I think almost everyone has, at one time or another, heard their mother say “money doesn’t grow on trees”. I try to teach my children not to waste things, especially food. Food is our biggest expense. Feeding 5 people isn’t cheap, but I have to stop myself every time I feel the urge to tell my kids that “money doesn’t grow on trees”, or even worse – that “food doesn’t grow on trees”!
True, money does not grow on trees, but food does. We, however, do not own any of those trees that grow free food. We buy our “tree-grown” food at a store, co-op, or through a farm share program. Just because we don’t won food-bearing trees doesn’t mean that we can’t pick free food though. (And no, I’m not talking about stealing!)
Earlier this afternoon, my grandfather dropped off some mushrooms that he had picked. (A word of caution here: Do NOT EVER eat mushrooms unless you are absolutely positive that they have been correctly identified.) The mushrooms, which were oyster mushrooms, did in fact “grow on a tree”. Now, I can’t tell my kids “Don’t waste that food, mushrooms don’t grow on trees ya know!” because oyster mushrooms actually do grow on trees.
Moving on, when we take our evening walks, we walk by apple trees, strawberry plants, and blackberry and raspberry bushes. They’re on public land, so they too could be free food. As a matter of fact, a local park in my area has an entire half acre of blueberry bushes for the public to pick berries from!
Berry bushes aren’t trees, but food does grow on them. Berries may not be money, but they could be bought or sold for money, so it’s close to the same thing. They have a monetary value.
This time of year is a great time to start exploring the food that is growing all around you. Not only will it save you money, it’ll also provide you with healthy food and quality time picking apples/berries/whatever with your children. I’m not saying you have to become a back-yard forager eating puff balls and dandelion greens, but if you don’t have room for a garden, picking food from various locations in your community could be a frugal healthy way to lower your grocery bill.
Article by Randi Millward