Our Year Without Groceries


At 4, he practiced the violin everyday. At 5, he carved one dagger after another from wood. At 6, he built a cob cottage in our backyard. And at 7, he used a grown man’s axe to chop down 30-foot trees for a log cabin. So, when at 8, Jack came to me and my husband Josh with the idea that our family of five not visit a grocery store for an entire year, we actually sat down to figure it out because we knew he was serious. And because we knew if we didn’t give it a shot, we might end up with a railway in our backyard instead.

Many of Jack’s ideas have sprouted from characters in books, like the Little House in the Big Woods series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura and her family travel once or twice a year to the small town of Independence for staple groceries like sugar and salt while the rest they hunt, grow, or trade with neighbors. In Jack’s mind, if the Ingalls could do it, why couldn’t we? Never-mind that they lived over 100 years ago.

And so in early December last year the five of us—me, Josh, Jack (8), Esme (6) and Titus (2)—discussed Jack’s idea over dinner one evening. When I say we discussed it I mean we laid down the groundrules because trying it was a forgone conclusion. We came up with the following:

∙Buy locally from farms but no grocery stores

∙Eat our own chickens, deer, eggs, and garden bounty

∙Go out to eat at the end of each month as a family “Hurrah! We survived another month!” celebration.

Read the rest here

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