Sunday, April 11, 2010

Save Money While Eating Locally

As a person committed to changing our food system by voting with my fork, I allocate more of my income on food than your average person. In the U.S., the average income spent on food is considerably low, 10%, compared to our European food aficionados, 30%. But until the Farm Bill catches up with the growing demand for sustainably grown and raised foods, we will have to pick up the extra charge on our bills and continue purchasing food that is good for our health, our communities, and our environment.

The topic of eating sustainably on a budget is not only timely, but it's something I've been chewing on for the past few years. After all, as a writer, nonprofit professional, and consultant, my financial times have their ebbs and flows. So, in thinking on how to save money on the thing that I value the most - what I eat - I decided to share what I've learned with others.

This past weekend at the Green Festival in San Francisco, I spoke about Eating Locally: Save Money While Saving the Planet. The presentation was chalk full of ways that people can reduce their food budget while keeping their dedication to sustainable food intact. (These are tips that I use and am constantly refining.) By walking the audience through the grocery store/farmers market and providing tips, everyone walked away with something new to chew on.

Right after finishing Farmer Jane, I had the fortune of having New Year's dinner in the company of Paul Hawkin along with a few of my closest friends. He asked three times, "What's your next book?" At the time it was hard to consider as Farmer Jane is just getting released in May, but the question stuck. What I came up with was a handbook for eating sustainably and locally. A little quick research on the internet and lo-and-behold! I found Leda Merideth's book:The Locavore's Handbook: The Busy Person's Guide to Eating Local on a Budget. Not only does she cover the many considerations of how to conserve while eating locally but she also includes some recipes, and other how-tos of eating locally. It's a great read and I'm excited that Leda, Deborah Madison, Jessica Prentice, and I will be talking about the subject on June 30 at the Common Wealth Club in San Francisco. Mark your calendars! It's going to be good. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter and FaceBook where I'll post some of these tips and tidbits.

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