That is Joe piggy. Well, we're not sure if he is Joe or Josephine, I suspect Joe. I took my youngest girl and her friend to a couple of farms I buy from yesterday. Lydia's friend is from the city and was quite shocked to learn that her beloved bacon is supplied by Joe and his kind. It was pretty funny really, but sad that so many people are disconnected from the origins of their food. Kids don't have a clue that Joe is the Easter ham either. Joe or Josephine lives on a biodynamic farm and is well taken care of, as is all their animals. I try to buy as much as I can from them as I know that they are fed organic feed and their meat is *clean*. But at $12.00 for a very small pack of sweet Italian sausage, it is getting hard to keep supporting them without breaking the bank. I really try not to feed my family substandard food, if I can help it. I am a firm believer that most of our health concerns are linked to our diets and food sources. Somewhere down the road our poor choices will catch up with us. I look at my children as little engines that need good fuel or when they become locomotives they won't last or will experience mechanical problems. I know, kind of a weird analogy, but it works for me :-) And they get it.
Lydia's friend also got a bit weirded out that her burgers and steaks are supplies by these beauties at my friend's beef farm. She said , but they are so cute! These beefers are well fed on pasture, whole grain and good hay. They roam and have plenty of fresh air, sunshine and water. Feed lot beef have none of the above, and America eats them in huge quantities.
These gals are half la mancha and half nubian. They will be used for cheese making and meat. We gave up our nubians a bit ago. I do not like goat's milk nor cheese. The taste makes me gag and if we weren't going to use what they were good for, they had to go. I am hoping for a miniature jersey cow in the future. My family just loves their cows milk and cheese!
This economy is hitting us all pretty hard, but our food sources are still one of the places we can't afford to compromise. I really would rather give up many other pleasures in order to be able to keep eating *clean* food. A little nosing around places like Weston Price and Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm will enlighten you. The movie Fresh is a great place to start as well as Michael Pollan's Food Rules.
The blog world is full of people touting eating for anywhere from .40 cents a day to $1.00 a day. Unless your growing your own food, and then if you are the cost of seeds, manure, feed, etc., must be taken into the whole picture, I would say that they aren't eating truly clean and healthy food. Every time you pop open a can or prepackaged anything you are eating processed to some extent which is not healthy. Each time you purchase a non-organic feed lot meat or poultry you are poisoning your system.
So what is the answer? Well, I am not sure how we can all afford to eat clean, healthy food. I know we can't. But, baby steps. One day at a time, one meal at a time. Eliminating a bad choice and trying to replace it with a healthy choice. I know that is hard when you can get a case of mandarin oranges cheap and on sale and the organic bag of navel oranges that won't take you as far is not on sale. Well, I think starting to make the hard choices is key. Not only do you feed yourself/family better food, but you support the community that is growing the healthy food. Taking a bite at a time out of the big corporate pockets. Sending a message that we want better food choices.
The lack of money to buy good food is the biggest stumbling block, too. How to combat that? Retool your budget, cut out the unnecessary items in order to eat better. Perhaps coupons would help, but I am a total skeptic on that front. You can also read this very popular post of mine on The Real Cost of Food-Couponing. A post on cutting costs in order to eat healthier is in the works.
Discussion is invited on this post-- I am sure there is alot of wisdom out there to share, so please do.