Getting groceries mindfully

Trader Joe’s is a fascinating place. They encourage you to bring your own shopping bags and they keep track of all the bags they save that way. It’s in the hundreds of thousands! The store nearest me moved to a new location on Halsey, and it’s soooo Portland, industrial chic with a huge mural of our local streets so it feels like “our store.” Actually, it’s a German company and the amount of local food they carry is very small. Ever since I read Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I have been making an effort to buy more locally-grown foods. In that book, Kingsolver and her family moved to a farm and spent a year eating only what they grew themselves or could buy locally, and it was a real eye opener for me. I hadn’t known about factory farms or concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) before I read that book. When I shopped for food, I just grabbed whatever I wanted without thinking about it.

At TJ’s this morning, instead of grabbing things on the fly, I paid attention. I bought bananas from Mexico, which don’t grow locally. I wanted apples, and those do grow locally, but the ones here were from Chile and I didn’t buy them. The peaches were from California (why not Maryhill, Washington?) and they and most of the other produce came in plastic clamshells, nonrecyclable, at least in my neighborhood. I will be going to the farmer’s market or New Seasons this weekend to get local fruit. At least I still have most of a large melon in the fridge!

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