How Do You Feed Your Family?

I recently sat with Sarah and Bubba King at one of our local wine-country restaurants and, while Greg wrangled kids, homework and bedtimes all on his own, I drank local beer, ate coppa pizza from the wood-fired oven, and asked my friends some Serious Questions.

Now, those of you who’ve been reading here a while will remember Sarah and Bubba from my Run, vegetarians, RUN post titled This Little Piggy Means More Bacon for Me. It’s a good post if you like bacon. AND it included original two-word poetry by me, as well as a confession or two about our crunchy Oregon lifestyle. You can go read it first if you want some background. We’ll wait.

Sarah and Bubba are farmers. I like to think of them as my farmers. They raise pork and poultry. They source local flour and butter. And they run a Community Supported Agriculture project (CSA) where folks like me pay a subscription fee to buy a percentage of their produce. That means that when the farm does well, we get an abundance of delicious, fresh fruits and veggies. And when the farm doesn’t, we get less. It’s a risk, but it’s also the future of sustainable, community farming, and we love both the goods we receive and supporting the local food movement.

But we also feed our kids crap mac and cheese. The kind in the box with the dyes and the preservatives and the simple carbohydrates and the nutritional void. And other morally inferior foods. Like candy. And neon ice cream. And sugar cereal.

So… you know. This is life. Both/And, right? Both feeding our kids locally grown, carefully produced food and snacking on off-brand Fruit Loops straight from the jumbo bag.

That was the first of the Serious Questions I asked Sarah and Bubba. Why will you even talk to me? You know I’m feeding my kids from your farm and the discount grocery store. Don’t I offend you? Don’t you want to reach across the table and yell, STOP IT WITH THE TWIZZLERS, LADY. YOU’RE RUINING YOUR KIDS. And they said, “Nope. You’re good.” And then they said more than that, which we’ll get to, but that was the gist.

The second of the Serious Questions was about money. Oh my gosh, MONEY, you guys. Some people make some, but that person is not me or Bubba or Sarah. So we sat there talking about doing what we love and losing money and the fact that it’s all undeniably worth it. Me with the writing about laying down our guilt and giving ourselves grace and recognizing our hard work and being our true selves and loving our imperfections and laughing at the mess. And Sarah and Bubba with the farming.

So the second question I asked the Bubbas was What’s the point? Which is about money, of course, but is more about purposeWhy do you do this thing where you lose money and you work ’til you bleed? WHY? 

I invited them to answer me in writing, because I want to share their passion with you.

……….

pig_in_box

What’s the Point?
a guest post by Sarah King of The Collective

What’s the point?

Both sets of my grandparents have asked our friends and family members the same question.

“What exactly are Sarah and Bubba doing? Or rather, what it is that they are trying to do?”

They (like many) don’t know or understand the letter combination, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). They don’t understand why we are toiling away, making just enough money to pay for this “hobby” of ours, as they call it. For goodness sake, you can just go to the store and buy all that stuff that you’re trying to grow and it would cost you a lot less money. You wouldn’t have to spend your days getting up early to go feed the animals (even on Sundays) and all of your spare time in the summer peering into a canning pot and listening for the ting, ting, ting of the jars that seal successfully. And what do you mean you don’t buy tomatoes? How can you have a salad in the middle of winter without tomato sliced on it? Wait. You mean, you don’t eat salad during the winter?

My grandparents, whom I admire and respect greatly, don’t understand why we choose to do these things the way they used to be done. Major grocery chains and Amazon.com didn’t exist. They spent year after year doing all the things above because if you didn’t, you didn’t eat. And then things changed. The world got bigger (or is it smaller?) and pretty soon they didn’t have to work so hard to eat and sustain themselves and their families. Soon, they discovered that they could get rid of the dairy cow because it was cheaper to go to the store and buy milk. And that instead of working on the farm all day, they could work in an industry that actually paid them in money, rather than in blisters and sunburns and food. They got things like paid time off and retirement. So why after all of their hard work to get off the farm would we want to undo everything and go back to it? Don’t we understand that it’s hard work, and long hours, and you can’t take days off, or call in sick? And you certainly won’t get rich from it, you likely won’t even make enough to ever retire.

Our simple answer is this: we don’t want to get rich, we want to live richly and a fully. And we do.

When we started “farming” it was really that we just decided that we wanted to learn more about the food that we were putting on our plates. When Bubba and I first got married, I shopped en masse. I loaded up on canned goods at bulk grocery stores — bought cases of soda at Costco — and stocked a pantry with enough prepared foods to survive an apocalyptic snow storm. I thought that’s what I was supposed to do.

But then, something changed. Bubba and I noticed that the food we were eating wasn’t making us feel very nourished, and we certainly weren’t enjoying it, or the process of making it. And we were starting to hear about this trend of people raising their own meat or growing veggies in raised beds outside of their kitchen. So we thought we’d give it a try. I mean, how hard could it be? Put some pigs on the pasture — watch them grow and then fill your freezer. It had to be less money than we were spending on pork from Costco.

So we did it. And we made mistakes. The pigs got out and made a mess of the pastures we put them in. And I didn’t like how much mud they created during the rainy season. But when we finally did the deed and when the first pork chop graced our lips, there was no turning back.

When we launched the CSA last year and so many of our community members asked us to help them eat like we do, we cried in humbleness. We were being asked to help nourish the bodies of the families around us. We were being trusted to make sure that kids went to school with real carrot sticks in their lunch boxes and that the tomatoes we gorged ourselves on during the summer weren’t picked by slaves in Florida. The apples we provided came from a gentleman named Ralph who meticulously trims his gorgeous 75 year old apple trees, but doesn’t eat to many because he has diabetes — though he is sure tickled that the kids like them so much.

I filled myself last year with berries that my husband picked and ate eggs from our chickens by the dozen, growing a baby boy in my belly that is now eating his own ration of eggs and applesauce and squash that I picked and preserved for him during the harvest last year.

We get up early to feed the animals and crouch over rows in the garden because we feel better. And the food that we produce tastes better and we take great satisfaction in preparing it because we had to work for it. We get to share all of this with our friends and community; growing, nourishing and sustaining one another, living richly and in fullness.

That is what we are trying to do.

……….

Thanks, Sarah!

And just so we’re all on the same page, neither Sarah and Bubba nor The Collective is a sponsor or affiliate of this blog. They didn’t pay me for this post. Or give me extra bacon. I am pretty sure they’ve discounted my food or increased my family’s portion on more than one occasion, but I don’t have proof of their nefarious, underhanded generosity, so I’m not sure how to disclose it. In short (too late), I’m writing about the Bubbas because I believe in what they’re doing and I think you’ll like them, too.

And now, a community question for YOU.

How do YOU feed your family? Organic? Pesticide-free? Fresh? Fast food? Off-brand mac and cheese from the discount grocery store? All of the above? I just wonder… am I alone out here with my pendulum nutrition swings? Help me out.

……….

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
29 comments
  1. This is a both/and/or moment.
    I’m actually one of those crazy moms who makes a monthly menu and hangs it on the fridge. (This started as a budgetary necessity when we first combined households and he was doing half the month’s shopping and I was doing the other half and we could only afford EXACTLY what we needed). So, I buy just about EVERYTHING at Winco. But I also make sure there are always fresh fruits and veggies in the house. And we have a homecooked meal pretty much every night. (I do NOT count Schlop as homecooking regardless of what my family tells me. Mac and Cheese, Tuna, Cream of Mushroom, and frozen peas…. It’s a step up from fast food, but I TRY to feed them slightly more healthy meals!!) This year we actually have a back yard, so we’ll have HOME GROWN FREASH veggies!
    But I reserve breakfast for jumbo bags of sugar filled cereal, and weekend lunches for neon Mac and Cheese. So… it’s a balance I guess. 🙂

  2. Great to see all these both/and people trying to make a difference both to their family’s diet and to the way people view food as a society, with the budget they have. I’m in the UK and the recent scandals revealing that what’s on the packet of our processed meat products has really highlighted the fact that people’s expectations of cheap food have become unsustainable (as well as the fact that our food travels around way too much before it reaches us). We buy 90% of our fruit and veg from an organic box scheme. We used to buy our meat from them too, but cost has become a problem so we now buy supermarket meat, although still organic or at least free range, so its origins are traceable and we eat less meat so as to afford better. Everything else varies a lot depending on how we’re doing financially, but another thing I care deeply about is that commodities such as cocoa, sugar etc are ethically sourced eg Fair Trade. It’s not just my family and producers in my local area that I want to support, after all. As for what my kids will/ won’t eat, I’m afraid I’m a draconian “you eat what you’re given” mummy and at 10 and 7 they’ve learned to eat pretty much anything!

    1. “…another thing I care deeply about is that commodities such as cocoa, sugar etc are ethically sourced eg Fair Trade. It’s not just my family and producers in my local area that I want to support, after all.”

      Thank you for making this point, too, Helen! I agree wholeheartedly.

  3. I am a “all things in moderation” girl, but I love your both/and concept. I buy our beef, chicken, and eggs at a local farm. They have awesome raw milk, too, but it is too expensive, so I buy 2% at Walmart. I bake with real ingredients (bread and cookies and such). I cook almost all of our meals from scratch, but use store bought canned tomatoes and Prego sauce.

    Our three year old loves veggies, and I buy frozen ones. Organic? No. Cost effective and last a long time? Yes. I have made my own jam, but found Smuckers makes some with way less sugar that contain fruit, pectin and sugar. I try to buy foods with ingredients I recognize, and the fewer ingredients, the better. I also try to avoid high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup. I prefer things made with real sugar, honey or maple syrup. Oh, and on our whole wheat frozen waffles we use real maple syrup.

    But over the weekend we had donuts made fresh at the local bakery and ice cream made fresh at the little mom & pop stand up the street. We also ate Wendy’s. We had a month of sickness in February, so there was a lot of Gatorade, ginger ale, Popsicles and comfort food (aka eat whatever sounds good and settles); things we don’t normally eat.

    We are blessed in that I get to be a SAHM and live on one salary. So the hard part is balancing our set food budget with increasing food prices while eating real foods. It’s hard, and it’s something I routinely feel guilty about, even though, overall, we eat pretty well. It’s an interesting topic, for sure!!

  4. I am a vegetarian. My son is allergic to corn, soy, rice, and nuts. My husband has a nut allergy. (I get all the peanut butter!) In researching what my son could eat, I learned a bunch of bad things about the food supply in the U.S. and therefore the way we eat and the food we buy has changed drastically. We buy organic if the fruits and veggies are on the dirty dozen list, but I will buy non-organic from the clean 15 end of that list. (EWG, for those interested.) I only buy organic dairy, and meat (for the guys.) I try to only buy organic eggs, but jeez-louise sometimes they are sky high. I buy a lot of food at Trader Joe’s because of their commitment to non-GMO’s. I bake a lot, but I can’t afford organic flour yet. Working on it.

  5. I want to eat better–I’m trying to feed my family better. I’m just so exhausted by all the food theories I’m surrounded by. I like the Michael Pollan rules: ‘Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.’

    I can do that.

  6. It is indeed a journey! I have been on it for many years.

    At this point, boxed mac-n-cheese is no longer an item to be found, ever, in my house, although it still happened for quite some time even after I started with my first CSA share 10 years ago.

    The final shift away from all processed foods coincided with my using The Great American Detox Diet by Alex Jamieson in 2006; it was an 8 week detox that used whole foods to support the liver and kidneys in their efforts to rid the body of old stored toxins. Did you know that when your body cannot handle a toxin, it wraps it up in a little ball of fat and jams it somewhere for safe-keeping? The point of the detox was to stop introducing _new_ toxins, while simultaneously giving your body the tools (ie nutrients) to help eliminate the old ones. During the second half of the detox, my body spewed TONS of stuff out of my pores (the single worst acne breakout of my entire life). Once the detox was done, and I used the principles in the book to add back in the things that I really missed (but conscientiously–like grass-fed organic meat, but less of it as it was pricey), I lost a pound per week for the next 40 weeks, and then a half pound per week for the following 40 weeks. (Yep, 60 pounds, without exercise, without depriving myself, or counting calories or anything. It ROCKED!) I _highly_ recommend this book!

    I do local foods as exclusively as I can, and organic whenever possible. We consume whole (not white) flours, and allow no preservatives, colorings, or high fructose corn syrup into our lives. I buy half-steers and half-hogs directly from a local butcher who in turn gets his animals from small-fry local farmers, whose animals are visible out at pasture as we make the drive into the country to pick up our meat. We’ve had a CSA share for over a decade now, with 4 different CSAs in 3 different states. (It was fun living in western MA, as I was able to become friends with the very first CSA farmer in the country; there are _dozens_ of CSAs there, and every time a new one starts up, it has a waiting list by the second year it is in existence, despite the high number of farms with CSA shares!) I buy bread from local bakeries, whose breads go stale pretty much immediately if you don’t pop them into the freezer; I also bake bread when I’ve got time.

    I make most things from scratch, and can lots of stuff in the summer. I have a policy about buying fresh fruits and veggies: if it is in season, go for it with gusto! If it cannot possibly grow locally, then buy it when the organic version is available locally (such as pineapple and kiwis–the only way to get them here is to follow their normal growth patterns, so organic kiwis are only around in February and March, so we binge then). If transporting it even more than 100 miles ruins the food (such as strawberries, tomatoes and sweet-corn-on-the-cob; the first two because ripening on a truck results in sub-par flavor and nutrient value, the latter because corn loses its sweetness within 24 hours of being harvested), then I don’t buy it from far away. I do a lot of pick-your-own with the kids, too, and after gorging on whatever it was, I then can the rest. (Strawberries and blueberries are favorites for picking!)

    I make yogurt a gallon at a time. Someone once told me that homemade yogurt goes bad after 2 weeks, but I’ve never tested the theory, as 5 kids can suck down a gallon of yogurt pretty quickly! (Even 4 can…) I also make granola. We have yogurt and granola for breakfast some days; I never buy breakfast cereal (way too pricey, even the cheap stuff, for a big family; following my general quality standards would be way too cost prohibitive). When there isn’t any yogurt in the house, we have cage-free local eggs for breakfast, followed by toast or oatmeal.

    I found that eliminating the processed foods for 6 months resulted in my being able to _taste_ the additives, preservatives and HFCS (it’s bitter, not sweet!), so steering clear of them is not at all difficult anymore.

    I very rarely find myself in big grocery stores anymore.

    In Europe, it is assumed that you will spend 1/3 of your take-home pay on food, because quality counts, and you are what you eat, and your body is a temple, and all that jazz. For us, it ends up being more like 1/6, which is still a step up in quality from what a lot of Americans serve. (Although, if they go out to eat a lot, then their food budget will skyrocket; we go out a couple of times per year.) My food bill amounts to $2.31 per person per meal, with a very high proportion of organic foods, and virtually everything is local. It’s the cooking from scratch that makes the budget!

  7. We also belong to a local full -diet CSA that provides about 70% of our food. They grow or raise everything offered including grains, nuts, some fruit, beans, veggies, raw dairy meat and eggs. This is new for us though we have been a part of a veggie CSA for more than 5 years. It has been an incredible learning experience, and I certainly empathize with all those grandparents who were glad to give up the workload. We have a surplus of beautiful ingredients, but it’s amazing how much we’ve come to rely on the food industry to prepare these ingredients for us to consume. I spend hours washing, trimming, sorting, soaking, grinding, the list goes on. Some days we sit down to a beautiful spread made entirely from local, organic ingredients and other days we are staring at a sink full of dishes from a meal we didn’t like that took forever to make and dreaming of Fritos or boxed Mac and cheese. Really though we are learning how to actually use and enjoy whole foods. There is a learning curve as we don’t have a practiced grandma in the kitchen to rely on. In order to do all this and still work, get kids to school, engage a helpful toddler and such, we definitely supplement with fun stuff from the store like crackers, string cheese, Fritos (for chili!), frozen rice bowls, etc. For me, the jury is still out on if the full diet CSA approach is worth all the extra effort in the kitchen. For now, we love making yogurt and butter with the kids, adore visiting our farmers each week, and watching our kids scarf my leek and potato soup. We eat out once a week to keep me sane, eat forbidden things like hot dogs here and there because it’s fun, and are really glad we have farmers growing our goodies because I’m not the most successful gardener in the bunch. We love hearing about other local eating experiences – thanks for sharing yours!

  8. We do things similarly over here (we’re in the UK.) Organic fruit, veg, dairy, meat & sustainably caught fish delivered weekly – topped up with a(n un) healthy dose of processed rubbish. I also try & bake when I can as well as cook meals from scratch. Similarly recycled items, Fair Trade goods & Eco washing liquids etc are purchased. I find it pumps up the cost quite a bit actually, but I think this is because the “real” cost of food is in there. Isn’t there a statistic that people in developing countries spend 70% of their income on food, whereas our spend is much lower?

    We’re also in the middle of a ‘horsemeat’ scandal here in that horse mince was used secretly instead of beef mince in processed foods – mainly because producers are trying to keep costs down for consumers, because that’s what they expect. I’d rather pay more and know it’s crap-free. But I know people who run their food budget much lower and buy supermarket food with low welfare standards & no clue about provenance. Food prices here are also kept artificially low with farmers being paid a pittance by the big chains for many items. Eating out is much more expensive than in the US too of course so we rarely do it but if we do we are not averse to McDonalds, so not as crunchy as some!

    Sorry for the long comment, perhaps I’ll do a blog post myself on a similar topic! Meanwhile we are expecting 4thSister any day now so our cupboards and freezers are stocked up with easy to prepare tinned and ready meals & we’ve cancelled our veg box for this week as that makes life much easier, & feel lucky to have that choice too, my ancestors never did.

  9. We’re both/and, like most everyone else here. I buy meat from a local grass-fed meat market, my husband lovingly tends a small garden (including veggies he doesn’t like, just for me), and I shop Walmart for almost all the rest. When I remember, I buy veggies and fruit from the produce market that’s IN THE SAME BUILDING as the meat market. I make it my last stop so the meat won’t sit in the car, and usually I’ve forgotten and already bought my produce at Walmart.

    I hand-make bread when I have time and energy, from white flour bought at Walmart or Waremart (yes, there’s one still going by that name here). But as a commenter said above, I made it, so it’s good, right? And it tastes a lot better than bread from the store, too.

    And then of course I buy sugary cereals for picky teens, reward them with gum, and eat lots of chocolate. I would like to do better, and have ambitions to do so. It’s just taking a while.

  10. We had a great garden for several years–beans, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, radishes lettuce, parsley–before we noticed it was pretty expensive when you were using city water. It’s mostly the tomatoes and corn I miss. But the other stuff, the prepared stuff, at our age we probably need all those preservatives!

  11. Beth, our food costs are second only to our mortgage each month. As another family of seven, you know better than anyone that it takes a lot to feed seven people! Our costs are higher in the food dept because We have made a conscious effort to change the way we eat and have made the switch to pretty much organic everything. A trader joes is a block away from my house and we buy most everything therre or from the farmers market in the summer. This pretty much covers us. We do have a whole foods as well but it is a jaunt for me to get there so I don’t go often. Our family’s dream is to be “hobby” farmers as Sara talked about. That is what we want to do with the rest of our lives and no one understands. I love her quote, “we don’t want to get rich, just live life richly and fully.” She hit the nail in the head! We are saving our pennies and patiently waiting for land around us to buy and then it is bye bye suburbia and hello life in the country. We transferred our kids to the country school two years ago in anticipation of making the move and also because our oldest was entering high school and it seemed like the right time to move them. We just want to get back to the land and away from all of the “processed” stuff we have been living with. That’s not to say that a box of Mac and cheese doesn’t as ent the house every now and then or a big bag of off brand Honeycomb. We are just trying to do better and eat better a little bit at a time. Love ya and love the guest post! Keep the Bubbas coming!

  12. My husband and I do a bi-weekly organics produce box (which living in FL is a lot of local produce) but beyond that we eat the standard grocery store fair (and/both). I would love to someday have a garden and a few chickens, but in an apartment (with no good Sun exposure- even down here) I can’t yet. eventually. I have great memories of my grandpa’s garden. Someday.

  13. We do all of the above. The freezer currently holds a 1/4 of a grass finished cow raised by family friends. We just finished off chickens we raised ourselves last summer, but I’m not sure we’ll do that again. In the mean time, I’m expecting a chicken order from Zaycon on April 1. We had to quit our organic delivery due to cost. We were part of a CSA last summer, but it went bankrupt & we’re not sure what this summer will bring. We buy organic milk, but sometimes drink it with Pillsbury cookies on the side. Sometimes I make the cookies from organic flours & Ghiradeli chocolate. This week my husband was out of town & had a day of not feeling well so we had meals of mac & cheese and tv dinners and chicken nuggets. We do what we can with what we are blessed and sometimes we just enjoy the sugary, carb-loaded wonderfulness of living in America. 🙂

  14. Thanks for your post, Beth. We also belong to a CSA and also to SAMs Club. My hubby and I work full time yet we try to cook a non preprepared, fresh meal every night. Our two girls, however, don’t share our goals, and much prefer salty, bread and preservative filled frozen stuff or pasta with Not homemade sauce (eww, they say if we make our own.). Sometimes I’m afraid we’re just wasting time and effort. But once in awhile, one of our girls will eat salad, or order asparagus as a side in a restaurant, and I have hope.

  15. I feel like a success when we don’t eat out and I make bread. It’s white bread made with flour from the warehouse store, but I made it, so it’s a win and must be healthier because I know everything that’s in it. My grand plans for the future include a farm in the Northwest where I can do what the Bubbas are doing and my kids can learn about food and work. I have several friends who want that too. We all think we’ll live together. One of us will have the chickens, one the dairy cow, one the pigs, etc. My husband thinks this will be a hippie commune where the cops will end up eventually. He also has about eleventy billion years until he does with school and has a “real” job and we can settle anywhere. What I’m saying is, chances are slim that we’ll ever get there. So, we live in an apartment and I bake bread and consider it a good if I serve peas on the side of the fluorescent mac and cheese from a box. Sigh.

  16. I’m pretty both/and. I make all our bread from scratch, and usually make whole wheat bread from freshly ground wheat. I grow a garden in the summer, in a teeny tiny garden plot I rent from the school. My husband is a student, and I’m a stay at home mom, so we have a pretty tight budget. So we also eat a lot of “What’s cheapest???” and now that I know about chocolate slavery and only buy fair trade chocolate, we don’t eat much chocolate which is a tragedy, but not nearly as tragic as knowing my chocolate bar was made possible by a twelve year old slave….. Today we ate Wendy’s. Recently we had fresh, hot wheat bread with raspberry jam I canned last summer from berries I bought from a local lady who grows them herself and picks them with her children. Someday we’ll have a big yard and then we’ll eat the way we’d like, with fresh eggs and produce and meat and milk. Until then we do our best.

  17. We get probably 75% of our food from our full-diet CSA. We head out to the farm once a week and get fresh veggies, fruit, grains, raw milk, eggs and meat. It limits us to cooking seasonally and locally for most meals, but I definitely still get the occasional box of Lara bars from Costco, and we buy our butter and sugar there (and the occasional not-so-local steak for a special treat!) I also order from Azure Standard, some wheat flour (the CSA only does gf grains), alternative milk (try to not do too much dairy), nuts, olive oil, some dried fruit, etc. We also have some local beef and pork left over from shares we bought last year, so we supplement the meat with get from the CSA (which is about 1/2 lb/person each week). We have chickens, so we get extra eggs from them, but I haven’t done a garden in a while since we get all the veggies we want from our CSA. We do have pear, plum and apple trees in the backyard too. Grocery outlet rocks for wine, the occasional packaged snack, and Juanitas chips (because I shamelessly buy and eat those and don’t plan on converting to anything local or homemade.) The CSA really limits our need to go to the store, so I don’t do much impulse buying and it helps our budget a lot.

  18. Cause I am trying to avoid getting any actual work done and this is one of favorite subjects–
    I try to do what is right. I buy good non-processed food from local sources. Beef from Yamhill and I am looking for a new CSA since mine moved out of town for my veggies. But my second favorite place to shop is Grocery Outlet. My husband and kids never really bought into the Paleo lifestyle that I try to follow (try and try and try– unless there is cake, or cheese, or crackers…) and I am not a person that believes in forcing others to follow my lead (though I hope they do anyway cause they find me super cool). So on any given day in my kitchen (or my office where I store my personal favorites) you could find anything– the best and the worst of it. And I have come to terms with it. I am not perfect, I am not even trying. Temptations are everywhere and I give myself extra credit for passing on the bread. There really is only one self-righteous food mamma that annoys me and that is the person that says that they feed their kids only organic– then you see them with only processed organic foods and not a whole food in sight.

  19. We are flexiterians who eat organic/humane about 80% of the time. Our 2yo is probably closer to 90% because some of the things that tempt (Starbuck’s soy mochas, I’m looking at you) aren’t consumed by wee ones. We eat meat a few times per week, but limit it to 1lb for the whole family (5 of us). That makes local, organic, humanely-raised meat affordable. Most of our organic veggies and fruits come from a huge market in Atlanta, but between big trips, we rely on what organics we can get at Publix. We also shop at Trader Joe’s about once a month. The short list of processed items we use are usually purchased from there. We do occasionally eat boxed mac-n-cheese, yes…we just make sure it’s Annie’s and it is not bright orange. We also cook it with organic, frozen peas 😉

    I would like to focus more on eating local but my partner, my eldest son, and I are all college students so time and money are each short. If we eat out, we tend to go to Chipotle or Waffle House. I know that last one is a surprise, but their chicken is from Springer, which is arguably more humane and since we live in GA, it is local to us. On the other hand, we have lunch on Fridays at a hibachi/sushi/buffet place that serves mass-farmed fair. Heh.

  20. Ugh, I touched my tablet the wrong way and all that work I did is all over and gone.

    I hate when that happens (*snick*).

    Anyway, you rock! Thanks for helping me feel like I’m not the only one who jumps through hoops for good food. Then feeds her kids goldfish.

  21. My kids had organic eggs and generic Cheerios for breakfast. Then we went to an Easter egg hunt and I only let them have one piece of candy. I’m currently eating tons of their candy during nap time. Give enough of the good food to help ward the guilty off 🙂

  22. I love that you wrote this post, because I am on this journey, too. Thank you to Sarah for her lovely accounting of what it means to grow your own and nourish those around you!

    We got chickens for our backyard last spring. I love getting fresh, warm eggs from those funny brown hens. I went wild trying to grow our own food in our yard last summer, and I’ll be at it again this summer. There was an abundance of zucchini, the beets were tiny, the carrots were tinier; the potatoes were good, but there weren’t many of them. The chickens got into the lettuce about 100 times, and they ate the lower-on-the-branches raspberries. All in all, our harvest was pretty small. But I can’t wait to do it again.

    In the meantime, we buy at the grocery store. Everything from chicken fingers to mac & cheese (a favourite of certain people around here). We found a local food market that delivers to our town once a month, so I place orders there when I can. My husband hunts, so we have deer meat in the freezer. He gets together with friends and makes sausages from the wild meat, and we get some made into jerky. And, finally, this spring I signed up for a CSA. It’s amazing how networking with the local food and grow-your-own people has put me in touch with more ways to access local food. I’m learning a lot!

    And we’re doing all this in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, in central Alberta.

    Love your blog! I made the 2-ingredient fudge last night – it’s really good.

  23. I’m so glad you brought up the money issue with the food issue…they do go hand in hand (whether growing it or buying it). We were doing weekly organic boxes, organic milk, etc, but times are getting much tougher for us, so that has changed. We try to eat local as much as possible; tend to eat seasonal fruit/veg as much as possible, but most of our food does come from costco and walmart. We live far, far north of you guys, so our growing season is very restricted, and food costs tend to be quite high (especially for fresh fruit/veg transported long distances up here in winter). We recently invested in a pressure cooker, so are no longer eating canned (beans) and instead use dried (cheaper, healthier and taste better) from the bulk barn. We’re vegetarian, so don’t have to deal with the meat question, fortunately – that’s a tough one. My favorite thing to do is to bake with my little one, so we probably eat far too many muffins and cookies.

  24. I am bound and determined this year to do a garden. With rising food prices, a husband out of work, a bad economy, and medical bills piling up, anything I can do to lower our grocery bill is worth it to me. I’ve been blessed with 2 kids who love fruits and veggies, who are so very excited for spring to get here so we can plant the seeds. I wanted to do a garden last year and didn’t get it done, and I kicked myself time and time again for being lazy. Don’t get me wrong-we’ll still probably have store bought hot dogs and mac and cheese too, but growing your own fruits and veggies? Priceless. You know how they were grown, what was or was not sprayed on them (pesticides etc) and I think that fresh picked food just tastes better. I just wish that we were able to have livestock where we live so that we could have our own meat too. Maybe someday. For now, we’ll grow our little garden and do the best we can.

  25. Well, I have organic meat and milk and eggs in my fridge. I just sent my husband out with three children with organic cheerios, snack pack pudding, and chocolate muffins. I’m sitting here with a croissant sandwich and some Dutch Bros.

    ‘Nuff said?

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