Use your dollar as a ballot.

25 Apr

The other day when the cashier at at a little coffee shop in town handed me back my change, I looked down and saw that one of the dollars she handed back to me had a little inscription on it in black permanent marker.

It read:

I’m a piece of paper, and I own your soul.

All-in-all, I thought that little of paper was being just a little bit dramatic. I’m just trying to enjoy my piping hot latte over here, and then I look down and these overbearing, cynical words are glaring back at me.

Althoughit did get me thinking…

Money does render a lot of power. No matter how much you have or don’t have, whatever you do have, does give you some clout in this world we live in.

And as the conscientious, healthy, well-minded person I know you are — I know that you want to see that dollar used for good, not evil. (Okay, evil was a bit dramatic — but if the dollar can be a little dramatic, I figure I can be a little bit dramatic too…but you get my point.)

I know spending extra money on good, quality, organic/sustainably produced food can sometimes be a chore, and definitely a burden at times. But try and reframe your thinking into that your dollar is your vote to what you want to see the food industry become.

If people use their dollar as a vote to show the market the kinds of products they are willing to spend their hard earned dollar on, I know for a fact that eventually the prices of those items will come down as the demand goes up.

Slow Food USA is a big supporter of this idea, and their website is definitely worth checking out if you’re not completely sold on this whole idea.

Don’t let that little piece of paper own your soul, use it to direct where you want to see this world go.

Composting: step one in growing your organic garden

24 Apr

Summer is quickly approaching, and that means more fruits and veggies readily available to buy and snack on.

Veggies and fruits are a cornerstone on the plate of an individual who tries to eat a balanced diet. However, what many people don’t realize is that the scraps and rinds of these fruits and vegetables are also the backbone for a rich, nutrient dense compost.

Composting is great in the sense that it is a great fertilizer for your garden in your backyard, without the use of chemical fertilizers, which is great if you’re wanting to grow an organic garden.

Composting is also great for your wallet because it is relatively inexpensive to start and to maintain. It also can drastically reduce your waste production. And if you’re from a town where I’m from, where you have to pay for each bag of trash you put out on the side of the road every week– reduction is key.

The Environmental Protection Agency has a great website that can help get you started.

See if you can make it into a game for you and your family to see who can compost the most. Have fun with it! Try and make it one of your goals this summer.

And remember, a rind is a terrible thing to waste.

 

Pay your farmer or pay your doctor: the choice is yours.

21 Apr

One of the biggest complaints about organic food is that it is too expensive.

Well, in many cases that is in fact true. However, organic food may cost more, but that’s because it is worth more.

One way I like to rationalize paying more for organic food is to think about all the good things it does for my health and the earth, and how the extra bucks really are worth it in the long run. Usually I run this list over and over in my head as I near the checkout aisles…

  • It supports sustainable agriculture
  • I won’t be consuming any pesticides
  • I won’t be consuming and GMOs
  • (If buying locally) I know the farm where this is coming from
  • I’m eating food the way nature intended it to be
  • I’m taking preventative measures for my health
  • I’m taking preventative measures for the health of the planet

These sorts of things help me realize that choosing to eat organic may cost more up front at the check out aisle, but if I continue to eat healthy organic food, I’m really taking preventative measures for my health. This, in turn, would allow me to potentially save money from doctor’s bills in the future.

Many people find it easier to think about it this way:

“Would you rather pay your farmer now, or pay your doctor later?” 

For me, I want to see my hard earned dollar in the mud stained hands of my farmer.

The USDA has put together a great website to help consumers know their farmer and know their food, click here to be brought to the page.

Just Label it.

17 Apr

This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart.

Last summer when I was interning at Stonyfield, this movement really started to get off of the ground. And now, over 1 million people have signed the petition to have the FDA label food that has Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in it.

This is a very important issue that the public needs to be aware of, because everybody deserves a right to know what they are consuming and putting into their body. As of now, there are no regulations or labeling on products that contain GMOs, so unless it is USDA Certified Organic, there’s really no way of telling if you’re eating GMOs or not.

So what does this have to do with saving money?

Well, with your help of signing the petition, hopefully the FDA will start labeling GMO products. Then, my next hope is that more consumers will start to buy more organic products, creating a higher demand, thus lowering the prices of organic food.

But this dream can’t come to fruition without you — every signature counts!

Here, I’ll make this easy for you. Just Click Here and it will bring you to the Justlabelit.org webpage where you can sign the petition today.

Thanks for your help everybody! Spread the word!

Pledge to always buy one organic item, and stick to it.

13 Apr

My mom started with meat.

After she saw the film Food, Inc. my mom pledge to never buy conventionally produced meat ever again. And she has honestly stuck to it.

Doing this, she realizes that she will have to cut certain things out of her grocery store budget, but she feels as though she is gaining more by buying a better product for more money, then spending less money on higher quantities of not-so-good product.

Practicing this method is indeed helpful when budgeting to buy food. When you pledge to buy just one organic item, whether it be meat, milk, fruits/veggies, or even your favorite snack, it forces you to realize the importance of your food choice. And being mindful of your eating is also a great skill to have.

If you make it non-negotiable it will soon become apart of your routine, and eventually you will become desensitized to the initial sting of the higher price of that one product.

And maybe that extra $2.00 you spend on the organic product can help you cut out junk foods you would normally use that money to buy.

Challenge yourself to do it! I believe in you.

To get started, check out the The Food Trust website, for great ideas on where to start.

And on that note, have a great, healthy, happy weekend everybody!

Grow your own groceries.

10 Apr

It’s a pretty simple concept that a lot of people forget about…

You can grow your own food!

Think you don’t have enough space? Start with a flower box in your window.

Think you won’t be “good” at it? Just give it a shot anyway! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Elizabeth Dowler noted in her article, “‘Doing food differently’: reconnecting biological and social relationships through care for food” in The Editorial Board of the Sociological Review, that “A marked feature of the modern global food system is its divorcing of foodstuffs from the biological: increasingly, food is an industrialized product of global capitalism.”

Without getting political here, I think a great point Dowler brings up is that so much of the food we consume today is incredibly industrialized and processed. One way to combat that effect of our food system is to start growing your own groceries, i.e. gardening.

Yes, gardening.

It’s a really simple measure that can really have add big benefit to your wallet. By buying seeds and putting in a little elbow grease and some TLC, you can have your very own produce section right in your back yard for a very reasonable monetary price and a very short commute to get fresh veggies.

With spring already here, and the chillier days finally subsiding, there’s no time like the present to get started on that garden for the summer.

Here is a great website to help get you started: http://www.pallensmith.com/index.php?id=16428

For more information about the information I cited, please click the link below. Feel free to stop on by my “Resources” page as well to see what other articles I use to formulate my posts.

National Gardening Association

Organic Fast Food (Yes, it does exist.)

5 Apr

One of the biggest selling points for buying fast food is that it’s cheap, quick, and provides a lot of calories for people who don’t always know when their next meal is going to be.

Well, good news is on the horizon for people who frequent fast food chains regularly, and are hoping to improve those habits.

Over the past couple of years, more and more organic fast food chains are creeping into the market, and are really making a splash with their eco-friendly options. This leaves the consumer mentally pleased, financially pleased, and most importantly, happily satiated.

In Julie Guthman’s article, “Fast food/organic food: reflexive tastes and the making of ‘yuppie chow’” in Social & Cultural Geography, she notes: “In contrast to the fast food eater, the reflexive consumer pays attention to how food is made, and that knowledge shapes his or her ‘taste’ toward healthier food.”

This “reflexive eater,” is someone who is conscious of what they put into their bodies, and how that food effects the world and other people.

This is an easy lifestyle to adopt if a little bit of mindfulness and research is done before purchasing and consuming products.

In search of these organic fast food chains? Here’s a list of ten to get you started

  1. Chipotle Mexican Grill
  2. Evos
  3. GustOrganic
  4. O’Naturals
  5. Amanda’s
  6. Burgerville
  7. Sellers Market
  8. Pizza Fusion
  9. Chelsea’s Table
  10. Pret a Manger

These are great alternatives to conventional fast food chains, and they won’t break the bank either. And full belly and full wallet is a pretty good deal, wouldn’t you say?

For more information about the article I cited, click the link below. Also be sure to wander over to my “Resources” tab to take a peek at all the other articles I mention in my posts.

unc.edu

http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/photos/top-10-organic-fast-food-restaurants/chipotle