Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Free Food

Several weeks ago, I started a private Facebook group called Baeza Family Free Farmacy. I asked my Facebook friends to let me know if they'd like to be added to the group. Right now there are 40 members.The sole purpose of the group is to give away free, fresh food from my garden. I happen to think that's pretty cool.

Think of it as a free community library, food version. 
But not.
You don't have to leave something, to take something.
No fee or expectation.
Only a "take what you will use" rule.
Waste not, want not mentality.
I've always given away extra produce from the garden, and eggs from the hens. Let's face it, when you start keeping hens, you end up wanting more. You learn about different breeds, and add to your flock. Soon, you end up with tons of pets that just so happen to produce eggs.
A few times, when starting out, I let friends pay a couple of bucks for eggs. After all, I do have to pay to feed them. I did have to pay for the garden start-up, the cartons, etc.
But it just didn't feel right.

I wanted to do something good and something that just plain made sense.

Common sense was telling me, "if you KNOW that you aren't going to use it before it goes bad, WHY are you stockpiling it in your fridge for it to waste away?" 
"WHY do you have so many eggs that you've resorted to giant bowls of eggs in the fridge?"
Once you find yourself doing the water check for egg freshness, you know you have too many eggs. 
You know the trick, right? Fill up a bowl with water, and gently drop in your egg, if it floats, it's bad; stays at the bottom, it's fresh; has one end on the bottom and one end floating up, use it soon. 

Common sense said, give it away.
There is no reinvention of the wheel here, no grandiose ideas, only a small effort to not waste life-giving fresh food.

 Yes, I still have plenty for us to eat. 
And the chickens too.
The chickens keep me from being swallowed alive by cherry tomatoes that I didn't even plant.

I don't give away what I can reasonably use or have time to preserve. Seriously though, sometimes you just can't bear to can another batch of pickles. Sometimes the mere sight of a canning jar leaves you wincing in exhaustion.

The "rules" are simple: Only claim what you will actually eat, save your cartons and return them to me the next time you pick something up. It means that I'm not losing money constantly by ordering new cartons (or killing more trees). 

Now, when I know that I have extra, I post a quick photo in the group and the first person to claim it, picks it up that day. If they know they can't pick it up that day, they don't claim it. 

Maybe you'll think about starting a free food group in your community as well!

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