Green gifting, good oil prices & organic ROI

Today’s weekly wrap-up tackles issues sure to raise hackles around family dinner tables, even those that are assiduously avoiding political conversation during the election year: Oil prices, green gifting and whether organic food is worth it.

The good and bad of high oil prices

This week, I came across a wrap-up for my wrap-up. Take a look at One Green Generation’s post on the pros and cons coming from high oil prices, and browse the articles that interest you.

I don’t know if we’ve changed our behaviors based on high oil prices, although I’m trying to squeeze more miles per gallon from my car, and Mr. Cheap has been driving his higher-mpg Toyota more than our Subaru this week. Then again, I work at home, so public transit isn’t really an issue, and the cost of public transit is more than the gas price of driving Little Cheap to school. How about you all? Are you changing your ways?

Giving & getting green gifts

The holidays are just around the corner … at least for those who are shopping ahead and planning to give homemade gifts. This week, The Green Parent wrote about how to give green gifts. I’ve done all of these — and it’s a great reminder that I need to start planning my holiday giving strategy now! I have a few things in mind, but for those things I need to craft, I’d better get cracking.

The cost-benefit analysis of organic food

The Simple Dollar wrote a post titled “Balancing Personal Principles and the Bottom Dollar: The Cost of Healthier Food” that, as I write this, has generated 67 arguments comments. There’s a ferocious battle out there over whether organic food is any good. It’s a complicated matter, and in the end, I think it’s a value judgment — and most of us have to go with our gut (and sometimes, our wallet!).

In my home, as we have become more committed to holding the earth more sacred, and at the same time a little more prosperous, we have shifted back to a high percentage of organic foods. Local is very important too, but I won’t promise to eschew chocolate, never eat a pineapple, give up bananas, or abandon citrus. But we are getting most of our vegetables from our CSA about 60 miles away, some from our backyard; virtually all the meat we are eating comes from our frozen beef that was raised within 100 miles; and I buy organic milk raised in northeastern Colorado, also within 100 or so miles of our home (and perhaps closer).

On the other hand, Mr. Cheap has developed a Pellegrino addiction … that I hope might wane as the hot weather disappears this fall.

It’s all about balance, and I wish you the same.

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5 thoughts on “Green gifting, good oil prices & organic ROI

  1. L'an says:

    I carry around a list of what foods you really should buy organic (apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, `berries, lettuce, spinach) and which ones won’t matter as much if you buy conventionally-grown (asparagus, avocados, bananas, cauliflower, corn, broccoli, kiwi, mangoes, onions, papaya, sweet peas, pineapples). That way even with a tight budget, I can still maximize what I buy organic.

  2. Cheap Like Me says:

    That’s a good idea. I go by vaguer guidelines: I notice that I can taste the difference on apples and cherries. I’ve heard root veggies are good to buy organic, as is most fruit. And things with a thick peel are less crucial.

    As for organic mangoes, though, I’ve noticed that they are WAY more delicious than the non-organic ones at our market. Hmm ….

  3. Melissa says:

    We primarily are driving the mini, and when we drive, if we’re under 45 mph, we have the window(s) down and the A.C. off, but over 45, we put the windows up and the A.C. on because at that speed the use of the A.C. actually (so I’ve heard, and correct me if I’m wrong), offsets the drag of the open windows. AND, excitingly, we can see a difference in MPG. I also (rarely, because usually I’m commuting by light rail), have been trying to drive more “gently” – but I can’t speak for the husband’s driving … 🙂

    On a side note, did you see about the local Harvest Week, September 6 – 12? “Harvest Week is a weeklong celebration of Colorado’s exceptional produce. Each restaurant will feature Colorado-grown ingredients. Join them as they support local farmers, growers, and producers, and check out Harvest Week.” Open Table is taking reservations now …

  4. Melinda says:

    Hey, thanks for mentioning my post! It has received quite a number of hits – I think gas prices are really hitting home for a number of people. We actually moved in large part because where we were living, we had to drive far for work. Also, the rural economy was slumping faster than the city economy. By not driving much, we’ve saved about $100/week, increased our salaries by about $1,000/month, and decreased our carbon footprint substantially. So, the recession combined with higher gas prices (along with a desire to get away from the petroleum-powered pesticides in our rural area) have substantially changed our lifestyle. For the positive, definitely – both of us are much happier as we feel “greener” and we aren’t worrying as much about money.

    I think the organic vs. local vs. what you can afford discussion is a good one to have. I actually go to the grocery store and see only the organic (and if not organic, local) food – I don’t even look at the conventional food from far away. And whatever I have to pay, I pay. For me, that is the price of food. If it’s really expensive, I don’t buy it, or I buy less of it and make it last as much as I can. For the environment and for our own health, that organic (or local) food is the true cost, and the only option.

    Americans used to spend 30% of our income on food. Now it’s about 10%. Considering that food is life-sustaining substance, for my family it is worth more than 10% of our income. So we budget accordingly. Having said that, I know that we are lucky to have that option, even as we are in a lower-middle class income bracket.

  5. nancy Williams says:

    Hey girls,

    I usually buy only organic face creams for my face. I found that all the store bought and expensive creams with chemicals irritated my face and didnt improve my skin in the long run.

    the organic face creams can be expensive, but i did find a GREAT face cream that is not expensive and is really good quality.
    im not sure how much longer the sale will go on for, but they are having their fall sale which may end by the new year. Its worth checking out: Made from Earth

    the link is below. . .i know the cream has blueberry and raspebrry in it which is full of antioxidants and 0 chemicals

    http://www.madefromearth.com/Prod_Face_3berry.html

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