Food Accountability

I’ve been musing on something since I wrote the post on “Food Resolutions” — this question of accountability for our family’s choices.  What, exactly, does it mean for me to be “accountable” for the way that J. and I are trying to feed ourselves and the boys?  How can I really evaluate how well things are going, in RRG land, and report back on that — to myself and J., as well as to readers of this blog?

I mean, it’s one thing to tell you all that This Is What We Do, And I Don’t Expect You To Do It This Way, But It Works For Us.  It’s possible to hide behind that, in a way, because it doesn’t require me to really examine whether or not things are, in fact, “working for us.”  ARE they working?  Financially?  Health-wise?  Time-wise?  Kid-approval-wise?  And above all, Happiness-wise?  Are we as satisfied with our food and eating decisions as we could be?  Or is it possible that we could find we’re not as satisfied as we think we are, if we really put a magnifying lens up to our choices?

So here’s what I think.  I’m going to start an accountability series here on RRG, for the next 12 months.  Oh, nothing too heavy, I promise, but something that forces me to occasionally justify, to myself and to you, the decisions that we make in 2011.  I think it’ll be good for me, and possibly instructive for anyone who cares to read what I post here.

These are the categories I’ve come up with so far, when thinking about the things that should be covered:

Cost — how much are we REALLY spending on food?  I think I know, but it might be smart (and frightening) to take stock on a regular basis.
Time — how many trips to the store/farmer’s market/other purveyors are we making in a week?  How many hours am I spending in the kitchen?
Balance — Diet-wise and life-wise.
Reality Check — How much of what we make are we really eating?  How much of what I serve are my kids actually consuming?  How many snacks and fillers are we allowing to slip into the day?

I could use some help from readers on this.  Comment below, if you would be so kind, and let me know your thoughts.  What questions do you have for me?  Challenge me.  I need it.

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9 Responses to Food Accountability

  1. Pingback: Enough is Enough: Where to Draw the Line | Red, Round, or Green

  2. Ashley says:

    I had a similar thought, as I ordered seeds, plants, fish emulsion, row cover material, canning supplies…gulp…how much is all this costing? Not to mention the effort of planting, growing, and preserving food, and preparing meals at home.

    My partner sometimes freaks out at the price of a free-range chicken at our local farm – particularly since it looks about half the size of the “cheap ones” at the grocery store. So I gave myself the same pep talk I always give her…”It is usually cheap because someone was exploited so you can save money – farm workers work in deplorable conditions, animals live miserable lives and are miserably slaughtered, the earth is assaulted with chemicals. You are buying suffering with that money, and then putting it inside you. The money we spend on food grown with love will repay us by nourishing our body and our world.”

    I am really trying to stay conscious of this as I “stock up” in preparation for the growing season. It is done from love, and I will be repaid in love, for my body, for my family, for my earth.

    • So beautifully said, Ashley! Kudos to you for doing all the work that you do and truly putting in the effort for something so important. I wish I could say I’m as far along the path as you are, but what’s important is that we all do as much as we are able to do in the moment.
      Another thing we’ve noticed, by the way, with high-quality chicken and other meats, is that we 1) waste less — I used to have to trim all sorts of unmentionable crap off the grocery-store chicken, beef, etc., and wound up with less yield for my dollar; 2) are satisfied with less — our bodies recognize good food and aren’t asking for larger portions just to try to find the nutrients they need; and 3) enjoy much better flavors and textures — the better meats are invariably more tender, juicier, and more well-rounded. So in reality, I think the cost-benefit analysis is much more favorable than we all tend to think when we first encounter that sticker shock. Chicken SHOULDN’T be $1.99 a pound for skinless breasts, folks. What we have to start asking ourselves is, if it’s selling at that price, how are the farmers affording it? (Hint: They’re not.)

  3. Some of the blogs I read have discussed the idea of “Conditions of Enoughness” – maybe you should set your “COE” for Food.

  4. TB says:

    Love your categories! I will join you. I used to be so good at tracking our spending (on everything) but need to find a way post-baby to make that a priority. Can’t wait to see how it goes for you. Thanks!

    • Happy to have someone joining in! I think it’ll be tough, but necessary. It’s been a while since I tracked every penny, and I’m thinking it’ll be a good exercise in understanding the exact costs and benefits of doing things the way we do them.

  5. Donna says:

    One question I’d love to know the answer to, and I have been meaning to ask: Does the RRG family ever go out to a restaurant? Get takeout? How does that fit into the monthly meal plan?

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