In 2016, I’m trying to walk the talk via The Great Money Experiment—a year of avoiding giving my money to Big Business.
We don’t get far in life without food and water. As such, it should be the most important budget category in the lineup. Yet, according to my Transition Streets handbook, the average US citizen spends only 6.4% of their budget on food.
Our family spends 19.2% of our budget on food and beverages, which includes groceries, restaurants, eating at various dining locations at work, coffee shops, movie concessions, and snacks while traveling.
This tells you that we’re already pretty darn selective about the kind of food we buy. I do most of my shopping at the local food coop, and we buy as much local and organic as we can. But buying organic doesn’t mean avoiding Big Business, or Big Food, specifically. Case in point:
(For the most recent version, see The Cornucopia Institute website.)
So how to define Big Food? I could go with the ten featured below (this chart is probably out of date, and I don’t know the source):
But I don’t think that’s enough. For example, as I was doing my grocery shopping yesterday, I did a bit of research on Kettle chips, and realized that they had been acquired by Diamond Foods. The CEO of Diamond Foods has a total annual compensation of $3,242,966. That’s 92 times the average worker’s pay. Not ethical. But get this, Diamond Foods has recently been acquired by Snyder’s Lance (“Snacking is our passion.”). Their CEO, Carl E. Lee, Jr., makes $2,711,082 annually.
‘Tis not okay.
Perhaps it’s easier to think about what kind of food I want to buy.
You’ve surely heard of the slow food movement. It started in Italy in 1998 and has spread to over 160 countries. Slow Food is all about working to ensure that everybody has access to good, clean, and fair food. I can work with this.
Good food is food that comes to us from local farmers—in an unaltered state. Or food that has been minimally processed—perhaps frozen or canned with love. Clean food is free of pesticides, antibiotics, additives, fillers, genetic modification, and artificial flavors and sweeteners. Fair food is Fair Trade chocolate and Equal Exchange bananas.
Slow, local, organic food is also concerned with the natural environment. It doesn’t deplete the earth, but restores it. It doesn’t use heavy packaging or pollute from excessive transportation.
It’s surely the best option, though not always available.
I hope to post at least once or twice about my findings related to the food that I buy on a regular basis. I’ve already uncovered a few Big Businesses behind the scenes, and will provide all that detail soon.
Her Lost Year