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Sinless City: 1 College Student + $50 a week + Only Locally Grown Food= A Miami Adventure

By posted Apr 22, 2010 at 09:09 AM

Who? : Me
What:  Challenging myself to only eat locally grown food for under $50 a week
Why: To show how to live a sustainable, healthy life in the sin city of Miami-Dade.

Click the title to learn more about my discovery of ways to live a Local Diet

First Week Report: 70 dollars spent on food… not successful but did find a lot of alternatives to execute complete plan, more info. Below.

My 21-Year Love Affair With Food
I have been on a food journey since I was born. Born a glutton, I have been battling my eternal desires for carbohydrates, sugar and basically anything edible. Only one story can really encompass what I mean when I say that I was an innate glutton: my mom always likes to tell the amusing story of when she saw me, at the age of 2,  on the kitchen floor with my face on the ceramic. Alarmed, she thought I was hurt, but was relieved to find that I was simply sucking on a piece of cheese that had fallen to the ground. This can summarize the next two decades of my life pretty well.

Though fairly thin (this adjective may be too nice), my eating habits are part of a long lineage of what I call “sugar addicts”. My grandfather, my father and I are all proud recipients of an unnatural need of sugar. Be it a cake plus a pasta dish, plus a whole box of Oreos on the side, we can eat it all in one sitting. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come without consequences.

My grandfather was a diabetic, to the severity of having really bad circulation that would slowly cause him to get multiple areas of his feet and toes amputated.  In America , this disease is not at all rare. In 2007, America had 23.6 million children and adults have diabetes. (These Numbers have since increased a lot, and a staggering rates for young Americans)

It has been my personal mission to change how I perceive and experience food. It began with me becoming vegetarian 7 years ago and I have since experimented months as a vegan and as a raw vegan. Each time allows me to reflect on the food I eat, what I consider a meal and how I prepare my food.  Then, I saw “Food, Inc” and another challenge arose in my head.

(To see my previous Raw food diet journal: My Yolo Challenge Blog. I did it for a few weeks, and after some struggles it felt amazing—but its tough to stay full)

Food Inc and a Series of Inspirational Events

After watching the documentary “Food, Inc” , and experiencing the Clinton Global Initiative and the recent death of my diabetic grandfather, I knew that it was time to take the next step and rectify how I eat and where it comes from.

“Food, Inc” is a great survey of the conglomeration and polarization of our food supply. It demonstrates the millions of gallons of gasoline used to deliver the food across the country, how supply and distribution has been monopolized and how unhealthy our food actually is. The movie takes a large bite at our American Food Crisis, and although it seems like one giant, overwhelming critique of our food—it was nice to become aware of how our food gets on our plates and who’s life is affected by its production.

Et tu, Wholefoods?

Hungry, with no farmer markets open that I new of this past Sunday (I have learned since that there are quite a few), I ventured to my guilty pleasure of Wholefoods. A pleasure because it is such fresh, fair-trade food but a guilty one because of the expense it bears on my college student pocket.

I was confident that there I would find all of the local food I needed.
I was very wrong.

Though posted all over the store is signs of the importance of locally grown food, the reality is there was little selection for me. One shocking factor for me was that even THE ORANGES were from California! (I know we recently had a lot of orange crop loss—but still!)

So I managed to get a few things that were local, but I knew that wholefoods could not be my solution, it was only the beginning of trying to find healthy, organic, locally grown food. At least I knew that the few foods I got that were not local were fair trade, which is also very important.

My Quest to Fulfill My Appetite—and Pocket

So already over budget, I realized that I still needed more food for the entire week.  This is when by happenstance, I learned about “Roots in the City”

Roots in the City Website

It is a local garden and farmers market in Overtown that happens Wednesdays and Sundays. Although the market has only been open for 5 weeks , it is already full with customers. What is nice about this market, though small, is that it takes food stamps and has a program that doubles the amount of food you can get for a max. 10 dollars a day! This is a great initiative to get people to eat healthy food.

I got myself some carrots, leafy greens and tomatos and called it a successful day. I am better prepped to keep eating only locally grown foods next week.

My Next Challenge
To find food co-ops and sharing programs I have been told about, where you pay a weekly fee and pick up your share of a collective food supply! I hear you get a lot of produce for fairly cheap. Keep you posted!

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