We’re joining in on change.org’s Blog Action Day - drawing attention to FOOD.
One of the tenets of growing personal wealth or trying to hold onto savings, is to try to get the most out of everything. Value does not always mean more expensive, and unconscious wastefulness is equal to throwing money away.
There are two absolute necessities for life: food and water. And yet, when it comes to saving money, food is often one of the first places many people think of to try to cut back to find savings. Why? Because it’s the one thing we absolutely must spend money on every day.
So, to save what can add up for some to be hundreds of dollars a month, we become aware of how much we are spending or over-spending on food and devise ways to receive the most we can from the fewest dollars spent. Some of the ways we can achieve this is by growing our own food or shopping local farmer’s markets. But we also spend hours researching sales and promotions, using coupons, stocking up and planning menus ahead based on what is going on sale at the grocery store, which can add up to some real savings. But what foods, exactly, are we saving money on?
Does getting it for less mean we should be getting it at all? Does being able to get it for less mean we should be oblivious to how our food choices affect the world on a broader scale? What does it matter to us if buying a bag of empty calorie, chemical laden, processed cheese-like puffs and tossing the half-finished non-biodegradable bag into the trash may waste fuel, waste water, overtax landfills, promote pollution, affect the climate, impact the world’s food supply, contribute to the destruction of local farms and the undernourishment of neighbors right in our own towns?
It matters for many reasons, but these three simple reasons should be enough for anyone:
1) Saving money. Preparing your own meals, bringing your lunch to work or school, buying from local providers and farmers, and using fresh unprocessed food is cheaper and saves you money. As simple as that.
2) Getting nourishment from as close to the original source as possible (as opposed to a preservative & chemical drenched, nutrient-absent over-processed something-or-other out of a box shipped half-way across the world), is healthier, conserves natural resources, and causes less waste and pollution.
And, 3) Sometimes what is better for our local community may ultimately end up being better for everyone, which includes YOU and ME.
A simple example of how what’s good for a few can ultimately benefit the many is how organic foods and bulk-bin selections are now becoming widely available as a regular feature at conventional supermarkets all over the U.S. and at more affordable prices. This is largely due to shopper demand, stemming back from the little grass-roots 1960′s neighborhood co-op food movements. More vending machines and corner markets have fresh fruits and vegetables available now. More neighborhood farmer’s markets are re-emerging. The food choices you make do make a difference.
But what about the food we waste? What does that matter? Some have been around long enough to remember being a member of “The Clean Plate Club” and hearing parents and grandparents chant at every meal, “Are you a member of the Clean Plate Club? Eat everything on your plate, there are people starving in Europe.” This was not intended to get people to consume more, but rather to be more thoughtful about not wasting food and over-indulging between meals. That campaign was created 94 years ago to ensure that the limited amount of food America had as a result of World War I didn’t go to waste. It re-emerged in 1947 after the Great Depression and World War II, when food was again scarce and resources needed to be conserved as the country tried to help those struggling to recover from the war’s effects overseas. And of course, parents also conveniently gravitated to it as an easy way to remind kids to be more appreciative of what they had.
In previous posts I’ve written about how eliminating one plastic zipper on rice packages saved thirty-thousand tons of landfill waste a month, and how eliminating or even cutting back on consuming bottled water can save an average family almost three-thousand dollars a year, not to mention reducing the stress on landfills and saving fuel. As I have mentioned several times in the past, I am not a frugal fanatic, but I also don’t like unconscious waste. I wondered, if those two little things could make such a huge positive impact, then what about that “Clean Plate Club – Don’t Waste Your Food” mentality? Does not wasting the food one has purchased really help the world and the food supply at large or not?
Luckily for me, Treehugger.com has already done the work, and they summarize just what a tremendous and far-reaching impact wasting food can have in their eye-opening articles: Discarding Food Wastes More Water than Showering, and The Impact of Food Waste on Climate Change (and just about everything else), and Study Finds Half of All Food Produced Worldwide is Wasted. Here are just a couple of highlights:
- 2 BILLION people could be fed for a year with the amount the U.S.A. alone throws away each year.
- Food waste in the U.S.A. accounts for 1/4 of all freshwater consumption.
- Decaying food in landfills produces polluting methane gas. If we simply stopped wasting food, it would be the equivalent of taking a quarter of all the cars in America off the road.
We know there are both “believers” and “non believers” on the climate and global warming issues – we won’t go round and round on that, but there’s no doubt that a waste-not-want-not attitude will never serve you wrong and won’t hurt your neighbors next door or around the world. That said, sadly, not everyone will be motivated to simply want to do a good thing by wasting less and being more conscious of food sources. The bottom line for many is this phrase used repeatedly by my 10th grade history teacher to describe the ultimate motivation behind just about every political and social decision, ”The power of the purse.” Being conscious of the quality of and process by which you receive your daily bread, and what you do with it when you are finished with it, is not only eco-friendly and world-friendly, but health-wise and ultimately wallet-wise as well.
Creative ways to get the most from your food and budget in our posts:
And for money-saving shopping, recipes, and serving ideas see our channels:
Link to this article: http://is.gd/ps34Gs