Open Arms of Minnesota

SNAP Challenge: Shopping Organic

By Jeanne Foels

I chose to take a different focus for my SNAP Challenge: to spend my $30.25 at my local co-op, purchasing only organic items.

This approach may sound a little bourgeoisie. Our knee-jerk reaction is to label co-ops and organic food as accessible only to those with wealth, certainly not the province of the typical SNAP user.

I believe, however, that food is a social justice issue, and organic food – food raised without the use of chemicals – should be accessible to everyone. It’s better for each of us (avoiding ingesting chemicals that could have adverse effects on our health) and it’s better for all of us (protecting our environment, both flora and fauna, from chemical harm).

So I set out to see just how feasible it is to eat organic on a limited budget. And good news: My shopping trip was successful!

I headed to the Wedge Co-op, which is less than a mile from my house, with $30.25 to spend. Thanks to the bulk aisle and some great sale items, I left with enough organic groceries to feed myself for a week – with a few dollars to spare!

I’ll be eating a simple, vegetarian diet with good amounts of protein, whole grains and veggies. My caloric intake for the week will probably be lower than what I’m used to, but it will be good to reassess my typical portion sizes. I’ll hopefully have a full nutritional analysis of my diet before the end of the week.

Disclaimer: There are many, many privileges built into my challenge. Just to name a few: I live near a co-op, I feel comfortable shopping there, I know how to navigate the bulk aisle; I know how to purchase and use whole produce, I feel knowledgeable and comfortable enough to cook, I have a kitchen equipped with necessary tools to cook from scratch, I have the time to plan and cook from scratch; I enjoy eating fresh, whole foods, I do not have food allergies or diet restrictions. I don’t want to minimize these obstacles, because they definitely play a huge part in how people feed themselves.

I realize that organic food can be a hot-button issue, so I look forward to the conversations that might come up this week! I think robust discussion of our food system is a good thing, no matter how you feel about certain issues.


More from Open Arms

Securian Financial Gives Back

SECURIAN FINANCIAL RECOGNIZES OPEN ARMS IN 2023 SUSTAINABILITY REPORT We extend our heartfelt thanks to Securian Financial for their unwavering support! In 2023, 194 Securian associates volunteered 555 hours, packing 20,686 meals in our kitchens! Their dedication to our mission of delivering free, nourishing meals to

Read More »
Bake Sale Graphic

Great Minnesota Bake Sale 2024

OPEN ARMS LAUNCHES INAUGURAL “GREAT MINNESOTA BAKE SALE” FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ethan Armstrong [email protected] Cell: 320-815-2351 Minneapolis, MN, [7 June 2024] – Open Arms of Minnesota is thrilled to announce the launch of the first-ever Great Minnesota Bake Sale, set to take place

Read More »
Prida cap

Pride 2024

HAPPY PRIDE FROM OPEN ARMS! June is here, ushering in Pride Month—a time of great significance for Open Arms and our entire community. Our journey began nearly 40 years ago during the HIV/AIDS crisis, and with the support of a passionate and committed community,

Read More »
End Of Year Giving Graphic

Your Gift Will Help Us Serve More Clients!

Together we can continue to meet the increased demand for medically tailored meals with your support! We hope you think of us as you consider your year-end giving. Your donation is a gift of care, compassion, and encouragement!