The Prodigal Ones

summary: rising food costs; hunger; what we can do

flour I was somewhat horrified recently to see that a 10kg bag of no-name unbleached all-purpose flour now costs $11.49. As opposed to $5.99 just a few short months ago. Dried packaged pasta? $1.69 for 900gm as opposed to $1.19 or lower last year. Rice? I haven’t checked recently (it was $13 for 10 lbs) but no doubt, the cost for 10 lbs of rice is considerably higher as well.

The 10kg bag of flour has virtually doubled; gasoline prices are well above $1 per litre and likely to stay there; a bunch of broccoli now costs $1.50 instead of $1.

And yet. We are the lucky ones. Even though we’re rolling our eyes and exclaiming over the rising costs, most of us can still manage to reach into our wallets to pull out our plastic cards to buy the flour, the rice, the pasta, the broccoli. And more. Much more. And jam it all into our bulging cupboards.

Snigdha Sen recently wrote and excellent and sobering article entitled “Food Crisis: Being more thankful, more thoughtful and less wasteful (”. She’s right.

It is pretty disgraceful how prodigal we are.

I like Sen’s note that stockpiling has contributed to driving up the price of food. I know that I have an urge to race to the store to buy rice and flour to keep in the basement. But on the other hand, I know that our basement is hardly the best place to store these things.

Most of all, I like Sen’s reminder for us all to stop wasting food. I know I’m as guilty as anyone in this regard. I have been glibly claiming that every mysterious looking piece of vegetal sludge I remove from the “crisper” drawer of the fridge and put into our composter isn’t wasted – because it’s being returned to the soil. What rot. (Sorry, no pun intended.)

I’m starting to think about the idea of switching from grass in the front garden to vegetables. But here are the reasons for my reluctance to go ahead with this notion:

  1. Fear that passersby and/or creatures will steal the fruits of my labour.
  2. Fear that we will grow too much for our household.
  3. Fear of failure.

Isn’t that sad? To let fear stop me.

Does anyone have experience with front yard gardening? And links to canning advice.

In following the links in Sen’s article, I came across the following:

$3,000 tours of Whole Foods? Sounds crazy, but […] Nancy Weiser [works as] a lifestyle coach to those wishing to adopt a more wholesome approach to eating. Nancy promises to permanently change clients’ relationship to the food supply, and I’m sure she does; as a society, we have gotten so far away from any kind of healthful relationship to food that any informed discussion about food choices is bound to open eyes. Weiser’s goal is to teach people how to return to a simpler set of food choices, like not eating anything that “wouldn’t grow in the ground.”

– excerpt from The Cleaner Plate Club

$3,000 (??!) for 12 classes in how to return to a simpler set of food choices, like not eating anything that “wouldn’t grow in the ground.” (excerpt from the article at The Cleaner Plate Club) Better to send that $3,000 to an aid program!

empty bowl Please note that there are impoverished and hungry people everywhere in the world. Next time you’re thinking about spending $3,000 to learn how not to eat anything that wouldn’t grow in the ground, or $300 on yet another serving platter that is almost exactly the right colour, or $30 on the picnic plates that are so cute and oooh, they’re on sale and they’re only $30, please take a moment to reconsider about where your money might be better spent. Here are just a few possibilities. Look in your community for others:

And don’t forget about these sites online.

(Once again, I have turned off the comments for this post. If you have something to add or say about stopping world hunger, please post your thoughts and ideas about it on your blog or start a thread in discussions.)