Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Its all about the money

Over the past few days I have been sending emails to a local farmer named Brad. My questions have been about the CSA program. How much does it cost a year? How often would I pick up? Do you grow organically? Most of the answers of course were found on the farmer's website. What I couldn't understand though was how much I would be coming home with a week. He said measuring in pounds would be difficult because it depends on the growing season and of course other farming issues, like rain and such. So I asked him to give me an estimated average based on last years CSA sucess. I explained that my concern was budgeting in my family, that as much as I want to do this if it did not make financial sense I probably couldn't do it, so I need an idea. He gave me an honest answer. If my plan was to beat grocery prices I would very likely not do it with CSA, but at the same time considering that the prices at the grocery store keep going up it would probably come out to about the same. The difference is that with the CSA I would know exactly where my food was coming from and what was put on it. I would also support a local farm. All in all I would be coming home with about two grocery bags full of veggies every week for about $30 a week. That doesn't sound too bad, but it is more than I spend now on organic veggies. Then again not all my veggies are organic. I have had to cut back due to the budget. I'm uncertain what to do. I really want to be a part of the CSA but if I can't afford it I can't afford it. I am waiting on response from two other local famers about their CSA. From their websites their prices seem to be more expensive, but it isn't as long term of a contract. Maybe for now I will have to settle for farmers markets, when ever it is they open up again. That's the thing about living where I live, the options are so limited.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

CSA and Local Organic

I visited again this past week. I made an online purchase of grass fed meat sticks for my brother-in-law for his birthday and then I searched once more for a local farmer's market near me. The closest one doesn't sell to individuals, but instead downtown at the Farmers Market about 25 miles away from me. They also don't do CSA though they use to. They say the business is too hard any other way. The lady tells me it's only her and her husband and its all done by hand organically. She tells me looking at my huge belly that its all about priority as if my priorities are not set straight or something, because I was concerned about driving so far downtown and the parking availability (not to mention the parking costs) and the early mornings availability. I wanted to say something rude in return to her priority comment, but instead I felt sorry for her because she was a struggling small time farmer. I can't imagine having to survive as a farmer in this economy or any other time. Its hard work. I wanted to convince her to let me drive to her home and pick up every week instead, but she seemed to jaded from her past business experience that instead I told her thank you for her time and I'd see what I could do about making it downtown. Truth is I knew I wouldn't. Maybe once every two months or something, but the gas and the kids and my huge belly and the awkward Saturday times for the Farmer's market was just too huge of an inconvenience for my family's life style.

So this week I looked again I wondered perhaps if there was something closer to me in the other direction. It turns out there is. I sent out 3 emails to the 3 closest farms. All 3 have CSA and one of them has a seasonal farmer's market closer to me. They also farm organically. So far only one has responded. I'll have to calculate the price to see if its worth it for me and them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Organic VS The Economy

About a week ago I went grocery shopping at K, despite the economy I decided not to cut back on Organics this time. After all the way I see it my family comes first, I'll just have to cut back on other things. So I shopped and bought as much as I could for 2 and a half weeks. I'm 8 months pregnant. It isn't easy shopping anymore. On the way home, I drove by a homeless man and couldn't help but feel guilty at the amount of money I spent on groceries while he sat there hungry. I wanted to stop, grab a bag an hand it to him, but instead like most cold people I ignored him and drove away when the lights turned green. I'm sure people will argue that homeless people want to be homeless, or that they're lazy or that they're drug addicts, etc. I say who are we to judge? Still I've always put it in my mind not to give handouts on the streets but instead donate to places like Goodwill or church organizations (though I don't belong to one) or Purple Heart or habitat for Humanity. Every month or so I donate items or money to help those that are less fortunate than me, but these days there seem to be a lot more unfortunate people and next year when my husband returns whose to say we wont be in their shoes. Its scary to think about. We've been there before, wondering how to make more money so we could pay rent, on welfare and off so we could afford to eat. Its stuff like this that makes me wonder how can eating organic meals be more important than saving every dime in this unstable economy. Then I listen to the news and listen to stories of children, autistic, with cancer or something of this nature living in their current condition because of possible chemicals and pesticides and hormones in their foods. How does a mother choose? I mentioned before I could cut back on other things, but the thing is I already shop at thrift stores when my kids need clothes. I don't have cable. I don't pay for cellphone service. I check out new books and DVD's from the library.... I could go on. Again what is a mother to do?

News: Subway Goes Greener

Monsanto may have gotten out of the business, but many consumers are still very concerned about artificial growth hormones in milk products.

Subway sandwich shops around the country--all 21,000 of them-- have responded, and will have its dairy provided by Shamrock Dairy, which produces rBGH-free milk, according to the Organic Consumers Association... more.