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Food Stamp Challenge Day 31: Thoughts

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.

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!

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