Wednesday, December 09, 2009
This post is aimed at women RVers as the blog is titled and because we're usually the ones who shop for the groceries. I was always told not to write in anger so I waited to see if it would subside. It hasn't. Soapbox mode on.
I'm a locavore. That means I try to buy food grown and distributed locally if I can. I started to have problems doing this last year when I worked in Cloverdale and shopped at the Safeway in Healdsburg, CA, in the middle of Wine Country. There was a display of grapes in the produce section and I almost bought a package until I saw they came from South America. I went to the produce manager and asked, "Did we use all the grapes we grew for wine? Why should I buy grapes grown outside the country when I'm surrounded by grape growers?" A couple of women shopping near me overheard me, looked at the display and walked away. The following week, the same display held beautiful red grapes with American flags on the bags. Amazing what a little logic and a complaint will do.
Fourth of July came and I looked for a flag to hang on my RV. Every one I found was made in China. I didn't fly a flag. Is it too much to ask that my country's flag, a symbol many have fought and died for, be made in the USA? How much is it worth to have a US-made flag? Is there an American flag made in the USA or are we forced to buy one from China? That's not OK.
Then came Thanksgiving and for this vegetarian, I found plenty of locally-grown squash, yams, potatoes, cranberries, celery and olives. I purchased Safeway's brand of apple cider for wassail, the hot apple cider I prepare and share at the winter holidays. It said 100% juice from concentrate. As I added the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, fresh lemon and orange slices, I went to put the bottle in the recycle bin. Then I noticed the print on the label above the title: "Concentrate from Chile, China." Huh? Did we run out of apples? Why is the apple concentrate coming from thousands of miles away? Did it come from Chile or China (there is a comma, not an and/or)? Where did they get the apples? What pesticides were used? How was it processed? How safe is it? Most important, are you telling me with all the apples we have in the US that it's cheaper to buy the concentrate from one or both countries that are thousands of miles away (and thousands of miles from each other)? No answers to those questions. That's not OK.
My Coleman watch was made in the US; the watchband was made in China and fell apart the first time it got wet. My Coleman sleeping bag, a brand I used to rely on, was made in China. That's not OK. Have we forgotten how to sew?
My plastic containers were made in China. My plastic dishes were made in Taiwan. That's not OK. Do we not manufacture plastic any more?
You do remember that it was Chinese-made dog food that poisoned our pets and was recalled. You do remember that the Chinese-made toys had lead in them and were recalled. Two men were recently executed in China because they added melamine to the baby formula that poisoned their own country's babies. That's not OK.
I love going to farmers markets (San Francisco has at least one in the city every day of the week except Mondays). The sellers are also the growers and can tell you everything about the food they've raised. The shopping bags are recyclable and made right here in the Bay Area. My coffee is fair trade and distributed locally. My tea comes from a farm in Oregon and distributed locally. Best of all, the dehydrated food I have on hand is grown organically and processed safely in the US. It's stored in canning jars made in the US by Ball Mason and Kerr since 1884. I look at my cases with their American flag on them and feel a sense of pride.
So basically, I'm asking you to think about how you shop and what you buy. Read the labels and decide whether it's OK to put it in your one precious body.
Soapbox mode off.