Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Penny-wise Eat Local Challenge

Back in April, Eat Local Challenge started a new challenge intended to explore the question of whether the average family could afford to eat locally. They started with the Department of Labor statistics on the average amount spent by a family for food each week:

1 person in the family, one wage earner: $68 a week
2+ persons in the family, one wage earner: $121 a week
2+ persons in the family, 2 wage earners: $144 a week
2+ persons in the family, 3+ wage earners: $184 a week

Most participants ended up concluding there was a trade-off between money spent and time spent. Those who were willing and able to spend more time planning and more time in the kitchen could pull off eating local on an average family's budget as long as they ate at home and carried their lunches. A few participants found it difficult to avoid restaurants, and even if they ate in restaurants that sourced locally they ended up blowing their food budgets. A few had no problem staying within the budget at all as their normal weekly food budget is less than the Department of Labor average -- which would seem to indicate that there are at least some folks out there capable of eating locally on an average food budget.

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