We went to the new health food store today, which my husband and I both consider a great form of entertainment. Who needs a trip to the movies when you can wander around aisles full of hemp protein powder and sprouted breads? We had fun, but I was a bit disappointed in the store overall. The image they present is health food store, but there was very little in the way of organic food (200 bulk food bins and not a single one organic. Making a sad face). They had tons of produce, but the organic produce section was tiny. There was some good stuff. I got a jar of Himalayan salt, and some deodorant that is basically just salt and water. And we did end up with four big bags full of groceries, including some good “grand opening” bargains. But the store seemed to have lots of fancy personal hygiene stuff and cleaning products, and lots of conventionally-grown produce and bulk food items. As far as personal hygiene and cleaning products go, all I need is some Dr. Bronners soap, vinegar, baking soda, cocoa butter and coconut oil, and my Burts Bees deodorant. I’d much rather have a store completely stocked with organic food instead of lots of expensive fancy face soaps. I’ve pretty much reached the point where if food isn’t organic, I don’t buy it. Both for my family’s health and because I’m “voting with my dollars.” I believe that conventional agriculture, involving chemical pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, and GMOs, is destroying our planet and I have no interest in supporting anything to do with it. Being very frugal with every other aspect of our budget allows us to be able to spend more money to buy organic food. And of course we’ve ramped up our efforts to grow our own food lately too. But the majority of our food still comes from grocery stores. I put in a request with the manager to add more organic food, and he mentioned that he’d had that request numerous times already today, so hopefully they’ll listen. This is the first “health food store” in our town, and I’m hoping that it doesn’t just end up being an outlet for high-priced body lotion and prepared dinners. Time will tell. For now, I think I’ll be biking to Whole Foods, a few miles further down the road.
This afternoon, I biked over to the regular grocery store that has a Western Union setup, and sent $800 to my former student in Tanzania. $600 was from my parents, and $200 was from us. That money will pay the rest of his room and board and student fees for his second year at the university he’s going to. With all the craziness of our week, I missed Blog Action Day on Wednesday. But now that I’m going back and reading about it, I think it’s interesting that this is the week when we’re sending our annual tuition assistance to this young man, and it happens to coincide with a Blog Action Day focused on poverty. Tanzania is an extremely impoverished country, and I feel strongly that education is a way out of poverty. The young man we’re helping comes from an average Tanzanian family, which means that money is a constant struggle and higher education is mostly out of reach. With a university degree, he’ll be in a tiny minority of the population there, and should be able to get a good job, enabling him to lift himself and his family out of poverty. It’s only one person, but it is making a difference.