It???s expensive being green, or is it?

March 5, 2012

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I was originally going to call this post “The hippiefication of Kelly” but that was two months ago when the events I’m about to recount occurred. Since then, I’ve come to believe that that would be a bit disrespectful of all of the people working hard to be kind to this planet and the creatures on it, when what I really mean is that I’ve made a lifestyle choice that’s completely different than how I had been conducting myself.

Maybe not completely completely different, but definitely a switch. What happened: I bought into a CSA and joined the co-op.

I had been thinking about both for ages, particularly a CSA (community-supported agriculture, for those of you who are unfamiliar with what the acronym stands for, as I was). Each summer I admired the good-looking produce that my boss would bring for lunch and thought how nice it would be to have non-mass-produced vegetables, particularly tomatoes. Then she would tell me what she paid for her CSA and it was a non-starter.

On and off I had thought that maybe I should at least shop at the co-op. I eat a lot of fresh produce and of course I’d rather it wasn’t genetically modified and/or slathered with xyzticides. More recently, I had been subtly influenced to begin thinking more earnestly about the animals I eat by the Twin Cities’ food truck revolution of the last couple of years. Many of them source only local, happy ingredients, including meat, and that wheedled its way into my brain.

Add to that two final “straws.” A friend of a friend went off to farm school for a year. She’s living on a small, working farm with a group of other like-minded students. They do everything from ground to table, including animal husbandry, harvesting crops and animals, felling trees and constructing, everything. Reading her accounts of how connected she has become to the animals and earth has been no small influence. Thanks, Amber!

Around the same time that Amber went off to farm school, I watched the documentary “Food, Inc.” which should be required viewing for anyone who eats. Anyone who eats. I know that the food industry is just a giant factory, but seeing video and reading statistics made it a whole lot more tangible. Yes, I’m appalled by how the animals are treated, but what was really eye-opening is how evil corn is. Corn. I’m not going to preach here (much). You can look up the movie and watch it for yourself. It was horrifying to learn how the “circle of life” applies to factory farming of both plants<–and–>animals. “Circle of profit” might be more accurate. And the poor animals, being forced to eat things (corn) that they don’t naturally eat.

So all of this finally kicked me in the pants to take the actions of conscience I knew I’d been wanting to. Providentially, my friend Rob S. posted a link to Bossy Acres, the new CSA that he joined. I looked them up and it seemed like it was meant to be. They had half-shares at a price point that I felt I could manage. A week later when I got paid, I trotted over to the Seward Co-op and bought into that, too. I felt good about myself.

Then I shopped for the first time.

I’ll freely admit that it’s been a shock to my wallet paying for organic produce, grass-fed/free-range meat, and regional cheese. If I used more pre-prepared (processed) items, I think it wouldn’t be as great a cost difference. But I eat the fresh stuff. My bills have easily been half-again to twice what I’d pay at the mainstream grocery store. Surprisingly, it doesn’t bother me too much when I think about what I’m supporting and the real cost-benefits to the planet and the creatures we inhabit it with, including our fellow humans.

Coop-receipt

3 Responses to “It???s expensive being green, or is it?”

  1. Tucker Pearce Says:

    Nice post Kelly! We try to buy organic when we can but as you noted it is so much more expensive. We kind of go back and forth as a result unfortunately. During the summer months we do buy all of our produce at the St. Paul Farmer’s market in St. Paul. All of the produce comes from MN which is great and actually it is cheaper than the regular produce at the grocery store.-Tucker

  2. Amber Says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Kelly. I am so glad you are reading about my adventures and that they are helping you think about how to become a more conscious consumer. I know that cost is always an issue. It is for me, as well, which is why I am going to school to learn how to grow it myself. Considering how much food you get over X number of weeks from a CSA is a little comfort. In my opinion, meat/dairy CSAs are really worth the money. I also like to do things like go to pick-your-own berry farms in season and pick a ton for the rest of the year (as long as you have the freezer space, getting a ton of local, organic tomatoes, peppers, etc, at the peak of the season and processing them can be very affordable).

  3. Bossy Acres Says:

    Wonderful journey that you’re on, Kelly! We’re so happy to have you on board the Bossy! It’s going to be a bountiful season full of so much freshness and goodness. Like all growing seasons, there is a slow period and then it ramps up at the peak of the season; a great opportunity to take advantage of canning and food preservation. Cheers!


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