This week, over at Reduce Footprints, we’ve been given an interesting ‘Change the world Wednesday’ challenge.
I have to say right from the start that I will not be taking part!
We’ve been challenged to spend no more than $25 (£17) per person on food for the week. According to Small Footprints, one of the cornerstones of green living is to reduce. The idea is that if we use less, fewer “things” will need to be produced, and that means that fewer natural resources will be used up. One of the easiest ways to use less is to budget ourselves. So that’s what we’ve been challenged to do.
The 3 Rs
I agree wholeheartedly that reducing is an essential part of sustainable living. However, the fact I have no food waste most weeks means I’m already buying only the food I consume.
In addition, I don’t feel that spending less on food is necessarily a ‘green lifestyle’ choice. On the contrary I prioritise good food, which to me means local, organic and fairtrade where possible. These choices are nearly always more expensive than so-called ‘convenience’ foods and foods which are processed. It seems that the less something has in it and the less processed it is, the more it costs!
This morning I went to my organic farm shop and spent £23 ($33), so I’m already over budget for this challenge! I need to add some rice, oats, soya milk and yogurt to that, which will probably cost the same again. This is pretty much the amount I spend on myself for food each week.
Pesticides and other nasties
I could join in with this challenge and buy pesticide laden fruits and vegetables, highly packaged from the other side of the world, crisps, cheap white bread and some processed meals from a supermarket, but I choose not to. None of these choices are good for me, the local economy, my health or the environment. I could join in by eating cheaper foods for the week such as potatoes and root vegetables with lentils, but I choose not to. These choices are ok, and show that perhaps you can eat well on a budget, but I run the risk of getting bored with my food.
Cost of food
I prioritise my health which to me means eating and enjoying whole foods. I am very interested in this challenge however, and I’m wondering if the costs of foods is widely different between the UK and US (Small Footprints is in the US I believe). For £23 I got:
1 lb (4 large) beetroot
1 lb onions
2 lb broccoli
200 gms (8 oz) spinach
1 lb carrots
1 lb broad beans
1 bag alfalfa sprouts
180 gms (6oz) large tomatoes
1 lb (5 fruits) bananas
1 lb (4 fruits) apples
small bunch grapes
1 bag organic breadsticks
Spending money on food
Unless I was having a ‘use it up’ week, I don’t see how I could manage to spend just $25 on food for a week – I usually spend more than that on fresh fruit and vegetables alone, as you can see from my organic box.
What about you – how much do you spend on food per week and do you think that spending less on food is a green choice?