Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The cost of eating locally

This is the week I pick up my locally-raised Bourbon Red Turkey for Thanksgiving from St. Asaph Farm in Stanford. I’m fully aware that I’ll be paying significantly more for this turkey than I would if I purchased one from the sale bin at the grocery store. To me, it’s worth the cost for a number of reasons.

Over the weekend I had conversations with friends on two different occasions about the cost of eating locally. It seems to me that it should be cheaper. Packaging and transportation costs are eliminated or limited. Yet, the cost for eating locally (if you measure cost solely according to what leaves your wallet) are generally higher.

I made the decision several years ago that my health, as well as the health of my family and friends (influenced not only by our food but by our environment) is worth the extra expense. It was relatively easy to begin purchasing the local and organic fruits and vegetables since I grow many of my own. I had a more difficult time with the meat, but I’ve slowly acclimated myself to its cost, also.

And what does it truly cost us to eat like this? My husband and I discussed it this weekend and realized we spend between $1.00 and $1.50 per meal for each one of us. It sure is a whole lot less than we would spend if we drove through at a fast food restaurant for a quick something to fill our stomachs. If we added in the cost of garden seed, which are minimal, it would increase our cost slightly, but still not to an unreasonable level.

When I go to pick up my turkey tomorrow, I’ll gladly open my wallet to pay for what I know is a healthy bird. I’ll also be thankful to the people who have decided to make raising healthy animals for local consumption their vocation.

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