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

5 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 Yogurt Recipe (Plain & Greek Style)

Homemade Yogurt Recipe (Plain & Greek Style)

* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   I’ve known that homemade yogurt was “a thing” for a long time. I always considered making it myself, but it was never really at the top of my list of skills to...

read more

The Ultimate Guide to Emergency Water Preparedness

The Ultimate Guide to Emergency Water Preparedness

* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   Water. Fresh, clean, potable water—Besides air, it’s absolutely the most important thing when it comes to survival. To many people around the world who...

read more

The Modern Homesteading Conference is just a few short weeks away, and I have TWO free tickets to give away to one lucky winner.

This is a live, in-person event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on June 28th and 29th. I’ll be there speaking and teaching alongside expert homesteaders like Joel Salatin (Polyface Farms), Melissa K. Norris (Pioneering Today), Carolyn and Josh Thomas (Homesteading Family), Lisa Bass (Farmhouse On Boone), Anne Briggs (Anne Of All Trades), Lisa Steele (Fresh Eggs Daily), Robyn Jackson (Cheese From Scratch) and more!

Comment “ENTER” below and I’ll send you the link where you can submit your details and enter to win!

I’ll be drawing a winner this Thursday, so make sure to enter by tomorrow night (Wednesday, June 5th) if you wanna win!

May the odds be ever in your favour 😉
...

17 4

For Mother’s Day this year, my husband is teaching our daughter to empty the dishwasher on her own. It may seem like a small feat, and for anyone who has kids who already do this and more, this may seem like nothing to celebrate. But for all of the moms who understand how much quicker and easier it is to just “do it yourself,” slowing down and allowing our daughter to take ownership of this even if it’s not perfect or takes twice as long is a huge milestone, both for her and for us as parents!

While it may sometimes feel like the work that we do day in and day out is just mundane and repetitive, the way we show up every day over many years with our children will have a huge impact on the type of people they’ll grow up to be.

What we teach them—the skills we pass on and the values we instil—will help to shape who our children become as adults, and who they become as adults will help to shape what our future world looks like.

It may seem as simple as emptying a dishwasher, but what this really symbolizes is that we’re raising a capable human being who takes responsibility for contributing to our household and is a valued member of our family. And since she will someday grow up to run her own household, possibly be a mother herself, and contribute to our future society, that means that we, as parents, (and especially us moms!), have immense power to shape what the future looks like through the simple actions we take every day to teach and empower the next generation.

All of that to say, thanks for everything you do moms! You are more valued and powerful than you know.

Happy Mother’s Day, and may someone else be doing the dishes for you today!
...

21 2

Hot cross buns are an Easter tradition in our house, so naturally I wanted to learn how to make them at home.⁣

They're surprisingly easy to make with just a few basic ingredients, including flour, dry active yeast, milk, eggs, sugar and spices, plus raisins or, more traditionally, dried currants and/or candied citrus peels. ⁣

Click the link in my bio to learn how to make your own and enjoy hot cross buns fresh out of the oven this Easter!
...

15 1

🗞 BREAKING NEWS!

I’m not always so good at sharing all of the awesome stuff I’ve got going on in life and business here on social media. When you’re a full time homesteader, business owner, editor, mom and wife, sometimes IG falls by the wayside 😬

But I just had to pop in this morning to let you know that I’m doing something I’ve never done before, and offering anyone who would like to try out my online membership program—The Society Of Self-Reliance—the opportunity to join for just $1.

Yup, you read that right: Right now, you can get unlimited access to The Society Of Self-Reliance for an entire month for just $1!

Here’s what you get access to:

🌱 Over 150 video lessons to help you build your skills in the kitchen, garden, workshop and home.

👨‍🌾 A private community of amazing people sharing their on journeys and supporting you in yours.

🫙 Our monthly live group coaching call, where you can ask questions and where I offer personalized help and guidance on your homesteading journey.

🌿 Exclusive bonuses: Get downloadable digital copies of my Home Canning Handbook and the annual edition of Modern Homesteading Magazine for free (regular $40 for both), as well as access to other bonuses, like my gardening and preserving masterclasses and bonus interviews with other top homesteaders.

I’m only offering this deal for a limited time, and after it’s over, the membership cost will be going up. But if you join now for $1 and decide you love it, you’ll still be able to continue with your membership for the introductory price of just $20/month (or $200/year).

However, if you decide The Society Of Self-Reliance just isn’t for you right now, you can cancel any time.

All you have to lose is $1, but what you have to gain is priceless:

—> Independence and self-reliance in all areas of life.
—> Security and confidence in your ability to provide for yourself and your loved ones in good times and bad.
—> Freedom from complete and total dependency on “the system”
—> Skills and knowledge you can pass down to the next generation.
—> Fellowship and community with other likeminded folks.

And so much more!

Comment “Society” below and I’ll send you the deets!
...

67 4

Me shopping for Easter candy for my kids, and walking out empty handed because it’s all full of absolute garbage!

I don’t mind my kids having sugar now and again, but I draw the line at food dies, seed oils and artificial ingredients. (Or at least, I try!)

Hey, we’re not perfect, and yes, our kids will get Easter candy on Sunday morning. Ryan has already bought some and I’m sure he didn’t check all the ingredients like I do! I’m fine with the 80/20 rule most of the time. But the meta question here, is why are these types of ingredients allowed in foods to begin with? Especially food marketed toward kids!

Yes, it’s “junk food.” I don’t expect it to be HEALTHY. But it could be made better by omitting the known carcinogenic ingredients that have been linked to everything from ADHD to hormone imbalances to cancer!

Folks, we must demand better. We DESERVE better, and so do our kids.
...

27 7

We said goodbye to a family pet yesterday. My mom has had Zoe since I was a teenager, and Evelyn has grown to love her during her visits with nanny.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a family member, human or furry. But we don’t shelter our kids from death either. Evelyn was with us when we found our rabbits dead. She went with my mom to say goodbye to her other cat a year ago. And she knows where the chickens go when it’s their time.

Having a healthy relationship to death is important. It is, after all, the only certainty in life.

Today Ryan is heading down to clean out his dad’s place after he passed last week. They had a strained relationship, so our kids never knew him as their grandpa. But still, it’s never easy.

It does, however, teach us to be grateful for every day we’re alive, and to appreciate the ones we love while we’re still together, because you never know how much time you have left.

RIP Zozo ❤️ See you over the rainbow bridge 🌈 🐾
...

94 16

When I first started homesteading, gardening, and trying to be more self-sufficient, I had no idea what I was doing. Everything was new to me, and I had no one in my life to teach me the ropes.

I’m not a second or third or fifth generation homesteader. I’m a born-and-raised city girl who had to figure it out on my own, using books from the library and resources from the internet, and advice from random strangers on social media.

While these free resources have taught me a lot, I’ve also come across lots of bad (or just wrong) advice online, and sadly, I’ve dealt with a jerk or two in the comments section of public Facebook groups.

Eventually I did invest in online mentorship and my success from there was exponential. Now, less than a decade after leaving the city in pursuit of our new life as homesteaders, I’ve not only learned how to grow an abundance of food and troubleshoot all kinds of plant issues to ensure a healthy crop and successful harvest, but I’ve learned how to be more self-sufficient in just about every area of life.

I’ve learned how to
🌱 grow my own groceries
🫙 can and preserve my own food
🌿 make herbal medicine and natural products
💵 create multiple income streams
🆘 prepare for a wide range of emergencies
and more.

Plus, with my husband’s help, he can also
🛠 fix or build most things
so together we’ve got a wide range of skills that allow us to live a more empowered, self-reliant life.

Now I want to help you do the same…

I recently reopened the doors to The Society of Self-Reliance—my private membership program where I teach you the skills and mindset you need to become more self-reliant in every area of your life.

Not only do you get access to nearly 150 step-by-step video tutorials (and counting), you also get monthly live group coaching calls with me, and access to a private, SUPPORTIVE and knowledgeable online community of likeminded folks on the same journey.

For a limited time, you can join The Society for just $20/month (or get two months FREE with an annual membership!).

Come, join a community of people who will lift you up and ensure you DON’T starve 😉

Comment “Society” below to learn more!
...

29 7

Never before have we had access to so much information at our fingertips. Whether you have a question you need answered, are looking for a tutorial to walk you through a specific task or are searching for a recipe to help you figure out what to make for dinner, all you have to do is Google it.⁣

But the problem is that there's no real way to be sure whether the information you find on line is genuine. Is the person who wrote or shared it actually sharing their own experience, or are they too simply regurgitating answers that they Googled?⁣

As we barrel full speed ahead into the era of AI and deep fakes, it will be even more difficult to know whether the information you're getting is even from a real human!⁣

While it's definitely an exciting time to be alive, so many people are feeling overwhelmed, and are craving a return to the analog world; To a world where information was shared in the pages of trusted books and publications, or was passed on from human to human, from someone who held that knowledge not because they Googled it, but because they lived it, experienced it, even mastered it.⁣

That what sets Homestead Living magazine apart from much of the information you'll find online: We don't have staff writers, we have experienced homesteaders sharing their hard-won wisdom in each issue. And while we do offer a digital version, we're also now offering monthly PRINT issues for U.S. subscribers (Canada and elsewhere hopefully coming soon!)⁣

Plus, until the end. of January, you can get your first 12 issues of Homesteading Monthly for just $1.00!⁣

No matter where you are on your homesteading journey, if you've been feeling overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information and the noise of the online world and have been craving a return to the real, the tangible and, quite frankly, the human, Homesteading Monthly was made for you. ⁣

For homesteaders, by homesteaders.⁣

*** Comment "Homestead" below and I'll send you the link to subscribe! ***
...

38 14

When I graduated from university with a degree in journalism many years ago, I remember thinking that while I knew how to write, edit, interview, shoot, and handle just about every part of creating a publication from the editorial standpoint, I really had no clue how to actually get published, let alone how the printing process works.

Over the years I’ve followed my passion for writing, editing and creating content, figuring much of it out on my own. From creating my blog to “self-publishing” my own digital/print magazine for the last 4 years, I’ve taught myself most of the practical skills necessary for turning an idea into a publication and getting said publication in the hands and in front of the eyes of many hundreds of readers.

But now that I’ve joined forces with the team at @homesteadlivingmagazine and @freeportpress, we’re all able to level up and reach many THOUSANDS of print and digital readers together.

People are HUNGRY for tried and tested advice on homesteading and self-reliant living. There’s a huge movement happening right now as more people wake up to all of the corruption in the world and realize that many of the systems we have come to depend on are fragile and on the brink of collapse. People are ready to take matters into their own hands by growing their own food, preparing their own meals, becoming producers instead of merely consumers and taking control of their health, freedom, security and lives.

I’m so proud to not only be a part of this movement, but to be at the forefront of it with some of the most passionate, talented and driven individuals I could ask to work with.

Getting to meet and brainstorm with some of the team in person and tour the printing facilities over the last few days has opened up a whole new world of possibilities, not just for me, but for everyone who considers themselves part of the modern homesteading movement. We are growing faster than I could have ever imagined. We’re creating a system outside of the system! We’re charging full steam ahead and we invite you to climb aboard and join us for the ride:)

#homesteading #modernhomesteading #homesteadliving #selfsufficiency #selfreliance
...

31 5

It’s been a minute since I popped into IG to say hi. (Hi! 👋) But before I share what’s been going on behind the scenes, I thought it would be a good time to (re)introduce myself, because I’ve never actually done that before!

My name’s Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader living in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. I live with my family (human, furry and feathered) on 1/4 acre property where we grow and preserve hundreds of pounds of our own food every year, and strive to live a more self-reliant lifestyle in all that we do.

I grew up in Vancouver and had pretty much zero experience homesteading before my husband, Ryan and I decided we wanted to escape the rat race, become less dependent on the modern industrial food system (and all modern industrialized systems), and dove head first into this lifestyle around a decade ago.

We packed up and moved to Vancouver Island where we live now, started our first garden, and the rest is pretty much history.

(Well, actually that’s not true… There have been A LOT of ups and downs, successes and failures, wins and losses, struggles, challenges and pivotal moments along the way, but those are stories for another day).

Over the past few years, our decision to follow a less conventional path that aims to break free (at least in some part) from “the system” has been affirmed over and over again. We all know for a fact now that our food system, healthcare system, financial system, transportation system and so much more are all really just a house of cards built on shaky ground. We’ve been lucky so far, but sooner or later it’s all liable to collapse.

But preparedness and security isn’t the only thing that drives us… The peace of mind I get knowing that everything we grow is 100% organic, and that the ingredients in our food, medicine, personal and household products are safe and natural is worth more than anything I could buy at the grocery store.

(I’m not perfect though. Not by a long shot. I still rely on the grocery store, on modern medicine, and on many modern conveniences to get by, but I balance it as much as I can:)

(Continued in comments…)
...

122 42

© The House & Homestead | All Rights Reserved | Legal