Wednesday, October 13, 2010

'You're just shopping in the wrong "supermarkets"'

That's a direct quote I got today on Facebook by someone I don't even know. Actually, the entire quote was:

'There is nothing wrong with purchasing food at a local independent market. I shop at ours every day. Everything in the butcher department is sourced locally, they sell produce and fruit from local farmers, apple juice from a local orchard, jams and jelly produced in our town. You're just shopping in the wrong "supermarkets"'

This quickly made me realize that a lot of people don't realize that not every place is blessed with the shopping choices that they have. It also made me realize that this project makes some people uncomfortable. So I suppose I should explain our living situation so people aren't so judgemental about our choices - though I don't expect them to actually read my blog.

We live in an economically depressed city about 30 miles (as the crow flies) northeast of San Francisco. The city is bankrupt and has been for several years. We barely have police or fire services anymore (we're down to less than 90 officers for a city of over 120,000 people). Property values continue to somersault downhill (our neighborhood has seen a 60% reduction in home values since the height of the market), while crime rates skyrocket. We have more than our share of poverty - our county has the highest poverty rates in the Bay Area. People just can't afford healthy food, so there is no demand for it. None of the supermarkets carry local meat, let alone grassfed. The selection of organic produce is pathetic to say the least. This is the reality of where I live.

If I want to go to a "local independent market" I will have to drive 30+ miles plus pay $5 in bridge toll to get there. To me, that is no longer "local" and the carbon footprint and added cost is too great. It also doesn't look at the part of the problem I'm trying to solve - that you don't have to live in a foodie hub (such as San Francisco or Berkeley) to be able to eat healthy, unprocessed food while on a budget.

So go ahead and shop at your local independent market. It's great that you have access to one! I'm not telling anyone that they shouldn't - in fact, you will never see me say that anyone should do what we're doing unless they are truly interested in doing it themselves and have expressed that to me. Just please realize that not everyone has one (or two or five) independent markets where they live.


  1. Great post - though I wish it wasn't necessary. I think this is an amazing project, and I wish it was something I could do for my family. What surprises me is that this makes people uncomfortable. But then again, they're probably just feeling guilty about their own choices. What you're doing is awesome. Don't let a handful of small-minded people get to you!

  2. I am following what **A** said. Sh*t happens.
    Do not worry about others. I am in the same boat as you, only I am right in the middle of cow country, in fact I can go 1 mile and see a bunch of meat running around in a pasture, but I cannot afford it. It is also a depressed and struggling area here, with a lot of poverty, in fact, I live in a trailer court with a bunch of drug dealers, and poverty-stricken jerks myself. I can't afford to move my modular out somewhere else, as there is no where to move too, so on my blog I say I live in HillBilly Hell, and make the best of it with what I have to work with.
    I have no access to fresh fruit or veggies except for my farmer's market which I have a booth and I barter for what I need as I cannot afford fresh things, and I do not get food stamps or assistance what so ever. We are in a agricultural state beyond anyone's eyes, but as far as access to fresh, local, forget it, it goes over seas to Japan, and South Korea and Cuba. Go figure.
    I am proud that those of us who follow this lifestyle however we do, for each individual or family, we make do. Again, do not let pea brains judge, or dictate to you, how you go about doing things for YOUR family, that is yours to dictate and no one elses. Please remain an individual and don't follow the crowd or you will manage to go over the edge with the rest of the idiots.
    I love your postings.

  3. Don't feel like you have to explain anything to anyone girl! People are dumb and dumber. I think what you are doing is great and I support you 100% and am very interested in the process and the outcome. I had a friend ask me, "Have you completely lost your mind?" when I told her I was making my own laundry detergent. Whatever!

  4. It definitely makes people uncomfortable, while it inspires the rest of us. It inspires me. Then of course there are the people that probably think you're a bunch of commie, anti-social weirdos, but yea...they're crazy. People are skeptical of anything that isn't part of their norm, and the only thing I know that helps them understand is to show them that it works and that it doesn't hurt, it helps.

    So yea, Rock on!

  5. I have lived outside of the Bay Area and outside of California. I can tell you, most places do not have the "right" supermarkets. I am thankful everyday that I have access to the Ferry Building, Local markets, etc living in the city. It is a blessing. But I am also very aware it is not like that everywhere, no matter how resourceful you are at looking for them. If you have one and use it, great! If you don't, well, isn't it great to find ways to do it yourself? Yes it is. Even if you did have access to this "Super"market, it is still great to provide your own means and still be providing to your local economy.

  6. it most definitely makes some people uncomfortable. i just mentioned this idea to my coworkers and immediately they started to shoot down the idea with ways in which i'd fail if i tried this. but, they've only strengthened my resolve to make this happpen. it's a little humorous and sad how people get nervous when the "normal way" of things has to be altered.