Stephen A. Fuqua (SAF) is a Bahá'í, programmer, and conservation and interfaith advocate in the DFW area of Texas.

May 3, 2005

Grocery Store Wars and The Meatrix

In Austin, my little household had gotten to at least 50% organic and/or small manufacturer-produced food and cleaning products. Unfortunately we found prices to be much higher on average in Saint Paul, and being without incomes when we got here, we temporarily went back to regular groceries (but still animal-friendly health and cleaning products). Though it has hurt the wallet somewhat, we’ve finally gotten back to 50% or so. Thus it was that I felt self-satisfied eating my organic apple while watching Grocery Store Wars today. [Sadly the site is down now]

I wish I could get into more details about organic farming and sustainable development. Suffice to say that I have been doing quite a bit of reading — directly or by proxy (learning from my conservationist wife) — and was amazed at the accuracy and effectiveness of the message delivered in Grocery Store Wars. To boot, it was a fabulous send up of Star Wars, featuring Cuke Skywalker, Obi Wan Canoli, and Darth Tater (among others). As soon as I find the site back up, I'll update this article.

But all is not lost! Watch The Meatrix, which is just as cleverly linked to the movie, though not as cute and a bit depressing. It is far more than a clever marketing ploy. Have you ever driven by a hog farm in Iowa and seen the long buildings they cram the hogs in? Smelled the horrible stench coming from it? Heard about the fact that half the young people in Iowa come up here to Minnesota because industrial agriculture left them with nothing to do and nowhere to work? If so, then you'll recognize the truth of the Red Pill’s vision.

So please consider supporting local, organic, non-GMO, anti-bacterial-free, cruelty-free, etc. products. Hopefully one day I’ll have time to write a longer article (or least point to good links) with more education about these issues.

In the Twin Cities, Cub and Rainbow groceries usually carry some products. Of course there’s also the best — Austin-based Whole Foods — along with many other small local stores (Mississippi Market, Hampden Co-op, Kowalski's… to name a few).

4 Comments

yeah, I like Whole Foods too, but the prices are difficult to deal with. I'm really suprised that we don't have more branches of Whole Foods here in the Cities, being that the region has such a liberal bent. The U's got some good resources in terms of organic food/farming though... And I know some people here join CSAs...

yeah, this one's always been difficult for me... organic food is soooo expensive, and i feel like even if we make efforts to consume socially conscious foods, we're probably still going to be buying into some measure of irresponsibility with respect to animals, the environment, or some other important element of our earth.

so i know i can lessen the negative impact i'm making on my ecosystem, at least to some degree, but i can't eliminate it completely. i'm really bothered by any inconsistency in my own actions, so i feel like this cause may not be the best thing to be pouring my energies into, even if i had the money. i almost feel like if i'm not making a complete and self-consistent effort, i'm not only not making a physical difference in the scheme of things, but i'm not really able to educate others in any meaningful way.

so for the time being, i respect those who support animal-friendly and socially and environmentally responsible consumption, but i usually feel that thtere are more directly effective and tangibly rewarding avenues for my social conscience. and yet, i will always adore whole foods. :)

I certainly can't imagine switching over all at once, and haven't even gotten there myself. Because soy milk costs twice as much up here as in Austin, I'm still buying regular milk. And regular bread, pasta, sauces, soups, cereal (50% more for Kashi here), and a few other things. We're concetrating on the cruelty-free meats (which is expensive, but very much worth it) and organic produce, along with all cleaning and beauty products that are free from animal testing.

The cleaning & beauty/health products is really a great way to get started in this area, because you're spreading the additional cost over many weeks or even months. Sure I pay $2 more for a bottle of shampoo — but I only replace it every 5 or 6 months, so its not that bad. Then again, if you have beautiful long curly Persian hair, you might use that up at a much faster rate than me =).

Even if you can only afford to buy one or two products, at least you are helping to keep that manufacturer in business. That in itself is a worthwhile goal (as opposed to doing essentially nothing as a single consumer when you choose to/not to purchase a Proctor & Gamble product). Tom's of Maine is a great example — fine toothpastes and deodorants.

the store wars site is not down, the film can be viewed at http://www.storewars.org