Food Stamp Challenge Day 31: Thoughts

by Michael Nolan on 6 November 2011 · 11 comments

in Food

The idea for this challenge came to me before I’d ever even heard that someone else had done one. It wasn’t until I started researching facts and figures that I knew it wasn’t completely original. Instead of being upset I was heartened by the knowledge that there were others out there willing to put themselves into a difficult situation to bring awareness to the important issues surrounding hunger and food scarcity.

These 31 days were never about doing things the right way, they were about creating a living illustration of what it might be like to live under food and financial restrictions that others live with 12 months out of the year. I didn’t feel that one week was enough to do the issue justice or show my commitment to it, and following the previously established pattern of month-long challenges here on My Earth Garden I opted to go that route.

I have had this blog since the spring of 2008 but it wasn’t until this past month that I have seen the level of dialogue and debate taking place that I knew it was capable of sustaining. To each and every reader and commenter, thank you.

I also thank John, who took on an integral role in the challenge itself while learning how complicated, fun and frustrating running a blog can be. We did not foresee the behind-the-scenes issues that would arise during the challenge and in retrospect I never should have mentioned his health and medical issues on a public blog. I have lived so much of my life in a public forum that I tend to forget that others aren’t accustomed to the same levels of scrutiny. Now that the challenge is over he can step away from the day-to-day aspects of MEG knowing that our original obligation is complete.

If there is one thing I hope that every reader of this blog will take away from this challenge, it is a newfound awareness of the real cost of what you eat. Several have let me know how their trips to the supermarket are different now and some have even used the grocery store as a learning tool for their children.

I applaud every effort being made to increase food scarcity awareness, every donation to a local food pantry and every person who has been encouraged to get into the kitchen and the garden to make or grow something they might not have done before. This is how change happens.

onebit_28 (2)For those keeping track of the numbers along with us, the final figures for the October Food Stamp Challenge will be shared with the final post later tonight. Don’t think that this conversation is over! There are too many great recipes and money-saving tips to share in just one month, plus I’m about to have some great giveaways to help get you ready for your spring 2012 gardening!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan R. November 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Michael, props to you and John for taking on this challenge during a personal challenging month. It is a further illustration to those who live on this system everyday with unforeseen trials that come about. Life happens. I also think that this is a tribute to the backyard garden. Whether it is an acre, a plot, or a pot on the patio, this challenge shows the importance of having your own safe and available food system. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

Buffalomary November 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I applaud you and John for your efforts and for sharing with us your experience. This has been interesting to read along and follow you. Thank you for sharing. I do have to add though that you made me giggle with the thought of already thinking about next year’s garden. I found myself thinking about that this morning as well as I was looking out the window at my backyard and realized it was starting to snow. :)

Michael Nolan November 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Thanks, Susan!

Michael Nolan November 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Any gardener knows that you’ve always got to be thinking ahead: by the time the seeds are in the ground for this season, you’ve got to start planning the next season. I’m thankful we don’t have any snow just yet; I’m trying to layer the Mr Stripey & Rutgers tomatoes to bring inside for the winter!

Lynne Sprague November 7, 2011 at 2:09 am

Over the last month you and John have come to feel more like family than strangers in a far away state. Thank you for sharing the wonderful recipes and the road map of this journey with your readers.

Michael Nolan November 7, 2011 at 9:43 am

That’s sweet, Lynne. Thank you so much.

Shannon November 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Though this might have been done before, I liked your journey most.
The honesty, the details, the pictures, the recipe’s… your’s was REAL and funny and your group of readers are honest, strong people and I like them.

You are a good man. Good, good good. Your heart is good and I’ve never met you and this is silly, but I am grateful you crossed my Path.

Shannon November 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Oh- way to tease about the numbers!!!! :P

Tom Mann November 7, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Well done, Michael and John. Thanks for sharing this journey with your readers.

Susan November 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Michael and John — this was an AWESOME challenge that progressed into an AMAZING journey not only for you, but for all of us that check in with you. I know we all learned something this month, be it a little or a lot! No one is exempt from the trials of everyday life that sometimes throw a monkey-wrench into our plans — the fact that you and John continued this challenge in spite of some very difficult situations says a lot for your character. As long as you have hope there is always a chance for life to get better — if you lose hope, then all is lost! I recently read this quote “Everything will be alright in the end. If everything is not alright, it is not the end!”
Thank you so much for the lessons shared and learned this month!!!

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