It has taken me a long time to realize
the implications of my actions
a very long time
Moving back in with Mom
comes packed with challenges
we don’t always agree.
I want to support the local farmer
she says it’s too expensive
she can get a pint of blueberries for less at Aldi’s.
Organic doesn’t subtract well from her monthly balance
it isn’t pretty or practical on a fixed income.
Social Security doesn’t care
if she eats healthy
they won’t give her
one penny more
she was told recently
after Dad passed away
that a family of four
can live on a $1,000.00 a month
she should consider herself lucky
when the tax man calls
She says she considers herself lucky
that I’m here
to fill in the gaps
between lucky and the curb.
I feel lucky too.
I do what I want
nobody bothers me
about my shopping habits or food choices
all is bliss
we sometimes butt heads.
I want to shop at the local farmer’s market
too expensive, she says
get the cheap stuff
it fits into the budget
she’s been doing it this way
but how do you explain
that it is not just about the money out of your pocket
it is about the cost to all of us
here on this planet
that your cheap fruit
had to fly in to New York
from Washington, California
that we are using up our precious resources
so YOU can buy cheap
What about the oil?
What about the ozone?
What about taste?
What about GMO’s and labeling?
What about certified organic?
What about sustainable living in your own neighborhood?
local food tastes better
supporting your local farmer
helps them and YOU
“Aldi’s has organic and local veggies too”, she counters.
Does it really matter if she doesn’t get it?
You bet it does
Will she change her mind?
We square off
me on one side
she on the other
as the evening temperature climbs
it’s late, I say
let’s do some more research
pick up this discussion tomorrow.
The next morning
I wake up early
ready for battle
ready for that first cup of coffee from Friendly Farms.
And I open up the fridge
looking for the milk and
the blueberries are staring me in the face
still sitting there, unopened
I pick them up
to inspect the label
on that so-called cheap pint of blueberries
thinking “Of course, why didn’t I think of this sooner”,
grinning as I scan for point of origin,
certified by… anything.
It says and I quote
“Produced and packaged on a farm in New Jersey.” HMM!
And then I look at the other stuff
the cottage cheese, the milk
ALL from Friendly Farms.
And It’s not like Friendly Farms is a real farm
out in the middle of the country filled with dumb happy cows,
Friendly Farms is a label, for milk
that comes from any
one of a number of farms.
Good luck even trying to find a phone number because, there isn’t one.
The truth is that Friendly Farms milk is the same milk as the expensive stuff, but Aldi’s paid to have their label added to the bottle. That’s how our food is packaged, and the way a lot of other grocery stores run things, too.
So, we buy cheap milk, meat and produce and I am complaining about it.
Most of us don’t even think too much about the prices except to say, “Hey, that’s cheap!” “I can afford that!”
so if I pay less for my food, how much does the farmer get?
And, how friendly is that?
Deciphering labels from Fair Trade to Free Range can be time consuming.
And we’re not even going to talk about what’s being fed
to those milk producing cows, the chickens or the cattle
or the evils of factory farms
or the inconvenient fact that most adults
can’t digest milk anyway,
what’s up with that, maybe its stress related?
Nope, I’ll save that for some other time
when the climate cools down a bit.