Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is it cheap?

What are you willing to pay for your food? Are you willing to pay for less chemicals, better quality, better flavor, good wages and healthy work conditions for the people who create your food? We've been conditioned to look for cheap, but cheap and good in my experience never seem to go together. I've been reconditioning my "cheap" brain and the interesting thing is I am not going to the poor house.

The premise of these changes is this, I don't want to pay for the impacts of my cheap choices down the road. I don't want to pay the added healthcare costs for eating crap and poor working conditions, the added welfare costs of people not being able to make a fair wage, the added cost of clean ups of destroyed, chemical laden lands.

Here are some things we've changed and while they on the surface seemed more expensive, in the long run they have not been so.

1. We joined a CSA - Two small farms and get a box of produce each week which comes out to about $20 a week. It's more than enough produce for the two of us. For example this week we got Lettuce, summer squash, red potatoes, parsley, strawberries, kale and avocados.

The best part of the CSA is getting those things that I would never try such as Fava beans, my new favorite, or things that I would never buy which are really good for me and tasty like Kale. The other benefit to this produce is it is picked the day it is delivered and it is picked ripe, so not only does it last longer than produce from the grocery store but it is better tasting. I waste less. I never get moldy berries and I rarely throw something away because it doesn't taste good. I also don't get produce that's been shipped, trucked or airlifted from far away so my purchase doesn't contribute to the extensive cost we are all going to be paying for the destruction of our living spaces. In addition the farms are stewards of an open space water shed and are actually improving the land they farm on.

2. We purchase a split half of grass fed beef each year. The beef comes out to about $6.40 per lb. This is an average over all of the cuts which makes it sound more expensive, but I contend that it is not since we get cuts of filet, and rib eye, in fact all cuts that you could imagine. Again the flavor is superior, it has a much smaller percentage of fat, and the fat that it does have is healthy fat. The cattle are healthy, the land is healthy and the workers are healthy. I like supporting that. Check out Morris Ranch to see what I am talking about.

3. We have lessened our consumerism. Thinking about our purchases, buying recycled things at thrift stores and garage sales...and asking ourselves do I really need that new blouse, new chair, can I refinish, refurbish the old instead of buying new?

I'm not perfect by any means, my cheap brain comes out often and I have to talk it down but I hope I am making a difference and I think I am feeling less "cheapened" by my choices.

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