You Can Afford To Shop Organic


Flickr photo by iLoveButter
There was recently an article on Salon, Hipsters on Food Stamps, that caused a backlash when the subjects of the article were purchasing healthy, organic foods at places like Whole Foods.

I'm sorry, I don't get it. If you're out of work and you can't afford to feed yourself or your family, you receive government assistance. If you choose healthy foods instead of processed, that's a good thing. I don't care if you're an unemployed art gallery guide or steel worker.

Most poor people do shop at local grocery stores where their meat is laden with antibiotics, and maybe something worse. That packaged and processed food costs more than fresh vegetables at the local farmer's market (which, by the way, also accepts food stamps).

Furthermore, taking care of a sick and unhealthy person is a bigger burden on the taxpayer than feeding that same person healthy foods that could prevent illness. The bigger issue here is figuring out how everyone can have access to these healthy choices. Not whether or not people are "getting away with something" because they choose to eat non-poisoning foods.

The New York Post also ran a cost comparison of groceries purchased at Whole Foods, Food Emporium, Gristede's and Fresh Direct. Guess which store ran up the smallest bill? Whole Foods.

Eating well doesn't have to break the bank. You can skip the $8 gourmet chocolate bar at Whole Foods and instead grab the produce and the organic dairy. This idea that healthy food is "elite" and therefore should be shunned, is killing Americans.

Maybe you don't love the idea of young, single artsy kids who lost their job when their design magazine shut down getting food stamps. But the fact that Salon is letting others know that you can shop at Whole Foods with your EBT card? That's a service to everyone who finds themselves broke and hungry.


Do you think there should be a limit on what people can purchase with food stamps?

grocery shopping, healthy choices, organics


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jeann... jeannesager

Amen! I've been happy to see New York State in particular make a real push to make it easier to use the EBT card at farmers markets, where someone with a limited income has access to nothing BUT fresh foods.

Poor eating habits have been linked to low income families because of what they have access to, but that's something we have to and CAN change. Give people better access to good, healthy food, and you improve not just their lives but the public system as a whole. If you're living on public assistance, chances are your healthcare is also being paid for by the taxpayer . . . so improve their food, in turn you improve their health, and actually SAVE money.

auror... aurorabunny

I will echo that amen! It often feels like people on food stamps can't win...if you buy what is cheapest at Walmart, you're going to be eating crap food. If you buy healthy foods at a place like Whole Foods, you're somehow being extravagant. I give kudos to anyone who feeds their family the healthy foods that they deserve whether they pay for it with cash or check or food stamps.

Julia Hicks de Peyster

Our family is trying to eat on a foodstamps budget for Lent. We are doing comparative shopping at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Roche Brothers (a local chain) Super Stop and Shop and a nearby urban store. So far, finding a organic veggies/fruits is difficult - low selection and WF is 2X the other stores but does have big choice. Relatively affordable meat's pretty easy - not organic, but at least hormone free and sometimes humane. Milk is hard-usually the organic is only the ultrapasturized (40 day shelf life for organic?????? yuck) here is our blog, if you are interested...

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