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Eating green is eating
Some aspects of eating green are easier than others; some are less costly; some are more costly.
Plant Based Foods
It is certainly less costly to eat plant-based. Even if we only eliminate the most environmentally destructive animal products from our diet (beef, dairy, and fish), our food bill will fall substantially.
In addition to the environmental cost of eating animals, the animal-based foods in this country, particularly dairy, are subsidized by the federal government, as is much of the feed the animals eat as well as the fossil fuels that are used extensively in animal-food production. WE are paying nowhere near the real cost of eating animal products at the store; of course, we pay them in hidden costs like taxes.
Organic foods are generally more expensive than the kind that have been grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides for two main reasons.
1. They require more human labor.
2. They are not subsidized. Remember that the fossil fuels that are used to produce non-organic foods are subsidized as are some of the foods themselves. However, most of the subsidized foods are fed to animals, not people.
In point of fact, the amount of money saved by not eating animals can be used to buy organic foods and it should more than offset that cost.
Organic foods are not always readily available, though, so planning for and shopping for an organic diet is slightly more time consuming than walking into a national supermarket chain and buying whatever is on the shelves.
Local foods are sometimes more expensive, if we can find them. For example, lettuce is a cool-weather food. Not much of it is grown in Texas and none can be grown in our hot months. Therefore, in order to eat a lettuce salad, we must eat nonlocal most of the year.
Most of the time, we don’t know where our supermarket foods originate. Some stores might say a particular food comes from Texas, which is probably a bit better than California and much better than Hawaii or Belgium, but Texas is a large place so Texas food is not always local to North Central Texas. Oklahoma foods might be more local, for example.
The best places to find local foods is at farmers’ markets. However, even that is not certain because many of the markets either outright allow food brokers to participate (Dallas) or allow the farmer to broker a percentage of foods sold there (Coppell) to "allow the farmer to make a living." Unfortunately, the farmer/broker is not always truthful with us about what is local and what is not.
It is generally more expensive to buy foods from a farmers’ market than it is to buy them from a supermarket. But not always, particularly if the supermarkets are "high-end" in costs such as Whole Foods or Central Market.
Grow Your Own
A small raised garden at home will make our local, organic foods more expensive or less expensive. The first year it will probably be more expensive. And the expense might always be related to whether we grow foods from seed or buy plants, how we irrigate, and our own green thumb and its ability to produce a bumper crop. However, after the first year, it is usually considerably less expensive to grow food at home.
A community garden is another way to grow our own foods.
If we grow our own foods successfully and are able to save some of those foods for winter months, we will reduce our food costs and be more green.
Overall, a plant-based diet, even with many organic and local foods, is less expensive than eating a diet that contains animal products or even the most destructive three: beef, dairy, and fish.
Most of us can expect health to improve and health costs to decline after a short time on a plant-based diet with many organic foods. There is even evidence that eating local foods is helpful to allergies.
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