Crunchy Chicken has convinced me to join another challenge. In this challenge, we’re supposed to try to buy healthy, sustainable food while limiting spending to what we would get in food stamps. For the two people in our house, that would be $323 per month. Currently, our weekly grocery bill this time of year has been about $150, since we eat breakfast at home, bring lunches to work, and eat most suppers at home, too. That number goes down in the summer because all of our fruits and veggies are grown at home or at my family’s farm.
We’re supposed to buy sustainable food, which can be local, organic, sustainably grown, etc. I personally classify food based on my own set of sustainability requirements, in the following hierarchy:
- Grown, raised, caught, or made by family or friends. We grow a lot of our own veggies in season, get fruits and veggies from my family’s farm, both our families make maple syrup, Ed’s family raises pigs and now will also be raising turkeys (more on that soon!), we have beef in the freezer from Ed’s cousin, my aunt and uncle make honey, Ed catches fish and shellfish, etc.
- Locally grown and family farmed. I buy milk and eggs that are hormone and antibiotic free under the brand “Farmer’s Cow” which is a co-op of Connecticut farmers. Their eggs are great, and until I get my own chickens, they’re the best I’ve found. I also frequent farmer’s markets in season, to get what we don’t produce ourselves.
- Natural, humane, organic when available, if #1 and #2 aren’t possible.
There are a few things I avoid: food shipped long distances from other countries, expensive packaged food. Of course there are exceptions (chocolate!!!), but I do the best I can. I also try to make things on my own instead of buying them (like tortillas, pasta, pizza dough), since it’s healthier and saves money, too.
I plan to go to a monthly farmer’s market with my mom on Saturday, and we’ll see what we can get there.
Do I think we’ll stick to the $323? Nope! But I’m going to try. The cost of living is high here, and the number doesn’t seem to account for that. By relying on foods we’ve frozen or preserved in season, we’ll keep costs down, and we’ll also clear out the cupboards in preparation for the new season. No matter what, I’m sure we’ll eat well and at least save a little money this month.
Are you joining this challenge? Do you have any tips for me?