...Um, yes. Yes, I would like my receipt, actually.
It's been a bit of an adjustment for me to remember to keep my receipts, let alone keep track of them. A little over a month ago I promised I'd keep the intrawebs appraised of my eating-local costs. I did my best to compile my receipts, so while this summary won't include such nebulous items as time & energy, it will at least be a fairly accurate snapshot of a poor-ish, young-ish single guy (with somewhat expensive tastes) trying to eat 80% local in the month of June, 2008. Obviously, someone with a family to feed, or more skill at buying in bulk, or better farm connections is going to have a different cost-to-benefit ratio. & again, it would be great if someone with a more complex living situation or buying approach would tackle this topic too. I doubt I'm really representative of the average natural-foods consumer.
Here is what I spent on local food & local food related items in June at the Market:
If I wasn't the happy recipient of an employee discount (-$59.39), my total would have been more like $266.57, for a co-op member, & $296.26 for a non-member.
It should be noted that I didn't eat out at all, besides the Magical Mystery Pizza-Farm Excursion & the occasional morsel that someone else treated me to. In other words, the above total is essentially the cost of nearly every bite of food I've had in a month. Also, while this estimate includes various non-food items (such as a pitcher to steep larger quantities of my coffee/energy-drink replacement) purchased through the Market, it doesn't include other Challenge-related purchases (such as a cast-iron griddle, or a large set of plastic storage containers) made at other stores. Further, I tried to avoid free stuff from work (& no, I didn't cut myself any special deals on meat, either), other than a couple of loaves of locally-made bread. Well, I must cop to snacking on a few leftover Deli scraps, from time to time. I mean, seriously, they're just sitting right there! Overall, though, I've been pretty strict with myself in that area.
Other things aren't being factored in here, either. Things like the large tub of mulberries that a certain thoughtful Health & Beauty Counter-person kindly picked for me, or various bits I cleaned out of my freezer. My overall goal in the first phase of the Eat Local Challenge has been to get an idea of what the costs of eating local without having my own garden or having a lot of free/barter connections in place would be. As time goes on & the growing season continues, I'll be taking more advantage of such money-saving & community-building options, I assure you.
Yes, that is a hint to those of you who do have gardens.
All things considered, I find myself to be fairly pleased with my first official 80% local month, both cost-wise & otherwise. I've been learning a lot, stretching myself in the kitchen somewhat, & finding ways to economize. Not bad for a guy who generally buys food on a French-style "what do I want to eat tonight?" sort of basis!