Unintended Backlash On the Movement

I have a guilty conscience. Thank goodness I have you, reader, to vent to… Perhaps you’ll make a comment and help me to overcome the anxiety I have about my behaviour this evening.

I went to No Frills with my grumpy pants sister and every item I placed carefully into my cart was from outside of Canada. Heck most of it was from outside of this continent!

I rarely drive a car to buy groceries. Tonight I did.

I hardly ever shop at big chain grocery stores. A. They rarely have what I want, and B. They are the primary reason for our food system being in dire straits (I can’t bring myself to go into the details at the moment).Tonight I went to No Frills.

I very rarely have to get a shopping cart, and usually pride myself on being able to carry whatever it is that I end up purchasing (allows for easy weight gauging for subsequent bicycle transportation). Tonight I stuck my quarter in the slot and invited my exhausted sister to ride in the bottom basket.

I filled my cart with citrus fruits from Florida, mixed salad greens from California, sweet potatoes from the Southern US, Pears from Argentina, avocados from Mexico, and coconut milk from Thailand. I salivated over other forbidden fruits like mangoes and kiwis, bananas and melons, but stopped myself before I went completely overboard. It dawned on me as I was leisurely pacing the aisles up and down the middle of the shop, that I also avidly avoid most of the time, that most of the shoppers are acutely unaware of what they are buying. I am amazed at how little attention is paid to ingredients, countries of origin, connection to horizontal integration or agribusiness, additives, preservatives, and sweeteners. They are zombies. It’s scary. Even my sister put things into our shared cart that made me cringe, though I am getting better at refraining from pressing my politics on others (I said better, not perfect). Tonight I followed suit. I shut off my better judgment and just reached for the colourful and shiny, the things I knew I needed to get me through the detox I require since eating like a cow (not a grass finished one, the kind that pigs out in a trough in a pen shared with other dirty cows on tv sets) over the past week.

Oh, food police, please forgive me, I didn’t mean to, and it only happens once in a while…

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2 responses to “Unintended Backlash On the Movement

  1. Much like our inclusion of lemon juice and a few grinds of pepper were excusable in our “all regional” dinner, so is your shopping spree at No Frills.

    I actually love that No Frills. It seems to me that, while sure, it doesn’t necessarily support local agriculture or responsible livestock operations, it does provide a very necessary service of another kind:

    The produce is typically fresh, if not local or organic. The prepared foods represent a good breadth of manufacturers and are not exclusively massive name-brand conglomerate trash. The meat is good, freshly butchered, and less wasteful than at high-end supermarkets where they sell only the sexy cuts like beef and pork tenderloin, lean ground meats, and “familiar” steaks.

    The surrounding community is comprised of quite high to very low income households, from a broad range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and spanning young new families to single ladies like ourselves to hipster bachelors to large multi-generational families, to longstanding Canadians and very recent immigrants. And, that particular No Frills on many levels provides what many of those households require to get by. Sure, it could be more responsible, more local, more sensitive to the footprint its products leave.

    But, it’s also a fact that what we often consider the “best” choice when shopping for our food is simply inaccessible at its current price, for so many people. Sad, but true. Disappointing, but a fact. You could have made a much MUCH worse choice, pushing your cart through the aisles.

    : )

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