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When Good Goals Go Bad

Monday, March 19, 2012

The goal: Shop only locally-owned establishments for the entire month of March

The bad: I live in Fairbanks, Alaska. We are not a farming community. We are not a agricultural oasis. We are a frozen land of swampy bogs and occasional hot springs, with a bunch of people who don't mind boggy swamps and a passable Farmer's Market from May to mid-September.

More bad: We have 4 big grocery stores. Two are Fred Meyer, the other two are Safeway.
We have 1 health food store, a billion coffee stands, and a store featuring 'home grown' (home, meaning Alaskan) but whose hours are not night-time shopper friendly.

The dilema: I like milk. And bread. And eggs, peanut butter, occassional chocolate (who am I kidding? I like OFTEN chocolate!) and FRUIT! Bananas, apples, oranges, kiwis, mangoes, coconuts, avacadoes, strawberries, pear, nectarines... I like fruit.

Goals are good. Everyone should have them, blah blah blah, but not all goals are good goals. This one I had good intentions with, as I do with most goals, but this one has I think been the most ridiculously implemented goal I've had in a LONG time! I naively thought the health food store would have things like milk and bread, and when it turned out they didn't (technically they have milk, but I refuse to support local business at the cost of $7 for a half gallon of plain-flavored coconut milk) I was stuck. I made the executive decision that my gas station was locally owned (it might be, but I didn't look it up because I couldn't afford for it not to be) so I could buy milk. But, my gas station also has the best donuts in town. So now I go to the gas station twice a week to buy a half gallon of milk, and end up with milk and lots of donuts.

I thought I would maybe die without fruit for a month, so I also let me buy all the produce I wanted at Sams Club (because its just easier to buy 5 pounds of apples at once than to have to pick them all out individually. Yes, sometimes I'm lazy like that.) so I have lots of produce-- mangoes and oranges and artichokes and brussel sprouts; and milk, but not much else. This morning for breakfast I made a layered dessert with lady fingers (left in the freezer from November), chocolate pudding (uses lots of milk, which I have), and frozen blackberries. And this is what I have for breakfast, because I'm out of bread so no toast, and I'm out of cereal, and I didn't want to wash my dishes so I'd have a clean pan to make pancakes or scrambled eggs.

I've been pretending that I'll actually cook lots of food, like noodley casseroles with things in my pantry, or rice-based things, but I'm out of sour cream so no good sauces, and I have only swiss cheese, so I feel as though my casserole/one-pot meal toppings are severely lacking. So I've been eating mangoes and donuts for dinner. Yes, mangoes and donuts. For dinner. More than once.

Which is when I decided shopping locally in a frozen wasteland (which I mean in a good way, I really do like it here) is not a great idea. Maybe shopping locally for certain things is a good goal, but for other stuff maybe I could just go with the flow, and support Fred Meyer. I can make a better effort to go small and local, but going all out is pretty stupid. Sure, it put a limit on McDonald's iced mochas, but I bet I more than made up for any potential calorie/nutritional savings with the donuts. AIH Hardware instead of Lowes. Sunrise Bagel instead of McDonalds. But the bulk of my shopping at this point at least, needs to be from a big store.
And that just has to be okay.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Especially here in our small town I think there needs to be a balance between pursuing local grown and made products and actually being able to lead a sane life. For example, I join a CSA during the summer, but I don't buy any of their storage vegetables in bulk even though I could and eat them all winter. Why? Because it's cheaper to buy potatoes at Fred Meyer and I have no desire to preserve, pickle or can anything in bulk, no matter how easy the hippies down the street make it look.
    3318 days ago
  • MARLIE13
    Often chocolate...that made me laugh out loud! I can share in some of your pain about eating/shopping local. I wouldn't be able to eat much of any produce or veggie if I did that.
    3320 days ago
    Goals should be SMART goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, REALISTIC, and timely... While wanting to buy only from local businesses is a noble... I'm not sure it's realistic for the time! Maybe that goal would've been best to attempt in July :P
    3322 days ago
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