Monday, October 3, 2011

The Cost of Food

I had plans to share foraging with you today but when I read Vinobaby's post for today I realized there was another topic better suited for today. She shared the USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food. The Thrifty Plan is what the USDA uses to determine food stamps for families. What I found interesting is the huge amounts they use. I have to be grateful that they use such a high number to determine food stamps but is it realistic?
For my family of a 14 year old male, an adult male and an adult female the total is:
Thrifty Plan - 504.80
Low Cost Plan - 661.80
Moderate Cost Plan - 821.00
Liberal Plan - 999.99

Those numbers are staggering to me. The USDA bases these plans on their food pyramid and what Americans should be spending to meet those food requirements. It makes me want to ask what they are shopping for and where they are getting the costs of food. I know they have an explantion for these numbers but do they really reflect the cost of feeding a family nutritiously. If so, perhaps this has the answer to the US's obesity problem. Is nutritious food too expensive for the average family? I worry that I won't have enough nutritious food for my family. As we go into winter the access of fresh produce in my area will decrease. To buy produce in the store will become expensive and what we get is wilted, bruised and unappealing foods.
For me, to have $500 a month for groceries would mean eating more than healthy, we'd be eating in luxury. It would mean organic meat for every meal, raw milk, beautiful cheeses. Purchasing fruit and vegetables by the bushel for canning, drying, freezing. It would mean a full-time job just to use the food, let alone afford to buy it.
To me, this just shows how out of control our nation is. If this is truly what we need to purchase good food then the cost is too high and we need to do something about it. If this amount is what we believe we need then we need to relearn how to eat and cook because it's unrealistic.
I'd love to hear your opinion.

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