Skip to main content

I have an apology to make.  Last August, I was just so angry at the cost of produce and other food products at the local farmer's markets that I wrote a diary insisting that the prices were artificially inflated because it's the "cool thing" to do these days.  I am humbled and stoop on bended knee to ask forgiveness, for the scales had not yet fallen from my eyes.  To those who commented on that diary, you made sense and led me down a path that I may not have ever wandered onto, except for your articulate attempts to open my eyes to the truth of the matter.

The catalyst, however, took some time.  I had been keeping track, over the winter, of the scheduling on Current TV.  Current ran a series called "50 Documentaries to see before you die", hosted by Morgan Spurlock, the guy who ate nothing but McDonald's for a month and lived to tell about it.  Anyway, I get to the point below the fold, so follow me down the rabbit hole.....

This series covered many documentaries, some which I have seen (Spurlock's being one of them - it's excellent and I highly recommend it); and some which I have not.  One of the docs covered was "Food, Inc.", a doc made in 2010 which followed the food chain, with the premise being, where does our food come from?  I was interested, and when I saw it was featured as the "POV" on the local PBS Station, I recorded it.  The announcer said, at the beginning, "You will never look at your food the same way again."  

How could I have known, that it was so true!  I can't explain the epiphany I had, after watching that movie.  I will tell you that I will never again wonder why the cost of the local food is so much.  I paid $42 for my turkey on Thanksgiving. It was a small one, but oh so tasty! I now buy organic whenever possible.  I've expanded my garden and plan on really picking it up next year.  I'm involved in working on an ordinance that will once again allow chickens in our town.  And I will never buy a $7 turkey at the grocery store again.  I know, it's pricey.  But I told an acquaintance that he was still paying $42 for his turkey, or more!  It is either to the farmer directly, or to the big corporations as a subsidy by their lobbyists getting tax breaks for the giant corporation to raise millions of turkeys in inhumane conditions and treat their (sometimes illegal) employees very badly.  

What is the cost, finally, to us?  I saw the undercover video in the pork slaughterhouse, and knowing how intelligent pigs are, it was disheartening to watch as they ran and squealed right before their death.  They knew they were about to die, and the fear they felt was obvious.  Then I realized, we are eating that pain and fear!  I had already read articles about the huge lagoons of animal waste, and how toxic they were. I knew about the genetically modified food grains.  I knew about the high fructose corn syrup.  But I never thought about what that did to my health, my body, and the health of the planet. I pretended to care about our mother, Earth, but really didn't understand it. Until now.  

I have finally come to the realization that it is better to pay the price to water my own vegetables, mostly raised organic, and to buy from the local producers of food. It is likely to cost me less out of pocket now, at the market.  The price I may end up paying with my health and well-being will probably be a higher price, in the long run. I'm still not on a perfect path, it's not always possible to find non-GMO, or organic, or even locally raised food, especially in the winter. I'm sure that as more of us vote with our dollars, however, it will get easier and easier. The dollar is a very persuasive vote.

We now have chickens approved by our city council, so my neighbor and I have collaborated on owning/raising six hens for eggs.  Smart girls, they love their greens! I've just given them some lettuce and tomatoes right before this picture was taken. Although they're still young girls, we'll have eggs soon.

I'm off to the farmer's market, to see what is good to eat this week! How about you?

UPDATE: On the rec list?! Thanks to all of you - including the rescue rangers, and thank you for putting me on Community Spotlight! I just came back from the Farmers Market, with some salad greens (mine are done for the season), some ground pork locally grown and butchered, two vine-ripened tomatoes, $2.20 a pound, and had a nice time visiting with my friends who also came to find good food. It's worth it. It's becoming more of a movement and more mainstream than ever, as we realize, we are what we eat. Thank you for reading!

12:46 PM PT: Update: Rec list!? Thanks! I appreciate that, and being on the community spotlight. Thinking about our food and how it affects our world is just how it has to be, and I'm glad to be able to publish this apology.


Originally posted to Lightly, oh so Merrily on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (149+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA, Horace Boothroyd III, quince, pittie70, Pinto Pony, Matilda, DarkestHour, fiercefilms, Karl Rover, importer, Loonesta, old wobbly, RainyDay, ColoTim, luckylizard, marykk, Pandora, envwq, mahakali overdrive, Damnit Janet, Clio2, countwebb, DRo, timethief, blue91, DamselleFly, tin woodswoman, Chinton, PeterHug, LSophia, bnasley, rhetoricus, azrefugee, Dave in Northridge, IndieGuy, Emmet, bibble, muddy boots, hoolia, greycat, monkeybrainpolitics, RosyFinch, Akonitum, dotdash2u, Medium Head Boy, FrY10cK, Bisbonian, Chi, JPax, BlueMississippi, splashy, DebtorsPrison, Shockwave, Tolmie Peak, LamontCranston, Catesby, offred, sewaneepat, Floja Roja, Ed in Montana, cv lurking gf, leonard145b, joeschmeaux, Matt Esler, tapestry, weck, badscience, historys mysteries, kamarvt, Glen The Plumber, worldlotus, Anne was here, Orinoco, Just Bob, radical simplicity, Regina in a Sears Kit House, ceriboo, turn blue, Anima, annecros, Joieau, grassofleaves, ms badger, ma2004, marzook, uciguy30, James Wells, janatallow, Larsstephens, anyname, ExStr8, SeaTurtle, pixxer, Jakkalbessie, Youffraita, enhydra lutris, Mistral Wind, jm214, Leo in NJ, AZ Sphinx Moth, arlene, ybruti, indres, Massman, ladybug53, mrmango, molecularlevel, dRefractor, Texknight, Fire bad tree pretty, revsue, LinSea, HarpboyAK, Jollie Ollie Orange, sharonsz, jdld, means are the ends, Funkygal, joynow, Stripe, dear occupant, goobop, cordgrass, reflectionsv37, MA Mom, edie haskell, sidnora, parse this, farmerchuck, RunawayRose, Only Needs a Beat, Avilyn, Gustogirl, Habitat Vic, LakeGirl, entrelac, DawnN, subtropolis, firstalto, MKSinSA, Keone Michaels, peachcreek, Deep Dark, Missys Brother, bloomer 101, stormicats, oceanview, llbear, Leslie in KY

    -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

    by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:00:09 AM PDT

  •  True; at what savings? (15+ / 0-)
    Then I realized, we are eating that pain and fear!  
    Yep.  The question is whether the savings from eating fearful pork is enough to justify the process.  So what's the additional cost per pound for the fear-free variant?
    •  I'm off to the farmer's market to (20+ / 0-)

      buy some ground pork from a local farmer, I'll let you know. I don't think it's that much more.  Sometimes, though, cost depends on who's selling it and how they processed their animals. One must ask for information also - i.e., where was it processed, where was it raised, etc.  However, there's a pretty good network of information, both on the internet and by word of mouth.  It's getting more informative as time goes on and more of us demand humane treatment of our food.

      -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

      by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:14:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which do you go to? I go to the SW Plaza one (8+ / 0-)

        some Saturdays, but I'm not always happy with the selection.

        •  I'm on the western slope so I'll go to Glenwood (9+ / 0-)

          Springs on Sat & Tues when I can. The one in Vail is huge - lots more later in the summer when more produce gets harvested.

          -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

          by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:39:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank Merry Light (19+ / 0-)

            An epiphany is a terrible thing to waste. Thank you for sharing it with us.

            Coincidentally, I just came home from my local farmer's market and saw your diary. It's always happy Saturdays in our house after our FM adventure. Fresh, organic, heirloom (non-monsanto genetically modified creatures) vegetables, fresh organic milk, beef and eggs. Plus, the best brownie I've ever eaten from a new producer that's also a caterer. Yum.

            I also really appreciate you getting Food Inc. on the rec list. It is a fascinating and horrifying movie. Must see TV for anyone who eats food. I walk through the aisles of a regular grocery store now and I start to feel sick from the thought of so many millions of people putting that crap in their bodies. It actually makes me angry to even go into one.

            Mass produced corporate food factories are really nothing but chemical factories at this point. If that sounds like hyperbole, just read the ingredients.

            Funny. We had torrential rain during three of the four hours our farmer's market was running, and people still came. It was incredible. Lighting was striking and people weathered it all just to get their weekly supply of real food.

            Did I mention the brownies? Anyway, thanks again for the great diary and heads up. Props to you.

            •  Thanks, James - I've got some (10+ / 0-)

              local hot peppers in my green chili, and I read labels religiously now, which I started doing when I was working on weight loss -I buy products that don't have ingredients I can't pronounce or don't know what it is. I appreciate your reading my diary, my philosophy is that to recognize and admit you are wrong sometimes is a part of personal responsibility.

              -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

              by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:07:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've been producing food (10+ / 0-)

                and "stuff" on my homestead for twenty years. I'm getting old enough now that I know I won't be able to keep it up by myself (full acre of truck and culinary herbs), and don't make enough money on any of it to pay for more than the seeds. Before I built my nifty recycled-windows solar dryer a few years ago, it actually cost me maybe 10 times as much for a quart of canned tomatoes (counting all costs and effort) as it costs in the store to buy a couple of 16-ounce cans - even labeled organic.

                Sure, we enjoyed it more during the cold winter, but that's psychological rather than actual added value. I do make enough money on forest-grown medicinals (value-added by making the tinctures, lotions and salves myself) for that to be worthwhile. In the sunny south-facing garden terraces, I grow award-winning spectacular weeds. Sometimes I get some veggies too.

                I can buy whatever's coming in, in bulk, from my neighbors at any of a dozen tailgate and local farmer's markets during the week or on weekends. Some do use fertilizers, but most are grown "the old fashioned way" - how things have been grown in these mountains full of small plots since settlers first cleared those plots out of forest. That's mostly organic enough for me.

                Economies of scale work in organics just as they work in the conventional market. Unless you can dry your harvest and/or freeze it, the costs all told for do-it-yourself are always going to be more than you'll pay at the store. For some things it's well worth it. For others not so much. But it wouldn't hurt anybody to learn about where food comes from and maybe get their hands dirty for some seasons.

                •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joieau, Merry Light, ozsea1

                  We have been growing a lot of our own food for a while now and we have just moved to a larger property so we can grow more. But the economics matter.

                  Which is why we long ago paid off our mortgage and have lived debt free for at least a dozen years. That means we can more than cover our actual costs from my wife's salary which frees up all of my time and energy to invest in food, fuel and pharmaceuticals production -OK, booze right now but more to come, honest.

                  The key to all this is that we have, long ago, decided that we had enough. Enough car (always used and now 15 years old), enough TV (21" CRT), enough holiday (often shared with friends and family, only once or twice in 20 years have we traveled between countries and then only because WE lived offshore), enough clothes (my wife sews almost everything we wear including her own bras and my underpants).

                  These are not just matters of pride, and they ARE that, nor are they wholly economic, although, as Merrily explains, when you look at the whole figures that works too and as things get more expensive we will cross that line as well.

                  They are also a fitness programme, especially for me, a quality assurance process, and an energy management process (our next step is wood-fired cooking, water and space heating from coppiced trees on the site).

                  They are also an educational process, so that we know both HOW to do things that may become unavailable quite quickly and what it takes to do all that for yourself.

                  Once you KNOW what the real costs to our sustainability and survival are, the numbers add up differently. But the key remains, knowing when you have enough and not being suckered into wanting more.

                  Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

                  by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 12:13:03 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're right about all of that. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Merry Light, ozsea1

                    And I know how to make soap, insect repellants, etc. as well. Learned to sew (back in the olden days) on a treadle, now have two beautiful ones - figure I'll turn one of the cabinets into a computer desk one of these days, hook up the treadle to charge a car battery for running it.

                    Seeking solar someday (when we finally win the lottery we don't play), trout ponds, and chickens. The ducks are nearly grown, like to hang out with the dogs and should help protect the hens.

                    Depends on what you want to put your life into. Working away from home for money to buy the things you need to live, or working at home to produce the things you need. Still, only money pays the taxes, phone, electric and transportation if you're not using the horse/mule.

                    •  Yup (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Joieau

                      We need an income but the target is to need a LOT less than we would otherwise. Our goal has been to live on about $200 a week all found in constant 2008 dollars.

                      Right now we are using all of my wife's income to build the system (like solar power, also on the lotto that we don't play for a while) and ruinning down some savings a bit too.

                      We have mostly decided that what we WANT to pout our lives into needs to take a back seat to what we NEED o put our lives into. WANTS come out of discretionary $$, if any.

                      But your point about the need for cash is right on the money. Cash is how governments subtly enslave us. When a country is invaded, suddenly all taxes need to be paid in the new owner's money or the property is forfeit, and possibly your life.

                      So you need to work the new owners or for someone who works for the new owners to get the money to pay the taxes. But the same applies even for our "own" governments, their ability to control as driven by our absolute need for cash. Even if we provided 100% of our lebensmittel, we would be liable for taxes and that means working for the man.

                      Without cash we are all in danger of dispossession. The less cash you need for other things, the greater the margin between you and becoming a refugee.

                      THAT is the next lesson and its even harder than getting the corporations of your back, in the words of Pogo, "I have seen the enemy, and he is us".

                      Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

                      by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 02:46:16 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  NoCo (3+ / 0-)

            I go to the Longmont FM.  The man that slaughters my chickens is there on Saturdays with not only their chickens for sale to those that don't raise their own, but also the pork from their pigs that they raise.  These guys rock!

            Also, in Loveland is a small "co-op" store of all pasture raised meats - bison, elk, chicken, beef, lamb, pork etc.  (Rocky Plains Meats)  They rock too!

            When I went to WF and asked if the lamb was pasture raised the butcher said that all lamb is pasture raised...  he had no idea that lamb is also feedlotted.  

          •  Our Market at SW Plaza was out of melons (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Only Needs a Beat, Merry Light

            sure they had about a dozen left, but their advice was to not buy them (guess they were rejects).  Had to make do with fresh kettle corn instead.

            •  I hope your FM gets more good stuff as the summer (0+ / 0-)

              goes into fall! Keep me posted.

              We should try to organize a Colo Kossack meetup sometime soon!

              -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

              by Merry Light on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 01:19:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've talked about it with Frankenoid since she (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Merry Light

                has hosted some, but she's got a full summer and we just adopted two woozles so I'm not sure when we might be ready for that.  I'd like to do it, even if it's at a restaurant (though there is Denver Drinking Liberally about 2x/month).

      •  We paid around $3/lb... (7+ / 0-)

        for the half pig we bought from a local farm in May.  They raise on pasture twice per year.  The taste difference is AMAZING and from all we've read, pasture-raised meat has higher levels of the beneficial fatty acids.  It's easier on the environment, on our bodies, our taste buds and just better in every way.

        They also bring whole chickens, rabbit and duck to the farmer's market - all raised on pasture. The rabbits have amply sized nesting boxes, and they cut fresh grass for them every day. We pay about $13 for a 3.5 lb bird. Eggs are $4/dozen.  The quality is so much better than what you can get at the store that the price difference is well worth it, to us.

        I'm straight, I support GLBT rights and I vote!

        by ceriboo on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 02:19:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I had also read that grass fed is lower in (4+ / 0-)

          cholesterol, and more beneficial in many ways.  Trouble with grass-fed beef is some people don't know how to process it to keep it from being "gamey".  I got an arm roast, bone in, it was really strange tasting. The chickens love it, but we couldn't get past the weird smell.

          I did some research, and from what I understand, the big-game processing plant who processed this particular cut just did the easy thing and cut it up bone-in. I believe this was most of the problem, because I've had grass fed which is wonderfully tasty. It may be that it was the wrong kind of cow, I guess that is important too.

          -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

          by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 03:02:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  check out this website (7+ / 0-)

      here.

      It lists local growers. We buy a lot of our meat from local farms. It ends up costing less, and tastes a whole lot better. It is also nice to know where it came from, how it was raised and who raised it.

    •  I paid $4.50 per package, which (4+ / 0-)

      was about 1 1/2 pounds each, and they were raised in a town 20 miles west of here. Comparable, definitely, in price.  In taste - no comparison! (Plus no water or "slurry" added to plump up the price).

      -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

      by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:03:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I buy bison at the farmers market (5+ / 0-)

      It's about 60% more expensive than beef, but it has so much more flavor I find I only need half as much in stews and such. So it saves me money.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 01:50:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Meat as flavour (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Merry Light

        Its one of the reasons I mostly eat vego, my wife is wholly vego, and why I love Italian cuisine. When you start using meat to flavour your food rather than being the principle source of nutrients, the economics and the approach changes radically.

        Research now shows that the easier food is to get, the more of it you eat. Add effort and you reduce intake. Grow it yorself and things change again. Grow it, harvest it, cook it, preserve it and serve it yourself and your whole life has changed without you even noticing the things that you no longer do that were once must-haves.

        Of course, the level of profit your offer the corporations goes away as well so you must be mocked, vilified and legislated against. But that's another conversation.

        Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

        by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 12:18:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  When I was on a miniscule food budget (3+ / 0-)

      many years ago in grad school, I gave up eating meat and junk food, which slashed my food budget in half. Happily, I never went back to eating meat.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 06:57:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  is there nothing that you won't (0+ / 0-)

      put a dollar value on?

      "I took a walk around the world, To ease my troubled mind. I left my body laying somewhere In the sands of time" Kryptonite 3 doors Down

      by farmerchuck on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 07:14:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What do you mean? You are misinterpreting, I think (0+ / 0-)

        The point I was trying to make, along with others here, is that price in dollars is only a small part of what we should be considering. On the other hand, some have to consider dollars spent  because they have very little money. And sometimes it helps to convince people that it's not always a lot more.

        -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

        by Merry Light on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 01:30:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Its not about cost (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Merry Light

      Temple Grandin has done excellent work in redesigning slaughterhouses so that the animals are not spooked or fearful. Their death is a surprise that is over before it begins, there is no screaming or panic or stress.

      Whether the fear affects the quality of the meat or the lives of those who eat it is one thing, but there is no reason or justification to make things bad for the animal.

      Well designed slaughterhouses achieve that and many can be redesigned and the cost, spread over the life of the facility is trivial or non-existent.

      The reason that so many animals have, for so long, died in pain and terror is that the people who have run them were, at first, ignorant and now, simply don't care.

      Those reasons alone are enough to withdraw your custom.

      Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

      by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 12:00:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is still too expensive for some of us. (16+ / 0-)

    I want to know how watermelon went from two pounds for a penny to seven or eight dollars for a smaller tasteless replacement.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:10:16 AM PDT

    •  The issue is: (8+ / 0-)

      Are you going to stand with and trust the Industrial Food Corporations who give us massive water pollution, soil erosion, habitat destruction, et al, on their way to animal cruelty and food without health value?

      Or, are you going to stand with your small, local food producer, who is trying to grow the best product possible while maintaining integrity in regards to the land and the community they are trying to serve?

      That is not a close call.  And every dime you spend on the local small-scale producer bounces around your community seven times before finding the corporate drain, at the end of which a hundred Mitt Romneys are eagerly waiting.

      Industrial food production in America ruins our health, our environment and consumes more fossil fuel than any segment of our economy.

      by Mi Corazon on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:17:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But you are asking me to eat produce (13+ / 0-)

        one week a month instead of three.

        When I say it is too expensive I mean in the sense of I will not eat if I try to get my food there.

        Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

        by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:22:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It IS IS IS more expensive. (10+ / 0-)

          First, you need to get to where the food is being sold. Then you buy it. Then you get it home. The freezer is very small, a careful plan is needed for storage. I don't have a garden, I have one window that has the appropriate light for a garden. I try to grow herbs.

          Does your store have fruit flies ALL the time? How difficult is it to get transportation to a decent store?

          I can grow scallions, by chopping off the bottom, growing them in water. They go through as many as three cycles before they are done.

          If I order seedlings on line, the seller needs to respect my instruction for signed proof of delivery. If not, they might be stolen from the lobby.

          Getting to places that have good seedlings, choosing the plants, getting them home.

          Organic produce is more expensive, it does not keep as well.

          Frozen and canned food is needed for when I am too ill to go out. Prepared food is needed for when I am too ill to cook and then clean the kitchen. Scraps must be carefully bagged; many of the people here cannot clean properly, or have housekeepers that do not care.

          I hire a person to take me on errands and clean. Cannot afford it, must do it.

          Gotta go, arrange pharmacy delivery for today!

          My personal computer is limited, can't post without tagging on. Community computer better. Pardon tagging to comments, spelling, please.

          by CuriousBoston on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:39:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is where I think we can make (6+ / 0-)

            a difference by  voting with our dollars. I hope that by patronizing the co-ops and farmers markets the  bigger companies take notice and make good food more available and affordable.

            -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

            by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:58:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  This is where I think we can make (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LSophia, historys mysteries

            a difference by  voting with our dollars. I hope that by patronizing the co-ops and farmers markets the  bigger companies take notice and make good food more available and affordable.

            -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

            by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:59:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Farmer's market produce keeps longer actually (10+ / 0-)

            I'm not disputing the notion that what you get from the farmer's market is expensive but in my case all of the produce I buy there lasts far longer than what I get in my local supermarket organic or not.

            The trick IMO is to shop wisely -- some fruit and veggies don't tend to have pesticide residues, so it doesn't make sense to "go organic" but other fruits and veggies are notoriously full of pesticides -- apples for one, so it makes sense to focus on going organic there instead of say avocados.

            And good frozen veggies are a very good deal -- more nutritious than canned crap and of course a way to enjoy stuff out of season.

            •  I've read that canned is just as good. (3+ / 0-)

              Sure, it's been heated, which I don't mind (not being a raw foodist), but it lasts longer in storage and doesn't need to have electricity to maintain. If you have wind or solar power connected to your freezer (or you have and don't mind nuclear like me), then you're increasing the carbon cost of your organic food.

              -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

              by JPax on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:36:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  One problem with canned-salt. Too much (7+ / 0-)

                salt, and it's also as obiquitous as fat and sugar/HFCS.

                -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

                by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 01:10:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Then get the low-salt variety. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Merry Light, akeitz

                  Eating local is all well and good, but around here it's hard to grow things in the winter, what with snow and cold temperatures. I suspect it's more efficient from a carbon cost perspective to eat veggies canned at a factory than canned at home, but that's a guess.

                  Not sure what you mean by:

                  and it's also as obiquitous as fat and sugar/HFCS.
                  (assuming you meant ubiquitous.)

                  -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

                  by JPax on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 02:12:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Sorry, missed the typo. I can't grow in (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ceriboo, akeitz, JPax

                    winter either, we get about three feet of snow and below zero temps, but I prefer frozen veggies to canned, they are much tastier. I know, the freezer costs to run and may use a coal-fired electric source, but really not that much, and if you are using solar for your electric, it's even cheaper.

                    -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

                    by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 03:06:31 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  You can can (haha!) at home (6+ / 0-)

                  Any acidic fruit or veggie (tomatoes) can be canned in a water bath. Or make pickles - bread & Butter pickles, pickled garlic, pickled asparagus. Today, I canned 9 pints of blackberry jam and I'm processing two pints of watermelon rind pickles right now.

                  Anything you don't want to pickle that isn't acidic you would need a pressure canner for. But by canning at home, you can control what goes into your canned food, and you won't need a freezer to store it.

                  I'm straight, I support GLBT rights and I vote!

                  by ceriboo on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 02:24:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes! We've put up tomatoes, and last year (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ceriboo, indres, akeitz, LSophia

                    I did both sweet bread and butter, and dill pickles, (try adding a hot pepper to them! yum).  They were (are) great! I am making a salad with some of the sweets this weekend. Gotta use them up, it's almost time to do more.

                    -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

                    by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 03:08:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I can "can" four jars of tomatoes in my solar oven (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Merry Light

                    without heating up a water bath, etc. However, if I had seven quarts to can at one time, I'd use my old canning equipment and huge water bath.

                    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

                    by ybruti on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 04:58:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Pickles (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Merry Light

                    are a HUGE area of saving. Low energy input and will last the winter at least. My pickled olives are even READY for a year.

                    Even low acid foods like green beans can be pickled in brine, and sauerkraut doesn't have to be just cabbage, although I see nothing wrong with it when it is and you can make it yourself in half an hour.

                    Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

                    by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 12:31:04 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Many times the low salt variety costs more. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  DawnN, Deep Dark, Merry Light

                  rinse, and rinse. Know the store manager. I cannot find a cannister of iced tea without sugar. I spoke to the manager. I get a UPC, he will order.

                  THIS is a very good way to get supermarkets to stock better products. Praise him for the bags of dried beans, for the dried soup mixes. If there is salt in the soup mix, soak, and rinse it out.

                  My personal computer is limited, can't post without tagging on. Community computer better. Pardon tagging to comments, spelling, please.

                  by CuriousBoston on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:58:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I have found this also. (6+ / 0-)

              Local produce keeps so much longer than store-bought. Grow your own, and you'll be astonished at how long fresh picked food stays good.

            •  so do eggs (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Merry Light, BlueMississippi, LSophia

              the local cage free range chicken eggs that we buy direct at our food co-op and/or local farmer's market. keep for weeks, and the yolks are the color of a california orange. they aren't trucked all over the counrty and the keep for weeks.

              Change is inevitable. Change for the better is a full-time job. -- Adlai E. Stevenson

              by marzook on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 02:40:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You need to get to the market, and get home. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Merry Light

              How long can you tolerate 80 degree heat? How long before you need access to a bathroom? How often has your doctor instructed you to avoid crowds because of your immune system?

              I decided on a masectomy, rather than lumpectomy and 15 days of going there and getting back. The number of people getting infections, the very crowded waiting room, including preschool chilren.

              Yes frozen veggies are very nutrious, do not have a spoilage system. Limited space here.

              Farmers markets are expensive. Yes, some produce has more pesticides than others. A recent magazine article reminded me of that. Another diary reminded me of the rodents that live in supermarkets. Another reason to wash produce very well.

              My personal computer is limited, can't post without tagging on. Community computer better. Pardon tagging to comments, spelling, please.

              by CuriousBoston on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:54:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  This works with celery, too! (7+ / 0-)

            "I can grow scallions, by chopping off the bottom, growing them in water. They go through as many as three cycles before they are done."

            And I sure there are other things that will grow like this.

            The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. Mark Twain

            by BlueMississippi on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:45:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't know it worked with celery, I'll have to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Merry Light

              try it. After I get rid of the fruit flies that took up residence in my drain. (This happens when you cannot get transportation to another store.)

              Chowhound had a good process. Also exterminator comming in a few days. The hazard of living in a building with elderly and disabled people. Some can't clean, others have home makers that can't or won't clean. GAH.

              My personal computer is limited, can't post without tagging on. Community computer better. Pardon tagging to comments, spelling, please.

              by CuriousBoston on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:02:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  There is produce that goes a long way (8+ / 0-)

          on a little like chard (try cooking in in broth with a dash of cheese on top hmmmm0 and when things are at the peak of season they are less.  i try to eat what is fresh and ripe at the moment.  Still it is better to eat your vegies so do what you can.

          •  Most of my spring and fall (6+ / 0-)

            greens crops (collards, kale, beets, mixed lettuces) went to waste now that we never know when kids will be around to help eat, and it's just the two of us. Recycling to compost is okay, still get good use and nourishment from the effort.

            ...then I discovered food drying. Built myself a solar dryer (works GREAT), and I'm a new woman! Dry everything except cukes (better for pickles). Including the greens. They dry in an afternoon, then I just break them up into pieces of an inch or two or all the way to flakes or powder and store in a closed container. Good any time thrown into a pot of boiling potatoes and onions, sprinkled on salads and into hearty soups, and as an ingredient in broth powders.

            I get much more direct consumable nutrition from my crops, and so far nobody's complained about the prepared results. I can't freeze or can any of it for the value I get from drying, and I never have to buy new jars (just wash and save store jars/lids and such). No sterilization, no blanching, no processing, far less storage space! All of it rehydrates fine, retains more original nutrients.

            Now when I want convenience, I buy canned goods at my grocery store, which carries comparably priced organic labels right alongside the 'usuals' because customers are buying it.

            •  Crispy kale chips are awesome (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joieau, ybruti, timethief, LSophia

              done in the oven with olive oil and kosher salt.  

              I'm straight, I support GLBT rights and I vote!

              by ceriboo on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 04:44:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You should try some of the (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                timethief, ladybug53, LSophia, DawnN

                dried cracker recipes. Throw all the powdered stuff (I like to keep a root base, beets primarily) in with a little salt and water plus seeds - any type you like, sesame, flax, whatever. Roll 'em out into a sheet on a food grade surface, pre-cut with a pasta cutter (like the edges crimp/curled) and dry 'em out. Very, very good with a raw veggie plate and dips.

                Also make my own pastas, usually herbed (since I'm going to all that trouble). Lord knows I can buy it far cheaper per my time and energy at the grocery, but really, it's something to do with excess basil, rosemary and other herb/veggie powders in the winter when I'm the only one home and think, why not? Dry it enough and it keeps forever, FAPP.

                Heck, I've a whole contraption that hangs over the wood stove that is an even faster food dryer than the solar. Lots of things don't come in until first freeze, some (kale, for instance) will keep on growing right through the snow. Since I'm always drying medicinals - including roots - the wood stove method is as useful in fall/early winter as the solar is during peak summer.

        •  Subsidize the produce or you, nothing is free. (12+ / 0-)

          It might cost a farmer a few hundred to over a thousand to set up for the day at market between fuel, fees and labor. That's just for retailing. Even though we're not in a drought disaster zone, rain hasn't been regular, so that means irrigation, more fuel and labor. If other areas can't bring a crop in, that raises prices across the board. Small also growers lack the economy of scale to buy huge quantities of fertilizers or pesticides. Small producers also pay help much better than industrial farms in Florida, Ca, or Texas or Mexico where produce usually comes from.

          Here's tip, find a market in a low income neighborhood, farmers try to discount for the community. If prices are still too high for you, you may have to use a supermarket but I'll tell you, this drought is going to make itself known soon enough. Bottom line, you have to make yourself more a part of the food system while we try to get a Congress that will back the efforts of family farms instead of trotting them out for photo ops. Community gardening, food coops and any other method to put you more in control will help.

          Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

          by the fan man on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 11:25:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you aren't kidding... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            the fan man, Merry Light

            I'm working with CSA's in western MA and in the lower hudson valley at the moment, and even in those areas, which are on paper not that heavily drought struck, things are teetering at best. a lot of greens tht should provide thru august are getting harvested early to provide for the markets and members. I don't think the true severity of the impact will be evident till autumn when the fall crops are light or non-existent. The operations that invested in soil building and/or irrigation in the past (which raised food prices at the time) are the only ones that are making a decent showing for 3 months down the line, and it is requiring a lot of extra work and capital to keep them going.

            "I took a walk around the world, To ease my troubled mind. I left my body laying somewhere In the sands of time" Kryptonite 3 doors Down

            by farmerchuck on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 07:05:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm in lower HV, things look green, but it is dry, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Merry Light

              very dry. Upper Dutchess even worse. Western NY is bad, didn't know Mass was bad as well. Every grower I know has irrigation, but as you know, you need water to draw from. Even if you get your crop in, you're just pissed and behind the 8 ball. Oh yes, capital. For fuel, for labor. Whew. A small number of long time farmers checked out this spring on the heels of the warm/cold snap. Bad way to end a career.

              My brother in law loves people coming to his farmstand in Mercedes and BMWs complaining about the price of tomatoes. And they do.

              Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

              by the fan man on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:05:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Love your sig line, farmerchuck! One of (0+ / 0-)

              my favorite songs.

              -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

              by Merry Light on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 08:26:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Supermarkets use loss leaders in produce. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Merry Light, historys mysteries

          Supermarkets make their change in the interior of the store:chips, cookies, soda, cereal. Think a box of cheerios made of corn starch and oats should cost $4? So they dump produce where they don't make money and get it from you elsewhere.

          Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

          by the fan man on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 11:32:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  However (0+ / 0-)

          You use the word produce, but much of it do YOU produce?

          You might start by rethinking your diet.

          Watermelon is a luxury. It has almost no nutritional value, it costs energy to keep it refrigerated and it mostly replaces a glass of water.

          You want greens? If you don't have a garden, buy some garbanzo beans, lentils, alfalfa seeds and sprout them yourself. Then stir fry or eat raw.

          Use the garbanzos plus some sesame paste, garlic and olive oil to make hummus. Bake your own bread, there are great long-fermentation, no knead recipes that even some gluten intolerant people can eat.

          When you finish the bread-making, turn down the oven and make your own baked beans. If you are having trouble making ends meet, you need to move them closer together, getting big corporations out of the loop will help.

          Yes, it takes more time, but take it out of your TV time budget and get the benefits of less advertising, less stress, more standing up than sitting down and the satisfaction of eating well the stuff you produce.

          We have been consumers too long, becoming producers, on any scale at all, changes the whole game.

          Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

          by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 12:27:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I did not know those plants sprouted in (0+ / 0-)

            concrete.

            Watermelon keeps me hydrated and cool in my apartment with no ac.

            Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

            by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 12:33:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Horace (0+ / 0-)

              Forget the concrete. Learn about how stuff grows.

              I sprout seeds in old coffee jars and use a tea strainer to rinse them every day. After about 4 days, weather depending, they are ready to eat. Add them to a salad, a sandwich or a stir fry.

              I'm sure watermelon keeps you hydrated and cool. So does chilled water, and its cheaper and does less damage to the environment.

              Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

              by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 07:11:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Mason jar with (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Horace Boothroyd III

              some cheese cloth and a rubber band.

              There are instructions all over the internet on how to do it.

              You can actually get certified sprouting seeds at Portland nursery. The price of organic garbanzos at New Seasons Bulk is 3 cents more a pound than bulk at winco. you only need a few, like 1/4 cup. Lentils work well also.

              I do alfalfa and onion in the winter, a tablespoon of seed will fill a quart jar with sprouts.

              Keep eating your watermelon, some things are food for the soul. Cold watermelon is one of the joys of life.

              Luckily we are close to hood river and Yakima so most of our produce IS local including the watermelons :)

              It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

              by PSWaterspirit on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:33:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  A suggestion for you (0+ / 0-)

          Work with the Portland Fruit tree project. Their meeting place is in NE. They go out and pick the fruit of urban trees that would go to waste otherwise everything from persimmons to walnuts to apples to grapes. Most of it goes to local foodbanks, the tree owners get some and so do the volunteer pickers.

          They meet up and car pool from the little meeting house they have which if I remember is some place around 36th and Glison.

          You can google them they have a website :)

          It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

          by PSWaterspirit on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:17:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I feel your pain, I'm on a fairly (6+ / 0-)

      limited budget as well. I've tried to offset it by growing some of my produce, and saving on other items.  I've also reserved a fall weekend or two and bought a case of tomatoes, cucumbers, etc, and learned how to preserve with canning. Not too hard, just labor-intensive, but so worth it in the long run. Yes, expensive. But pick and choose, it's not always a good buy, just like in the grocery store. Remember, you still are paying a higher price. The guy who thought he was getting a cheap turkey paid more for other items, and didn't realize it.

      -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

      by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:32:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not that guy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Merry Light, historys mysteries
        thought he was getting a cheap turkey paid more for other items
        If I know I can get something cheaper elsewhere I will.

        Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

        by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:36:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you're just helping to support the industrialized (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          indres

          Food system that's responsible for environmental degradation and animal suffering. If you're OK with that, then there's nothing anyone can tell you that will make a difference.

          Otherwise, finding ways of reducing spending on other aspects of your life in order to support a food movement that in contrast is working very hard to do the right thing would be greatly appreciated by the rest of us.

          Those really are the only options.

          Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

          by Pescadero Bill on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:44:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's tough to do sometimes. The big (3+ / 0-)

            corpsdo their best to make it that way.

            -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

            by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:48:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You are being condescending (19+ / 0-)

            I understand what is at stake.

            I am TELLING you that if all I can do is the hot dogs at the dollar store that is all I can do. Or what I get in a food box.

            It is important for you to realize that a large contingent are in my shoes.

            Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

            by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 11:08:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Didn't mean to be condescending, and the fact (3+ / 0-)

              that so many are in the same situation is a pathetic result of our corrupt political process, but the condition is what it is none the less.

              Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

              by Pescadero Bill on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 11:19:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, but if the political process is corrupt (4+ / 0-)

                we need to work harder to change it, not demand that those with the very least must be the ones to accommodate themselves to some nobler goal.

                Look: I am an intense supporter of healthy eating, a vegetarian for over 30 years, a person who has NEVER eaten at McDonald's and hasn't touched fast food since 1977. But I really think a little more understanding of why people have to make the bad choices they do is important. And we need to educated people about food policy. The Farm Bill is an abortion.

                Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

                by anastasia p on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 07:06:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Do you get food stamps? (7+ / 0-)

              You don't have to answer, but if so, many counties have incentive programs that help to supplement food stamp dollars spent at farmers markets.

              Also, locally grown food with low-to-no pesticides is more nutrient-dense, so you actually need less of it to fortify you. (Most people don't try to get the bulk of their calories from veggies anyway.)

              Also, the costs are not always universally higher--it often depends on what's in-season.

              I know we had to look elsewhere in our budget to find $ to pay for our CSA box. Less driving, less alcohol, fewer sweets, fewer electronics, etc. But I understand in some folks' case, there's not a lot of room for reduction.

              If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

              by rhetoricus on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 11:27:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You've fingered the problem here, Horace (6+ / 0-)

              The vast, and sadly growing, majority of the population simply cannot afford to buy expensive organic and locally produced food, assuming that it is even available to them. No amount of scare tactics about "corporate food" sources will change that. To many folks (i.e., people not living in liberal bastions and posting on liberal blog sites), the locavore movement looks like an elitist choice for financially secure yuppies and hipsters.

              I'll add that we buy organic and local (and cage free, pasture raised, grass fed, etc, etc) whenever we can afford it, and we shop at the local farmer's market every Sunday. At the market, we try to buy something, but usually come home with little due to the extremely high prices (seriously, $6 for a dozen eggs?).

              The problem with local is that it will likely never be cheap enough to make economic sense to most folks. The reason why corporate food is cheap is that, perversely, it is cheaper to grow it somewhere else (like Mexico, or California), and ship it to your supermarket. The price of organic food is coming down - yay! Why? It's been corporatized and is being shipped in from somewhere else like the non-organic food.

              •  'The problem with local' (14+ / 0-)

                is not that it's cheaper to buy elsewhere - it's that, as in comments above it's noted, it's cheaper to buy elsewhere based on all sorts of subsidies, like oil subsidies that make it so 'cheap' to ship things all the way around the globe.  But again, it's not cheaper, because money that should be flowing around our own local economy is instead flowing out, at multiple points.  It flows out in taxes that wind up as big agra and big oil subsidies and in money going to the multinational shippers.  And with it flow the local jobs.

                It's not about 'scare tactics' - it's about realizing that by buying 'cheap' products from far away, we're slowly strangling the country, and creating a situation in which eventually we can't even afford the 'cheap' food, or 'cheap' clothing, or 'cheap' anything that's produced overseas, because we've killed off the demand for local products that create local jobs.  If you can't afford it, you can't afford it, but anyone who can should do their darndest to buy as local as possible, to stimulate our own economy, and keep buying local as long as they can.

                •  is subsidy the main reason corp food is cheaper? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joieau, DawnN

                  I've read the diary and the comments, and the common charge is that corporate created food is cheaper due to various subsidies. This is no doubt a factor, but to what degree? I haven't seen an objective accounting of the effect of subsidy on food prices, compared with the efficiency gains due to Big Ag methods and efficient supply chain transportation systems. I would guess that the latter are at least equal to the former.

                  Consider a scenario where all of those subsidies are removed, imported food is charged tariffs that account for lax environmental laws and labor practices, etc. Would local small farm, organically grown, etc food be price competitive then?

                  I agree with your last paragraph: we should do what we can to support local commerce. However, I'm just not sure "everything local" will ever be viable for most folk.

                  •  I don't have figures handy either (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    quill, ladybug53, Deep Dark

                    but remember that pushing those 1000s of tons ships around the ocean takes a lot of oil, and at least in the US, we've spent a century subsidizing oil-based transportation.  According to those Navy commercials, 90% of trade travels by water.  Then of course there's all the loading and unloading, and trucking on either end to take things all over.

                    In re your last paragraph - it won't be.  Thanks to spending all this time pumping out pollution to move food all the way around the globe, and ourselves back and forth over highways every day to commute to work, and to power all of our tech toys, we've finally started hitting the tipping point.  More and more often, major swaths of crops are going to be lost.  We've seen it across Russia and Australia over the last few years, and it looks like it's heading to the US now.

                    Trees are dying, bushes are dying, grass is dying, and crops are toast.  I think we're headed for Grapes of Wrath dustbowl type territory in places that have been lush and green for as long as white folks have been around this continent.

                    I see resource wars and massive famines in our future.

                    •  A quick search of teh Google (7+ / 0-)

                      gives some good examples: here's just one link that floated to the top, regarding corn subsidies.

                      there's so much more to it than what appears on the surface.  I, too, labeled Farmers Markets a "rich liberal fad" last year, but more careful study reveals that we have been really hurting ourselves with cheap corn, rice, wheat products. All of a sudden, the media is full of panic about obesity. Look around you - how many people do you see in one hour that don't have a big bulging waist-line, or "muffin top"? how many kids at the pool have a little rib line showing and collar bones sticking out ?? If you look at pictures from the 60's and 70's all kids looked like that, and the chubby one stood out. Now it's the exact opposite. The dollar menu has been lambasted because it's based on cheap, subsidized wheat/corn/beef. We are finally getting a clue, including me.
                      Dr. Bloodaxe is right on in his comments. We're headed for a tipping point in more ways than one.

                      -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

                      by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 03:27:19 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I see global famine, and food wars too (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ladybug53, LSophia, Merry Light, DawnN

                      I'm extremely pessimistic about the future of the human species (and most others FTM), let alone human civilization. And unfortunately, I think the FUBAR stage is going to be bigger and worse than most of us are currently willing to imagine.

                      And that is certainly one big reason to foster local food (and local everything else): there may come a time when regions that can't self sustain will literally starve and depopulate, like the Mayan civilization after it exceeded carrying capacity.

                      However, I think that right here and now we should at least consider to the fact that "farmers market food" is currently too expensive for most folks.

                      •  You are paying for it anyway-up front (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        DawnN

                        in a farmer's market or hidden costs, like in taxes, pollution, low wages, illegal workers, etc.  I know this, now. It is hard to wrap your brain around it at first, but it must be done.

                        -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

                        by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:03:25 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Great work Merry (2+ / 0-)

                          You have come on a huge journey that some commenters have yet to start. It is one thing to say that you can't afford to eat anything but the cheapest food, but that just disguises the predicament that the system that provides the cheap food is falling apart.

                          We all have to ask, especially those on the edge, what happens when the cheap food stops as well? Anyone under 80 will have to make that decision. What you have done is get there first while you still have options, however few.

                          The fact is that we have done ALL the easy there is to do. From here on, its elephants all the way down. Hard, Hard. Hard.

                          The lives of our grandparents will appear to be quite nice thanks by the time this is over and we are into whatever comes next.

                          There WILL be famine in places that have not had it in 2 generations. There WILL be poverty and starvation in our places and our lives.

                          I disagree with Bloodaxe because the wars needed to fight over resources also need the resources. They will destroy in short order the energy they need to fight the war for the oil for example.

                          The military is now so totally mechanised that there will be, perhaps, one more Iraq-type invasion possible, by anyone, anywhere. Then the military grinds to a halt.

                          When the bankers realise that the debts to fight the war can't ever be repaid, they will stop funding them. It wouldn't be the first time that debts have crushed the fighting machine, but it will probably be the last.

                          Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

                          by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 01:23:30 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  I don't buy food or drink that comes from areas (4+ / 0-)

                  more than 100 miles from where I live. I almost bought a bottle of Oregon wine for a special guest, but then remembered that it came from too far away and settled for a perfectly good local California wine.

                  The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

                  by ybruti on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:06:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not that pure yet. (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm still working my way up to it.  We get our beef and pork from a locally sourced butcher shop, and have several stores that offer local fruit and veg in season, as well as local milk, eggs, honey and pickled and canned local stuff, but very little of our cheese is even close to local - closest I can come is the Amish stuff from halfway across the state, and mostly I only get the butter cheese from them.  I've also been breaking down and buying a few 12 packs of carbonated products of late, though I'd mostly given up on those a few years back.  Just got really tired of tea and coffee all the time.

                  •  that's OK, most OR wine is over priced anyway (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ladybug53, Merry Light

                    Especially the Willamette Pinots, which I think don't hold a candle to a good Russian River Pinot. Somewhere in the 80s or 90s, I think, Oregon wines were "discovered", and as is always the case, it was uphill (pricewise) from there.

                    I certainly could not hold to your rules, though, given the naturally international character of wine (the practice of importing wine is literally ancient). In fact, wine is a good example of why "buy local" isn't always a reasonable policy. Coffee and tea are other examples: there are no coffee plantations in the continental US.

                  •  I'm not that pure yet. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    LSophia, Merry Light

                    I'm still working my way up to it.  We get our beef and pork from a locally sourced butcher shop, and have several stores that offer local fruit and veg in season, as well as local milk, eggs, honey and pickled and canned local stuff, but very little of our cheese is even close to local - closest I can come is the Amish stuff from halfway across the state, and mostly I only get the butter cheese from them.  I've also been breaking down and buying a few 12 packs of carbonated products of late, though I'd mostly given up on those a few years back.  Just got really tired of tea and coffee all the time.

                    •  Eric (2+ / 0-)

                      Pretty damned pure though.

                      Like you, we just walk past anything imported (except bananas, my wife is hooked but we have a plan to grow our own) and we are guilty on a bit of wine miles, although my plum wine is getting better and we have plans for more fruits going that way too.

                      But we can delete booze in a heartbeat and the only carbonated drinks around here are ginger beer because we can make it too easily and control the sugar content. (Imported and ginger sugar, however, although the ginger is growing well in the greenhouse but sugar, not so easy)

                      The most interesting comment is about getting tired of tea and coffee. That's the real challenge. We get tired of stuff because we have astounding expectations of what we are entitled to. That's what is so attractive about Merry Light's work. She has reset her expectations.

                      NOT easy. magnificent example

                      Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

                      by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 01:30:25 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry, I think this is more (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Merry Light, indres, DawnN, Deep Dark

                of an issue of time than investment. And skills.

                My family has been "poor" for many years (not complaining, just indicating we didn't go for the money). Been on food stamps more than once. For the past 20 years we've lived seriously rural, I've been growing quite a lot of our own. Made friends in the area from whom I can get wheat, apples by the bushel (I only have two trees), and anything else coming in at the time. I can trade beans for corn, tomatoes for squash... works out well.

                But most of our actual food comes from the store. While it's cheaper than anything I can produce (if I paid myself minimum wage to do the work), it's not all organic. But there have always been ways of getting around that, by buying local (may not be strictly organic per herbicides, pesticides and/or fertilizers). Nobody here has enough acreage to bother with GMOs.

                But I work, as far as getting paid for my time and effort, from home. I'm a writer. That means I'm here all the time, and I can start a dinner at noon if I have to, and use all fresh ingredients. Any time you can do that, you aren't going to be spending as much actual money (all told, for a week's worth) than you'd spend on one night's McDonald's for a family of four or five.

                People don't cook these days, other than to open a can or program the microwave for something somebody else already fabricated. My baby sister can't (or won't) even cook that much, has never owned a working stove/oven. It's fast food and sandwich meats/snacks exclusively. She eats no more bulk in a day than I do, but is obese. I still weigh the same as I did in high school. Obviously (to me), it's WHAT she eats that is the problem.

                Just some things I've learned/observed over the years. There's a million ways to self-justify a lousy diet. It's a bit more work and attention to accomplish a good one.

                •  True. Big food corps have made it so (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joieau, LSophia

                  easy to eat junk. I love to cook from scratch, and learned how from my Dad. We can control our salt, fat, veggies, etc. and plus it's just plain tasty! I use a lot of herbs, and this year I've planted even more. I dry them for winter use, and they add so much flavor to any food!
                  I also have a sister who doesn't cook, and she and her daughters are morbidly obese. It's frightening.

                  -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

                  by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 03:30:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  In addition to "Food Inc." (5+ / 0-)

                    you definitely should see "Supersize Me." It's not like it isn't KNOWN that our fast food culture and slavery to 'convenience' foods and soft drinks caused our obesity epidemic. It's that the actual facts of the matter aren't finding their way into the general public's consciousness. A result of the advertising dollars modern media relies upon for its existence, and the advertising budgets of PepsiCo, et al.

                    Not helped one bit by modern working class "productivity" drives in a time of high unemployment. Wages have been stagnant for decades, even as work loads keep going up and up. Many people simply have no time to pay attention to what they eat, they're just trying to stay alive, raise the kids even though you only see them 2 or 3 hours a day. Taking an hour or more to prepare a nice home-cooked meal from scratch ingredients is, for way too many people, not a joy or a joint effort or even something anybody's got enough leftover energy to do.

                    Just another indicator of what our culture has lost and still can lose as a result of the 'New Feudalism'. Food is of high, sometimes primary social concern in traditional cultures. That's all hidden or even nonexistent in the US of A these days.

                •  It takes time to grow your own food and prepare it (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joieau, ladybug53, LSophia, Merry Light

                  but it also takes time to drive to the supermarket, wander the aisles, and stand in a checkout line. I do admire the farmers, however, who produce such perfect lettuce, radishes and corn on sale at the supermarket - much better than I can grow myself.  On the other hand, my tomatoes and peaches are wonderful and worth all the trouble they take to grow.

                  The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

                  by ybruti on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 05:10:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  it's also about calories/penny (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                quill

                A $4/bunch of organic kale gives you some nutrients, but precious few calories. The foods with the most bang for the buck calorie-wise are going to be your various potato/corn snack foods and your HFCS soft drinks.

                This is just how it is.

                •  Yes but most Americans don't need more calories (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Merry Light

                  and those foods will make you sick AND fat.

                  I'm doing fine on the organic kale from my backyard. And my weight is normal.

                  Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

                  by anastasia p on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 07:12:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  THis is very much like (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fuzzyguy, Only Needs a Beat, DawnN

            the high-and-mighty folks who think hitting ordinary people with punishingly high gas prices is the way to energy sanity – despite the fact that they have no options, given the poor policy we've endured on public transportation.

            Much of the high cost of produce and cheap cost of garbage food has to do with food policies set at the highest level of government. It's insulting to demand that the poorest people bear the cost of somehow fixing this while the RMoney's of the world eat imported linzer torte.

            What if there are no other ways to reduce spending? What if virtually every penny you have is spent on basic expenses — housing, utilities and health care — NOT including cable and a cell phone or every eating out or going to a movie? Telling people with NO money to "do the right thing" while the rich tap dance all over them is offensive.

            Sure, since I am a vegetarian who prefers to eat healthy, I have found ways, which mostly include having only one meal a day these days, as well as growing a lot of food on my porch. I don't assume those would be options for everyone.

            Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

            by anastasia p on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 07:04:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Except... (0+ / 0-)

            that your point (spending more to support small businesses/the environment/whatever) can be made in other areas too.  Clothes made of responsible materials with ethical labor are expensive, and I could easily write a diary just like yours about how people should scrimp in other areas of their budget so they have buy organic/fair trade clothing.  

            Or I could write a diary telling people to buy a hybrid car, and I could justify the added expense by telling them that if they just cut back on new clothes and groceries, they could afford it.  

            There are a million legitimate ways to vote with your money, but many people are just hanging on and not in a position to be buying a $50 turkey.  You need to be conscious of that.

        •  No,you're definitely not that guy. You (4+ / 0-)

          care about it even if it's not in your budget. The guy I know could care less. He also calls himself a Christian & he is really not a true one.

          -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

          by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:46:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Might consider a canning co-op (9+ / 0-)

        so that the equipment might be shared and the process doing in batches with lots of people helping at the same time.

        -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

        by JPax on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:57:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Another advantage of being a Floridian... (8+ / 0-)

      ...I can buy watermelon from local farms on the roadside for $4. And they are delicious.

      I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

      by ObamOcala on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:49:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We've been eating a lot of watermelon lately. (12+ / 0-)

        I won't buy the Mexican imported ones.  But my local grocery stores are now carrying the Hempstead melons which are grown within 100 miles of my house, and are reasonably priced now, in season.

        But most exciting, we just picked the first melon from my 17 year old daughter's garden!  She ordered heirloom seeds and planted them herself, and is SO excited to have successfully grown a melon (last year's attempt was a bust). We'll probably only get three melons, but still!  She also grows carrots & beets, and last fall grew broccoli.  Her friends thinks she's a nerd, but she did bring a bag of veggies to school to share one time, and they were impressed!

    •  I don't know (7+ / 0-)

      but I've noticed it too at the supermarket.

      At our local farm market this morning, though, the going rate for watermelon was more like $1 a pound.

      Maybe the supermarkets are basically giving up on perishables, which must cost them more to handle than boxed, bottled or even frozen items. They are cutting  personnel like every other business. Selling perishables must be relatively labor-intensive.  Perishables have to be checked over, culled, and  rearranged often, and there must be losses because things go bad before anyone buys them.

      Maybe the major growers find it more convenient to sell most of the crop to processors rather than to grocers.  

      Possibly, the chain grocery is also less interested in the produce department because demand for fresh foods may actually be depressed.  

      I know most people are strapped for time, eat out quite often, and sometimes may not know how to cook more than a few things. Around here there are several ethinic populations that may tend to buy more from the ethnic markets, reducing the demand at the supermarket.

      On top of that, basic fresh foods do not have the advantage of national advertising campaigns.

      Oh, the possibilities!

      "Nothing beats a beet!"
      "And the beet goes on!"
      "Yeah!  We've got the beet!"

    •  Indeed (4+ / 0-)

      In many areas the cost of food at the farmer's market is several times that purchased elsewhere. The fallacy of locavorism is when proponents assume that everyone can afford to do it, if only they would get their priorities straight.

      •  There's another ethical predicament (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Merry Light

        The big box stores work on turnover plus. Their margins are very slim at some point in the chain, very often the farm gate where energy and fertiliser inputs are very volatile and furute supplies are fragile.

        The more of us who eat local, grow our own etc, the closer we push critical parts of that chain to breaking.

        If 20% of us, not impossible, grew 50% of our own food and sourced the rest locally through farmers' markets, we would probably bankrupt the food chain. YMMV but you get my point.

        THEN what happens to the other 80%?

        Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

        by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 01:37:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There is alot (0+ / 0-)

        to being a farmer, this is especially true of being a truck farmer. It is also hard work.

        Taxes are a big deal on the land near metro areas. You only get tax breaks for farming 20 or more acres in most states. Most farms these days are 5 or less. Here in my area 5 acres even in these time is 250,000.00

        I ran a truck farm for years supplying co ops around Puget Sound with fresh produce in season my farm was remote but still my taxes were $10,000 a year. Then there the cost of everything else in the end I am not sure I even cleared minamum wage. Part of the deal is buying local creates jobs hopefully ones with wages people can live on.

        It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

        by PSWaterspirit on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:51:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I like the idea of Farmer's Markets... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III

      ....but the price is often prohibitive, and the Downtown Farmer's Market is both expensive and the most unpleasant place I've ever shopped in.

      I much prefer Sheridan's Market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge for produce and meat - prices competitive with supermarkets, with the quality of a farmer's market, WITHOUT the pushy yuppies, smelly hipsters, and noise.

      9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

      by varro on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 06:43:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just returned from the Saturday version of our (16+ / 0-)

    farmers market here in Columbia, Mo.  (There are markets in various locations throughout the week.)  It's amazing, especially when compared to the ones held in Colorado Springs (where tomatoes from 40 miles away arrived in a refrigerated truck).  I just went for the peaches today but you can get everything to feed yourself and the family without going to the grocery store.  Wild-caught trout, heritage beef and pork, amazing varieties of tomatoes (200+ over the course of the season), home-baked bread & pies, just-laid eggs, just about every variety of fruit & veg as well as herbs.  Most of these items are organic.  I really don't think much about the price because the produce is so darn delicious.

    "By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell -- and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed." Adolf Hitler

    by pittie70 on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:20:28 AM PDT

  •  In my part of the world (12+ / 0-)

    vegetable gardens are a way of life.  Mine is about 1/3 of an acre.  But you don't need a big garden to impact your diet.  Many other diarists here have written about square-foot, container, straw bale, and other varieties of gardens that allow almost anyone with a small back yard, a patio or even a sunny window to raise at least some of their own food.

    Farmer's markets are wonderful resources; so are food co-ops.  But you can still raise a lot on your own, or at least, most people can.

    As far as the cost issue goes, I'm fond of telling my mother-in-law, who really should know better, "Calories are cheap.  Good calories are expensive, but they save you money in general health."

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 08:58:37 AM PDT

  •  It's funny; I just got (8+ / 0-)

    back from the farmer's market, and -- no joke -- I was literally looking for cash under my car seat because I had underestimated the cost of simple fixings for a couple of dinners this weekend.

    I'd love to get into gardening. I may try it on a small scale next spring (i.e., one elevated bed) and see if anything takes. But right now, I can't even keep a basil plant or cacti alive, which as a understand it is quite a feat of gardening incompetence.

    You are reading my signature line. #hashtag

    by cardinal on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:04:20 AM PDT

    •  No green thumb here either but one year I worked (14+ / 0-)

      Thursdays at an organic farm in exchange for a share that  turned out to be more vegetables than two of us could eat in a week.
         And I got the amazing feeling of participating in the whole cycle (raking your fingers through the earth and coming up with potatoes? wow!) without having to plan or know or worry about any of it. Like a kid again, in fact. Also, I learned some things about caring for veggies, like keeping cut carrots and celery (and even eggs) under cold water to preserve them and how much better salad is if you soak it in cold water first too.
          My mom from Florida was shocked at how freely I use water here- but the blessing of my land is a really good well.

    •  I hear you! (10+ / 0-)

      I have to put myself on a budget at our farm market, or I will overbuy!

      Walked in this morning with $25 in cash, walked out with vegetables and fruit for one person for a week, 1/2 pound of cheese, and 12 cents left over.

      Like the diarist, I just started this route -- 2 weeks ago, after deciding I've HAD IT with our supermarket:

      Had it with half-spoiled fish, woody fruit, artificially-tenderized and plumped meats, shrink-wrapped celery sticks, and (poison!) green potatoes.

      Had it with supermarket prices for any type of food purporting to be fresh, which are through the roof in the past year or so.

      Had it with striding through acres of snacks, junk, candy, brightly colored boxes depicting cartoon characters, cases of soda, convenience items, pharmaceuticals, magazines, etc., etc., etc., to find some basic food.

      Had it with Muzak, amplified  announcements, gimmicky attention-gobbling "special offers," and ads popping out of every surface.

      Had it with standing in understaffed check-out lines, or the slightly shorter lines for the self-check-out stations  with the smarmy robot voice, which quite often glitch up, taking even more time to locate a clerk and sort it out than standing in the main check-out line would have taken in the first place.

      At present the prices for vegetables and fruit in our farm market are comparable to the supermarket, with much bettter quality available.

      Milk, cheese and baked goods are higher at the farm market. Meat is extremely high. Still, I can afford to buy them part of the time.

      Good news, just found a specialist fish market, fresh wild-caught fish, mostly local. Bad news, cost is anywhere from $16 to $24 a pound! However, bought some of the lower priced and baked it in a covered dish with a little butter and nutmeg. It was righteous and the rest can be reheated.

      Supermarket is still necessary for staples like flour, oil,  and dried beans as well as part of the dairy and meat, but with luck, there will be no need to drop in there more than once a week or spend very much time, at least, while fresh produce is in season.

      •  Yep, that was part of it too. I shop for (7+ / 0-)

        basics at the supermarket but pass by their specials. I don't buy the fruit, or tomatoes out of season unless they are from Denver, which can be found. (170 miles, but better than from Mexico!). I got tired of waiting for pears or peaches to get ripe, only to find that they had NO TASTE. I got tired of them trying to force me to buy their store brand (Kroger), by not carrying any other brand or the only other choice being the highest costing national brand.  I go to Costco for a lot of stuff and I also do without some things, and I don't miss them.  Costco sells a lot of organic products and also has an ethical employment policy, so it's the behind the scenes stuff I consider now as well.

        -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

        by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:35:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Agree totally about the supermarket. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus, LSophia, Merry Light

        We've abandoned it pretty much and now cycle thru the year with the farmers in our weekly farmer's market.  Anticipating each item as it arrives in season to be eaten and enjoyed until it disappears until the following year.

        Our pleasure from shopping is definitely enhanced. It also is nice going booth to booth, chatting with the workers and farmers about their families and bits of local gossip.  We see our neighbors there as well.

        Rather than frazzled and annoyed with tasteless, factory-farm food we come home with a smaller amount of high quality food and a satisfying social experience too.

        We're major supporters of our market and see it as a big plus for everyone involved.

      •  You might want to check out "Health Food" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LSophia, Merry Light

        stores, the kind that stock supplements and cater to bodybuilders, for low cost staples like flour, oil, dried beans, etc. Sometimes they have good deals on staples.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 02:11:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Try cilantro. It seems to be the next thing to a (5+ / 0-)

      weed ;)  And if you don't pick too much, it will eventually go to seed and you'll have more coriander than you'll ever use.

    •  I can kill a boston fern at (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia, Merry Light, DawnN

      20 paces (so my Mother-in-Law always said). Houseplants are for me an endeavor I should never even try because I always fail. So I was a bit surprised to find that I can grow stuff outside that does just great!

      Start small - if you've a sunny porch or patio, get some containers and grow a few things. Lettuce, bunching onions, spinach and peas are all shallow-rooted, do fine in 4-6" deep containers. Like window boxes or porch rail boxes. And all grow in cool weather - in fact, like that best.

      Strawberries also grow shallow, try an urn-shaped container with lots of little side-shelves. Collards and kale need more root room, but make a nice showing in a landscape bed. Potatoes-in-a-crate are kind of fun - just need crate(s) and some half-rotten hay. Sweet potatoes are lovely landscaping for entire sections of yard during the long growing season. Plus Sweet Patootie Pie on Thanksgiving! Herbs can grow on windowsills all winter, make lovely additions to porch and yard plantings. Thyme is especially pretty.

      My Mom used to buy a bag of topsoil, slit it open on her apartment patio, and throw in some tomato seeds. Water as needed. Grew some very, very tasty tomatoes!

      Try your hand! Might find you do well...

      •  Don't forget chard. It's the easiest of anything (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LSophia, Joieau, Merry Light

        to grow, and thrives in hot, warm, or cold weather.

        The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

        by ybruti on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 06:46:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Except mine, this year. Too hot too (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          early, I guess. Oh well, the cukes are coming on and I have tomatoes ripening too.

          -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

          by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:49:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not very fond of chard, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Merry Light

          and the rest of the family won't touch it. A shame too, since Johnny's has such beautiful rainbow-colored chards that look so pretty growing. Only cooked greens I can get them to eat are kale and collards, which hold some body after cooking instead of turning to mush. Sometimes I'll toss in some beet and turnip greens to the last 5 minutes of simmering (in broth, for pot likker). Serve with beans and cornbread. Also perfect for longer cooking stews like hopping john...

  •  I'm soooooo lucky. (18+ / 0-)

    Iowa has a program that provides vouchers for low-income seniors and the disabled to buy fresh produce at the Farmer's Markets.  I got $30 to spend during this growing season.  It's not a great fortune, but I do get some wonderful, fresh produce that I couldn't otherwise afford.  :-)

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:22:22 AM PDT

  •  Hooray! (15+ / 0-)

    Our household does it's utmost best to be Sustainable Locovores.  

    Our Motto is:  What did you do once you knew?

    It's hard.  You have to make constant, daily choices.  

    I am so happy for you!!!  

    Thank you for supporting local farmers and not the corporate frankenfoods that sells us slave labor, cancer coated killer food.  

    I work in a grocery store.  I hear people bitch about the price of food all day.  Most that complain about the cost of organic this and that or local items - have a stunning car out in the parking lot.  Usually still running to keep the AC going....

    But I do understand that most people can't afford to eat non-slave labor food or healthy food.  That is why America's malnourished are overweight.

    Why do we think those places are called "chains"?  They are fit for slaves to eat there and you have to be a slave to work there...

    Now I gotta go check my organic herb garden.  I'm at 'war' with slugs. :)

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

    by Damnit Janet on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:49:31 AM PDT

    •  "Our Motto is: What did you do once you knew?" (8+ / 0-)

      Love it! I gotta remember that one. Our family saying comes at it from a different direction. When speaking of unethical behavior someone would say,"Well, you could, but it would be wrong..." leaving the absolute implication that that's not the course to choose, then, is it? I feel like our country once had the honor to behave that way too, and somehow money has caused us to lose our moorings.

    •  Slugs love beer! hope you win the war, (7+ / 0-)

      Janet.  I haven't had them bother me since I had Mr. Light build me a raised garden bed.

      I used to work in a grocery store too, and they do suck. I know their philosophy. We do now have a Vitamin Cottage chain organic store, and Whole Foods opens next month about 30 miles away, so the choices are becoming more available.

      -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

      by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:38:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dig a hole (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia, Merry Light, Damnit Janet

      about the size of a quart cottage cheese container. Put said cottage cheese container (sans cheese) into the hole, with the lip of the container at or slightly below ground level. Put three small rocks around the hole. Pour in 1/2 bottle of cheap beer. Prop a small plate or flower pot saucer on the three small rocks so the plate covers the hole, but is raised up an inch (more or less) from the ground.

      Slugs will crawl in to get to the beer, will be too drunk to crawl out, and mostly drown. I don't know what you do with the drowned slugs. Maybe chickens will eat them?

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 02:20:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's less expensive to squirt some dish soap (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orinoco, Merry Light, Damnit Janet

        into a container that has two inches of water in it. Just drop the slugs in there whenever you see one.

        The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

        by ybruti on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 06:49:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Time vs money (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Merry Light, Damnit Janet

          You have to find the slugs to drop them in the soapy water. The slugs themselves will find the beer.

          Not that finding slugs is difficult, but the beer trap works 24/7.

          "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

          by Orinoco on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:41:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, and there's cheap beer (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Damnit Janet

            out there not worth drinking!

            -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

            by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:49:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Ha! thanks! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Dark, Merry Light

            We were told this the other day by a neighbor.

            It's amazing the people who will come up and talk to you that you've never met before in your area if you are standing barefoot, with a drink in hand - in your garden.  (Mine is out front to the side of our driveway.  With a ladybug sign that state it is Pesticide Free (although not weed free)

            So. Me and the Spouse get into over what type of beer to buy.  He says to go buy some crappy Bud, Coors or Miller as they are "enemy combatants" of Beervana and local brew.  We would never drink that crap.  Ever.  Not just that is sucks but also for political reasons.  Hell, we're liberals so we battle royale over these types of decisions and purchases LOL

            I refused to buy one of their crappy beers even for slugs as the money would have gone to them.  So I am going to use one of his Black Sessions LOL.  He will sacrifice it for the "common good" :)

            "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

            by Damnit Janet on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:28:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, tell him he's a trooper, fer sure. (0+ / 0-)

              Mr. Light would never give up any of his microbrews, although some liquor stores will sell singles, that may be an option! Slugs don't drink much, anyway.

              -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

              by Merry Light on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 09:25:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  None of the above. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Damnit Janet, Merry Light

        The cost of the beer probably exceeds the value of extra produce you get. Two tracks, not mutually exclusive.

        In the short term give them a place to hide out during the day, half a pipe under some shade near the garden or plant something like Alyssum that both attracts bees and drapes over the side of your raised bed.

        Then, during the day they hide there in groups, along with the snails. Scoop them up and feed to the chickens or kill and leave for the birds.

        Longer term, create a garden that attracts insects and they will attract the birds. Thrushes, blackbirds and starlings. Let them deal to the slugs and snails.

        Bonus option for snails. If you have plenty of big ones, put them in a bucket with some dried pasta for about 3 days so they can purge their guts of toxins. Kill and stir fry with a little olive oil and garlic. Eat with mushrooms on toast

        Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

        by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 02:09:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've let a small rhodie bush (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Merry Light

          be in the center of the herb garden.  Also I have lavender and echinacea as well.  I've allowed some of the herbs to flower which also draws the beneficial critters in.

          If you're patient, you can see the little sparrows and even a few blue birds pop out of cover from the rhodadendron and snatch up a 'pillar.  Quite the sight! :)  It's a totally pesticide free garden.  Wish it was weed free LOL...  

          I think I'll pass on the eco-escargot though :)

          "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

          by Damnit Janet on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 03:42:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Janet (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Damnit Janet, Merry Light

            Good on you. I'm envious of the echinacea, we've had a hell of a job getting seeds to germinate.

            Check those weeds again. Dandelions are medicinal and make good salad goodies, plus you can brew them into beer. Plantain is a bitter green and its flowers can be used as mucilage producers for those with digestive problems like irritable bowel.

            I'm tending a nettle that has volunteered by the chicken coop, hoping to get it spreading and, of course, the dock beside it in case I get stung.

            Try Borage for bees, edible flowers and compost and comfrey for everything from poultices to (very occasional VERY) tea to anti fungal sprays to chicken feed and fertiliser.

            A weed is just a plant we don't recognise in a place we want to grow something else. ragwort I cn do without, but St John's wort is a valuable eye tonic and then a couple of leaves a day from a feverfew keeps migraine at bay.

            Fill your garden with that stuff and you'll never see a weed again.

            Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

            by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 07:18:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have always loved buttercups and dandylions (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Merry Light

              anything that can grow between a sidewalk crack, continue to thrive while being stomped --- is okay in my book :)

              I have a few bee balms around the yard.  Finally bloomed this year! And I'm the "horrible" neighbor because I have a non-native butterfly bush - two of em that I keep nicely trimmed because they are the first plant I learned how not to kill by loving it :)  

              I would love to have some St John's Wort in my garden!!!  Still learning all of this.

              The weeds I don't like are the little grassy ones that if you go near them they have "jumpers" that send their seed off.  

              Found a really neat book for newbs and old gypies :)

              Herbal Recipes for virbrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar - 175 teas, tonics, oils, salves, tinctures, and other natural remedies for the entire family.

              Daughter and I made some foot salts with lavender and clary sage oils with epsom and sea salts this weekend.

              I'm Soooooooooooo not the crafty type nor do I know what I'm doing... can't even sew or jam but learning at 42 :)

              "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

              by Damnit Janet on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 07:38:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hah! - 42? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Damnit Janet

                I'll see your 42 and raise you 12. I was 56 before I actually started taking this stuff seriiously. Beware though, after 5years of working up to it,  I now own a 10 acre block.

                For a slightly more up market appraoch, and to send a frisson through the coffee table browsers, try this on

                Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

                by Deep Dark on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 02:53:21 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Coolness! (0+ / 0-)

                  I'll check him out.  

                  I think many past 40 are learning how to do the things their parents passed on.  My Mom grew up on a farm but 70s was all about convenience, time savers and tv dinners...  I left the home knowing how to peel potatoes and wash dishes.  That was it as far as home economics went.  As well as a "PhD" in dysfunctional family ties. :)

                  NOW... I'm taking all that mojo, magic, power, knowledge and old skool stuff and taking it back.

                  My kids are active in politics, charities and are both very artistic.  Neither are shy :)

                  Thank you for these chats!!!

                  "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

                  by Damnit Janet on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:45:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  about slugs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Damnit Janet, Merry Light

      A friend told me they like beer. Seriously. She put a saucer of beer in her garden and the slugs died happy and stayed away from her zinnias.

      Might work for herbs too... haven't tried it myself but thought I'd pass it on! :-)

      Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect whether he chooses to be so or not. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

      by firstalto on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 11:03:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Glad to see this. (8+ / 0-)

    I remember that diary. I'm not sure if I commented or not. I probably started to, then stopped after writing something nasty. Better for people to find out on their own the truth behind our food system.

    This is something that I'm always surprised more 'progressives' aren't in touch with considering the environmental, social, economic,... er, lets just say its the BASIS OF HUMAN LIFE ON EARTH! YARR

    ok, got that out of me.

    Welcome to the movement. I'm not perfect, never will be, but we try our best. Can't wait to start my own farm here in Finland.

    If you want to read more about ecological gardening (beyond organic), you can click on my page here. Five of the last six diaries talk about agroecology and permaculture. The sixth diary in the series has a link to the first narrated slide show of our own transition to an edible forest garden. Since that sixth diary, I've put up 2 more slide shows. The slide shows were made for my parents more than anything else, but I'm sharing them publicly so that other people can see that you don't have to be perfect to take the plunge.

    Cheers,

    A Victory Garden documents my family's experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles. A new blog following my life as an immigrant in Finland will be up soon.

    by FinchJ on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:52:03 AM PDT

    •  Hey, Finch, thanks for thinking twice (4+ / 0-)

      about leaving a nasty comment - some did. I don't take it personally, not to worry. I've looked at some of your diary/slide shows in the past and was impressed with the work you've done. Good job!

      -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

      by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:40:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I hope I didn't write anything. Even if you (0+ / 0-)

        don't take it personally I'm trying to be a better person about these kinds of things. Which typically means I still write the comment, then delete it without posting. Allows me to vent to myself. Hah :)

        Thanks for the kind words and I am appreciative of your diaries as well. It is always great to see food issues being discussed here.

        Cheers,

        A Victory Garden documents my family's experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles. A new blog following my life as an immigrant in Finland will be up soon.

        by FinchJ on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:53:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Take a 4 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Merry Light, FinchJ

      For permaculture.

      Much organic farming is little better than industrial. They don't use pesticides but they still grow huge monocultural crops and use plenty of water and fuel to produce and transport it.

      Permaculture is messy, difficult, time consuming to set up and hard work both for the brain and the back.

      Its not even certain that permaculture IS permanent. But from here on out its that or nothing.

      Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

      by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 02:13:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hah, thanks, I'll pass it on :) (0+ / 0-)

        You are right. Industrial organic, oftentimes, merely substitutes "inputs" from one sheet - conventional- to another- organic and retains the same techniques and approach to farming. Sad, really. But then again wasn't that the big hoorah in the 90s about the organic label to begin with...

        Permaculture can be back breaking- but so can industrial ag too. I love it.

        And again, you are right. Permaculture may not be permanent, but its better than most other systems. Its kind of pretentious to call it permanent since the basis of permaculture is that things change!

        Cheers,

        A Victory Garden documents my family's experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles. A new blog following my life as an immigrant in Finland will be up soon.

        by FinchJ on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:56:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ok, maybe not pretentious, but its odd. (0+ / 0-)

          I guess the goal is permanence so it fits. Until the sun swallows the earth or whatever the final apocalypse for our species may be.

          A Victory Garden documents my family's experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles. A new blog following my life as an immigrant in Finland will be up soon.

          by FinchJ on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 04:57:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Local produce is good business. (10+ / 0-)

    Put aside all the feel-good stuff.  It's dollars and cents proposition.  A restaurant will pay good money for a fully-ripened tomato.  It takes 87 days to grow a beefsteak tomato to full ripeness.   An old shopping mall is a good place to grow and you can get people to do the cultivation.  It's a labor-intensive operation.

    Present a restaurant with a model where they can take delivery of produce they'll use at some future date on a regular schedule and plan accordingly.  Sorta like a food coop only geared to higher markup items.  It's almost impossible to ship a fully ripe tomato, but it's easy to put them in a van and deliver them the day they're picked.

    This model relies on the close proximity of demand and labor. Most of these old dying shopping malls are right next to big apartment complexes, and the restaurants are right there in town.  That's the model I'm looking at.  

    All the HVAC is already installed in an old mall.  The hydroponic operation can expand as demand arises.

    The new red-blue LED grow systems are coming into their own.  The biggest sunk cost is lighting.  As that cost drops, we'll start seeing these operations appearing in cities:  it's the only place where such an operation can make any headway.

    People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

    by BlaiseP on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 11:01:54 AM PDT

    •  The more low-tech idea... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, LSophia, Merry Light

      ....that my dad had when he had his bar/restaurant was:

      Grandpa grows vegetables (mostly tomatoes and beans) and brings them in as soon as he picked them.....we got compliments for the freshness of the tomatoes in our salads.

      9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

      by varro on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 06:53:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Check these guys (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Merry Light

        They live in downtown Pasadena within spitting distance of a 10 lane freeway on a quarter acre lot and produce about 6,000 lbs of food a year.

        They sell to their local restaurants, keep goats, chickens and ducks and use no commercial sprays, just what they make themselves.

        Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

        by Deep Dark on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 02:17:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Watch your shopping patters (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Merry Light, offred, worldlotus, ladybug53

    There are many good reasons to eat local, but saving energy is not one of them.  An 18 wheeler traveling 1000 miles loaded with food may be more efficient than a farmer's pickup traveling 100 miles.

    Two studies of the energy cost of raising transporting and processing of food from farm to table concluded that 30 to 50% of the total energy was expended by the customer driving to the market.  If you have to drive, consolidate your shopping trips.

  •  Great you are healing yourself and the planet (7+ / 0-)

    Yes it is expensive.  Lots of folks working very hard trying to make a living at growing food.  Basically they just get by but know that they are making things better and making themselves better.  this is a Big revolution and you and all of us supporting healthy food are moving us forward.  Yes i saw Food Inc.  It was nasty but enlightening and motivated me to try harder to not support industrial food.  PS you can also grow sprouts on your window sill.

  •  We have a very nice market walking distance (4+ / 0-)

    from us.

    It is generally cheaper than the mainstream chain supermarkets.  Some stuff more, some stuff less.

    It's nice knowing the folks who have a loving interest in the food they are selling you.

    We only really make sure we are eating organic animal products.  Fruit and veg we aren't very strict about, but make the decision based on what looks freshest.

    From a global environmental point of view, eating local/buying local isn't necessarily better for the environment.  It's possible that having something shipped to you takes less energy then trying to grow something in an unideal climate.

    Also, I can kill you with my brain.

    by Puffin on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 11:25:34 AM PDT

  •  Farmer's Markets and Co-ops (4+ / 0-)

    supply me with the bulk of my food - that is, the food that I don't grow myself.  I try to buy locally, buy and freeze in-season produce and am thinking about taking a canning class.

    I only had a Costco non-organic chicken once, and it was disgusting.  I could taste the additives.  I decided I'd rather cut my meat consumption in half and eat the good stuff rather than have inferior products more often.  I understand, though, that not everyone can afford to even do that - back in the day, when I was living on broccoli and ramen, I couldn't, either.

    We are very lucky to have a hugely robust Farmer's Market community here - in fact, I think I'll head out to one of them and see what they have that's fresh - and then I'll go clear all of the bolting produce out of my garden.  :)

  •  Regarding water (7+ / 0-)

    for your vegetables, I have a rain barrel which saves me a ton of water and money. It was fairly inexpensive, 25$.

    I realize that it can be expensive to eat right but it can also be very very cheap. For example I grabbed a bunch of kale at the store today and plan to make it with a baked potato and a handful of carrots. under 2$ and I will get 2-3 servings from the kale. Heavy processing of food has got us thinking that we need a lot of different tastes and textures and meat... we really don't. The simpler it is the better it tastes (once your taste buds adjust) and the cheaper it is too. I have completely lost my taste for rich sauces. I get organic herbs cheap from my local health food store and use them liberally.

    Congratulations on your enlightenment,  your path has just begun and it's the real way to the future.

    While many minority groups are the target for discrimination, few face this hostility without the support and acceptance of their family as do many glbt youth.

    by azrefugee on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 11:35:10 AM PDT

    •  I have nice recycled (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia, Merry Light

      juice barrels for rainwater. Got this great idea during a dry season, I could just hose the water from the bottom of the rain barrels to water the garden!

      Then I discovered that if there's no rain for your garden, there's no rainwater in the barrels. So now I'm using them as cisterns for the spring.

  •  Great diary and all of us who work Farmer's.... (12+ / 0-)

    Markets (my wife and I are in our 12th year selling at our local market) we say "thank you" to all those that patronize them!

    It is very educational to learn what good food costs, and also to know the person who grew/produced that which you feed yourselves and loved ones.  Farmers Markets typically keep the money "local", and are also a great social gathering spot to meet and see friends and other like minded individuals as well.  We love our little local market here in our small rural town.

    Once again, excellent post.  Tipped and Rec'd!

    “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    by LamontCranston on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:53:46 PM PDT

  •  Check out food coops as well (7+ / 0-)

    I'm lucky I live in a rural yet progressive area. Not only do we have an awesome farmer's market but have a food coop as well. It's nice that the food coop is right next to the farmers market. The food coop gives out free membership to low income people even though you do not have to be a member to shop there. They also have free classes you can take ($5 if you are not a member) on how to eat healthy on a budget. They also have a "Food for All" program available to anyone that shops. Basically, the coop offers certain products (milk, butter, rice, beans, toilet paper, milk etc.) at wholesale prices. Whatever the supplier charges is how much they charge. For instance, they charge non-antibiotic, rbst free butter for around $3.  The land of lakes butter at Wal-Mart is around $4. I'm also thrilled the coop is expanding. Since it is a coop, the coop was allowed to go to its members and ask for money. So basically, the member gives the coop money and the coop pays you interest for that money. Plus you get to decide on the interest rate based on how much you give them. I had some money (not much) sitting around in a savings account at a bank getting .20 interest rate. I gave that money to the coop and will be getting around 2% interest on it. Also, did I mention that my farmers market and coop accepts food stamps.

    •  I manage a foo co op (0+ / 0-)

      we offer milk, butter, eggs, bulk tofu, rice and two kinds of dry beans all local at our cost which is much chaper than wallmart.

      But then my experience is when it comes to food walmart isn't that cheap anyway. They just have everybody brainwashed into thinking they are.

      It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

      by PSWaterspirit on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:15:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is "Food, Inc." available to watch online? (4+ / 0-)

    I found a trailer.  Do you have a link?

    “I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.” –Blaise Pascal

    by dskoe on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 01:11:45 PM PDT

  •  The complete list of 50 documentaries (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, ladybug53, LSophia, Merry Light

    is available here, for those that may be interested.

    The man who moves a mountain begins by moving away small stones. -Confucius

    by Malachite on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 02:44:17 PM PDT

  •  House Farm Bill billions new agri - subsidies (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, ladybug53, LSophia, Merry Light

    http://upwithchrishayes.msnbc.msn.com/

    Video clips

    The decades long debate over food stamps

    House Farm Bill to slash billions from Food Stamps/SNAP - Sat, Jul 14, 2012

    The myth of Food Stamp/SNAP fraud - Sat, Jul 14, 2012

    Should Food Stamps have more restrictions? - Sat, Jul 14, 2012

    The stimulative effect of Food Stamps - Sat, Jul 14, 2012

    House Farm Bill: Billions in new agricultural subsidies

    There's no reason to suffer through the grave injustice of U.S. universal health care when there's a robust sampling of countries that aren't industrialized and will happily allow you to not experience Obamacare.

    by anyname on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 02:49:27 PM PDT

  •  Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts is farmer market (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, MA Mom, TampaProgressive

    heaven. The region is exploding in farmer markets. Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) is a community non-for-profit that has really helped to create a strong foundation and supportive network for locovores--and it is really paying off. The farmer markets, coops, and the networks of support, including great education events, has made local organic food available and increasingly affordable. Everyone is winning. And farmers are helping other farmers get their products out to the public.

     I have added a link to their educational page just to provide an example of how they are intelligently developing new generations of farmers and support for this vital food market.

    I go to my Farmer's Market every Tuesday, where I pick up whatever products I want for the week. I have a share in a local farm and was provided a card that I use weekly to deduct my purchases. The share is $325.00 for the June to October season. I receive $350.00 worth of vegetables and organic farm fresh eggs. It is better for me than a traditional share because if I miss a week, I do not lose out of a pre-picked box of vegetables, which I may or may not use. This way, I choose exactly what I want for the week and the balance is simply carried forward. The farm get paid in 3 installments and has the financial support to purchase the sees, etc. for each planting without worrying. It is smart and user friendly. The younger generation here is really taking farming to the next level in terms of improving on efficiency and quality of products. CISA farming

  •  I see a buff brahma in that flock! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Merry Light

    They are one of my favorite breeds.  I still have three that are 4 years old now.  They don't lay anymore, but they are quite personable.

    •  We have a very nice little flock! You're (0+ / 0-)

      right, a buff and a dark brahma. They're still young, but growing fast!
      We have the two Brahmas, a Delaware, Blue Langshan, Welsummer, and a Speckled Sussex.  All are named! They're fun to watch.

      -6.50/-5.23 "Don't find fault, find a remedy." - Henry Ford

      by Merry Light on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:55:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good post. I do have sympathy for folks who (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MA Mom, Merry Light

    have to eat crap because they can't afford good food. We need to blame it on the system.
    When I hear jingoist rhetoric from people that we should invade other countries and teach the what "democracy" is like, I think well, maybe third world countries will want to invade us and teach us to eat better. Our food tastes anywhere from chalk piece to cardboard as Dmitri Orlov puts it. And think of all the crap like pink slime etc.

    "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

    by Funkygal on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 01:54:42 AM PDT

  •  Something really scary... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TampaProgressive, Merry Light

    At least to me.  The last few years I've had terrible skin reactions, really terrible.  I look like a plague victim, with lesions all over my body.  They started coming on my face, I went to see a dermatologist--no clue.  I finally figured out they must be due to food allergies.  Occasionally I swell up all over, especially my feet, that become a size larger, and get hives all over.  My sores weep a clear fluid and I'm all puffy with a sort of brain fog.  For the last year I've been trying to isolate which foods cause it.

    Although I have figured out that I am lactose intolerant (although fine with cheese, yogurt and butter, thank God!), the really REALLY scary thing to me is that I've realized that it's MEAT that is causing this.  It took me a long time to figure out, because the meat I cook at home doesn't cause this.  I buy from a local halal butcher (cheaper than Whole Foods) who gets his meat from a local farmer who pastures his cattle and chickens.  But if I eat meat in a restaurant or any sort of lunch meat, beef jerky, bacon or sausage, I get those terrible symptoms.  It's something they are adding to the meat that is making me sick, whether how the livestock are raised, or afterwards in the preservatives they add to the meat.

    Likewise, eating anything with peanuts in it will cause the same symptoms.  But if I eat organic Teddy's peanut butter, I'm fine.

    So I've decided to become a situational vegetarian, and only eat meat when I know where it comes from.  Life is too short to be poisoning myself with food.

  •  we too are "converted" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Merry Light

    About two years ago we started buying whatever produce is fresh and in season from local farms, as well as our eggs, milk and meat. It is definitely more expensive, especially the meat. However, we'd rather buy and eat less meat knowing that what we are buying ate a natural diet.

    I like knowing that the chickens and turkeys ate what chickens and turkeys are supposed to eat, with plenty of room to roam around. I like seeing the cattle grazing in the farm pastures. I like that my children make the connection between food and farm - rather than just seeing meat in styofoam trays at the supermarket.

    We are also eating more vegetables in general, and learning to cook greens and root vegetables I might never otherwise have tried. It's fun to have the children ask, "what's this?" -- we then take some home and figure out what to do with it.

    Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect whether he chooses to be so or not. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

    by firstalto on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:39:42 AM PDT

  •  for summer greens I recommend (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Merry Light

    growing Malabar spinach.  It is not a true spinach but is a heat loving plant.  Ours has thrived and taken off even with the 108degree heat wave we just have.  Give them something to vine on like a tomato cage and they grow prolifically.  The chickens like it too.  My husband has been making his BLT's with the Malabar.  

  •  I eat less meat, but way better meat... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Merry Light

    I've found that it can be almost as economical to buy meat locally...just lower your portions.  For those of us that do eat meat, we were probably eating too much anyhow.  

    Yesterday I bought a 3 lb. pastured, local chicken.  It was $16.  I grilled it, quartered it, and ate one of those quarters.  I now have 3 other meals left.  So each portion is $4.  Not really all that bad.

    Also bought local corn on the cob.  $.75 an ear.  Wife is a vegetarian and had one. $1.50 total.

    Local potatoes--$6 a quart, used half of them.  $3 for the two of us.

Ed in Montana, Emmet, Chi, importer, Pandora, PeterHug, RunawayRose, Emerson, Shockwave, Pescadero Bill, liz, jdld, TampaProgressive, Gustogirl, whenwego, farmerhunt, oceanview, splashy, sidnora, revsue, Texknight, ma2004, hoolia, Damnit Janet, Mi Corazon, Matt Esler, ybruti, lonespark, azrefugee, bibble, Massman, mrmango, ExStr8, bloomer 101, historys mysteries, subtropolis, kamarvt, reflectionsv37, farmerchuck, ladybug53, Floja Roja, noladq, martini, Keone Michaels, Medium Head Boy, ceriboo, arlene, neecie100, DarkestHour, llbear, BlueMississippi, bumbi, James Hepburn, Stripe, means are the ends, ms badger, Habitat Vic, LSophia, grassofleaves, Dave in Northridge, LamontCranston, bnasley, RosyFinch, SeaTurtle, uciguy30, leonard145b, bewild, janatallow, Clio2, hulagirl, Youffraita, ozkid, Akonitum, monkeybrainpolitics, Missys Brother, sewaneepat, luckylizard, HarpboyAK, bluemoonfever, LinSea, FinchJ, indres, dRefractor, marzook, MKSinSA, NWTerriD, Leslie in KY, vadasz, Larsstephens, Just Bob, Anima, cordgrass, samanthab, pixxer, 2020adam, sharonsz, Funkygal, fiercefilms, mama jo, ozsea1, henrythefifth, firstalto, jm214, anyname, page394, muddy boots, dougbob, worldlotus, Fire bad tree pretty, enhydra lutris, peregrine kate, Crider, MA Mom, Vatexia, DRo, Regina in a Sears Kit House, annecros, DawnN, Only Needs a Beat, stormicats, molecularlevel, IndieGuy, Joieau, Horace Boothroyd III, joeschmeaux, This old man, peachcreek, pittie70, FrY10cK, Glen The Plumber, dotdash2u, AZ Sphinx Moth, James Wells, DamselleFly, countwebb, quince, dear occupant, weck, entrelac, birdfeeder, Avilyn, blue91, TEMkitty

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site