FFTF #1 - Vote with our Food Dollars!

NOTE: Here is the 1st Food For Thought Friday Post. This is the bare bones of an article that is currently in the works (and obviously very rough). There's a lot or meat in this topic though, so I will likely divide into a series of articles.

In the Real Food world, election day is not just the second Tuesday of November or even the primary days in our states' elections. No - as Real Foodies, we vote every day, several times a day. Only most of us probably don't realize this. But every time we eat food we are casting a vote with our food dollars. We are voting for and defining a food system, both locally and globally.

Hmmmmm...Let's ruminate on this a bit and see how it all plays out:

When we buy locally farmed food (plants and meat), we are supporting (and strengthening) a local farming economy. And we are signaling to area grocery stores - particularly the larger chain stores - that we want more local food options. If you believe in this premise then vote with your food dollars and buy local food!

Ohhhhh...I like this thread, let's keep it going.

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When we buy organic foods, we are signaling that we want pesticide-free, sustainably raised food to be accessible in our communities.

When we eat at restaurants that specialize in preparing dishes with locally farmed foods and we actually order these foods, we are signaling to these proprietors that we support this business model.

When we buy fast food or ultra-processed foods sold in the grocery stores and convenient marts - whether we realize it or not - we are signaling to the food manufacturing conglomerates that we are OK eating food formulations loaded with sugar bombs and other unhealthy ingredients. Well are we really OK with this?  Really??

When we buy shrimp - particularly pre-peeled shrimp - caught and processed in South Asia, we are supporting an industry fraught with modern-day slavery. OMG!!! No way am I doing that. I'm going to read labels to ensure that the shrimp I buy is sustainably and responsibly caught or farmed and processed. And I'm going to peel my own damn shrimp (and boil the shells for a savory seafood broth)!! Note to self: AP published this series of articles about slavery in South Asian seafood industry over the entire 2015 year. But I only read the "peeled shrimp" article in December 2016. How did I miss all these other articles??

It was this last part - about slavery in the seafood industry that inspired me to broaden the scope of my Blog to include food values and food justice issues. I read this article during a time when I was developing the concept for this Blog. And I realized that I could widened the scope beyond a food Blog - and promote a message that food is not just about what we eat, but also a reflection of our values. This is a natural intersection between my passion for Real Food and my work as an advocate for social and economic justice. So the Blog will really be articulating a wholistic approach to understanding and connecting with food. An approach that nourishes the mind, body & spirit.

Now I know that there are many who may agree with the concept of voting with our dollars and support these causes, but literally do not have many dollars to spend. Or who may live where Real Food is not readily or easily accessible. But this is the purpose of Realistic FoodEs - ease barriers by helping my readers find reasonable and realistic ways to integrate these concepts into their lives and make better and more mindful choices about their food.

And for those of us who don't have barriers, let's try to vote with our food dollars as much as we can. If enough of us do this and those with barriers do as much as they can - we can create a critical mass of support that will eventually make Real Food more accessible and affordable for all of us!