Thursday, June 14, 2007

LOAFing with the Bookworm

Awhile back, I noted this post from The Bookworm on my Google Reader's Shared Items.

In it, Kathryn talks about a great acronym for the ways in which we can try to shop more ethically:

After Mass last week I spotted a poster in the Parish Hall from Christian Ecology Link which set out succinctly the principles towards which I was blundering under my own steam. Apparently, I am now using my LOAF by looking for items that are:

* Locally produced
* Organically grown
* Animal friendly
* Fairly traded

I have been trying to make a few changes along these lines, too. Awhile back, I posted about how our focus during Lent (through Operation Rice Bowl) was convincing me that I needed to be more concerned about the coffee I drink and the chocolate I eat.

As Kathryn says:

I am not worrying about an all-or-nothing approach, and simply trying to do what I can. Given that I am starting from a near-zero base anything has to be an improvement! My budget will not run to a complete switch, and I am trying to balance costs and benefits.

I'm working on a few things at a time, such as the coffee and the chocolate. I haven't succeeded entirely. I'm due to place another order for more fair trade coffee, and will do so today. But, my addictions (as previously noted) are tragic and pathetic, and I was recently seen skulking into the grocery store to score whatever coffee I could find.

I tried to switch our milk source (to a local dairy farmer who delivers), but she told me they had all the customers they could handle. So, the milk situation is trickier, since the organic, locally produced stuff in the store is much more expensive.

Organic fruits and vegetables are also more expensive, but I'm trying to switch over here and there. It's easy to find locally grown stuff in the summertime, when farmer's markets are all over the place, but it's not easy year-round.

Any feedback or ideas on how to more economically make these kinds of changes is appreciated.


ascozyasspring said...

This is difficult for us. We buy organic almost everything. Our grocery bills are outrageous, particularly for a one income family. But after seeing an oily, bubbly residue in the bowl where I washed non organic strawberries and truly being able to taste *something* in conventional celery and carrots, I can't go back. The kids and I love good produce and eat lots of it. My husband is the only milk drinker, so I leave that up to him.
One thing to think about, if you haven't checked it out already is that there are some fruits and veggies that have very minimal pesticide residue, even when conventionally grown. Broccoli comes to mind. Google 'dirty dozen fruits and vegetables' for the list. Another thing we do is buy frozen produce to minimize cost.
And I can't say whether there is a direct connection but my kids are never sick. They go to the doctor once a year for check ups and that's about it. Again it could be a coincidence, but if it's not broken....
I don't do as much with the locally grown aspect, except to grow as much as we can in our own backyard. I suppose that's pretty local. :) The more I read about food production the bigger my garden gets.

Karen E. said...

Thanks so much, Jennifer. The vegetable situation around here is getting better, as I now have all of my girls eating broccoli, and Ramona actually loves it. :-) I appreciate hearing your perspective and experience.

The Bookworm said...

My 12yo is very enthusiastic about the organic fruit we have been trying - says the taste is a lot better. Our box scheme is working out, and I plan to start getting a box delivered weekly. I costed it and it is very much cheaper than buying organic from the supermarket, and not much more than buying non-organic. You get what you get, though, so not good unless you are prepared to be fairly adventurous with vegetables.