A few weeks ago I declared my decluttered crafting intentions for 2010. In the spirit of setting realistic goals and paring down my personal expectations, I have also been thinking about choosing just one area of my family's living to focus on moving in a better direction. I figure that if the inhabitants of chez clutterpunk work on living more simply, ethically and sustainably in one area, we might actually make some progress.
I've decided on aiming to declutter the grocery shopping. Because shopping and eating involve all of us, happen regularly, take up lots of time and energy, and bring together a whole clash of issues. What's more, my family needs to tighten our collective belt somewhat as the Beloved leaves full-time work to pursue further study (sigh).
This idea was planted after reading Angie's posts about working on reduction of food waste with her family, in which she included the following startling facts:
food production now accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse emissions and requires almost three-quarters of the world's fresh water supply
today three quarters of the world food sales are processed items (adding to the resource used)
half a person's eco-footprint is food related
But I wasn't quite sure where to start, and it was only after reading Meagan's recent grocery musings that I started to sort through my priorities.
See, for my family, there are a number of (sometimes competing) priorities when it comes to grocery shopping (as you can see on the scary-looking flow chart up there in the picture! Yes, I'm a flow-chart nerd). Below are the six areas I've identified as ones that impact on my family's food-buying habits. I've listed the priorities that we'd ideally like to work with under each category.
Health - make a variety of simple and nutritious family meals for everyone to eat (including the fussy toddler), avoid overly-processed foods
Family - establish a predictable mealtime ritual, enjoy meals together, get more organised in order to spend less time cooking and shopping and more time with each other
Ethics - buy fairtrade coffee and chocolate, free-range poultry and eggs, and boycott brands and chains who are ethically irresponsible (eg Nestle), avoid the dominant supermarkets
Sustainability - buy local, buy seasonal, avoid excess packaging, eat less meat, avoid FOOD WASTE
Finances - plan for shops, buy some things in bulk, avoid luxury items, avoid unplanned take-away food
Community - get to know my local butcher and green grocer and support their businesses, share meals with neighbours and friends without needing to be a gourmet
Currently, I'm in the process of working out how these things fit together and deciding which ones should weigh in more. I've come to realise that there are a few actions I/we can take that can help to achieve lots of the positive goals. But I also realise that some goals are going to be compromised by others. I'll share more of these thoughts at a later stage.
I'd be really fascinated to know what your priorities are when it comes to grocery shopping and how you sort it out. Is it all about health, or frugality, or perhaps sustainability? Is it a mixture? Do you have any bright ideas?