Recent posts in the blogosphere about eating local, sustainably/humanely raised food got me thinking about our own food purchases.
And if at this point you were expecting the commencement of a cohesive, clearly processed ideology, you would be wrong. Welcome to my random scattered thoughts. Sure,I've read Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation and are somewhat aware of what's going on with our food culture and the benefit of eating locally, responsibly raised food, but that's about the extent of my knowledge. I like to keep my head empty.
A few years ago, I remember a woman saying she disagreed with the whole organic/local movement because she thought it was something just for the upper middle class and above who could afford it. So it was classist, or something like that. I didn't have anything to respond with because I was like "guuh duuuh" but some people who were there responded that the more that people buy local/organic/whatever food, the more it will make it affordable for everyone in the long run. People can debate this forever, and I won't get into it because like I said I'm kind of duuuh about the matter.
I will say this, eating responsibly is not cheap, at least for now.
This is an extreme example, but Kevin and I recently contemplated joining a community-supported agriculture (CSA) group. We had thought about it in the past but various things got in the way, like the unavailability of half-shares (they give out 8-15 lbs of produce per week, folks, which means I would be pooping out straight spinach) and pickup times on weekday evenings, which are not ideal for someone who likes to cook/plan meals on weekends. But a few weekends ago we saw that a little restaurant around the corner from us was working with one of their farm suppliers and offering CSA shares, with pickups on Saturday mornings. Right around the corner! Perfect! I immediately emailed the folks inquiring about the price of a share.
One thousand dollars per share. Yes. $1000.
This is almost twice the amount of other shares I've seen in the area. COME ON do they come with diamonds? Or those coffee beans pooped out by wild cats? Needless to say, this particular CSA was not in our future.
As disappointed as we were not to create fuzzy wuzzy connection with one farm in particular, it wasn't too much of a blow because I love LOVE my nearby supermarket and we go to the farmers' markets on a regular basis. I was curious this week as to just how much it costs for us to purchase and eat local food that is presumably raised with responsible and humane practices, so I kept tabs.
Here's the list of what we purchased from the farmers' market:
- Chicken (not pictured): $37.40
- 1 pint grape tomatoes: $6
- 1/2 dozen eggs (not pictured): $3.50
- Cantaloupe: $6
- 1.5 lbs fava beans: $6
- 1 bunch basil: $3.50
- 1.25 lb okra: $4 (about)
- 1/2 gallon milk: $7
- 1.5 lb potatoes: $4 (not sure)
- 1/2 loaf bread: $4.50
Obviously the chicken is the biggest component of this bill. It's awesome chicken, by the way--I'm not a huge chicken person but this stuff is so tender and flavorful that it's worthy of a special occasion meal, which is usually not the case with chicken. But it's expensive (also, I bought at least a pound too much, which is now in my freezer--I feel like I'm committing a sin by freezing such beautiful chicken). I get why it's expensive, but it's yet another reason why Kevin and I have reduced our meat consumption. We'll let other folks splurge until the prices come down, that one day far off in utopia.
I also had to buy a few supplies from the supermarket, such as pasta. Add on other things like cereal, canned tomatoes, garlic, etc. and I spent about $25 at the grocery store.
So our total grocery bill for this week is about $107.40. I can get about 3 meals out of this, which should feed us for almost the whole week, but there will still probably be one or two times that we buy lunch or dinner.
Anyway, just food and money for thought. How much money do you spend on groceries each week?