It’s that time again, First Fridays for Food Security, where myself and countless others try to live in solidarity with those experiencing hunger.
My goal for the day was to spend between $5.17-$6.61 for the entirety of my food costs.
How did I arrive at these numbers? If I could have the maximum SNAP benefits allowed for a 1 person household, it would be $6.61 a day. However, the thrifty plan of the USDA for 1 female is only with just $5.17. Since I doubt I’d receive a maximum allowance, I tried to fall some where in between these numbers.
- An 80 cent Breakfast: Organic milk $3.19 for ½ gallon= 4oz=.20cents; Cereal- $2.99/12 servings .25cents; Fair Trade Coffee .40cents
- A $2.60 Lunch: Organic Lettuce .75cents; Organic carrot .25cents; Whole wheat bread and homemade veggie burger- 1.10cents; Grapefruit- .50cents
- A $1.90 Dinner Tortilla Soup $1; Organic Tortilla Chips .20 cents; Mama Pea’s Mmmm Sauce .63cents; Seltzer .07
Meaning, my total was a mere .13cents over the Thrifty Plan but still below the maximum SNAP benefits!
Reflecting back on previous lessons that I learned in the Fall with this exercise, I see that I failed to implement a few. Such as: Planning my meals in advance or having 100% accuracy in cost. On the positive side, I see that have have furthered my commitment to eating in regards to my personal food philosophy and in fighting hunger.
In addition, this time around I realized something else. No matter how much I try, I don’t think I could most fully or most accurately account for all the costs of my meals. This became starkly obvious to me, as I started this day with watching a bit of Crude Awakening.
Do my estimated food costs include travel, fuel, refining, or machinery costs? No. Do they account for just wages and fair pay? Partially. Do they account for water used, be it in a stressed or scarce area? No.
But do these costs matter? Absolutely. Yet often, they are seen as externalities. Spill over costs. Nothing more.
I disagree with that logic, but also lack the ability to accurately factor these costs into my First Friday budget.
So what have I learned from this third First Friday for Food Security exercise? That there are no real externalities in a world that we all share. In the same way, hunger is not an externality. It is a true detriment to our society and to our human race.
And that’s a cost we need to cut.