Save money on groceries without Top Ramen: Eating sustainably on a budget

farmer's market buffalo sausage
farmer's market buffalo sausage

I've been reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a book extolling the virtues of eating locally (and the horrors of eating feedlot meats and processed, packaged corn- and soy-based foods of all kinds). The book is an apologetic sermon; apologetic largely because eating locally is so darned expensive. Though many farmer's markets now take food stamps, that's hardly the point: just pricing a pound of sustainably-farmed ground buffalo meat (the best substitute for ground beef at my farmer's market last weekend), and you'll know why you don't see families of seven stocking their freezer. (It's nearly $9 a pound, if you're wondering.)

So, you ask, what's the secret? How can I avoid CAFO beef and chicken and still feed my family on a limited budget? Eating with the seasons is nice, and all, but that box of McNuggets is priced right. And what better breakfast on the go than a nice Pop-Tart?

I've been experimenting, and thinking, a lot about this subject given (a) my desire to eat locally and (b) my generally limited budget. I'll start to "reveal" some of the lessons I've learned in a series of posts. Today? How to make the most of pricey free range, grass fed meats.