Hello and Happy New Year!
Over the past three years, this blog has led a highly checkered and sporadic life. And yet, every December, when the good folks at WordPress.com ask me if I want to sign up for another twelve months, my heart eagerly shouts out “yes!” (Even if my brain is saying “Really? Are you sure?”)
So, if you’re reading this, know that I thank you. While I may be the fingers and the mind, it is YOU — the reader — who breathes life into this blog.
In the coming days, we’re going to be taking a look at a cookbook called “Good and Cheap”, written by a brilliant young woman named Leanne Brown.
How Well Can You Eat on $4 a Day?
As a master’s student in food policy at New York University, she asked a simple but vital question: How well could someone eat on $4 a day? Why $4? Because that is the daily amount that low-income Americans receive from SNAP, the U.S. government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is better known as “food stamps”.
As it turns out — if you plan ahead and shop carefully — you can eat surprisingly well.
Social Entrepreneurship in Action
“Good and Cheap” is the result of Leanne Brown’s research. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a heart-lifting example of smart social entrepreneurship in action.
Leanne Brown wrote the first edition of “Good and Cheap” and made it available online as free PDF, so that it would easily find its way into the hands of the people who could really use it.
When the PDF went viral (it’s been downloaded more than 900,000 times), she launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a print run based on a “get one, give one” model, so that people who bought a print copy of the book for themselves would trigger another copy going to a family in need.
The campaign was wildly successful. Over 25,000 copies of “Good and Cheap” have been given to people in need. More than 60,000 copies have also been distributed through organizations that work with low-income families. These organizations are able to purchase the cookbook at a very deep discount.
Cooking and Blogging
The library I work in has a wellness committee and “Good and Cheap” caught their attention around the same time it caught mine. After some discussion (and recipe sampling), we decided that I would start cooking and blogging my way through the book. In mid-February, I’ll do a presentation with our staff, followed by challenging them to try living on $4 a day, for a week, and reporting back their results.
Some Practical Thoughts
Away from work, I live in a communal household with four other adults. They’re also enthusiastic about this experiment, but talked me into a couple of practical realities:
- “Good and Cheap” is based on the idea of feeding yourself on $4 US per day. As I write, this is the equivalent of $5.52 CDN.
- Generally speaking, groceries are more expensive in Canada than the US.
- And so, we’re going to start off at $6 CDN per day. If we can go lower than that, we will.
Great Life Hacking
This is life hacking at its finest. Smart, socially generous young women like Leanne Brown make me feel happy about the future of our planet.
If I’m successful, I’ll be shaving about 25% off what I think is an already-frugal monthly grocery bill. Even if I’m not successful, I suspect that cooking my way through “Good and Cheap” will permanently change some of my shopping and cooking habits.
You Can Do This Too
Want to try this out too? You can download your own PDF copy of the cookbook at leannebrown.com.
So … that’s all I have to say for right now. Watch this space next Tuesday for the first recipe review. And Happy New Year to you all!