Is Sustainable Food Affordable?

| 3/26/2009 12:33:42 PM

sustainable food challengeOne thing that I've been reading a lot about lately is how trying to eat sustainably is just not affordable for most people and it's only the rich that can afford to shop at the high-end organic supermarkets like Whole Foods. The classic stereotype is the yuppie green-wannabe spending hundreds of dollars a week buying imported organic produce or trendy specialty natural products. On the opposite end of the stereotype are the organic beans and rice, bulk food buying hippies.

But is there something in between? Can a sustainable lifestyle, preferably chock-full of locally and sustainably grown produce, meats, dairy and other products that are affordable, be achieved by the average American? I am convinced that it can be.

How does one define affordability? Well, one way of going about it is to use the federal government's food assistance program's guidelines. For example, they assume that a family of four should be able to eat reasonably well on a food budget of $588 a month. This also assumes that, most likely, conventionally grown foods are being purchased and not "expensive" locally or sustainably grown food.

I've challenged the readers of my blog, for the month of April, to see if it's possible. Can they find sustainably grown food (organic, local or both) in their area and keep it at or under the federal guidelines? If you are interested in joining us, the full guidelines are available on the post for the Sustainable Food Budget Challenge. I'd like to show that it can be done without breaking the bank.

Kim _7
5/7/2009 10:35:51 AM

What this all boils down to, is how committed are you to saving money, living healthier and supporting our local farmers? If you are committed, you'll find a way to make it work. If not, you'll find every excuse as to why it will fail. I don't know about any of you, but since I cut out processed foods, and went "back to the basics" I overall feel much better. All the convenience food are literally killing us in every aspect of everyday life. If you want "convenience" foods, make your own and can them for later use. Freeze them, vacuum seal them. There's a gazillion recipes. Learn how to can, freeze, or vacuum seal. For every argument as to why something can't work, you can find a way it CAN work. I don't have a yard to grow, so grow in pots. Fresh vegetables are too expensive at the store, so grow your own. Grow only what you like and will eat anything else you might eat only occasionally, buy at your local farm market. Listen, if you want to make a change, you'll find a way. So stop the excuses and just do it! In the end, you'll be glad you did. Sorry, that's just my opinion. Kim

5/4/2009 6:08:49 PM

And not everyone likes sprouts. I'm not a big fan myself. And please don't say 'beggars can't be choosy' Godbless, Anwar sorry about the double post earlier

5/4/2009 6:07:08 PM

I think it would be impossible to feed a family of four organically and naturally. Natural and organic food just costs too much (maybe if just through minimally flavored rice and beans and very limited animal products, this might be possible). Some people consider buying in bulk, but that requires a more costly one time purchase, or saving up (and not eating) in order to buy the bulk. To me it is a shame that one has to pay more for more natural foods, which to me should be our God given right. BUUUT, someone on this forum said earlier that it is better to have one's own garden and produce one's own food. What is the problem? Self-sufficient people don't make money for others and don't spend as much money and that "hurts" the economy. Our society has gone in the wrong direction. But it's all to fill someone's pocket. Unfortunately many low income families (especially in cities, but also in some rural communities) don't want to grow their own, don't know how to grow their own and have a mindset that only benefits those who would exploit them. And they only wish to be in a position to exploit someone else, given the chance. Godbless, Anwar

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