I'm beginning to think that this little undertaking might end up being good for the waistline, as well as for the wallet. Where I would normally tend to snack mindlessly, or grab bits of this or that without a thought, I'm now so focused on every dime that I am NOT eating anything unplanned. At over $3 a go, there will be no ham, egg and cheese sandwiches from the local bagel shop on the way to work. Not to say that cheap, unhealthy choices don't abound, because they sure as hell do, but I'm currently trending more towards whole food items made quite simply. In an effort to do a little advance planning for the week ahead, I've got a pan of beans and greens working on the stove (kale, some hot Italian sausage, cannelini beans...love it!), and a couple sweet potatoes baking in the oven (easy to turn into a hearty lunch with some salsa and black beans).
It's not escaping me, either, that this is pushing me towards eating as the Gospel According to Michael Pollan (of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" fame) would encourage us to. Lots of whole foods, with a focus on vegetables and fruits, sourced locally when possible, and supplemented in small doses by meats. There's no doubt that I live in an area where agriculture flourishes to an almost ridiculous degree. If one lives in, say, Manitoba (Hi, Mum and Da!), you're going to have different constraints. To that I would say you have to get to know what thrives in your area, and make the most of it. My folks up north have abundant, cheap sources of meat and fish, and no one in the world is a more vigorous preserver of garden produce than my mother. And when your growing season is about 3 minutes long, that takes far more planning and skill than I possess!
As many aspects of our lives become curtailed by rising gas prices, it can't help but to be reflected in our food costs as well. The further things travel, and the more climate controlled they must be to arrive "fresh" at their destinations, the higher their accompanying price tags must be as well. Where local foods from farmer's markets have often been thought of as more costly in comparison to their mass produced and shipped grocery store brethren, they not only more honestly reflect the cost of food production, but are becoming competitive with similar items shipped from afar. With the tremendous social, environmental and dietary benefits that can result from sourcing one's diet close to home, I am increasingly hopeful that doing so can be accessible to all parts of a community, not merely the affluent and well-intentioned.
In related local food news, Hudson appears to be on the verge of beginning a food co-0p! While it appears to still be in the rough planning stages, I love the heart of the idea. And as Hudson proper lacks an actual grocery store (city residents have to wend their way out to Greenport for actual grocery stores, which, to the many people with no vehicles, means either a pricey cab ride or a long slog), so to have something like this right in the heart of the city could be a tremendous asset. I do worry that prices may be prohibitive, but hope that there will be ample promotion of affordability via member participation that it could be accessible to everyone. Definitely something to look forward to and support!
Ok, that's enough proselytizing for now. Plus, I'm hungry and dinner's ready, so I'm going to go stuff my face. For those of you keeping track at home, we are now looking at...
Today's groceries of $13.99 and 2 slices of cheese pizza at $3.78, which brings us to...