& I really need some sanity right now with the move, so thinking about this stuff has been a nice distraction.
When I was in grad school, tres righteous profs in my department would occasionally go on these diatribes against Walm*** and other big box stores. Sure, sure, I get it, we all get it: Walm*** bad. But what these profs missed as they lectured us against shopping at Walm*** was that we HAD to shop at Walm*** because the university paid graduate students a below-living wage to teach. You want to kill Walm***, you don’t do it through appeals to people’s better natures: you do it by making sure people are paid what they’re worth so that they can actually afford to shop elsewhere (Walm*** dies when the US turns the minimum wage into a living wage, I think). & that’s a battle I wish the Walm*** naysayers like these profs would devote their time to instead of making the rest of us (the majority of us, really) feel bad about where we shop. Sorry…political diatribe coming from me now.
But no one really likes to shop at Walm*** or chooses to shop there, I think. Hell, even the commercials for Walm*** shy away from showing people in the actual stores (they’re on vacation cause they saved so much, they’re grilling in the back yard, they’re in their kitchens making cookies for their kids’ football team). Even Walm*** knows that given the choice, most people would prefer to shop at their much smaller & more convenient local super markets. But hubby & I have to do the majority of our shopping there cause we, well, we HAVE to; still, I think we can do so stuff on our own to supplement the food we get there with healthier, better tasting, more environmentally-friendly, more local stuff.
So I’m going to give it a try & thanks to everyone who responded to my last obsessive post on this subject. I’ll let you know how my first attempts at putting your ideas into action go. & keep the good ideas coming…
One “free” way I found to get fresh produce into the house (to eat, can, freeze, or dry) is by helping out at an organic farm one of the profs in my dept has (they grow thousands of pounds of veggies just so they can give it all to the local food bank–nice people–but they need free hands to harvest the stuff every Saturday morning). All I have to do is volunteer to pull veggies for about 3 hours every week until October & everyone who helps with the harvest gets to pick armloads of veggies to take home. We didn’t get to try it this weekend cause of all the stuff we had to get done while hubby was in town, but I’m going to go next Saturday to check it out.
We had a job candidate on campus for an interview last year (a really sincere, money-where-your-mouth-is academic who broke my heart when she didn’t accept our job offer and) who was doing her dissertation on the rhetoric of organic farming. She’s the one who first told me about this deal with organic farmers needing extra hands to bring in the harvest. Another nice person: it wasn’t enough for her to write about the rhetoric surrounding organic farming & the rhetoric against migrant workers; she worked with the farmers & tutored the migrant workers in her spare time. Anyway, apparently it’s common for these farmers to strike deals where they pay volunteers with fresh produce.
Okay, on another front, I bought my first local eggs this week (and Feathers, they were delicious & we ate them all by day two), tried out a strawberry jam recipe (small batch that was tasty, although hubby wanted more sugar in it), looked up recipes for freezing corn & tomatoes (and drying tomatoes), and bought one of those vacuum-seal machines (on sale at Linens & Things since, apparently, they’re going out of business). I still need some canning equipment, but once I’m settled (and my latest home brew has been bottled…a bit of a hassle, that), I’m going to get started stocking away things for the winter. Hubby & I looked at stand-alone freezers this weekend too, although that’s an investment for next summer if the stuff I freeze this summer works out & my commitment to eating local produce doesn’t go the way of my commitment to things like knitting, learning to play the ukelele, beading, etc. This feels different, though.
Anyway, it’s back to running, back to really watching what I eat, and back to counting steps tomorrow. The scale tells me I’ve gained 1 1/2 pounds in the last 3 weeks & that doesn’t make me very happy. So I’ll be back with usual blogging stuff tomorrow (or tonight). I’ll title my sus-sane-ability rants like the title above so if these rants are boring, I hope you’ll skip right over them to the diet stuff. The rants are off topic & (clearly) a little political, but I think I want or need to catalog what I’m doing with this eating local obsession as much as I need to be a regular contributor to our lovely blog community.