Vote With Your Dollar – Create Change

 

Vote With Your Dollar
Vote With Your Dollar

It is the day after the US Presidential election and at our house, let’s just say that things didn’t go as we had planned and hoped for.  And while this blog is not meant to be a political commentary, I hope that you, my dear readers, will indulge me as I stray from gardens and food for just a moment to let you know what I think.

My children were frantically texting me all last night and this morning, aghast as to how the political map was shaping up.  They couldn’t believe what was happening…and although they’re now adults, they are still young.  Personally, it was not so new to me, for I had seen many elections in my lifetime.  Some went my way and others did not.

They asked me for guidance and advice on how they could prevent this election outcome again.  My daughter couldn’t believe all of the polls had been so wrong.  My son was watching the angry students protest outside his door in Berkeley and one person had already been seriously injured.  This was all scary stuff to them.  I had lived through the 60s, so I was not as alarmed, but I had to think for awhile to give them a solid answer.  Actually, it was 2 answers.

First answer: GET OUT AND VOTE!  Never miss an opportunity to cast your ballot…ever.  Vote for the grass roots measures and candidates and not just for the president. That person actually matters the least.  If you don’t understand the issues, for Gawd’s sake, do some research and find out.  It all starts right at home, in your own backyard.

The second answer is, I believe, even more important: VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR.  You can do this every day, in every way, thousands of times a year.  If you ever think that it won’t matter where and how you spend your buck, trust me, you are dead wrong.  In this great United States of America, we are a capitalist society and the dollar reigns supreme.  If you don’t like GMOs, read the labels, then don’t buy them.  If you want your food to be grown organically, then buy just organic foods.  If you want to find out how to stop global warming, find out and put your dollars where they make a difference.  If you don’t like what’s politically happening in the corn belt, then don’t buy non-organic corn from the Midwest.  Trust me, they’ll get the message.  It’s as simple as that.

For example, housewives, especially, “working housewives,” (you know, the ones that work all day at a regular job and then go to the grocery store for another hour after work just to buy food to feed their families,)  have known this for a long time.  These savvy shoppers have turned our own local, big-chain, grocery store, which was just a food wasteland only a few years ago, into a happy place of organic foods and produce.  How?  They decided WHAT they were going to buy…quietly, persistently.  They didn’t raise a fuss.  They didn’t go out to the streets to protest…they didn’t have the time to do that.  They just laid their chosen products on the conveyor belt and handed the cashier their cash and coupons.  The slightly more demanding shoppers were happily obliged by simply asking the store manager to carry certain products.  The stores heard their message.  They had to give the customer what he, or she wanted, or go out of business.  Did farmers get the message too?  You bet!  The growers either had to change their farming practices, or risk the possibility of losing their lucrative contracts with the supermarkets.

I could give you countless other examples of how valuable this “vote with your dollar” notion is, but I don’t have the time, or space in this blog.  Never, ever underestimate the power of the way that you spend your money, no matter how little you have of it to spend!

Now, that being said, I must assure you, it will all be OK…Just get out there and vote!

~ C

The Vegan Lifestyle…Some Encouragement From My Local Natural Foods Co-Op

I have been, “mostly vegan,” for about the last 4 years.  Admittedly,  I’m a late starter in this movement.  I didn’t buy into the whole, “vegan thing,” right away, so, sadly, I have spent most of my 62 years of life eating the flesh and by-products of other animals.  (After all, this blog isn’t called, “An OLD Woman’s Garden” for nothing.)   I pondered veganism for a long time before I made the switch.  When I finally did, it was almost effortless, with many thanks to my absolutely, amazing, food co-op, Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op. 

Ukiah Natural Food Co-Op – Love this place!

The “coop” as we like to call it in my family, opened my eyes to the possibility of better, healthier, and more interesting food products that were well within my budget.  Although, I had pondered a change over to an animal free diet for many years previously, once I walked into that co-op door, I had no more excuses to avoid the vegan lifestyle.  What’s more, no one at the co-op scoffed at veganism…not one, little eyelash batted at the thought… I was, “all in.”

My 40-year-old co-op looks like any regular grocery store, except you don’t see any of the mega brands of cereals or canned goods, nor any factory farmed meats, or dairy products.  The produce section at the co-op is almost entirely organic.  Meat and dairy is locally raised and produced.  Alternative diet options catering to vegan, gluten-free, etc. abound.  There is also a section in the store for herbal supplements and another for natural beauty products and cosmetics.  Each and every product in the store has been carefully scrutinized to make sure that it is healthful and true to what it’s label says it is.  The store also puts up labels pointing out things that are organic, or non-GMO, so that we are all well informed.  The bulk section is economical and environmentally friendly (no excess packaging here,) not to mention amazing, offering anything from freshly ground peanut butter, to dried fruits, to Kamut, to locally grown and milled flours.

If you have not investigated food co-ops, I highly recommend that you do.  They can offer you great, local, healthy food, at a much reduced cost.  Not to mention that you’ll have a partial ownership in the store. It’s your food, it’s your say!  It is the ultimate way to vote with your dollar.  You decide what goes on your family’s plate, not to mention what is put on the Co-op shelves, which can add up to a serious vote as to what products you want in our marketplace.  Want it organic?  Sure.  No GMOs?  No problem.  The “coop” has a policy to try to seek out the best products that are organic and/or non-GMO.  Prefer that your food is local?  They can do that too AND they will label it on their shelves to let you know.

Have I caught your interest?  I hope so.  For more information about food co-ops, or where you might find one in your area, please visit: Co+op, Stronger Together.

(Pix coming soon)

~ C