The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Buying in Bulk

Longevity of bulk foodsThe seemingless endless line of unrecyclable empty cocoa tins in the barn pushed me over the edge into buying in bulk.  The concept of bulk food makes ecological sense (cut down on packaging), emergency preparedness sense, and financial sense.  Still, it took me a month after considering bulk food before I actually made the leap --- here's why:

First I had to figure out what to buy, and how much. 
I've summarized how long various foods can be expected to last in the table to the left.  I decided to start out with a "small" amount of a few items for our first experiment, skipping the sugar and pasta which seem to cost the same in the grocery store as in bulk, any items which last less than six months, and items we don't use enough of to merit a bulk purchase.

We live at least an hour and a half's drive from the nearest bulk food store, so I initially considered buying online.  M
ost folks recommend Walton Feed for online bulk food, and their prices did indeed seem to be perfect.  However, once you load up your shopping cart and proceed to checkout you'll find out that shipping costs are as high as food costs.  Not my cup of tea!  Read more....



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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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