Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Food News Roundup

With the economy as it is, thrifty eating is a hot topic and I come across articles about it every day. Here are a few links that you might find interesting:

--The "food stamp challenge" has been done by bloggers, journalists, and politicians before; CNN's Sean Callebs is doing it this month and is documenting his experience on the "Living on Food Stamps" blog. (Side note: "food stamps" is an outdated phrase, but one we are all used to; the program is now called Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP - and uses debit cards, not stamps.) Callebs is going with the budget of $176 per month, the maximum a single person can qualify for where he lives. It's interesting and worth a read; I'll be following it throughout.

--This is old news, but Rebecca Blood (whose lentils and rice recipe I've referenced multiple times) spent a month eating according to the USDA's Thrifty Food Plan (on which SNAP allotments are based). That works out to $320.80 per month for Rebecca and her husband. But Rebecca added a twist: she wanted to continue eating primarily local and organic, and she insisted on a daily glass of wine with dinner. Start here and follow her journey through one month of thrifty eating; it's fascinating and inspiring.

--If you read her intro post, you'll see that Rebecca acknowledges that she has some advantages in eating thrifty: she's educated about nutrition, she has time to prepare food from scratch, and she has access to fresh and local goods. This article from a USDA report on the economics of food discusses some of the challenges that low-income Americans face in eating balanced, healthy diets.

--Speaking of access, a group of farmers and sustainability groups are banding together to increase access to locally-grown foods in my home state of Maine. Plans include cooperative storage space, a website for easy ordering, and a GPS-guided delivery system. They hope to have it all ready to go next year.


Andy White said...

I heard about this on NPR, and the article is interesting, the interesting thing they didn't talk was people with food allergies. I mean I have been eating gluten-free to see if things will help out down there and the gluten free food is not cheap. I have been eating a lot of veggies and fruits, but still the gluten-free pasta and "treats" are VERY expensive and in NYC you can really only find that stuff at whole foods and other natural food stores...the fruits and veggies you can find anywhere...its interesting.

Sarah said...

That's a really good point. In the comments section of the CNN blog, one woman wrote about trying to feed her severely-allergic child. Her kid is allergic to almost everything - corn, wheat, rye, rice, soy, nuts, dairy - which leaves hardly anything she can eat. The woman gets SNAP but the specialized formula her child needs for protein is really expensive so she's going in to debt to feed her child.

Are you avoiding wheat or is all gluten out of the question (i.e. rice gluten)? Have you tried any gluten-free baking? Also, I checked out your blog and saw your post about the Coop Farm - that sounds great! How does it work?

Imee said...

Sean Callebs was for the most part successful in his own little food stamp experiment, in my opinion. Also, Rebecca Blood's own experiences in thrifty eating is something to admire. I think I'm gonna read more into her stuff about food in a while.