One of the most common arguments against eating locally that I hear is that it's too expensive. Friends tell me all the time that they just can't afford to eat everything from the farmers market or spend $1 more a loaf on bread from a real bakery. With this in mind, I have decided to embark on a little experiment. For one week each, my boyfriend and I will do nothing but either eat out, eat locally or eat only food from a grocery store. We'll save all receipts from each week and determine what the most cost effective way to eat is. Along the way, I'll also try to capture some other metrics including our weight, amount of garbage produced, and overall health.
Both my boyfriend and I are in training for a triathlon in early October so we will be doing a lot of exercising between now and then. This will make our weight decrease somewhat over the weeks so we'll capture a pre-week weight and a post-week weight. If we keep our amounts of exercise consistent, this should be a relatively good measure.
Week 1 will be grocery store food only. We mostly shop at Trader Joe's since we can walk there from our home but there are many items you can't find there so Harris Teeter will be our back up. Eating out will be the second week which will correspond with a four day trip to our close friends' wedding in D.C. Finally, we will spend Week 3 eating only what we can get from the market, our favorite local bakery, Nova's, and locally-sourced restaurants like Luna's Living Kitchen and Fern. We have some farmers market produce frozen in our fridge so if we use that, we'll calculate the costs and include. For Weeks 1 and 3 I won't count items like spices, flour sugar because we get those from a mix of local and non-local sources. We debated including coffee but since there are three coffee options in our neighborhood (local roasters at the market, grocery store-bought coffee and then Starbucks and Caribou), we might as well include that too.