Social Justice, meet Diet

by Jameise   |   April 29, 2009

In my quest for knowledge about eating well on a budget, I came across some interesting findings. One couple, Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard, took a huge leap into the world of frugal and healthy consumption. This article is a really great summary about their adventure, but they also have a blog with all the details.

The two high school social justice teachers promised to eat on $1 a day for an entire month. There rules were as follows:

1. All food consumed each day must total $1 for each of us.

2. We cannot accept free food or “donated” food unless it is available for everyone in our area. (i.e. foraging, samples in stores, dumpster diving)

3. Any food we plant, we pay for.

4. We will do our best to cook a variety of meals; ramen noodles can only be prepared if there is no other way to stay under one dollar. (We have six packages and will buy no more)

5. Should we decide to have guests over for dinner they must eat from our share; meaning they don’t get to eat their own dollar’s worth of food.

Their experiment does not only delve into issues with health and buying food on a very tight budget, but it also touches on social issues that arise because of this. For this couple, the experience was an experiment, but some people actually live this reality. These people may not have the time to put thought and effort that the couple was able to put into eating a healthy meal on their dollar budget. In addition to having time, one also has to be knowledgeable about how to prepare the foods, such as making tortillas from scratch.

Not being able to eat properly can affect someone in more than one way. During the experiment, Christopher also discovered that he lacked a lot of energy and was not able to go to the gym. I think experiments like this are very helpful in displaying the issues in a new way. It gives us the ability to approach it from a different angle and have more than one voice speaking out about it. Hopefully, less and less people will be forced to eat on such small budgets, but until that day comes, we can certainly work to educate ourselves on how to sustain in the interim and what we can do to eradicate these issues.