October 8, 2014

Free And Almost Free Food

Apples gleaned on my daily walk show the free abundance of nature.

I can't think of many things better than free food. In my ideal world no one would have to pay for clean air, food, or water (or medical care, but that is another post for another day).

That is why I like a garden - it feels like free food even if you do have to buy seeds and equipment and work hard. Most gardeners will tell you that their garden is so prolific and abundant that you can't help but share the bounty freely with those lucky enough to be close by.

I can't count the number of times someone has stuffed a giant zucchini into my mailbox, or left a bunch of carrots on my doorstep when I lived with a hundred other simple living, garden growing folks in Sundance Housing Cooperative.

The closest we got to free garden bounty this year is when Linda's relatives visited from another part of Nova Scotia recently. They brought us a whole box of fresh veggies from their back yard garden which is obviously doing very well judging by the perfect cucumbers, carrots, peas and tomatoes that were gifted to us. I wish our local grocery store had produce as nice and fresh, never mind free.

But the grocery store I shop at does discount lots of good food by 50% when items are approaching their best before date. Included is produce that doesn't look perfect, but is otherwise fine. Since I am not ready for dumpster diving just yet, food reduced by half is as free as it gets at the store.

I have found a small source of local free food that is not dependent on far away relatives or discounting grocery workers.

On my daily walks I have been getting to know my area, and have discovered a lot of abandoned farm land. Most of the properties include apple trees with ripe apples beginning to fall in piles on the ground below. Every day I collect pockets full of beautiful apples still hanging from bending branches.

These trees amply reflect the abundance of nature. They are giving trees. Free food for anyone that walks by.


  1. You're right, nothing tastes as good as free food! this year we beat the slugs to our beans (by mulching them with fur trimmings from our poodle cross!) which was very satisfying. The raspberries and rhubarb also did really well. The excess was swapped with neighbours for courgettes (zucchini?), tomatos and apples, which was even better. We only have a tiny plot, but our freezer is full and neighbourly relations are on a high!

    1. CharlotteP,

      Nice haul. Good food, good neighbours. Good stuff.

  2. Free food....yes, yes, yes. I see it all around me on trees and in gardens and often times neighbours and friends will pass it my way. I am forever grateful for that. Fascinated by the freegan life which was more prolific in Vancouver now I live in rural Australia and I am pretty sure I would be run out of town if I took anything food from the dumpster. We have a garden going this year as we are in spring and I look forward to the bounty. I look forward to people stuffing my mail box with food and me there's :) I talk alot about a bartering freegan life and the food I am given on my blog (apologies for the plug :)

    1. V.E.V.,

      Wow - Vancouver to rural Australia. And we thought we made a big move from one end of Canada to the other.

      We are also interested in the freegan life and will be checking your blog out. Plugs to like-minded blogs are welcome here.

      Happy spring. Hope the gardening is great.

  3. Anonymous10/09/2014

    There is something very special about gathering your own food.

    1. Terri,

      Yes. It connects us to our sustenance in a way that has been lost for so many people. But the urge still resides in every cell of our bodies.

  4. Those apples are a wonderful find. You're lucky you were able to pick them without getting in trouble. Up in PA, we'd be afraid to do what you did for fear of getting shot. We'd really like to have a veggie garden again someday. Hopefully our next house will have a sunny plot in the yard for one.

    1. Clamco,

      Shot? Oh dear.

      I am visualizing your next house with a big yard and a nice sunny spot for your veggie patch.

  5. Anonymous10/10/2014

    Excellent! Those are happy apples, which will provide for your happiness. What a gift. -Erin in TX

    1. Erin,

      They are some of the tastiest apples I have ever had.

  6. I love free food. I have 20 lbs of pears I picked from a neighbor's tree. And, one of the managers gave me two bags of vegetables. That was a surprise.

    1. P.P.

      Practical Parsimony picked a peck of perfect pears. Sorry, I couldn't resist. I love pears. But what does one do with twenty pounds of perfect pears?


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