Living Without the Grocery Store

Living Without the Grocery Store

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Heaven forbid, but what if one day you woke up and heading to the grocery store was no longer an option? Sure. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic here, but seriously, would you be able to survive? You would need to have acquired certain skills, food prep knowledge, and food supplies to be able to keep food on the table for your family during a time like that. Maybe you’re not there yet?  I have several tips that would help you be able to manage that kind of situation. There are many homesteaders out there who have been doing this for a long time now, and I’d love to share ways that they have done it. Here are several ways of living without the grocery store.

Living Without the Grocery Store 

Living Without the Grocery Store

Hit Up the Farmer’s Market

Just because you’re not using the grocery store, doesn’t mean that you have to avoid the farmer’s market too. At a farmer’s market, you will find the freshest fruit, vegetables, and other foods, and you can be guaranteed that they have a much longer shelf life than what you will find at any grocery store. The only downside of a farmer’s market is that they generally aren’t open year-round. In case you missed this post, 20 Delicious Farmers Market Salads

Start Gardening 

This is probably the most obvious bit of advice on my list that you knew was coming. Learning how to garden not only offers you wonderful tasting vegetables, it also gives you the satisfaction of knowing what you were able to do with your own green thumb. Believe me, those tomatoes that you were able to grow will taste better than any that you will find at the store. In case you missed this post,  Tips For Growing Sweet Tomatoes

Consider Raising a Cow or Chickens

Just think about it for a moment. Having a cow that could provide you with milk, and grass-fed chickens that lay eggs on demand, would more than cover your family’s morning breakfast for many years to come. Even if this isn’t an option for you, you can stop in at an Amish community or a local farmer to get these dairy items. You could also learn to make your own cheeses and yogurt so that you don’t have to rely on someone else. 

Read More of My Articles  Why You Should Support Your Local Farmer's Market

Make Bread by Grinding Your Own Grain

You can get your grains whole at an Amish market or a small farm in order to provide your family with bread and other delicious baked goods. If this is something you don’t know how to do, here’s how you can get started.  


Preserving the crops that you’ve grown in your garden earlier in the year will ensure that you can enjoy them all throughout the year. They taste so much better that way too! If you don’t know how to can and preserve your food, take classes from your local State Extension Service. I had been canning for over 50 years and talked my husband into getting our Master Canner, Preserving Certificates! It’s so much fun and canning has changed over the years. Or at least the food has so we wanted to learn the new way of canning.

Stop Using Paper Products

Have I already mentioned that living without the grocery store can save you money? It’s true. While paper products are certainly more convenient, they’re costly. That, and you already have other alternatives right in front of you. You don’t need paper plates and paper towels when you already have regular dishes and a dishrag folded neatly in the closet.

Cloth diapers have also been around for ages and can be used time and time again. Mark and I have been using cloth diapers as our meal napkins for a few years now. Of course, we don’t use them with meal guests, but they work fine for us when eating alone. Believe it or not, you can survive without toilet paper and one-and-done feminine products because family cloth and reusable feminine products are real things. 

I still buy paper towels for emergencies, but I use thin diapers and wash them. It’s great and saves me money.  

Make Your Own Cleaning and Laundry Supplies

I don’t know about you, but I always find it irritating that many cleaning supplies only work on one or two areas in your home, so you end up with a whole pantry filled with them. Not only are they expensive, but there are ingredients in them that may be harmful. As it turns out, making your own cleaning supplies isn’t as hard as you may think. Here are 8 homemade cleaners and natural laundry detergents that you should consider making that actually work. 

Become a Beekeeper

For those of you who have never enjoyed eating a raw honeycomb, it’s a delicacy that you don’t know what you’ve been missing. Becoming a beekeeper would provide you with beeswax to make candles and yummy-delicious honey that can be used as a natural sweetener in almost any food dish and baked goods. You’d also be doing the bee population and the environment a huge favor because the honey bee is moving closer and closer to extinction.   

Read More of My Articles  Why are Grocery Stores Still Out of Stuff?

Learn How to Forage

If you have a big backyard or have access to woods or a public park that’s close by, you may be surprised how many edible weeds and berries you can find. You don’t just want to put anything into your mouth that you find. It’s best to do your research on what those edible things are so that you don’t eat something that may be poisonous. 

Go Hunting

Some of you may think it’s inhumane to hunt for animals, but I’m not suggesting that you hunt them for the mere sport of it. I’m talking about providing meat for your family, a survival skill that you may need to have during a widespread emergency. There would be deer laying all over the side of the road from overpopulation if hunting was no longer allowed. Think about that.   

Go Fishing  

Eating fish that comes from a fish farm is certainly not the healthiest way for your family to be getting their seafood. Fishing is relaxing, and great to teach your kids a fun skill. Plus, it’s fun to catch your next meal. Hopefully, someone in your family has enough stomach to dress it for you if you aren’t able to. 

Find Out More about Natural Remedies

When you’re choosing to no longer rely on the grocery store for your medicinal needs, you may want to learn about how ancient peoples used certain herbs to heal them various ailments. It’s a natural solution instead of throwing a coated tablet of Advil in your mouth. You can find many of these remedies while you’re out hiking in the woods, or when you choose to grow these herbs yourself.  

Work with What’s In Season

I know that there might be a time when you want a slice of watermelon or a juicy-red strawberry in the dead of winter, but when you’re living without the grocery store that probably won’t be an option. You have to work with whatever season you may be in. A root cellar would help keep your home-grown fruits and vegetables for a longer period of time, so that might be an option to consider. 

Final Word

Living without the grocery store will have its challenges and getting used to, but it is possible. You’ll save money, and feel better that you aren’t having to rely so heavily on others for your every need. Maybe you can try some of these and let the others go to people with more land or who may be handier. How do you plan on living without a grocery store? May God Bless this world, Linda.

Copyright Images: Fresh Produce Deposit photos_25950577_s-2019

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  1. I’m going to sound harsh:
    It becomes about what you have to eat rather than what you want to eat. Food is fuel. Accept that and it’ll be easier.
    By the time you accept hunting deer will be ok it’ll be too late. Deer will be wiped out as they were here in Oklahoma in the 30s. You’ll be eating Robins, moles and field mice
    You want to know how bad it is in a country? Look for strays. When it’s real bad you won’t see any cause they got ate. That’s the difference in 3rd world and S has hit.
    Remember that the next time you sit in a restaurant complaining about your asparagus over salmon being a little tough.
    Wife still looks at me sideways because by the time she gets the waiter I’m done eating.
    Plan ahead, prepare with work and temper your mind.
    Y’all stay safe

    1. Hi Matt, you know you are so right about what we will have to eat sooner than later. You are right about the strays if we don’t see them. Mark and I were in Alaska and we asked the locals where all the dogs were. We didn’t see any dogs. They said they eat them. That was many years ago, and I have never forgotten that. Life is interesting and it’s going to get even quirkier. We must all be ready for the future. Linda

    2. My late husband and I started stocking food 12 years ago. When suggesting this to a friend he said to G that he had plenty of bullets and a good rifle.
      I just stared and said…yeah, now there’s an original thought; sarcasm included!!!
      This was by phone so he never viewed our stores.

  2. Linda, would you believe it. I just bought a book by the same name. Everything you said is in the book. And a little more. Now, I need to re-read it.

  3. We have two types of food storage, short term emergencies and long term emergencies. The long term emergencies include seeds and ways to process. I have 3 pressure canners. I haven’t been using them lately, but I know how and have 3 books on preserving from the USDA. We also might be the only people around that don’t stink, since I make soap.

    I hope they are all just a waste of my money, though, like insurance.

    1. Janet, this is so funny. We have 3 pressure canners and a water bath canner. And several different canning books from Kerr and Ball. We also have seeds. Plus 2 freezers full of food. If we lose power, we can can all the meats we have. I’d like to do some anyway. As well as dehydrate some. We have 2 dehydrators, too.

        1. I try to be. Hope for the Best, but Prepare for the Worst! There are times I don’t succeed. But I do learn from my mistakes. We never ran out of toilet tissue during last years empty shelves. I had already stocked up.I try to keep several months ahead on things like that. And staples like flour and sugar. My grandmother would buy both on sale and keep in a 5-gallon bucket sealed tightly. She taught me well. As did my mother. She bought extras on sale every week.

    2. Hi Janet, I love your comment!! You make soap, what a blessing! I only know how to make melt and pour, it’s addicting to me to try different fragrances and colors. I love canning but that has slowed way down with just the two of us. My husband and I love canning fruit and vegetables which is awesome. The positive thing is YOU know how to can and preserve food. So many people do not. That skill will always be a blessing to you and others. Linda

    3. Linda, it’s not hard to make lye soap. The lye part was scary at first, but you learn to be very careful. It’s not terribly expensive either. Go to YouTube and watch a couple of videos. Or go on line and see what you can find. Just be cautious, but not scared.

  4. Linda,

    This is such a great article I’m going to use in in this month’s newsletter, as you’ve given me permission to share your knowledge with my readers.

    Aside from chickens the easiest and cheapest meat animal to raise is rabbits. If you live in a very dry desert like I do, providing them and chickens with enough forage is problematic. I figure if THSTF I’ll convert two of my raised beds to forage crops–which I can grow outside year round. Rabbits are much easier than cows (easier even than chickens). Add a breeding pair of dairy goats for milk, cheese, butter and yogurt and your dairy and meat needs could be met even without hunting.

    One additional word about rabbits. I know of no city or town where raising such “pets” is illegal. You might even be able to do so provided your $#!% HOA allows it. (And if the SHTF your HOA will have more to worry about than you getting rabbits and chickens). It’s often easier to get forgiveness than permission.

    Along with gardening, growing sprouts for your family and livestock (chickens and rabbits both love them) will keep up your vitamin supply.

    And Matt is right, as always. Those little ground squirrels, pocket gophers and desert pack rats I now trap to keep them out of my gardens will become delicacies–as the craving for food, any food, will overcome all objections as to taste and texture.

    In my youth on our farm, rodent control was accomplished by barn cats and bull snakes–mostly the cats. That time could come again when the need to protect vegetables from predation becomes critical.

    1. Hi Ray, I agree with you on the crazy HOA’s having to deal with much bigger stuff when the SHTF. I would bet the HOA will be non-existent! I have to tell you a funny story about rabbits. Back in 1980 give or take Mark and I lived next door to a family who raised rabbits. If they went on vacation we would help take care of them. I had no idea they were meat rabbits. My daughter’s said, oh yeah mom, they ate those rabbits. I literally had no idea. No idea. I giggle just thinking about it. I thought they were pets. Silly me, Linda. P.S. you are always welcome to use anything off my site. Thank you!

      1. Linda, since you have subscribed to my Dying Time Newsletter you’ll be getting my latest one tomorrow. It is your article to which I have added a few notes.

        I am eagerly awaiting a new cover for my book Bugging In: What To Do When TSHTF and You Live in Suburbia–revised and expanded edition. I’m hoping to release it this month.

          1. Linda, I’ll definitely let you know when the book is released. It’ll probably come out as a Kindle edition first as I’m not sure how long it will take to get the print copy done. I used to use CreateSpace for that and it was simple.

            The Dying Time Newsletter, Volume 73, will be out tomorrow as I always put them out on the last day of the month.

      1. Amy, me too, along with rabbit and pretty much anything else that didn’t eat us first. My grandmother could fix any wild food so it tasted good–never gamey. I think that kind of cooking may be a largely lost art awaiting rediscovery.

        1. Ray, I totally agree!
          Sounds like we had similar types of grandmothers. Such a blessing.
          PS personal wild game favorite – pheasant.

  5. Hi Linda,
    It seems as though the time may be coming soon when people will not be able to go to the grocery store. Our food supply chain is fragile.
    Or at least, a certain segment of the population without “passports” won’t be welcome. I hope folks can see the writing on the wall & prepare themselves. Thank you for sharing great wisdom in an informative & non sensational way. I’ll be referring some friends to your site. It’s upsetting that many folks don’t even keep a weeks worth of food in their homes!

    1. Hi Amy, I agree, it scares me knowing so many do not have even a week’s worth of food in their home. Our food chain is indeed fragile. This is why I’m teaching my readers how to make bread, sourdough bread, biscuits, crackers, etc. My goal is to teach people how to cook from scratch and be prepared for the unexpected. Let’s hope they want to learn and teach their kids and grandkids. It takes a village, Linda

  6. I have stored both vegetable seeds AND herb seeds (both culinary and medicinal). While I don’t currently have much space to grow a garden and certainly not enough room for animals, I do have a plan in mind. I have a 12 foot long X 4 food wide deck that gets decent sunshine during the normal growing season. I have enough bins and buckets to create a 40 square foot garden – have to leave enough room to open the door that opens out!! I have plastic that I will be able to “create” a greenhouse to extend my growing season. I also have the materials socked away in my little storage closet to create trellises so I can grow up!

    With the preps I have on hand and continue to add into, I am not afraid of not having a grocery store. I have made several friends at my Farmer’s Market who raise animals as well as fruits and veggies. They sell to individuals as well as at the market. I am not going to bank on them, however, as they probably have a lot of people who will be trying to buy from them. I am also within walking distance of a lake with good fishing. That being said, though, I agree with Matt that the hunting and fishing likely will be wiped out in short order when SHTF and we need to resort to that for feeding ourselves and our families.

    Ray, I just signed up for your newsletter. Will take some time in the next few days to fully explore your website. Thanks.

    1. Hi Leanne, you have a plan and that’s what critical. You have the knowledge to do it which a lot of people do not have. We have to be able to work with what we have. I would love a bigger yard to grow more food but that’s not in the cards. In all reality, if I can produce what I need in the raised boxes I have I will make it work. You are making what you have available work. I love your idea of a greenhouse on the deck. It will work. Knowledge and skills are a blessing. Linda

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