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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Occupy Wall Street? We can opt out of the corporate system.

I don't follow the news, but have heard bits & pieces about the Occupy Wall Street movement. I agree wholeheartedly that corporate greed is a huge problem  - especially when you consider corporate power over our government (money & lobbyists ).

Here is how to overcome it: quit supporting the corporations. It really is that simple, if enough people were to opt out of the system.

I guess I already do this to some extent. Our clothes are mainly secondhand from thrift stores, so we're not supporting a huge corporate label or megastore.

WalMart? I go there about once per year for my sons' school supplies because that's pretty much what the schools demand.

The feed for our farm animals (chickens) comes from an independent locally-owned feed mill a few miles down the road, and is made with locally-grown organic grains & legumes.  Yes, it does cost more than the cheap animal feed from the farm store.

We've had to make a lot of repairs to our farmhouse & buildings, and are still in the process of doing this.  Here we've mainly bought from the giant hardware store.  Probably not the best option.  So, we're planning a trip very soon to the nearest "Restore", operated by Habitat for Humanity, which sells used home supplies (sinks, counters, lights, you name it).  It's about an hour away, so this will take some planning for us, but we're hoping to get there within the next couple of weeks.  We've also found many used items in the newspaper or on Craigslist.

Utilities?  We heat our farmhouse mostly with our wood stove.  Until we get our own wood supply going (cutting down our own wood, which we've done, but must wait for it to become seasoned), we're buying our wood from a neighbor down the street.  It feels great to give him our money for heating rather than a utility company.  No money to the gas utility corporation, no money to the propane company (who also sells farm chemicals & sprays).  Electricity?  Well that's a problem, because there is really only one option here unless we went off-grid.  Talk about a monopoly.    So we pay a giant corporation.

Food? Oh here it gets interesting. You wouldn't believe the power of the giant food corporations, mega-farms, and producers. If we opt out, instead buying from local farmers we trust, we could guarantee our own food quality, safeness, and end obesity (fresh, unprocessed meat, eggs, produce, and grain don't lead to obesity - processed food does).

Our vegetables here on the farm come from our gardens.  Some of our fruit does too.  All of our eggs as well.  However, we do buy some fruit at the grocery store for the boys.  Most of our grain also comes from the grocery store (although I did recently purchase 50 pounds of wheat from a farmer down the road which I will mill into flour).  I could do better here as well and find a local source of oats for our oatmeal.  Our meat and raw milk come from nearby farms.  And once you have raw milk it's easy to make your own yogurt or kefir.  Cheese as well, which I need to do more often.

So now I suppose many of you are saying: who has time for that?  To that I respond, "What's your favorite t.v. show?".  If you have time to watch tv, you have time to cook some Real Food for yourself and your family.

Speaking of t.v. and corporations.... do we really need to go there?  Here's what I will say to that: our sons watch t.v. in the winter months (in late spring, summer, and early fall the t.v. is put away).  We don't have satellite or any kind of regular television that has commercials.  Instead, we pay $8 per month for Netflix instant downloads, where the boys can watch movies or kids' tv shows..... without commercials, and after their chores are done.

Beverages?  Do you drink beer?  Where is it coming from?  Hopefully you're buying from your closest micro-brewery.  Yes, it does cost more because it's brewed in smaller batches with higher-quality ingredients.  So here is what I say if you don't want to buy a lot of beer: brew your own.  It's a fun hobby; you can ask my husband.  Making your own wine is even easier.

And cost, now you're probably saying that buying local food is more expensive.  It's really not in the big picture.  Especially if you buy in season and "put some up" for the winter months.  My produce prices are similar to the prices of comparable products in a nice grocery store.  In many cases, though, there are no comparable products.  As far as meat, eggs, and milk - it may be slightly more than the cheap grocery store comparable (trust me when I tell you that the grocery store product is in no way comparable to a real small-farm-raised product), but once you taste the local product you'll know it's in a category all it's own.  Plus it's grown in a more healthy, sustainable manner by your Neighbors and Friends - people you can trust.  And it's healthier if you buy from a reputable farmer.  So... even if it costs a bit more up front, in the long run it will save you money on health care and peace of mind.

What do you think?  Could we do it?  "Opt out" of giant corporations? 

1 comment:

  1. We do! We stopped shopping at Wal-mart 4 years ago, and we are proud to be able to say it! We read a book about voting with your dollar - consider your dollar as one vote; where do most of your votes go? After we discussed it, we decided to take a much different approach with our money. So, now, our money is spent in this order - first, to friends and family, second to individuals, third to farmer's market and VERY local businesses/farms, 4th to small business with integrity, 5th to large business with integrity. We try to stick with this as much as we can (obviously, we are not perfect). It makes me feel better knowing my money goes to a face! So, yes, I'm for opting out before it's too late...large business is just as scary as large government in my opinion... :)

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