eco-economic justice

A friend came to dinner last night and brought us a huge bunch of beautiful flowers. I have no idea if they’re organic or not, but I just wanted to say—particularly in case he reads my earlier post about organic flowers—that I love them regardless.

Organic is wonderful, but it’s harder to find and it’s more expensive. To eat healthy organic food on a frugal budget, you need the time and inclination to buy seasonal veggies, purchase staples in bulk, and make most of your food from scratch. That’s not always realistic, particularly for families struggling to raise children and pay basic living expenses. My friend Victoria’s blog post about her family’s experience with the recent peanut butter / salmonella contamination struck me as a quintessential example of this problem. She jests that perhaps…

God is angry with me for eating more cheap, crappy, fatty foods (which I don’t even particularly like) than, say, blanched organic vegetables (which I would love).

To which I say, Okay, fine, God – but who’s going to finance all these nice healthy groceries?

Ultimately, I feel strongly that healthy food is not just a personal choice but a critical economic and social justice issue. As study upon study shows the long-term damage we’re doing to our bodies and our planet with pesticides and other unsustainable farming practices, the people who suffer the most are the ones for whom fast food is the only affordable dinner out and foods like cheap white bread with hyper-processed, sugary, hydrogenated-fat-filled peanut butter are staples.

Well, “suffer the most” is a tough call actually, and I’ll refrain myself from going further down that depressing road right now. This blog is about (among other things) making sustainable choices in daily life, so I hereby vow to continually address the economic side of things in future posts about food and green living.

6 thoughts on “eco-economic justice

  1. I love the new blog Joriel. Speaking of flowers, we are clearing the way for our very own organic cut-flower garden. We haven’t worked out all of the logistics yet but we will definitely be selling bouquets at reasonable prices, because sustainable should be affordable to all.

  2. That’s so exciting! What a wonderful way to use your land.

    Also, thanks for turning me on to Peace Meme, another example of William & Mary’s secret identity as a progressive hotbed. ;)

  3. Heh. Happy to have provided you with some organic foods-related blogfodder. It probably won’t happen again; a search for instances of “organic” in my database turned up only that one peanut butter post and two other posts in which I’d used the term metaphorically rather than specifically in reference to food.

    That said, I’m glad you get the economic component of all this. I had a four-year period of being vegetarian, which ended when I was homeless (in Seattle, actually) and the whole matter of “choosing” between the 79-cent cheeseburger at CrapDonalds and paying five times that amount at some health food joint for basic proteins upon which to survive another day compelled a certain shift. (I decided, in other words, that I was the animal I most needed to save.)

    I know there have been inner city community garden projects which aim to bridge the gap between organic foods availability and the poverty of those who in lots of ways need those foods most, but I can’t recall which cities – maybe would be a good topic for further research.



  4. That’s definitely something I’m interested in V. I’m hoping that the organic food movement is reaching mass to do a lot more than support a Trader Joe’s in every suburb. There’s at least some nice recognition of intersections with anti-war and climate crisis efforts: Gaia not Guns.

  5. V., I was a vegetarian for 3 1/2 years, but gave it up for a far less urgent reason than yours – I just missed meat. A year of ambivority (totally not a word) later, I’m still not OK with eating meat, but not giving it the mental energy required to make the break again. Perhaps J. will save my soul.

    You’re sure making it easy, love, with your awesome linky-linkies.


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