Edited to add: Thank you so much to the people who have donated already. I always knew the internet was a special place where people could connect, despite never having met, but I've never really experienced that for myself. Now I have. Thank you so much for helping us out in a tough time. The donate button will stay up until Friday night and then will disappear (though one reader's comment that it's ok to get paid for doing something well has stuck in my mind.)
Tuesday I decided to make brownies instead of my usual chocolate chip cookies. It was a nice change of pace and Gabe was really excited to help with frosting them when he got home from school. We did that and then sat down for some quiet time before dinner. Since I'm home a lot I spend a great amount of time on Facebook, probably more than I should, but it's my way of keeping connected with what all my friends and family are up too. Some of my friends are deeply passionate about healthy food, GMOs, organic crops, urban agriculture and all kinds of related topics. I am too, insofar as I can participate, so when the following graphic came up, I had a pretty strong and mixed reaction:
I'm well-versed in why organic crops are superior to non-organic, why monocrop agriculture is bad for the environment, the Green Revolution, GMOs and how corporations are taking over the government. Still, I didn't like this poster at all. Buying organic food is not an easy option for those of us on limited budgets. I refuse to be shamed for making brownies today using Robin Hood flour, regular white sugar, chocolate chips, etc that aren't locally sourced, fair trade and organic. It's simply impossible for us to shop that way, in season or not. (Vancouver Island and the surrounding area has an amazing ability to grow food of many kinds nearly all year round, but right now pickings are scarce). I left a comment to that effect under the pic on my friend's wall, and while some thought I made a good point, one lady brushed aside my cost concerns as 'trivial' and figured I should be giving up any baking of brownies to save up to afford organic produce, that the cost trade off would be worth it. Um, no.
A trio of locally grown organic apples is $3.29. A bag of regular apples at the grocery store is 5 or $6.99 and there are four times the number of apples. A 4L of organic milk is literally double the cost of a regular 4L of milk. A batch of brownies probably cost me a dollar or two to make. If I gave up baking altogether every month to save for organic food, I would probably save up five dollars, with which I could buy one loaf of locally made organic bread at the farmer's market.
Being poor is not a superficial argument. Being poor affects everything that I do, and don't do, and right now, thanks to a mess up between the government and H&R Block on our tax return, money is extra tight. We're used to operating within a strict budget but things have been ridiculous since just before Christmas. The stress is enormous and the last thing I need is some sanctimonious person trying to shame me for not buying the 'right' foods in order to save the planet. I'm sorry but my priority right now is figuring out if we have enough to pay the rent, cover all the bills next month, and afford basic groceries.
Today has highlighted our ongoing financial hardship in a way I can't pretend to ignore anymore, so I've added a Donation button to the site in the top right. If you can spare a few bucks we'd deeply appreciate it. This is not to say we're going to rush out and start buying special veggies; this money will go directly towards our bills and groceries. With several hundred hits a day, if even a handful of folks throw in their coffee money, it would take off some stress. I'm looking into other ways of making extra while I'm off, but so far nothing is panning out so I'm turning to my readership. Hopefully this situation with H&R Block and the government will be resolved mid-February, but it's sounding more like March. When we no longer need the extra help, the button will disappear. Anyone who sends in a donation of $5 or more will recieve a card from me with thanks (as long as you email me your address!) Thank you!