I just did our weekly grocery shop, mostly as Trader Joe's, though I have a couple of items that I need to get from Fry's. Trader Joe's and Fry's are a mile or so away from where we live which is good, but many of the foods I bought traveled a long way to get here!
I managed to get quite a lot of organic and "natural" stuff, and this is the breakdown of where each of these items came from:
Organic kids yoghurts- New Hampshire
Stewing beef, "all natural", (very pricey)- Australia!!!
Organic milk- from cows living in California
Organic soy milk drink- distributed from California, not sure where the soy beans were grown though
Organic wholewheat pasta- distributed from California, again, not sure where the wheat was grown
Organic cherry tomatoes- Mexico
Organic fair trade cocoa, (expensive and extravagent but at least it's fair trade)- Dominican Republic
Onions- distributed from, and I am thinking grown in California?
Romaine hearts- distributed from California. Again, does that mean they were grown there as well?
Organic Mac' and cheese- distributed from Massachusetts
Organic alphabet pasta- Italy
Organic russet potatoes- distributed from California.Grown there too?
Cage free eggs- distributed from California. There were organic eggs that were of course more expensive, but no cage free, AND organic eggs. I would rather have eggs from marginally happier chickens. There were eggs from a local egg farm called "Hickmans". They were cheaper but again not cage free. I can't bear the thought of those battery chicken in tiny cages on top of each other. I know that even the cage free aren't exactly roaming the range all day, but at least they have some freedom and aren't all crushing each other.
Produce from Trader Joe's is very over packaged, and wasteful. For example, I bought two regular peppers, they were packed in a plastic tray, and plastic wrap, not good. I know that foods need to be sanitary, but surely not this much? Other leading grocery store chains are better, but I still feel that I need to use those small, thin plastic bags they supply rather then putting stuff loose in carts. At least I can reuse these though for picking up dog poop, which I need to do rather a lot around here!
We spend on average $100 a week on groceries for a family of four. I am sure that is much more than I need to spend, but I really do try to get natural or organic foods, and cook from scratch for most meals. We rarely eat out, and rarely eat fast foods, though I buy occasional "ready" meals.
Quite interesting for me to see exactly where our food comes from, even though I am still unclear for most of it. I haven't really payed enough attention before. Clearly, none of the food I generally buy is even close to being local. I wonder how easy it would be to really buy local here most of the time? I know that this is the way to go for sustainability, and that it is so important to support smaller farmers.