The Optimist’s Jan. 12 cover story brought home the real difficulties that many families in our communities are facing. The pressures of inflation, supply chain issues, political unrest, climate change and indeed war, are all contributing to a daunting current state of affairs.
As the story noted, salaries are not keeping pace with inflation and many families are unfortunately having to make decisions on food choice as opposed to fixed costs such as rent and utilities.
These fiscal decisions can often lead to food insecurity scenarios which are rising here in British Columbia and elsewhere. Food insecurity can lead to making unplanned food purchasing decisions. When you should be putting an $8 two-litre jug of milk on the table for your kids at dinner time you may have to instead opt for the $1.25 two-litre bottle of Coke. Your kids may think that is great, but the long-term health implications are very real for these types of unsustainable menu choices.
The $5 head of Romaine lettuce, which thousands of kids in Delta can tell you is one of the most healthy leaf lettuces to consume, is likely off the menu these days. If you are looking for beef as part of the family protein offering, you are probably walking past that cooler towards the chicken.
Globally, grain is gradually making its way out of the Black Sea to Africa where millions have been starving. The recent rains in California, the breadbasket for North America, have slightly downgraded drought status there. Even with three feet of rain since Christmas, experts believe it will take several seasons of this type of rainfall for the drought to diminish significantly. This rain has primarily fallen on the western side of the Sierra Nevada range. The eastern side where the fertile valleys and the two biggest reservoirs in North America exist, is still struggling.
There are simple solutions we can all benefit from to ease the pain somewhat.
During the Christmas break I was happy to see many of my young farming friends at the mall, grocery store and elsewhere. It was great to meet some parents and hear some of their “Farmer Mike” stories.
One mom was proud to say that their eight-year-old daughter would prepare “Farmer Mike’s most excellent cucumber salad” once a week.
Another mom and dad noted that their two sons would never eat vegetables until the boys demanded that mom and dad build a raised bed in the backyard, which they did during the summer. Now the boys plant, nurture, harvest and eat every vegetable they grow.
This is a simple solution that can help with food costs, promote life skills, and encourage nutritional health. A small initial investment will pay for itself quickly in today’s economy.