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 (Side note: "food stamps" is an outdated phrase, but one we are all used to; the program is now called Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP - and uses debit cards, not stamps.)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.