You may no longer be able to depend on your local grocery store for all your needs. Instead, consider creating a backup plan so you set yourself up for success.
Below I will share some ideas so you have alternative food and supplement sources available to you. Not only will you be prepared should shortages become a more of a reality, it may help you to start eating healthier.
Find Local Farmers
It is important to get to know your local farmers. Here in Nashville, the farmers markets start in May and we are blessed with many market options all around town. To find farmer market locations in your area, use this link to go to Local Harvest. Type in your city and state and you will get a list of the closest ones.
I suggest going to the markets and strike up conversations with the farmers. Learn which farms are closest to you and see if they have product offerings when the season is over. Depending on your diet you will want to find sources for fruits and vegetables as well as eggs, beef/chicken, milk/cheese. Your farmers market may also have things like bread, tea, honey, etc.
Some farms offer CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) where you pay in-full before planting season and receive a box of produce throughout the growing season, usually on a weekly bases. If you have a smaller family, “half shares” may also be available. It is a great way to entice you to experiment with new foods.
Join a Buyers Club or Co-op
Buyers clubs or cooperatives (co-ops) are used to cut out the “middleman” by purchasing directly from a distributor or supplier such as Frontier Co-op Wholesale. It usually consists of a group of families that eat similar enough to be able to get group buys at a discount. Another option I learned about more recently is Azure Standard, a family-owned business that provides natural and non-GMO groceries and other household products to pick-up sites all over the country.
Anyone can start a group. One person usually takes the lead by creating the account, overseeing orders, and coordinating delivery. Most groups come together to meet the truck, unload, and distribute the goods so that each person/family leaves with their purchases.
You can use this Co-op Directory to find out if there is an established co-op already in your area.
Join an On-line Marketplace
On-line market places or subscription services can be helpful to fill in the gaps. And, if you set it up to be auto-ship you will typically be the first in line for the products. This gives you a little piece of mind.
There are two delivery services that I have been using for the last several years that you might like:
Thrive Market – Basically an on-line health food store, they have tons of great grocery options to include natural/organic foods, household products, bath/body products, etc. Everything is discounted from full retail. The most economical are the Thrive brands, which include many organic and gluten-free foods as well as grain and seeds that are sprouted. There is a yearly fee, but if you use this link you will get 40% off your first order. Order as often as you like or create an auto-ship order that gets delivered on your schedule. Free shipping over $49.
Butcher Box – This is a subscription service for meat. There are multiple packages available depending on the type of meats you like and how much you want in each delivery. (I use the “custom box” and select what chicken parts and beef cuts I want, since we do not eat pork.) You can change the length of time between deliveries and alter what will be in each box, including monthly specials. It is free to join and this link will give you $50 off your first order. (Thrive Market now carries meat as well.)
Find a Local Natural Spring
And, then there is water. If you find you need water or decide you want to try water directly from nature, you can see if there is a natural spring near you by using this link. Not all spring water is created equal but if you find a good source, the water can be very healing.
We can’t forget nutritional supplements. Between possible shortages and rumors of the FDA removing certain products (like NAC) from the marketplace, you may want to consider alternate sources.
One suggestion is to rely more on herbal teas and cooking spices instead of taking a herbal supplement – teas like ginger and peppermint for digestion support, nettle for kidney support, dandelion for liver support, pau d’arco for blood support, elderberry for immune support, etc. (Use this previous article for additional ideas.) Buy in bulk and try mixing different teas together to create a custom blend.
Use different spices in your food too. Turmeric, thyme, and oregano, for example, are good for immune support. I also like to keep lots of dried parsley in the house to add extra nutrients to soups, stir fries, rice, etc. You can buy tea and spices on-line at places like Frontier and Mountain Rose Herbs.
Additionally, you have the option of joining my FullScript Dispensary to obtain professional grade supplement at a discount. A wide variety of nutrients/supplements, as well as body products, are available. (I list my favorites when you first log on but you can search for brands you like.) Sign up and create an account so it is available should you need it.
Get creative. Buy in bulk with friends. Start a co-op. Ask local health food stores for other resources. And most of all, be prepared.