A lot of folks are going through tough times. One great way to save a little money on food is to grow some of your own fresh food. Even a few plants, grown in the ground or in containers, can produce armloads of vegetables that you will not have to buy. As a recession-buster, a seed company in Colorado is offering free tomato seeds for anyone who is unemployed or has a family in need. 2B Seeds will honor this offer for heirloom tomatoes as long as their supplies last. "Buyers" must pay shipping costs of $1.95 for each packet of tomato seeds, but to offset shipping costs, 2B seeds will send you double the normal quantity. During the Great Depression, the owner's grandparents gave away free seeds to those in need, so they wanted to do the same by taking no profit. And no, this is not an April Fool's Day posting. Link: http://www.2bseeds.com/free-tomato-seeds.shtml
A quick check of eBay, using the search term "tomato seeds" and limiting results to their "Buy It Now" format revealed more than 100 item listings for immediate purchase at $1.99 and under. Most of these are seed packets of 10-30 seeds for various varieties. Many are from amateur sellers and seed collectors, so quality is not a given, but the selection and prices are quite impressive. Your local nursery or hardware store may sell seeds for a similar price also. Also check with your local Master Gardeners to see if there is a seed exchange program in your area (not all areas have these, but if yours does and it's free, then you can't beat the price).
Are you planning to buy tomatoes this summer at the store, fruit stand, or farmer's market? Two dollars buys you a handful. But if you only plant one seed, you'll be looking at armloads of fresh food (but plant a few for good measure anyway). And homegrown tomatoes taste a lot better, are grown using organic methods, and are more nutritious straight from the garden. Talk about doubling, tripling, quadrupling, or (more likely) ten- or twenty-tupling your investment. Can't do better on the stock market!
If you have been thinking of starting a garden but avoiding it, now's the time to try. Tomatoes are America's favorite homegrown crop for a good reason (they taste great, are easy to grow, and produce prolific quantities of food). But consider that the same logic applies to other things you and your family like to eat…carrots, spinach, lettuce, green beans, potatoes, squash, blueberries, apples, etc. All this can be done even on a balcony, patio, or rooftop if that's all you have.
A quick word of warning: food gardening is a slippery slope. Once you get started, it's addictive, and you'll want to grow more and more. You won't look back. It will change your life and improve your family's health, nutrition, sense of taste, and connectedness with nature. Your life will never be the same!