If you think choosing the best food for yourself and your family is tough, try being poor. Put aside any thoughts you might have in your head about why the poor are poor and all the things you think they should be doing to better their situation, and just think for a minute about the day to day reality of getting food on your table if you live where most poor people live.
You will probably picture yourself in a city, on a block identical to the blocks around it, in apartment housing, a project or a single family home in need of repairs. There has not been a grocery store in your neighborhood in twenty years or more – the stores followed those with money when they moved to the suburbs in the 1970s. What you’ve got are liquor stores and corner stores, each stocked about as well as a suburban gas station might be with a few quarts of milk, some lunch meat and a selection of canned items and breakfast cereals, and an aisle of candy as long as the food aisle. Within a few blocks is a bus stop, but it’s not a line where a bus comes by every ten minutes, it comes once an hour. You are not likely to have a car, but maybe someone you know does. When it comes time to buy groceries, you can ride the bus (or more likely a couple of buses) to a real grocery store, or ride the metro, but either way, you can only buy what you can carry back yourself. All together, the trip may take you 3 or 4 hours. And you’re lucky to have brought back food for a week. And because American food policy rewards the overproduction of corn, the affordable things you can bring home are killing you, and the fresh fruits and vegetables are too expensive to buy enough to keep your family full for a week. (more…)
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Before One/Week, I tried my hand at a few other blogs. I clearly knew I wanted to write something, and I wanted to do it in the open and creative blog community, but finding just what I wanted to write took me some time. When I finally settled on the idea of a blog chronicling a year of posts on things that matter to me, I felt I’d hit on the thing I could stick to. Then I reached out for some help. As I’ve mentioned before, I reached out to my blogging spirit guide Amanda Hirsch, and one of my questions for her was “What books do you recommend?” She didn’t have any to recommend and I recall replying that she should write one. I didn’t give up my search though, and I finally ordered – because I had to get my Amazon order total up to $25 to get the free shipping – a bubble gum pink paperback called The IT Girl’s Guide to Blogging with Moxie by Joelle Reeder and Katherine Scoleri. I was looking for something a little less than an all out WordPress masterpiece on cascading style sheets and something a little more than Blogging for Dummies. All in all, Blogging with Moxie fit the bill.
The authors, Joelle and Katherine (owners of Moxie Design Studios), lend a lot of personality to the book, so the writing is, well, estrogen friendly. It’s a little over the top, as if Carrie Bradshaw was the target audience, for example, “Chapter 1: Breaking into Blogging without Breaking a Nail”, or “Chapter 7: Dressing Up Your New Blog: I feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty” (with a section called Templates, The Slipdresses of Blogs). OK, ladies, whatever, I may be downing the occasional Sweet Chrysanthemum but I bite my nails and I wear t-shirts. Each chapter ended with a little “congratulate yourself with a [bubble bath/cosmo/frappe] that at first annoyed me but finally just amused me. (more…)
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Sometimes when you learn a new word, you suddenly see that word everywhere, as if the universe converged to congratulate you for learning it. I’ve had a similar convergence around the issues of sustainable food. It isn’t really that the word appears everywhere – it was always there, you just never noticed before.
Much like the book I stumbled across in a box of books donated to the school where I work. Until recently I’d have never noticed it. But given what I’ve been learning, I could not possibly have missed it: The Town That Food Saved: How One Rural Community Found Vitality in Local Food. Moreover, it was an advance copy – the uncorrected paperback versions publishers send out to book stores and reviewers in advance of the book’s publication. Turns out my little read only came out last month, so my review here is even timely!
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