try, try again

13 Jul

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Let’s Talk About Food

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about their struggles and successes with healthy eating. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I am the first to admit that I’m a lackluster housefrau — cleaning takes a backseat to going for walks; cooking is mainly left to my (much better chef of a) partner; laundry gets done… well, when it gets done. I have books on these topics and I’ve read them all. Devoured them! A good cookbook, beautifully photographed and wittily composed is one of my most treasured bookstore finds. I dog ear the recipes that sound most delicious and vow to work my way through those before tackling the ones with main ingredients I find less than tempting. (Beets? Err…we’ll wait ’til Fall.) If I make three dishes from one book, however, it’s a feat to be commended because I enjoy the hunt a lot more than the preparation.
But now — now, we’re on a budget. Because guess what, you guys: teachers don’t make a lot of money! And stay at home moms, if you can believe it, get paid exactly NOTHING. I mean…those cherished moments with my son don’t exactly keep us in spelt pasta and agave nectar for my tea, if you know what I mean. So, we are at an impasse with our family diet. I flatly refuse to feed George anything that isn’t certified organic though we are living barely above the poverty line; there are just too many scary things in non-organic foods. I want his little body learning to navigate our living room without stepping on cats, not sagging under the weight of neurotoxins and carcinogens and dyes that make him hyperactive.
Well, it turns out that vegetables — ones you grow in your own backyard — are practically free if you start them from seeds. Vegetables you don’t grow yourself are still cheaper than a three-times-a-week burrito habit, and can be bought from — get this! — the people who grow them! If I had a mind to, which I often do, I could mosey on down to the farmer’s market on Saturday and, for ten to fifteen dollars, purchase an astounding haul of colorful gorgeousness from my neighbors. And the next week, I can come back and say hey, neighbor, thanks for that beautiful chard/those crazy fiddlehead ferns/the garlic-looking thing I’ve forgotten the name of!
The availability of wholesome food isn’t going to make me a better cook any more than my collection of unused cookbooks. But one thing it does: makes me a more enthusiastic consumer. Friendly farmers and dairy owners soften the blow of not being able to eat out when I want. The bummer of poverty is often feeling deprived. If I can support my community, feed my family with a clear conscience and spend my days feeling energetic and healthy, I can’t imagine feeling like I wont for anything at the dinner table.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated July 13 with all the carnival links.)

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29 Responses to “try, try again”

  1. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama July 13, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    I love shopping farmers’ markets – partially because of the health value, but also because of the people! It’s so awesome to see some of the ones who actually worked the field, who can tell you exactly how they grew it.

  2. Mrs Green July 13, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    Oh how lovely to have such a positive take to ‘poverty’. I love combining frugality with health and green living and it seems you are taking powerful steps along that journey too. I understand when you say that it’s great to be able to go back the next week and say Thank You for such great food – it’s such a gift isn’t it? Wonderful post; thank you so much!

    • veryveryfine July 14, 2010 at 3:56 am #

      I feel if everyone had access to farmer’s markets and knew how cool they are, the obesity epidemic among the poor would be less widespread. I’ve heard from so many people that they’d love to eat more healthfully but it’s just too expensive — not necessarily true! And yes, making friends with the farmers is easily my favorite part. Well, maybe tied with eating the goods. :)
      Your blog is AMAZING and I’ll be using some of those tips for silica gel and coffee grounds today!

  3. Jenn Collins July 13, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    I love gardening, for those very reasons. Sure, it takes some work but it can’t be beat for cheap food. Plus, convenience! If I want a salad, I take my colander out to the backyard and select some lettuce, tomatoes, green onions and whatever else looks good. And it is guaranteed fresh.

  4. Jessica - This is Worthwhile July 13, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    I wonder if there’s a CSA in your area that you could join. For a couple hundred bucks a season you can get monthly (or bi-monthly) deliveries from your local farms. But I commend you on your determination to go organic. Some day, hopefully soon, all our foods will be organic so no one will have to choose between safe and healthy and cheap.

    • veryveryfine July 14, 2010 at 2:52 am #

      There are lots of CSAs here and I’ve had baskets in the past. But I’ve found that I’m more likely to use the stuff I get if i choose it myself. Also, most of the CSA farms have farmer’s market stalls so I’m supporting the same farmers either way.

  5. Lauren @ Hobo Mama July 14, 2010 at 12:21 am #

    That is absolutely right and lovely. Thank you so much for this post. I’m so glad you’ve been able to find ways to feel nourished and pampered, even when living on a very limited budget. I know from experience that that’s really hard to do, so this is an inspiration.

    When you were saying “cleaning takes a backseat to going for walks; cooking is mainly left to my (much better chef of a) partner; laundry gets done… well, when it gets done,” I had to check you weren’t talking about me! ;) But I agree that gardening and going to farmer’s markets is the fun part of food. And then I leave the rest to Sam!

    • veryveryfine July 14, 2010 at 3:47 am #

      glad i’m not the only mama who doesn’t exactly relish all the chores!

  6. Deb Chitwood July 14, 2010 at 4:34 am #

    It’s nice to think that living on a budget can actually be an inspiration to eat healthier. It’s easy to forget just how much gardening and farmer’s markets have to offer. Great job at doing wonderful things for your family!

  7. Seonaid July 14, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    Hello, veryveryfine! Those are the same reasons I started gardening, CSA shopping, and farmer’s marketing. You have to be careful, it can get a little out of control, and you find yourself moving to the country, starting a market garden, and having to explain to the toddler why you can’t bring home the neighbour’s extra goat! (Even if you secretly want to.) :)

    Um… not that I know anybody that this has happened to.

    On a completely unrelated note, did you know the going price for an adolescent milking goat is only about $50?

    • veryveryfine July 14, 2010 at 6:50 am #

      Oh, you have no idea what damage you’ve done! Goats are on my wish list. This is ammunition.

  8. Autumn July 14, 2010 at 7:02 am #

    how have we not talked about this?
    1. We are below the pov line…like more below than my husband wants me to admit.
    2. We are only organic feeding Noele and pretty much only O for ourselves too…pretty much.
    3. We farmers market and CSA weekly.

    Super well written post, I love it.

  9. Michelle @ The Parent Vortex July 14, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    I love going to a farmer’s market where I can talk to the people who grew the food, and organic food always amazes me by being so.much.tastier than the non-organic counterparts.

    Thanks for sharing your story – I am inspired by your determination to eat organic on a limited budget.

    • Beanma July 14, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

      I don’t know why our local farmers market isn’t organic. I assumed it was, the day I was filling my basket with veggies, until I got to the register and asked. It’s not … none of the stands were. I wonder if people automatically assume that it is organic. Cause I doubt all my food-smart neighbors in town would be buying all that non-organic food…

      • veryveryfine July 15, 2010 at 3:15 am #

        yeah, everything at our market isn’t organic, but there’s a lot that is. i imagine it comes down to cost/benefit for the farmers who choose not to be organic, unfortunately. for us, i get what i can organic and do my darndest not to buy anything non-organic off the “dirty dozen” list (http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php).

  10. TwinToddlersDad July 15, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    You have a beautiful perspective on life; very inspiring.

    We have not been very successful with farmer’s markets and CSA in our area. I guess we need to give it another shot!

    Recently we started a small vegetable garden in our backyard. Right now we are growing eggplants, sweet peppers, tomatoes and a few herbs. Let us see how it goes! I am determined to start with seeds this fall.

    On feeling deprived and poverty – I guess everyone feels deprived and poor to a certain extent. We seem to measure our lives by what we don’t have rather than what we do have.

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