This passage from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back for me:
“Grocery money is an odd sticking point for U.S. citizens, who on average spend a lower proportion of our income of food than people in any other country, or any heretofore in history. In our daily fare, even in school lunches, we broadly justify consumption of tallow-fried animal pulp on the grounds that it’s cheaper than whole grains, fresh vegetables, hormone-free dairy, and such. Whether on school boards or in families budget keepers may be aware of the health tradeoff but still feel compelled to economize on food – in a manner that would be utterly unacceptable if the health risk involved an unsafe family vehicle or a plume of benzene running through a school basement.”
So I (like almost everyone else who has read this insightful, compelling book) am officially starting our family’s mini food “revolution”. In fact, you can read all about it here.
I’m starting slow, as I want to get this right. I’m trying to balance organic and local, making sure nobody feels "deprived" and re-working our household budget to accommodate any food cost increases (although I believe they’ll be minimal when we move away from frequent eating out and processed foods…albeit organic ones, but still) and move to making more items from scratch. I think the additional “cost” will come more in the currency of time than money, but responsible eating is time well spent -- I firmly believe that.
I’m curious about what others are doing. (I love this account from our green nest on how their family of three affords to eat 100% organic on $100 a week!) What percentage of your food budget is spent on organic food, local food? Do you have a garden? How often do you go to the farmer’s market? What do you always buy conventional?