I write this with food cost inflation in mind, honestly. I’ll write more about inflation, seen and unseen, later on this week. But for now, let’s talk about ways we can creatively build food sustainability into our lives even while living in a suburban or urban environment. In particular, I want to talk about livestock.
Now it sounds a little silly to talk about livestock in an urban environment. But it actually doesn’t take much space to raise small livestock. And many cities and counties explicitly allow for small livestock on residential land.
Chickens are the obvious choice for many people. They’re pretty easy to take care of and are quite inexpensive for the most part. You can get eggs from them, meat, or both. We can’t have chickens where we live, but my folks can and do. So we can enjoy the benefits but we would definitely prefer to have chickens of our own.
If you can have them, and are so inclined, I highly recommend getting chickens. I’ll have a whole guest post on chickens coming one of these days with even more details.
Rabbits are cheap and quite easy to raise. They don’t yield eggs, obviously, but are a good source of protein. They breed quickly and don’t take up too much space. You can even raise them in your garage if desired, which can get past those pesky neighborhood nazis Home Owners Association Representatives.
Some folks are a bit squeamish about rabbits as food, but it is worth considering keeping them anyways. I guarantee that if you need them, you’ll eat them!
You generally don’t want to eat them, but a ready source of honey can be a huge improvement to your overall preparedness levels. Depending on the area you are in, a single hive can produce anywhere from 80-200 lbs of honey every year. Whatever you don’t use yourself, you can barter or sell. Raw honey goes for anywhere from $2.50 – $4.00 per pound. You do the math!
Most areas are fine with beekeeping, and even if they’re not, you can usually find a farmer or two who would love to host your hives. This is one thing we’re going to be doing this spring. I’ll be documenting the entire effort, of course, and will share my findings with you all!
Buying Finished Animals
This is less something you do all the time, but instead is something you do periodically to improve your food storage. Basically you find a rancher somewhere nearby that has cows or pigs and buy one from them. Beef is the classic model here, you can buy a quarter of a beef easily in most areas. Our latest beef was slaughtered a few weeks ago and will be ready for pickup soon. The benefits of this are a higher quality meat, a better average price for the meat, and locking in your price in the face of impending food cost inflation.
I hope this gives you food for thought, no pun intended. Think creatively, think sustainably, and take action!