Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eating Organic on $4 a Day -- Hunger Challenge 2010 (Part 1)

During past Hunger Challenges,* I have read posts from participating food bloggers about having to forgo organic food in order to eat a varied and filling diet on $4 a day. I thought it would be interesting to try and devise a Hunger Challenge $4 a person a day menu using only organic ingredients.

While organic products and produce are available much more widely now (even some items at my favorite discount grocer, The Grocery Outlet), for many people in the Bay area the widest variety of organic produce, meat, dairy, processed foods and more is Whole Foods. To get a good idea of how to accomplish this, I got a “budget shopping” tour from Oakland, CA, Whole Foods marketing team member Perri Kramer. Read more about that here.

While everything on my shopping list and my menu for the day was organic, it didn’t come without other compromises. My meals were mostly vegetarian and my dinner dish could be called more pasta flavored with chicken then pasta with chicken. I did need to opt for frozen organic vegetables to keep costs down and relied heavily on in-store specials to make up my menu (which meant shopping took even longer since mid-shopping trip I had to alter the menu to fit the specials).

While eating 100 percent organic was doable on $4 a day, I couldn’t have done it on $3, which was the “regular” California allotment for food stamps. A temporary $1 a day increase is due to expire this December 31st. Even without the organic restraint, fitting in fruits and vegetables was very difficult in 2008 when I did the challenge on $3 and that extra dollar a day is very meaningful to those who depend on the program. If you would like to see this funding extended, please contact your member of Congress and let them know how important you think it is.

To be truthful, it’s late and I’m tired. Catch up with rest of the story with Part 2 and my Eating Organic on $4 a Day menu and recipe.
*The Hunger Challenge is being sponsored by the San Francisco Food Bank to increase awareness of hunger in the Bay area and elsewhere. This is the third year of the challenge. It has not only raised awareness but also funds and literally tons of food for local food banks. This year 25 five food bloggers are living as if they were on food stamps for a week, with a total food budget of only $4 a person a day and blogging about their experiences. Links to all the participating blogs can be found at http://www.hungerchallenge.blogspot.com./ You can see what else I’ve written about the Hunger Challenge this year here.

About the photo: Overview of Oakland, CA, Whole Foods


Unknown said...

Thanks so much for participating for a third year! You are awesome. And what an interesting twist you've put on the challenge this time! I can't wait to see what you'll cook up.

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

What a fascinating concept! I might have to rip it off (damn my honesty) some time :)

FJKramer said...

Scott --- I'm sure you would give it the Real Epicurean flair and make it your own!

SFFB - thanks for all you do to help fight hunger and raise awareness in Sf and bay area

indoor camping said...

This is something that needs a great deal of attention and nobody else, until I found you, has written about it. Thank you! I appreciate your writing, your passion and your stories very much.

FJKramer said...

JM - Thanks so much. There are a number of us food bloggers are participating in the Hunger Challenge. You can see all the links and check out their posts on this vital issue at www.hungerchallenge.blogspot.com