Your Guide to Grocery Shopping

My husband and I met at the grocery market after we were both done work and did some shopping together.  This isn’t normal practice, but it worked out since we had to run an errand in the same shopping center.  With an extra hand, I was able to look around and absorb what a ridiculous chore that food shopping is.  Is there ever a convenient time to go food shopping?  It is likely my least favorite chore and there isn’t much you can do to avoid the hassles.

Here is a rundown of what it takes to be an efficient grocery shopper.

  1. Some make a list or cut coupons.
    1. This could be a chore on its own.  Dreaded meal planning or in depth scan of the fridge, so you aren’t held accountable later when you’re out of something.
    2. Don’t forget to bring your own bags.  Even if you don’t want to be “green”, the plastic ones are getting thinner and cheaper.  (One too many jars of spaghetti sauce in your bag then causes disastrous mess in your driveway.)
  2. Seek out food like a hunter.  Even with signs, it feels like a scavenger hunt most times.
  3. Figure out what you can afford.
    1. Scan options and ask yourself why there are twenty-five kinds of jelly or tea to choose from.
    2. Try to decide what is actually the least detrimental to your health and affordable.
  4. Fill your basket.
    1. Enter all of Grandmom’s rules about handling your food; don’t crush your bread or pin your bananas against any boxes.  Keep your cold stuff together and eggs on top.  Bag meat products that may leak as well as your vegetables to keep loose items together.
  5. Don’t forget to check expiration dates.
  6. Pull a ticket and wait in line for the deli counter.
    1. The deli people are usually the most unhappy workers at a supermarket.  Play a fun game and try to guess what the people in front of you order.  Play with your phone if you’re still waiting after five minutes.  Don’t expect anyone but you to be happy that you’ve found alternate amusement.
    2. When you hit the lottery and your time to order meat and cheese has been announced, spout your selections quickly like it’s the last thing you get to say on earth, there is no time to stumble or make last minute decisions now. Continue reading
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Yes Bob Dylan, These Times They Are A’Changin

Though I believe in those words from Dylan, my ideas tonight are not quite as political or complex.  I’m not one to believe fully in global warming.  I do believe the earth changes and moves in cycles as it has for millions of years.  Do our habits assist with the change, I’m sure they do, but I wouldn’t blame it totally on humans.  I mean, cow’s gas (put nicely) contributes too right?  Don’t get me wrong, I do work hard to waste less and reuse more, but it’s not because of Gore encouraged me to, its because it’s the smart thing to do.  I realize my disbelieve in Al Gore’s Nobel prize winning film is bold because there are some people who fanatically still believe in it but regardless of the reason, the world is changing.  The atmosphere is changing, the way we live, communicate, work, play and function is changing around the world.

Today, on March 22, 2012 I laid on our hammock and it was 75 degrees.  It was after six o’clock, so the temperature had already dipped from today’s high.  The sun was still shining and I thought about how I couldn’t believe summer was already here.  But…it isn’t.  Summer is technically three months away.  Baseball hasn’t even seen its opening day but we are wearing shorts and preparing our garden at a time when in past years, the ground hadn’t even thawed out yet.

It’s not just the temperature.  It just feels like everything is changing so rapidly and with this, we grow more impatient still.  A slow website infuriates me.  Not long ago we’d need a phone book to find the phone number we needed.  Today, four seconds isn’t fast enough.  I can’t remember anyone’s birthday anymore either.  Google saves my arse by emailing me reminders and if that isn’t good enough, a notification pops up on my cell. My grandmother emails me “hello” and my husband’s grandmother sends me text messages about her health.  I realize this is more convenient, after all, who has time to sit on the phone with their family, right?  I hope you sense the sarcasm.

It’s a very convenient world, but it’s no less complicated and as time goes on, I’m torn about whether we’ll lose the human connection or not.  True, a text message is not as warm and fails to translate the lilt of a familiar voice, but maybe a quick message allows us to communicate more often.  I sometimes yearn for old fashion relationships and communication but I also have the ability to Skype with my Mom who is 3,000 miles away and see her regularly without paying for a plane ticket.  Remember when Spaceship Earth at Epcot was fantasy?  It wasn’t long ago that along the ride, the family of the future talked to each other over computers and saw each other on their phones.  It’s happened so fast.  I wonder where we are headed.

Old view on Spaceship Earth at Epcot, showing us the future of technology.

This post took a turn a bit from the weather, but as I lay in the hammock, before I drifted asleep, these are the things I thought about.  I awoke to the smell of fire and luckily it was my husband sitting close by in front of our chimenea, enjoying some peace and quiet on the back patio.  We sat together awhile and talked, and I suppose as long as we have good, solid moments where we still can connect to people face to face, we’ll all be alright.  And so, we’ll roll with the times, powered up and dressed for long summers.

 

(If you’re eager to get into the Spring/Summer 2012 mode, check out the post I wrote yesterday for Sprawling Roots.  I promise you’ll like it, whether you believe in global warming or not – http://sprawlingroots.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/time-to-prepare-your-green-garden/ )

What Is Fair Trade USA?

I encourage you to take a moment to take a look at http://sprawlingroots.com/ and http://sprawlingroots.wordpress.com .  They are a reputable “green” non-profit with big ideas that I stand by and write for.  This particular blog will be appearing on their website this week. Thank you for your support.

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I see the Fair Trade icon on my bag of coffee, cotton tote tag and on many organic food labels but what do Fair Trade standards actually encompass?

Fair Trade stamped items do a number of positive and noteworthy things for people and the environment. Using strict standards, the Fair Trade stamp of approval is issued to approved companies that exhibit “socially and environmental responsibility”.

The Mission Statement from Fair Trade USA is as follows:

  • Fair Trade USA enables sustainable development and community empowerment by cultivating a more equitable global trade model that benefits farmers, workers, consumers, industry and the earth. We achieve our mission by certifying and promoting Fair Trade products

Companies that earn the stamp of approval must adhere to the following basic standards:

  • Fair prices
  • No GMO’s
  • No hazardous chemicals
  • No child labor

As green and responsible consumers, it’s our duty to consider these choices, for the good of the economy, the environment and even for ourselves. GMO’s and unnatural chemicals wreak havoc on our bodies, causing altered hormones and a build-up of free radicals. Chemicals are detrimental to the environment, penetrating solid earth and seeping into the water supply. Without regulation or elimination of these toxins, contaminated earth will continue to produce unsafe products for consumption for years to come.

I don’t think I need to explain why eliminating child labor is important. In conjunction, Fair Trade USA encourages children to continue their education while also educating adults on how to successfully operate a sustainable business, while growing financially and environmentally aware. Small and underprivileged farms are paired with corporations to ensure safe and socially respectable products, while forging business relationships that do a world of good for all involved.

If you’d like to learn more, please visit www.FairtradeUSA.org.