Frederick Douglass in his autobiography said, “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” I bring the wisdom of both mentors with me every time I go food shopping.
Their wisdom and my research has me shopping at no less than four and sometimes six different venues in order to stock my house. The first stop on my food-shopping trip is to the local organic farm. I’m fortunate in that I have an organic farm less than 4 miles away from my house. I’ve become a member of their CSA (community supported agriculture) so I get a healthy share of veggies, fruits and herbs weekly during the growing season.
If my local farm doesn’t have what I want or if the growing season is over, I then go to the weekly farmer’s market. In addition to organic fruits, veggies, honey, eggs and free range meats at the farmer’s market, I stock up on pickled/fermented items (although now that I’m experimenting with fermenting my own veggies, I may stop buying them at the market).
Once a week I take a scenic drive to a dairy farm to say hello to the cows and purchase fresh raw milk. Sometimes they have other local homemade treats so I get to avail myself of them. The scenic jaunt allows for a time of meditation and reflection.
If I’m missing items after visiting those venues I then take a trip to the local health food store to stock up on things like, organic coffee, teas, non-local fruits (oranges, bananas, lemons, avocados and the like) beauty supplies and toiletries. For my paper products and bulk items such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, borax and washing soda I go to the local grocery store (if you’re keeping track, that’s four).
We used to order meat from one of our local farms, but now since the kids are grown and on their own, we don’t need that much meat. We buy what we need from the venues above.
Why do I go to so many places in order to keep my house stocked with food, toiletries and beauty products? Well, As Mr. Douglass said, “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” I no longer want to be a slave to commercial advertising and the status quo. I don’t need Tide to make my laundry extra white or Crest to “build my enamel.” If you really need to build your enamel, here’s a link to help you do just that.
The cute advertising jingles and never-ending diet crazes have lost their effect on me. Through much reading, studying and researching, I no longer feel like a slave to Wall Street’s reductionist food advertising (who cares how many calories, grams of fat, or carbs a processed food has). I’ve learned too much about Monsanto and big agro’s less than reputable ways of infusing petrochemicals and other unsavory items into our foods and toiletries.
The more I learn, the more I alter my choices. As Ms. Angelou says, “When you know better you do better.” I know that red dye #5 and “other spices” are not good for me, so I do my best to avoid bringing them into my house. Does it make life more challenging? Well, I guess you can say so, but it also makes life much more interesting and rewarding. I’d rather give my money to local farmers than to large grocery food chains.
Following the food crowd is not for me. I’m a self-confessed non-conformist when it comes to food (and a growing non-conformist in other areas). This label brings to mind another quote from my mentor Mr. Douglass:
“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”
Are you being true to yourself?