Amid the UK's ongoing cost-of-living crisis, a family of four has found a way to cut their supermarket costs to just £5 a month by growing their own food and foraging in local forests.
The British family avoided the cost of living crisis by getting all their food on their own - in the garden and in the forest. At the same time, they spend only 5 pounds (about 370 rubles) per month on pasta and olive oil in the supermarket.
As writes Daily MailJim Parums, 32, who lives in Altrincham, Manchester, discovered foraging at a young age after seeing his grandmother Ann pick mushrooms.
Now Jim has taught his wife, 35-year-old Kat Parums, and his two young daughters the art of survival by foraging on their own. All meals in their home are prepared with products grown in their garden and collected from local forests.
In January 2020, Jim tried to cut out his weekly grocery shopping trips after he got fed up with processed, frozen and expensive foods.
And the family liked their new way of life so much that they stuck to it and continued to get fresh produce from the environment.
The family is now saving over £100 a week living on their land and needing to go to the supermarket just to buy a few essentials, spending just £5 a month.
Jim, who has been a professional forager since October 2019, says: “Some of the tastiest ingredients are waiting on your doorstep. With a little guidance, foraging can be used at every meal, and weekly visits to high-end stores can be drastically reduced. My family and I rarely visit our local shop because we have everything we need in our garden or outside. We only buy pasta and olive oil, barely over our £5 spending limit at the local shop.”
After childhood adventures with his grandmother Ann, Jim discovered his talent for gathering after learning to easily identify mushrooms at a glance as a young man.
A father of two, Jim continued his passion while completing his degree in electronic engineering from Ashton University in Birmingham in 2011. At this time, Jim was picking berries and making wine from them for his friends.
Jim said: “We were young and just wanted something to drink, so I thought, why not, I'll figure it out myself. It was terrible, but it definitely worked. My winemaking has improved a lot in recent years.”
In April 2015 Jim met his wife Kat at work when they were both in the hospitality industry and in 2019 they moved to Manchester. But he quickly got tired of the "daily routine" and instead decided to do what he loved.
Jim says: “At first Kat was confused by my obsession with mushrooms, but after she prepared a full three-course meal for her, she was blown away! In just five years, Kat has become an incredible collector. Even our eldest daughter at the age of three can distinguish mushrooms by specks.
The gathering family spends their mornings picking various mushrooms, berries and plants to use for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast, they will have homemade jam from grown and wild berries with freshly baked bread.
Jim's typical family dinner consists of a variety of fruits picked from their garden, and their meals change with the seasons.
Jim says: “We grow a lot of fruits and vegetables in our garden, but it all depends on the time of year. Our friends and family love the foraging lifestyle and some of them even learn some useful tips and tricks. Some of our dishes are dramatically enhanced by earthy flavors that only nature can provide. While people spend £10 on fruits and vegetables every week, we grow and harvest food for free. Weekly grocery shopping can be a heavy burden on people's finances, while we save hundreds of pounds every year by ditching the idea of weekly grocery shopping. The average weekly grocery store cost for a family of four is around £90, if not much more, and we barely reach that amount in a month. Our entire family is foodies and we have discovered some of the most delicious combinations you can find on the street. Our daughters have never been picky eaters and enjoyed every meal we made for them. Food is not thrown away, we use what we need, and we recycle the leftovers and make compost out of them.”