I'm a student. All I contribute to my household's finances is debt. I hate that. Unfortunately that is how it has to be for now. I am trying to minimize that by kicking butt scholastically and earning scholarships. There is a limit to that though. The main way I work to limit debt is by not spending money.
Growing my own food is a huge part of that. However, if I spent a ton of money getting "set up" I am most likely going to spend more than I would have just buying from a local organic farmer. This is where many get in to trouble. It is really easy to get caught up in "needing" this or that before one can get started. I fell into that trap in the beginning, then I ran out of money. Literally. We had a negative balance in the checking account.
Most of our bills had been paid, but there was less than nothing left. My tomatoes really needed to be staked and it was time to start some greens that were to be distributed at the church. I had no cages or t-posts for the tomatoes and no flats to use for the give away transplants.
I had been to a few farms and seen them using tobacco stakes for their tomatoes and one of my friends had some warped ones in his burn pile. After a desperate phone call I was picking through his burn pile for the least warped stakes. While I was there my farmer friend told me he had a pile of trash he couldn't recycle going to the dump. He offered to give me whatever I wanted from there. I figured beggars can't be choosers so I jumped right in. I found close to thirty usable flats to start my transplants!!!
That was a transformational moment for me. I realized there was a way for me to further remove my family from the bondage of over consumption. I know we still need to purchase some things. I am not advocating the position that everything a family needs can be found in other's cast offs, but great deal can.
Over the next few days I will post on how my family benefits from gleaning, thrifting, and scavenging/garbage picking/dumpster diving .