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How do you get your groceries?

Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.
View Poll Results: How do you get your groceries?
Frequent trips, buying just a few items at a time
23
51.11%
Weekly trips
17
37.78%
Monthly trips/"stocking up" and possibly as needed trips thrown in
4
8.89%
Online vendors/have it delivered.
1
2.22%
Raise/grow your own
0
0%
Voters: 45. You may not vote on this poll

How do you get your groceries?

Old 10-11-13, 12:39 AM
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no1mad 
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How do you get your groceries?

Face it- one of the biggest challenges of giving up the car is how to get food from the store to the table.

Discuss the solutions that have worked for you in order to give any members or lurkers options if they are considering making a go of the LCF lifestyle.
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Old 10-11-13, 12:42 AM
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Well, for decades I used a backpack until Kroger started hassling me too much. So I switched to two SunLite Grocery Getter panniers and a Jandd rack. I'm much happier. The panniers are much more comfortable and carry the equivalent to two grocery bags, which is more than enough for me.
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Old 10-11-13, 07:45 AM
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When I was carfree in Winnipeg, I walked to the grocery store (2 km round trip) about 3 times a week. I bought as much as I could carry ... and that helped reduce the amount of junk food I ate. I had to make wise choices.

Then about once every 4-6 months or so, I would do a big shopping trip. I would rent a car for the weekend (usually for a cycling event, but I would also do a big shopping trip), or I would take the bus to the big shopping centre and then get a taxi home, or I would have my groceries delivered using a grocery shopping and delivery service.

In recent years, we were living in a small town. On rare occasions we'd use the van to get groceries, but most of the time I would pick up groceries 4-5 days a week on my walk home from work at lunchtime.
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Old 10-11-13, 08:28 AM
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I stop by at the grocery store nearly daily, on my commute back home. Just a habit for us. I bring the heavy stuff (liquids, baby food and such), SO brings the delicate stuff (veggies etc). On weekends we take the trailer.

Come to think of it, I don't consider it a challenge at all.

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Old 10-11-13, 09:25 AM
  #5  
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I hang a back pack and a cloth shopping bag over my handlebars. If I buy a lot I'll put the back pack on and hang two cloth bags over the handlebars. I have a hybrid cruiser with the bars much higher than a conventional bicycle. The difficulty is finding a bag that has long enough handles to reach across the span of the bar ends. I've got a couple of good ones now. They usually last two to three years before falling apart.

This is a little bit more work than using baskets but I don't have the weight of the baskets on the bicycle all of the time.
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Old 10-11-13, 10:07 AM
  #6  
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I do a combo of frequent "daily" trips and weekly trips. We have a family of 6 (2 teens, 1 preteen & 1- 7 yo boy)<--'nuff said about quantity and I have a trailer that I use for Costco-sized runs. For Trader Joe's or Whole Foods runs, I will use either the Travoy or panniers. Just got a cargo bike, so am hoping to replace the trailer and fit our Costco run (every 2 wks) into more doable 1x/wk runs. I love grocery shopping by bike!
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Old 10-11-13, 10:33 AM
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surly big dummy when I buy lots of stuff. Otherwise an old mtb with a milk crate strapped to the rear rack.
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Old 10-11-13, 10:59 AM
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For the most part we get what we can carry from the store but the walk is about .5 miles. We will borrow a friend's vehicle to do bigger shopping at Aldi's maybe twice a month.

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Old 10-11-13, 12:34 PM
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I just got a small Allen Sports cargo trailer. What I like about it is that it can be easily converted to a hand cart, so I use it to shop and don't have to worry about buying more than the cart will haul.
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Old 10-11-13, 12:45 PM
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I've wondered the answer to this as well. I come here just out of interest since living in the middle of nowhere, I definitely couldn't live without my car. My wife grocery shops once a week, anywhere from $200-250 (includes all toiletries as well.) Fills the back of her car, I would never be able to carry that on a bike. Never thought of a trailer though, that would work as well as if you could bike to the grocery store, you could do it more than once a week.
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Old 10-11-13, 01:00 PM
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For several years I loaded my panniers on the commute home a couple times a week. Now, I have the obscene luxury of going to Publix with my golf cart once a week--too easy!
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Old 10-11-13, 02:24 PM
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I do my grocery shopping 3 times per week in small amounts instead of one big load, I am using my messenger bag and a trunk bag for carrying all the stuff. There are 3 different grocery stores which I use, the closest ones are about 2 miles away but it doesn't carry some of the foodstuffs which I use, so I need to make a trip to another store which is 7 miles away...Grocery shopping on a bicycle is easier then most people think.
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Old 10-11-13, 04:27 PM
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I go to the local supermarket about twice a week. Once with two panniers and once with my trailer. The latter trip allows me to pick up large items like rolls of tp or boxes of beer.

I also make trips to the health food store... usually twice a month. I normally take a single pannier.

Lately, I've been getting lazy. I'll stretch out my supermarket trip (it's less than a mile...) and discover there's nothing to eat in the house.

So I'm thinking about a trip in a few minutes. I'm out of beer
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Old 10-11-13, 06:54 PM
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To feed the 4 of us (2 adults, 1 teen, 1 preteen) we got to the natural foods co-op twice a week. The farmer's market 1-2 times a week, and the supermarket every other week. It's divided up between us so no one person is doing all the shopping and all the locations are near either home or work. Currently, we either walk or take the bus for shopping due to injury. Previously, we used a bike trailer for the supermarket trips.

ETA, when it was just the 2 of us we did a weekly trip walking or biking. When the second was a toddler we added a second trip. The current routine is because they are eating us out of house and home.

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Old 10-11-13, 07:38 PM
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Nowadays, I cheat -- I let my sister, whose family lives with me, bring the groceries home.

Right after I got rid of my car, she and her husband had to spend an extended period of time with his mother, handling her home and personal matters. I had the kids home with me, as they were in school. Once or twice a week, as needed, I'd hook up the trailer, ride to the store, haul it home, and we'd be good. But since husband is set in the car-centric life, he more or less insisted that they handle things once everyone was back home. (He's the same one who told me later I needed to "grow up and buy another car". But yet, I'M supporting the family....)
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Old 10-11-13, 07:46 PM
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Once a week I start up my big assed turbo diesel 4X4 and go get the groceries... Sorry but that's the way it is...
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Old 10-11-13, 07:57 PM
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I get my groceries from a variety of sources. Two or three times per week I walk to my two closest grocery stores, about a mile away, and fill up a daypack and cloth sack. During the summer, I walk to the farmer's market (2 miles away) once per week to get a few things. I also grow quite a bit of produce in the community garden (one block away) and in my own small yard. Once a week or so I will either walk or ride to a larger grocer (3 miles away) and either fill up the huge baskets on my wife's town bike as well as my own (if we have orders that have come in) or just fill up a daypack or two. Once every couple of months we ride to Costco (5 miles away) and that usually coincides with a trip to another of our small grocers that has a few things I only buy there (also 5 miles away). Every couple of weeks I walk downtown (2 miles) to shop at a small grocery store that is owned by my favorite local politician; if I'm lucky George is there and we chat for a while. About once every three months I stroll to a chain store and get a few things (3-4 miles). We also have a local wholesaler who sells bulk items to the public (extra discount for arriving by bike); I use the cart and go there three or four times per year. The discount is maximized for orders over $500, so I don't go until I reach that threshold. (My chocolate addiction gets me there quickly.)

Sometimes, when we have the urge to do something like can several gallons of tomato paste and we haven't grown enough tomatoes, we use a cart to haul a few hundred pounds of tomatoes from a local farm (about 6 miles away). Some years we go get strawberries or some other delight; the small farms are quite close but the suburban traffic is a bit of a pain.

My three favorite things are eating good food, walking and cycling. I don't find grocery shopping to be in the least challenging. In fact, I look forward to doing it and will often walk to a grocery store just to pretend an aimless stroll has some functional purpose. I am still amazed at the wonderful food from all over the world that is so conveniently available to me.
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Old 10-11-13, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Face it- one of the biggest challenges of giving up the car is how to get food from the store to the table.

Discuss the solutions that have worked for you in order to give any members or lurkers options if they are considering making a go of the LCF lifestyle.
I don't consider trips to the grocery store to be any kind of challenge at all. It's not rocket science; in fact, making something so simple seem like an arduous hurdle only serves to make LCF seem a lot harder than it actually is. You ride to the store, buy groceries, put them in your panniers/trailer/backpack/messenger bag, and ride home. It's pretty much like driving a car to the grocery store, only parking is a bit less stressful and you enjoy the trip more.
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Old 10-11-13, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bragi View Post
I don't consider trips to the grocery store to be any kind of challenge at all. It's not rocket science; in fact, making something so simple seem like an arduous hurdle only serves to make LCF seem a lot harder than it actually is. You ride to the store, buy groceries, put them in your panniers/trailer/backpack/messenger bag, and ride home. It's pretty much like driving a car to the grocery store, only parking is a bit less stressful and you enjoy the trip more.
While I'm glad that you (and a couple of others) have no issues with your grocery runs... have you stopped to consider that there are those that might wonder about this? As one other respondent in this thread has?
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Old 10-11-13, 11:30 PM
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Over many years of being carfree, I've used many methods to grocery shop--walk, taxi, ride with friends, bus, and of course bicycle. I don't like carrying groceries on the bus. I always really enjoyed using the bike. Really, really enjoyed it.

When I lived alone, I shopped several times a week. I never bought more than I could fit in a backpack, with fragile items dangling on the handlebars and bread loaves clipped to the outside of the backpack. I paid more to buy at stores that were fun. I bought meat at the butcher shop, produce at the produce store, baked goods at the bakery, and I went to the farmers market at least once a week. We have a "city market" that's the most fun of all. I was a regular there and talked with all the vendors. In the summer and fall, I also rode far out into the countryside and bought directly from farmers.

Now I live with my family. Grocery shopping is not my job in the household division of labor. I do miss it!
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Old 10-12-13, 04:30 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by bragi View Post
I don't consider trips to the grocery store to be any kind of challenge at all. It's not rocket science; in fact, making something so simple seem like an arduous hurdle only serves to make LCF seem a lot harder than it actually is. You ride to the store, buy groceries, put them in your panniers/trailer/backpack/messenger bag, and ride home. It's pretty much like driving a car to the grocery store, only parking is a bit less stressful and you enjoy the trip more.
No so easy if you have to buy a jug of cat litter, a 40lb bag of dog food and a gallon of milk in addition to the additional four bags of groceries. If someone lives far from a store sometimes it's preferred to do your shopping all in one trip.
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Old 10-12-13, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
No so easy if you have to buy a jug of cat litter, a 40lb bag of dog food and a gallon of milk in addition to the additional four bags of groceries. If someone lives far from a store sometimes it's preferred to do your shopping all in one trip.
I get around this by buying smaller lots. So when I had a cat, I just bought the smaller kitty litter bars or made one special trip for a big bag. The trip was made with a trailer.

Luckily my supermarket is only 1 km from the house.

If I lived a good distance from the store, I would consider renting a truck once a year and buying every swinging 50 pound item I needed.
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Old 10-12-13, 08:16 AM
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I use several of the means and methods listed in the poll.

We typically shop once a week, however we do quarterly stock runs and stock up on staple stuff from the warehouse clubs. We also grow a lot of our own veggies, eggs and chickens are right here too. There are many foods I order on line because they are no longer available locally, things like Blackstrap Molasses, spices and other odds and ends. I have ridden the 14 mile one way trip from the feed store in the town up the road with a 60# bag of chicken feed laid over the top of the panniers, which were loaded with another 35# of stuff... long slow trip on the uphills, hauling ass on the downhills. FWIW my dog is a connoisseur and we buy his food in 5# bags. (actually a 5# bag lasts over a week, he is not a huge eater)

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Old 10-12-13, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
No so easy if you have to buy a jug of cat litter, a 40lb bag of dog food and a gallon of milk in addition to the additional four bags of groceries. If someone lives far from a store sometimes it's preferred to do your shopping all in one trip.
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Old 10-12-13, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
No so easy if you have to buy a jug of cat litter, a 40lb bag of dog food and a gallon of milk in addition to the additional four bags of groceries. If someone lives far from a store sometimes it's preferred to do your shopping all in one trip.
I had 3 cats when I was carfree. So usually one of my 3x per week trips to the grocery store involved picking up a bag of kitty litter and/or cat food. And that meant that what I could buy for me was very limited.

I was the thinnest and fittest I've ever been. Amazing what happens when you simply cannot bring home junk food!
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