Voting with your groceries

hen

Sometimes I find myself stuck in the grocery aisle, pondering the purchase of a certain item.  Where did it come from?  What is in it?  Should I go organic or conventional?  We have so many choices today, it can become overwhelming.

For example, yesterday, I knew I wanted roasted chicken for dinner.  I locate the fresh whole chickens and begin to decipher the different kinds;  organic, free-range, or natural( roasting  or regular-I assume means the age of the chicken).  And these are just the choices at the store I chose.  Other stores  have others, though I do not like to go there, as I don’t trust the brands.

So my choice is, do I want to support the things I believe in, like quality of life for the animals we eat, consciousness in their handling, and no antibiotics/hormones/chemicals?  In the end, I may pay more but I feel that my dollars have made a statement- I support the fair treatment of animals, workers, our environment, and my body.  I do not support factory farming and use of unnecessary chemicals/antibiotics/hormones.

There are other things to consider as well.  How far did that food have to travel to reach you?  How much fossil fuel was used to get you strawberries in winter? or specialty beef that came thousands of miles, which is also available at your local farmers market (see “My favorite source for grass-fed beef” post)?  If it is available locally, but costs a little more, isn’t it worth it to support our local economy and avoid use of fossil fuels?

In the long run, my health and environment are better off.  I can think further than just the moment; I am saving on doctor’s bills, environmental clean-up, supporting my local economy, and keeping family farms in existence. We must all rethink our food choices, as every dollar we spend speaks strongly about what we value.

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