Trying to strike a balance

One of the toughest things I am facing, with this new direction in food is not really about the change in diet. It’s about warring motives.

Jen Hatmaker described it best in her book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” (slightly paraphrased). She writes about the conflict that happens between “buying local”, “being frugal”, and “organic” when shopping for her family. Here’s a slight paraphrase from my review of her book.

“So [Local] is horrified by [Frugal]‘s priority to buy cheap, and [Frugal] outright mocks [Organic] and [Local] for spending more….The competing voices confuse me, and I’m not sure which personality should dominate. This leaves me in a mess half the time, and I manage to feel guilty one way or another, no matter which purchasing priority wins the day. I’ve either spent too much, but cheap processed junk, or I’ve subsidized the sweatshop industry. Evidently simplifying can be complicated. GAH!”

As I prepare my meal plan for the next week, I dread what I know I’m going to face while grocery shopping tomorrow. I am committed to fresh (though now not in season) produce. We are blessed to have a lot of options from the Super Target (has produce, but only an OK selection) to Whole Foods (beautiful, wide, expensive selection).

Tomorrow I’m going to take a look at Trader Joe’s. Something in me is slightly resisting (I’m not big on trendy organic…I just want real fresh food…), however I need to push through and shop around so I know what my options are.

5 thoughts on “Trying to strike a balance

  1. I guess we are pretty blessed up here. Our Costco, Fred Meyer (Kroger) and Carrs (Safeway) all carry organic. We have farmer’s markets all year around, though only Wednesday’s in the winter. http://www.alaskafarmersmarkets.org/index.php/directory/

    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/02/02020.html lists Anchorage as having 291,826 people in it, yet on my tiny little property smack dab within the city I can have 5 hens, as long as the coup is 10′ from the property line- bigger property= more hens. This is why I’m hoping city statutes will also say goats, when we get there.

    Our Cooperative Extension Service through UAF teaches classes in Urban Farming, cheesemaking, Master Gardening, and putting up your own food.

    I have found that buying good food is not frugal, turning ingredients into food in a slow food manner is. Most recently I have found that making your own soap, shampoo, lotions/potions/candles, laundry detergent and household cleaners saves the most money of all.

    I just stuck this on facebook, but here it is again, http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list/ I look at this list when I make food choices, on what to buy organic, and then I choose organic over local, unless I know the local and it is organic, they just didn’t jump the hoops to register. I choose seasonal and buy seed packets for fresh, whatever-will-grow-in-zone-3 in the summer. Anchorage is USDA hardiness zone 4, http://www.garden.org/zipzone/ but our Valley gets even colder.

    You have hit upon the fundamental conundrum in buying organic, buying as local as you can, using your own bags, choosing the recycled products- it’s not the easiest path. It’s a constant cost/benefit analysis of today, tomorrow, the next day and pulling it all together for personal and global sustainability. We do our best my friend, each and every day. It’s really all we can do. Don’t feel bad if your onions aren’t organic- they use the least herbicides/pesticides and by weighing that, you’ve still made a sustainable choice…

  2. A book I’ve been meaning to tell you about and why I was trying to navigate Goodreads: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and family. It’s a good read.

    • I’ve got a sample on my Kindle already! Haven’t started it yet though. Requires sitting down and reading… Two things I haven’t had time for this week yet!

      • I borrowed it from the library but eventually purchased it, due to how many references they have in there. I just read a section yesterday that had me headed toward my freezer and eyeing all of my organic meat and looking up their websites if they had one. Then off to the farmers market to purchase local, grass-finished beef from Mt McKinley Meat and Sausage out of Palmer. From now on all our purchased meat we’ll get here.

        I’m going to make some Moussaka with the burger and marinate the top round in balsamic, olive oil, and onion, and cook for our anniversary. Also got a big bottle of local honey out of Big Lake. Good shopping day. 🙂

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