Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ethical Food Choices

I retweeted Relevant Magazine's article "How Much Should I Care About Ethical Food?" because in a number of ways it resounded with the lessons my head and my heart have been learning this year.

"Ethical" is certainly a buzz word these days. And I wish it wasn't.

Let me explain.

I wish we didn't live in a world that had to distinguish "ethical" from the rest. I wish we lived in a world where things were ethically produced all the time. A world where wages were fair, workers were not exploited and mistreated, where we strived to preserve our beautiful world instead of working for the cheapest.

I come back again and again to a lesson I drew from Tsh's book, Notes from a Blue Bike: everything costs someone something.

But as this piece gently reminds, I don't want my choices to be driven by guilt. And I also can't always afford the most ethical option. I have to live within the means of our family - and right now we are a single income family, with three kids. Money is carefully budgeted and alloted to certain expenses. Some months we just can't afford certain things.

But that doesn't mean I can't try.

As I have written before, in the summer months I visit the local farmer's market to buy produce and eggs. I can buy honey this way too. With the winter months, I called up my egg supplier and asked her if she would be willing to deliver eggs if I set up a few orders each week. She did! We get a dozen farmer-fresh eggs every week. She also has a variety of different types of meat if I'm interested. 

Our meat comes from a few different sources - chickens from a client of ours, beef from our own pasture, sausage and pepperoni stick from my husband's hunting. Fish from his fishing trips - though we don't get enough in the summer and still have to buy some.

Our freezer is full of chopped apples from my husband's grandmother's tree. They were going to waste when he picked us a box ... Next year we'll try picking more! 

Our small-town owned grocery store does provide some organic produce, and whenever possible I buy their locally sourced produce as well. Obviously things like bananas and mangos don't grow in our cold temperature, but we have tried as much as possible with other fruits, while growing a lot of our own veggies.

I'm trying not to feel guilty, and trying to do my part as best as I can. It's not perfect, but my growing awareness is helping us take small steps in the direction of "ethical food".

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