bread or pastries for a box of organic apples or a basketful of organic garden produce from someone in your area?

Another idea is to barter with a neighbour or someone near you for free organic food and promise to make them something with that food in return. So, for example, if someone has an apple tree in your area, you could offer to bake them an apple pie or make them a few jars of applesauce, some fresh pressed juice or a package of dried cinnamon apple slices in exchange for a box of apples. 

If you don’t personally know anybody who’s got anything organic to trade, Facebook marketplace is a great place to start your search, or you can create your own post advertising that you’re looking to trade with someone. There are also lots of Facebook groups dedicated to facilitating these types of trades between farmers, gardeners and other community members. 

In my area, I’m part of a self-reliance group and a bunch of buy, sell and trade groups where members regularly set up trades with each other. 

The possibilities are pretty much endless when it comes to trading, and to be fair that’s how we used to do business with each other long before money was required for every transaction. Plus, learning to trade and barter with your neighbours and community members is an invaluable skill to have as a modern homesteader working toward self-reliance and freedom from dependency on grocery stores and the almighty dollar.

Gleaning

This is hands-down my favourite way to get free organic food, and it’s gaining popularity as both food waste and food shortages become an increasing problem.

So, what is gleaning?

In short, gleaning is the act of harvesting and collecting excess leftover or unwanted crops so that they don’t go to waste.

It's no secret that organic food is expensive, and not everyone has the space to grow a garden at home. But did you know there are ways to get organic food that's not just cheap, but free? Read on to learn how to get free organic food (without having to beg, steal or grow it yourself!) #getfreeorganicfood #savemoneyongroceries #savemoneyonorganicgroceries

Historically, gleaning was actually considered a human right in parts of Europe and the middle east. In fact, the right to glean was even written into the Old Testament:

“’Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger.” – Leviticus 19:9-10

It was common practice to leave the excess crops in the field for the poor and peasant class to come glean, and in 18th century England it was the legal right of those without enough land of their own to grow food, to glean the fields of local farms after the majority of the crops were harvested. Similar laws existed in France too at the time.

Gleaning eventually fell out of fashion though when private property rights began to take precedence over charity for the benefit of all, and over time not only did it become illegal to waltz onto someone else’s property and pick over their excess harvest, but the volume of food waste in the west also began to climb.

Today an estimated 96 billion pounds of food is left in the fields and wasted before it even gets a chance to make it to market. And up to 50% of fruits and vegetables are discarded for being “ugly” or imperfect looking.

Luckily gleaning is making a comeback in communities across North America and the world, and community food recovery programs are popping up all over to facilitate the process. These programs typically donate large portions of the food to local food banks and initiatives, but volunteers usually get to keep a portion of the harvest for themselves too. 

So while you could certainly ask local farmers and neighbours with fruit trees and large gardens if you can come glean their properties when they’re done with their main harvest, you might have better luck finding and joining a gleaning organization in your area. Not only will you get some free organic food to take home, you’ll also be helping to provide fresh, healthy food to your community’s most vulnerable members.

Where we live, in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, there’s a program called the Lush Valley Food Action Society that we volunteer with (if you’re in the area then join us for a pick!). They organize “farm picks,” where volunteers help local farmers harvest their crops and are usually rewarded with a bag of organic produce to take home. Or they do “fruit picks,” where volunteers pick fruit from trees that landowners don’t want or are unable to pick themselves. In the case of fruit picks, ⅓ of the produce goes to the landowner (if they want it), ⅓ goes to local community organizations and food programs.

It’s a win-win-win!

It's no secret that organic food is expensive, and not everyone has the space to grow a garden at home. But did you know there are ways to get organic food that's not just cheap, but free? Read on to learn how to get free organic food (without having to beg, steal or grow it yourself!) #getfreeorganicfood #savemoneyongroceries #savemoneyonorganicgroceries

Yesterday my daughter, Evelyn and I helped pick garlic at a local farm and we got to take home a large bundle of organic garlic that was deemed too small for market (still larger than ours this year, sadly), along with a small bag of organic tomatoes.

Tonight our whole family helped pick apples at a local property and were gifted a large box of apples to take home for ourselves! Any guesses what I’m doing this weekend?

To find a gleaning organization in your local area,  you can either search Google, ask online in local community groups (like on Facebook), or check out this list of gleaning programs across North America to see if there’s an organization listed near you!

> North American Gleaning Programs*

*Please note that this is not a complete list of all programs currently operating.

Organic food doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

Even if you can’t grow your own organic food, you can still get your hands on some for little more than the cost of some time spent foraging, bartering or volunteering in your local community. And that means you can still prepare and preserve organic food for you and your family to eat all year long!

On the flip side, if you have excess produce of your own, consider trading it or donating it to someone else in your community who could really use it. Contact your local gleaning program or food bank to learn how you can help!

Do you know of any other ways to get free organic food even if you don’t have a garden? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness:)

 

 

 

 


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

4 Comments

  1. Farmbox Direct

    Glad to know these less popular methods of getting free organic foods. I will try these for sure! 🙂

    Reply
  2. joyce

    Thank You! Good information. Well done!

    Reply
  3. Robin

    I would love to learn how to forage…but how do you find a group of people who can be mentors?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Robin,

      Many communities do have foraging tours and organizations that you can join. We have local foraging tours for mushrooms and when I lived in the city I did a foraging tour for local greens, berries and seaweed. Otherwise you might be able to connect with others online, through Facebook community groups or Meetup.com and find others to go with who can show you the ropes:) Orherwise there is a lot of info online about plants that are easy to forage and identify. But for things like mushrooms I would recommend finding a local guide for sure just to be safe.

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Get Organic Food Free 3 Ways | The Homestead Survival - […] https://thehouseandhomestead.com/3-ways-to-get-free-organic-food/ […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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. 
You Might Also Like
Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

* This article may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   Elderberry syrup has gained popularity in recent years as a natural but powerful herbal remedy, particularly for treating colds and flu. After all,...

read more

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup

* This article may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   Okay, I’m just gonna come out and say it: I’m a total sucker for pumpkin spice. Call me #basic, but it’s the truth. In fact, I’m all about everything fall:...

read more

The holidays are fast approaching, and that means it’s time for my FAVOURITE THINGS!!! 🎉🎁🎄(aka. The modern homesteader’s Christmas wish list;)

I’ve rounded up all of my fave kitchen tools, books and home and body products that I use all the time and could not live without (ok, I could live without them, but I wouldn’t want to!) and I’m sharing them all with you in this week’s YouTube video!

Grab a mug of something warm (or a glass of something chilled) and come on in for a tour of all the goods!

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to YouTube.com/thehouseandhomestead for all the latest videos:)
...

I’ve wanted to learn how to forage for wild mushrooms for years but have always either missed the season, been too busy or just couldn’t find anyone to take me out and show me the ropes. (Mushroom hunters are known for being a little tight-lipped about sharing their spots;)

Well, today I finally got out with a guide and found my very first Chanterelle all by myself!!

This sort of thing might seem like no big deal to most people, but for those of us with an insatiable appetite for learning new skills, it’s a milestone moment.

There’s still an endless list of skills I want to learn and projects I want to tackle. The thing I love most about the homesteading lifestyle is that there is literally always something new to learn!

I don’t expect to ever learn all the things I want to learn, but I know that even when I’m in the latter season of my life, I’ll still have an insatiable appetite to keep learning until it’s my time to leave this Earth.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you live or how much land or experience you have. If you consider yourself a lifelong learner (who’s not afraid to get your hands dirty), then you have what it takes to be a homesteader too;)

Super pumped for tonight’s dinner of wild mushroom risotto and a celebratory glass of Chardonnay :)

What skill(s) do you want to learn next?
.
.
.
#wildmushrooms #mushrooms #chanterelles #foraging #wildfood #wildfoodlove
...

It’s November, and that means we’re about to head into cold and flu season (hello, some of us are already there 🙋🏻‍♀️)

Add in a global pandemic, and we could be in for a rough ride these next few months 🦠

I spent some time the other day whipping up a few homemade herbal remedies that we’ll be relying on all winter long to help boost our immunity and keep our whole family as healthy as possible. I thought you might like to join me in my kitchen as I show you how easy it is to make your own herbal medicine at home, and talk more about how we stay healthy the all-natural way (and how you can too!

More specifically, I’ll be showing you how to make your own elderberry syrup, rose hip syrup and fire cider with simple ingredients and directions that anyone can recreate. (Seriously, no special skills are required to become your own live-in natural medicine pharmacist;)

Head on over and click the link in my profile or go to https://youtu.be/Rli1LqxHbg8 to check out the full video and start stocking your natural home medicine cabinet before it’s too late!

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead
...

I remember the distinct taste of the cherry-flavoured medicine I used to take when I got sick as a kid. I also remember the weird chemical aftertaste it left in my mouth (because the “natural” cherry flavour is really just added to cough syrups to mask the taste of the synthetic drugs they contain.)

Contrast that with the smooth, natural flavour of homemade elderberry syrup, made with organic elderberries, fresh ginger, lemon, cinnamon, cloves and raw honey, and the difference is like night and day! I would even put this stuff on my pancakes (and technically I could). That’s definitely a no-no for the cherry-flavoured pharmaceuticals.

But not only does homemade elderberry syrup taste better than the OTC (over-the-counter) stuff, it WORKS just as well to relieve cold and flu symptoms too! Actually, it might even work better!!

This is because, if used regularly, elderberry syrup can help you to stay healthy by building up your immunity and warding off illness in the first place, and if you do get sick, the antiviral, anti microbial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties in this elderberry syrup recipe will help you feel better and support faster healing rather than just relieving symptoms.

Oh, and by making your own elderberry syrup at home instead of buying it by the bottle at your local health food store, you’ll also save yourself a buttload of money. (And that also helps to relieve a little suffering;)

To learn how to make your own all-natural elderberry syrup at home, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-elderberry-syrup-recipe/ to get the full recipe!

P.S. It’s stupidly easy to make too, so no special skills are required to make your own batch;)
...

Just a reminder, there are only a few hours left to get your free Wellness Sampler Set from @planttherapy essential oils, which includes my very favourite Germ Fighter blend plus two more must-have oils to keep on hand this cold and flu season.

All you have to do is purchase the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle by midnight tonight and you’ll not only get almost 95% off the entire bundle, you’ll also get this set of three 10ml. essential oils (a $22.95 value) completely free! (Just pay shipping).

Head over and click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to learn more and get your bundle and your FREE Wellness Sampler Set now!

(Seriously, do it. You’ll be glad you did;)
...

If there was ever a year to be more diligent about taking care of ourselves and our families during the winter months, this would probably be that year.

That's why my focus right now (and every year around this time) is on stocking my home medicine cabinet with germ-fighting essential oils and herbal remedies of all kinds. And it’s why I’ve been encouraging you to do the same!

But in order to use herbs and essential oils safely and effectively, you need to know HOW to use them safely and effectively.

As with anything, you can find a lot of free info online, but how much of that information can you really trust? Wouldn't it be even better to have your own little library of reliable natural remedies right at your fingertips - especially one that's been created and curated by trusted aromatherapists and herbalists?

Well look no further, because the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle is back due to popular demand for the 5th year in a row!

Here's a quick breakdown of what's included in this year's bundle:

—> 17 eBooks with recipes for simple herbal remedies for cold and flu season, herbal teas for winter health, making your own spa products, DIY herbal gifts for men, essential oil DIYs for the home and much more.

—> 12 eCourses on how to make your own herbal preparations, use echinacea to ward off colds and flu during the winter months, create your own healthy, herbal sweets, increase your energy the all-natural way and more!

—> 6 printables and workbooks to help you plan your own herb garden, organize your essential oils, deepen your herbal knowledge and, you guessed it, more, more, more!

Best of all, you can get all 35 resources (valued at over $650) for just $37! But only for the next five days. After that this bundle goes back into the vault until next year.

If you wanna get your hands on this amazing library of resources, head on over to my profile and click the link in my bio to check it out.

Plus, if you order your bundle by tomorrow night, you’ll also get a free set of three essential oils from @planttherapy (the only brand of essential oils I use in our home).

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to get yours or learn more!
...

Lest we forget.

Democracy is fragile. We must never become complacent or take it for granted.

Remembering all those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom today.
...

🌿 It’s no big news that we’re headed into what could be a particularly bad cold and flu season this year.

Between COVID cases going up along with our stress levels about everything that 2020 has brought with it, we would all be wise to practice a little more self care right now, which includes getting our stress levels under control, eating healthy, drinking lots of water, getting adequate sleep and boosting our immunity and overall health naturally.

To help with this, we turn to herbs and essential oils in addition to practicing a healthy, natural lifestyle. And you’ll often find me on here encouraging you to do the same.

Natural medicine, when used correctly, helps to support all of the organs and functions of our body so that we are less susceptible to sickness and disease should it get in our bodies. While it can be used for acute conditions, it’s best when used preventatively, so if you haven’t yet, now is the time to start whipping up some homemade herbal remedies to start using before we get too deep into the season, and to have on hand if and when illness strikes.

My affiliate partners @ultimate_bundles put together an eBook with 54 herbal (and oily) recipes that you can easily make at home to help boost immunity, treat illness, promote sleep and relaxation, improve complexion and keep dangerous synthetic chemicals out of your home and body.

It’s totally free to grab it right now but it’s only available for free until tonight at midnight.

👉 Grab your copy by clicking the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead.

And if you’re also looking for some new essential oils to add to your home apothecary, remember to use coupon code HOME15 on your next @planttherapy order to get 15% off your entire order (only until the end of November).

Take care of yourselves and stay well everybody! ❤️
.
.
.
#herbalmedicine #selfcare #naturalmedicine #herbs #aromatherapy #allnatural
...

Only a few hours left to get your hands on all the freebies on offer at the Handmade Holiday Gift Mall, including my full video tutorial on how to make your own scented soy wax candles (always a hit at Christmas time:)

Plus, for a limited time only, use code HOME15 at planttherapy.com to get 15% off your order of essential oils to use in your homemade candles!

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to get your hands on all the goodies now!
...

My heart is so full right now. I’m sitting here crying happy tears as I watch history unfold. Such a breath of fresh air after the past four years.

I’m feeling hopeful for the future of our planet, our people and democracy all around the world for the first time in a long time.

Feeling so proud to call America my neighbour tonight. There’s still a very long road ahead to heal the deep divides and wounds of the past, but I’m confident we have what it takes to turn this ship around and ensure a long and prosperous future together. All of us.

Now let’s all get to work and get those borders open again soon!

Congratulations USA!!! 🇨🇦❤️🇺🇸
...

As we come closer to wrapping up the year that was 2020, I've started to reflect on the lessons I've learned. I distilled it down to 6 humbling life lessons that 2020 has taught me or reinforced in my life about gardening, homesteading and life, and I'm sharing them with you today in hopes that they might help you put this year in perspective too:

—> Lesson #1: We cannot control everything (and that's okay)
—> Lesson #2: Always diversify (crops, income streams, skills, etc.)
—> Lesson #3: Be grateful for the good (we cannot have the good without the bad)
—> Lesson #4: Hope for the best but prepare for the worst (stay positive but be realistic)
—> Lesson #5: Every failure is an opportunity to learn and grow (seek to find the lessons)
—> Lesson #6: There's always next year (one ending is just another beginning)

Join me for a heart-to-heart in the garden as I take one major disappointment (tossing a box of homegrown tomatoes in the compost) and make the best of it by using it as a catalyst to reflect on the year and the growing season and find the lessons and meaning behind it all.

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to watch the full video or go to https://youtu.be/XnnbsAqrd5A and let me know what hardships or disappointments YOU'VE overcome and what lessons you've learned this year in the comments.

Remember, we’re all in this together 🖤
.
.
.
#2020 #lifelessons #nosuchthingasfailure
...

When I first made up my mind to pursue homesteading and started growing my own food, I had no idea where this path would lead me. All I knew was I was unhappy where I was in the city and in life, and I had to make a radical change for my own physical and mental well-being. Homesteading, gardening and this lifestyle of greater self-sufficiency and sustainability called to me; It lit a fire and a passion in me and gave me purpose and meaning, and the more I explored it, the more convinced I became that this was the path I was meant to be on.

Less than a decade later and not only am I still on this path with more enthusiasm in my heart and fire in my belly than ever before, but it’s also led me to connect with so many other amazing homesteaders, gardeners and people who are just as passionate about this lifestyle as I am.

This morning my humble little Instagram account was featured on @humanswhogrowfood which features amazing people growing food all over this beautiful planet. To be able to think of myself as a peer among these greats is beyond my wildest dreams when I first started out as a city girl with zero gardening or homesteading experience. It’s a testament to how far I’ve come, but also to the whole world of beautiful souls out there working to put more homegrown food on tables all across the globe.

Today, with everything going on in the world, I’m feeling reflective, honoured and humbled to be a part of such an amazing community of people. Thank you to each and every one of you! The world may be messed up, but we’re alright.

Also, go follow @humanswhogrowfood if you’re in need of a little faith in humanity right now. So many amazing people out there growing food and doing wonderful things! 💚
.
.
.
#humanswhogrowfood #peoplewhogrowfood #homesteadersofinstagram #growfoodnotlawns #homegrown #gardenersofinstagram
...

© The House & Homestead | All Rights Reserved | Legal

Crafted with ♥ by Inscape Designs