Sunday, July 19, 2009

Economic & Food Queries

~Tristan, showing me a still-green Cherokee Chocolate tomato in the garden. These are moments where the dollar savings means little and the moment means everything~

While I was doing my bi-monthly grocery shopping the other day and was taken back a couple of times. Like when I noticed that the size of the box of diapers had dropped by 20 diapers, but the price remained the same. (Ok - we LOVE cloth diapers, but had to change back to disposable because we were having a bad time with rashes). Or, when I was buying the box of organic cotton diaper wipes and noticed that the price had gone up buy almost $2 a box!! Things that I used to be able to find for well under a buck are now $1.25. I used to be able to score canned organic veggies at Walmart for about 88 cents a can, now they're $1.38 or so. Whole-grain pasta, which used to be about $1.18 was on CLOSE-OUT for $1.22!!!!
We try to grow as much as we can, and buy other stuff locally, but we still have to go to the store. With two little, but growing-like-weeds, boys to feed it seems like we constantly need more food too.
Justin and I were talking about the costs. I was telling him how I wasn't sure how much longer we could keep affording the raises in food costs. He said maybe we ought to buy the cheaper stuff. UGH -- knife in my heart!!!! I said that food prices couldn't possibly just keep going up, but he doubts they will go back down.
And that got me to thinking. Thinking about the end of the Depression and after WWII. When boom times were back. When people began to be able to afford "the good life" again.
For a moment, I felt hope. Then I realized something - the baby boomer generation was also the beginning of the "throw-away living" movement. When factory farms, industrial farms, CORPORATE food became the new way. This is what is killing us, quite literally, now. I quit feeling hope. Something more like dispair filled me.

When this blog was originally rolling about in my mind, I was going to go on about this some more. But something else happened today. We went outside. We worked in the garden. I got photos of the boys, nearly hidden in between rows of tomatoes that are taller than they are. We treated our chickens to a dish of old buttermilk that they downed in record-time and the peach pits (with juicy peach bits still on them) that would've otherwise gone into the compost, found out Ann Bancroft definitely knows her name (we think LadyBird does too), and were treated to 5 eggs. That's a lot for 6 hens who are, we think, beginning their first molt.
I saw the garden full of still-green tomatoes, and found out to my delight that there are cherry tomatoes finally coming out on the plants out front. I saw peppers on the pepper plants and beans .. well, on the bean plants.
When Justin's father asked Shannon to show him the garden, Shannon started talking about all the different "gardens" we have on all sides of the house: what they were producing, what was still growing, what seeds we were collecting, and so on.
I did the math, and if we had bought the 583 eggs our biddies have given us (as of the end of June), we would've spent about $145!!! I saw bowls quickly filling up as the boys and I gathered seeds from cosmos, calendula, and marigolds and I knew we wouldn't need to worry about seeds for next year.
I AM still worried about the future, about costs of food, but I am once-again filled with hope. Not hope in the stores, but hope in our own backyard. On our own urban homestead. I think that is the answer. Not cheap food that will only make us sick, damage the environment, and go against what we believe in; but homegrown, local food that will boost our health, enrich the environment, teach our children (and possibly others), and enrich our lives.


Carole and Chewy said...

I've just gotten a very few cherry tomatos too - oh, and 1 yellow jubilee. They seem to be taking a lot longer to ripen this year. Or maybe I'm just anxious. I've been watching the food prices too and none too sure where its all going to end.Guess we just have to go along and do the best we can.

Carrie and Justin said...

I don't like to admit things that fear me often, but I will admit that the current economy is something I worry deeply about. Maybe I am just really seeing it hitting home now. I've been seeing prices rise for a while now, but somehow, lately it seems worse.
Maybe it is because we didn't have our garden last year and so are still feeling the effects of not having everything like we did the year before. :)