The Junk Mail Nuisance

March 29, 2011

One hundred billion pieces of junk mail, including catalogs, credit card offers, and other unsolicited advertisements, are delivered in the United States every year. That’s about eight hundred pieces per household—or 30–40 percent of our mail. Mail-order catalogs alone make up more than 20 percent of this total. Enough catalogs are distributed each year for every man, woman, and child to have sixty of their very own. The kicker is an estimated 44 percent of junk mail is trashed before it is even opened. A friend of mine who worked in the ad industry for several years told me companies account for that percentage of throwaways. They figure they have to send out at least three mailings to reach just one new customer.

To make enough paper for those 100 billion pieces of mail, 100 million trees are felled and processed. This is equivalent to clear-cutting the Rocky Mountain National Park (more than 265,000 acres) every four months. Of course, we cut down trees for various other manufacturing and development purposes as well—at the rate of 7 million hectares per year. This deforestation comes at great cost: forests create oxygen, sequester carbon dioxide, provide habitat for hundreds of species, filter freshwater, maintain the Earth’s hydrologic cycle, regulate climate, and prevent erosion of topsoil. Deforestation accounts for a whopping 25 percent of the carbon emissions caused by human activity. And, at this point, less than 5 percent of old growth forests (i.e., the most productive forests) remain in the United States.

The environmental damage caused by the paper industry—and the junk mail industry in particular—extends beyond deforestation. Taking logging, production, delivery, and disposal into account, the junk mail industry emits greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 9 million cars. If more companies printed direct mail on recycled paper, they would cut these emissions significantly. Manufacturing a ton of virgin paper requires 17 million BTUs more than producing a ton of 100-percent-recycled paper.*

As a general rule—but especially since I started the experiment—I try to limit the advertising that comes my way. (No need for any extra temptation to buy! As an average American, I’ll probably spend a total of a year of my life watching commercials alone—never mind all the advertisements I’m exposed to in magazines, in newspapers, on websites, in Metro stations…) I’ve found it particularly easy to trim the number of catalogs I receive, primarily thanks to Catalog Choice, one of several online services that help folks reduce unwanted mail, save natural resources, and protect their privacy. (I’ve included websites for two other such companies with the references at the end of this post.)

Catalog Choice offers a free service and a donation-based unlisting service. The free service allows you, once you’ve created an account, to opt-out of mailings from individual companies. The service will contact the junk-mail vendor on your behalf to request removal from its mailing list. Catalog Choice has a list of more than three thousand companies that it will contact for you. This list is continually expanding, and I find that these days I can opt-out of nearly every catalog I receive via this site. For a $20 donation, Catalog Choice will remove your name from marketing lists created by third-party data brokers that trade your personal information to companies based on your buying history and behavioral characteristics. Obviously this will slash your annual junk-mail poundage even more.

If I can’t find a company on Catalog Choice, I call it directly. A phone number is usually provided on the mailing—even the coupon mags list phone numbers. In the rare case I can’t find contact information on the mailing, I look for a customer service number or e-mail on the company’s website. Tracking down this information and making calls took some time initially. I spent fifteen minutes on the phone with Comcast a few months ago, and I’m not even a subscriber! But now I don’t receive two postcards (one for me and one for the previous tenant) every time the company launches a mailing campaign. I also don’t receive Red Plum coupon newspapers or Clipper Magazine. It’s been months since I received a credit card offer. This means I take out the paper recycling less often. I spend less time shredding letters with my address on them. It takes only a minute or two to look through the daily mail. And, best of all, I’m not enticed to visit the mall just because I saw an appealing spread in a catalog or had coupons delivered to my home.



Most of the statistics I cite are from Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health—And a Vision for Change (New York: Free Press, 2010), pp. 8 and 9.

Environmental Paper Network, “Increasing Paper Efficiency,” fact sheet, January 2008.

Environmental Paper Network, “Understanding Recycled Fiber,” fact sheet, June 2007.

Susan Kinsella, et al., The State of the Paper Industry, ed. Jennifer Roberts (Asheville, NC: Environmental Paper Network, 2007).

Todd Paglia, “Subsidizing Junk Mail in the Great Recession,” Huffington Post, January 29, 2010.

Other Junk Mail Opt-Out Websites


*People have told me that recycling paper uses more energy than creating new paper from scratch. It turns out this is a myth. Many conventional paper mills purchase less power from the grid than do recycled paper mills because they burn tree waste to generate the bulk of their power. This may seem like a good idea, but in fact, burning tree waste is as environmentally damaging as many other sources of power. And once you factor in this power source, it becomes clear that recycled paper uses significantly less power than conventional paper production. For more information about recycled paper, see this report by the Environmental Paper Network.


Reclaiming Time

March 23, 2011

When Melissa and I started this experiment, Helene and Jim assured us that we would have more free time. For me, this prediction has been true to a certain extent. I rarely run errands at lunchtime or after work these days, and my weekend errands are limited to trips to the farmers market, grocery store, and library. I haven’t seen the inside of a clothing store, big box store, or mall since December. I don’t have any new pants to hem, I make only one shopping list a week, and I spend very little time in the car traveling to and from stores. And yet my days seem filled to the brim with activity.

I’ve been taking notice of all this activity since our first Voluntary Simplicity meeting in January. Even without the extra time spent in cars or in crowds, I still manage to feel harried and irritated at certain points during the week. So, I’ve started taking small steps toward eliminating draining chores from and introducing more meaningful and productive endeavors to my life.

1. I’ve started walking to work.

I had been walking home from work pretty regularly since I began my new job a year ago. On my walk-home days, I would catch a ride with Channing, who passes by my office on his way to the toll road, in the morning. About two months ago, though, I noticed that the morning rides left me feeling rushed. I was on Channing’s schedule, not my own. Plus, the various ranting dude podcasts Channing listens to in the morning usually make me irritable.

Walking to work, in contrast, is ridiculously pleasant, even in chilly weather. My pace is leisurely and the views are fabulous. My route goes past a lake, through the neighborhood shopping center, then past a soccer field and elementary school. Thanks to Reston’s pedestrian tunnels, I have to navigate intersection traffic only once. I notice the trees and the birds (tons of cardinals this winter) and the pattern of ice on the lake. I wave to my neighbors. I occasionally stop at the shopping center for a cup of tea or hot chocolate. The best part is I get to choose my own soundtrack. So, I arrive at work not only feeling more happy and relaxed, but sometimes laughing, singing, or smiling (as was the case after I listened to Darryl “DMC” McDaniels’ story on the Moth podcast a couple of weeks ago).

I do have to leave the house earlier, which requires a little extra planning. I try to make my lunch and set out my clothes the night before. I wake up a few minutes earlier now—mostly to accommodate my running/swimming schedule—but the early alarm also helps me get out the door on time. These are only tiny changes to my daily routine, and they are worth it.

2. I reevaluated my regular activities.

A few weeks ago, in the midst of a freelancing project that caused me to cancel all my social appointments for two weeks, I spent a few minutes writing down my regular, free-time activities. The list was pretty simple and included things like running/training, freelancing, blogging, and attending Voluntary Simplicity meetings. I listed eight or nine activities and decided I could cut one entirely (freelancing). Of the seven or eight left, I established a couple priorities (running/training and blogging). The rest I’ll continue to enjoy when I have time. Cutting freelancing alone has opened up a ton of time (ten to fifteen hours a week), but still, I’m planning to reexamine the list in a month or so—maybe swap a volunteer activity or two for one of my other hobbies.

3. I am phasing out my long-term to-do list.

I have a to-do list in my head that includes tasks I’ve been meaning to complete since December. Yikes. Last week I crossed one item off the list when I finally hemmed a pair of pants I bought last November. I’m also making steady progress on one of my outstanding Christmas gifts—a knitting project (my first knit-in-the-round project!). I should wrap that sucker up this week.

In the last month or so, I’ve made a concerted effort not to add to this long-term to-do list. Right now, I plan to finish up the last few tasks on the list and not start a new one—ever. Of course, I will probably take on multiday projects in the future, but I’m hoping to see each such project to completion before I undertake another one. Also, I love lists and imagine I will still make short mental to-do lists of tasks I can reasonably accomplish in one day (the key word here is “reasonably”). But I hope never to have a long-term list hanging over my head again.


When It Rains Indoors

March 16, 2011

Some serious unpleasantness struck the Kimmelhorn household last week. Around 2:30 on Thursday morning, we awoke to the sound of a steady stream of water dripping from above the bedroom closet door. Only the one area of the bedroom appeared to be affected, but on further investigation, we also discovered a puddle forming along the back wall of the living room downstairs. Yikes! Thirty panic-stricken minutes later we finally determined the source of the flooding: our upstairs neighbors’ busted water heater.

Eventually the deluge behind the walls subsided, and we were able to get some sleep. When the sun rose Thursday morning, we assessed the damage: Upstairs and down, the carpet, though soaked, appeared to be salvageable. Some obvious wet patches had appeared in the ceiling in our bedroom and in the living room. And, aside from some dampness on the arm of our couch, all of our furniture was fine.

Clearly, it could have been a lot worse. Well, tracking down someone to help us was a bit of a chore. Our landlords had left for Morocco the day before and had not told us whom to contact in their absence if we had trouble. But, eventually we got a handyman out to the house to appraise the situation and determine a course of action. By Saturday afternoon we had carpet padding air-drying on the deck and three of the loudest fans on earth targeting the remaining problem areas.

Nearly a week later, the incessant noise from the fans has us both on edge and things still aren’t quite dried out, but I’m counting my lucky stars. The last time this condo flooded (late fall 2007), our landlords gutted the place. They bought new carpet, new drywall, new appliances, and new light fixtures. This time around we should be able to save almost everything from the landfill. The ceiling will need some patching, and the landlords may want to replace some portion of the carpet padding, but Channing and I have escaped this mess with all our stuff functional and intact.

Keeping the rules of the experiment in mind, I’m not sure what we would’ve done had a dresser or couch been ruined by the flooding. Found a used replacement on craigslist or in the Old Lucketts Store? I would’ve had a hard time convincing Channing that we could make do with someone’s leftovers—or that we could make do without a dresser or couch at all. And what if the landlords had had to replace the carpet? Could I have convinced them to choose something repurposed or recycled? What choice would I have had as a tenant?

Channing’s Thoughts

While the deluge remains an unpleasant distraction from the tranquility of home, it has brought my attention to a few things that make our lives more pleasant that I would not have otherwise noticed. First, when it doesn’t sound like an airplane hangar, our home is very quiet. Yes, we can sometimes hear our neighbors, but despite being surrounded by other people, it’s one of the quietest homes I’ve ever known. Second, I have no interest in owning a condo. From what I’ve been told by owners, condo fees are a headache, but dealing with a neighbor’s busted water heater is an altogether different beast. I’ll never want to handle both. Third, the event caused us to change the layout of our bedroom (to accommodate one of the fans). I like the new arrangement, and it gives me reason to go through a chest that holds many of my clothes. I’d like to Freecycle the chest so we have more room, and I think I can give away or donate many of the clothes inside.


Water Filter = Necessity

March 14, 2011

Last week, I bought a new water filter for our refrigerator. I didn’t even think twice about this purchase. For one thing, maintaining the appliances in our condo is my responsibility as a renter. For another, a good water filter is a necessary preventative health measure.

My drinking water comes primarily from the Potomac River, which, according to the Virginia Department of Health, is highly susceptible to contamination. Considering the agriculture, industry, and lawns in the Potomac’s watershed, contamination is to be expected. Think of all the fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides spread and sprayed, all the synthetic laundry detergent and soap washed down drains, all the chemical and mineral runoff from quarries and metal refineries. This stuff (along with anything else caught in the wind, rain, or plumbing) all eventually finds its way into our waterways, in some form or another.

And then it has to be filtered out. As water from the Potomac enters my local treatment plant (which is actually here in Reston), coagulants are added to attract small contaminant particles. These coagulant-contaminant compounds become heavy and settle in a sedimentation basin. Next, the water is treated with ozone, which reduces odor and breaks down organic material by severing carbon-carbon bonds. Then, it is passed through sand and granular activated carbon, which act as further filters. Finally, the water is disinfected with chlorine or chloramines (depending on the season), a corrosion inhibitor is added to prevent lead and copper from leaching from household plumbing, and fluoride is added, apparently to protect consumers’ teeth.

According to the 2010 water quality report released by my water utility, Fairfax Water, this treatment process is highly effective at removing EPA-regulated contaminants from drinking water. Only a handful of chemicals remain in finished water after processing—and all in amounts below the EPA’s maximum contaminant level. Among these chemicals are trace amounts chlorine and three chlorination by-products, chloroform, bromodichloromethane, chlorodibromomethane. In large amounts, these contaminants can affect brain, liver, and kidney function. Lucky for me, a simple activated carbon water filter (like a Brita filter) is highly effective at reducing the minimal amount in the water coming from my tap. Most carbon filters, including the one I just bought, also reduce levels of coliform bacteria, naturally occurring (but possibly harmful) bacteria that are also present in trace amounts in my drinking water. The remaining few contaminants listed in Fairfax Water’s report are products of agricultural, drilling, and refinery runoff and included nitrate, fluoride, and barium. All but the fluoride should be caught by my new filter. (If you are concerned about fluoride and fluoridation, consider looking into a distillation unit.)

When you read your water quality report, remember that the list of contaminants that EPA regulates—and that water utilities test for—is not exhaustive. So, although more than 90 percent of U.S. water systems meet EPA regulations, they are not necessarily testing for or reporting every possible hazard. Among the compounds not addressed by federal regulations are pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs), including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, cosmetics, and vitamins. Studies have shown that PPCPs are in our waterways, but little is known about how they affect human and ecological health. Fairfax Water began testing for PPCPs in 2008. Tens of thousand of such compounds exist; Fairfax Water is testing for about twenty or so at a time (which is better than nothing, I’d say). To date, it has found them in small amounts in the Potomac and Occoquan (which serves southern Fairfax), but not at all in our finished drinking water. Let’s hope the news remains good into the future.

Since we’re talking water (and I recently watched the documentary Tapped), I may as well also address the problem of bottled water. Tap water is highly regulated. Every public water system tests their product many times a day and is required by the Safe Drinking Water Act to provide their consumers with water quality reports once a year. Bottled water, in contrast, is essentially unregulated. The FDA, which in 2007 had only one employee responsible for bottled water regulation, has jurisdiction only over products that cross state lines. Sixty to seventy percent of bottled water is sold in the state it was mined (for thousands of times the cost the company paid to mine it). In addition, bottled water companies (the big three are Coke, Pepsi, and Nestlé) do their own quality testing and are not required to submit regular quality reports to the FDA.

Although 40 percent of bottled water is just filtered tap water (meaning it is not from a natural spring or other inherently pure source), we have good reason to believe it is not nearly as clean as what comes from your home tap. Single-serving, disposable plastic water bottles are manufactured in oil refineries and petrochemical plants at the cost of 714 million gallons of gasoline per year. These bottles are made primarily of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which may leach hazardous compounds. Chemicals that have been found in bottled water include the carcinogens arsenic, benzene, and styrene; toluene, which causes cardiovascular and neurological problems; and phthalates, which cause a host of adverse reproductive effects in men and women. Five-gallon water jugs are made of bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine inhibitor that mimics the effects of estrogen in the body and that has been linked to prostate and breast cancer, aggression, hyperactivity, asthma, and cardiovascular problems.

So, ditch those plastic bottles and jump on the tap water bandwagon. Federally regulated public drinking water systems serve 90 percent of Americans, so most of us have access to our drinking water quality report. Check it out. If you can’t find the report on your water utility’s website, then give the company a call. They have to send it to you. If you see something you don’t like, let them know. Then invest in a good filter. Be sure that filter is certified by a third party, such as NSF.


For more information about water issues, including tips on how to read your water quality report and information about good water filters, visit the Food and Water Watch website.

For information about federal drinking water regulations, visit this EPA website.

For information about PPCPs, visit this EPA website.

To view the film Tapped, click here.

For information about NSF water filter standards, click here.

Making a Living

March 9, 2011

In the right sort of economy, pleasure would not be merely an addition or by-product or reward; it would be both an empowerment of our work and its indispensable measure. —Wendell Berry

On Sunday our Voluntary Simplicity group met for the third time to talk about work—specifically what we do, why we do it, and whether our jobs (paid or unpaid) add value to our lives. To open the discussion, we each answered the question, Is work a factor in your self-image? For me, the answer is yes, absolutely. I’m an editor—and not just between the hours of 9 and 5. I’m the friend who corrects your grammar, answers your questions about punctuation and spelling, and reads personal essays for grad school and work applications.*

I was surprised to find that not everyone in the group felt this way about their chosen profession. Mary, in particular, has not identified herself with a job in twenty years, since she left her career as an attorney. She found herself in law school almost as a fluke, after years of trial and error in various academic programs. Now that her kids have left home, she volunteers her time and skills to several nonprofits. She says her sense of self is defined more by the educational experiences that led her to her numerous, varied work experiences.

The readings for this meeting included a handful of stories like Mary’s in which a person found a productive, fulfilling work life without the forty-hours-a-week commitment. In fact, the forty-hour workweek is a fairly new concept. For most of human history, people have worked only two or three hours per day, just long enough to tend to chores necessary for survival, such as hunting, foraging, and growing food. By the nineteenth century, though, the Industrial Revolution had consigned men, women, and children to factories for fifteen hours a day, six days a week. Work’s purpose was no longer simply to meet basic needs; it was to make money to fuel the new material culture. In the twenty-first century, this industrial age model still holds, and despite the successful efforts of labor unions and the Fair Labor Standards Act, the average American works 350 more hours per year than the average European.

Clearly, finding and keeping a stable, full-time, paid job has a number of benefits, including financial security, a sense of purpose, and, if you’re lucky, access to affordable health care. But the full-employment model isn’t for everyone (nor is full employment readily available in this economy), and there are other options out there. The keys to finding those options seem to be thoughtful deliberation, creativity, and courage—courage to be true to your individual nature, to live with less (if necessary), and to close the door behind you in order to commit to a new path ahead.

Whether you love your job or hate it, here a few things to keep in mind: Work is not simply paid employment; it is any productive or purposeful activity. And work is not separate from the rest of your life; it is a major part of your life—your personal contribution to society. Enjoy what you do and make it count.

*But please don’t count on me to edit my own writing.

Thanks to Helene, Judy, Mary, and Nan for sharing their ideas and stories.


February Finances

March 5, 2011

In Not Buying It: My Year without Shopping, Judith Levine wrote, “My consumer desires this year are all channeled into food.” I hear you, Judith. Because of my CSA payment, I spent 2 percent more this February than I did in February 2010. Had I not joined the CSA, I would’ve spent 12 percent less.

Aside from grocery expenses (which increased 70 percent, thanks to the CSA payment), my biggest increase was again in restaurant expenses, which were 154 percent more than last February. This time I didn’t shell out for any big, fancy dinners in the city. Instead, I bought lunch the afternoon we celebrated my boss’s birthday, and after a trip to the movies one Saturday, I treated Channing to dinner at a chili joint in Fairfax. Apparently a pitcher of beer and an order of onion rings (on top of our respective entrees) were enough to more than double what I spent last year on two lunches out.

Oh, I also had to buy gas for my car this February. Last February I did not. Even though I live in the suburbs, I fill up only about once every five weeks. I drive a hybrid, and on top of that, I’ve cut my driving significantly over the last couple years. Most days I walk to work (the office is a little more than a mile from home).

My “other” expenses—which this month included a couple credit card payments, a haircut, and a trip to the movies—dropped 33 percent compared with last February. In February 2010 I spent more than $300 on stuff, namely, clothes (for the new job), fabric, yarn, and a magazine subscription.

I put 91 percent more in savings this month than I did last February.

Although I haven’t seen much in the way of a dip in expenses during these first two months of the experiment, I think I’m laying the groundwork for some huge savings in the months to come. For one thing, like I said in my last post, joining the CSA should reduce my food expenses in the summer and fall by about 40 percent. For another, I’m not putting any additional debt on my credit cards, so those payments will drop significantly starting in March.

In unrelated good news, my blog views increased 5 percent in February. Thanks for reading! Also, at the library this morning I found two new cookbooks to play with: Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook and, because I have a friend with a gluten allergy coming to dinner next weekend, The Gluten-Free Gourmet.

This month I joined my first CSA. For twenty-four weeks, beginning in June, I will receive a share of the harvest from Potomac Vegetable Farms and three other organic farms in the area that PVF collaborates with. I am particularly excited because a portion of my share will actually be grown in Fairfax County, only a handful of miles from my house—anyone familiar with this area knows that farmland is hard to come by around here.

Fairfax isn’t the only area in the country where farmland is dwindling. Between 1982 and 2007, more than 23 million acres of U.S. farmland were lost to development, and farmers make up only 2 percent of the U.S. population. More and more of our food supply is coming from overseas (most notably, from China). Between 1993 and 2007, U.S. consumption of imported fresh fruits and vegetables doubled; by 2007, more than 20% of the fresh vegetables Americans consumed were imported.

CSA, or community-supported agriculture, is one locavore effort to combat this trend. The concept originated in Japan and Switzerland in the 1960s and ’70s as a means to increase food security, promote organic farming, and keep food dollars in the local community. The European model migrated to New England in the mid-1980s and has since spread across the United States. Most sources I found counted more than 1,400 CSAs in the country; Local Harvest lists more than 4,000.

CSAs take different forms and offer a variety of products, from fruits and vegetables to meat, eggs, bread, cheese, milk, and even ice cream. Typically, members of a community pay a farmer (or group of farmers or producers) a flat rate for a share of the year’s harvest. Payment is usually made before the growing season so that it can be used to cover the costs of farm operation, including seed, equipment, and employee salaries. Clearly this is a benefit for the farm. As farmer Jeff Poppen puts it, “When a group of people cover the farm’s annual budget, as in CSA, the farmer is able to put all his or her attention into developing the farm’s unique possibilities.” Plus, the farmer is allowed some financial cushion, even if crops are spoiled by weather or disease.

CSA members also reap numerous benefits from this arrangement: access to fresh, local, and often organic produce, exposure to a wide variety of vegetables, and a direct relationship with a farmer, to name only a few. In the past I’ve found these same benefits shopping at the farmers market, and of course, a backyard garden or community garden plot would do the trick (unfortunately, I have neither). What has finally won me over to the PVF CSA, though, is the challenge of it. You never know what’ll be included in your weekly share and in what quantity. Planning good, diverse meals around an abundance of zucchini or eggplant or lettuce will flex my creative cooking muscles.

The other factor that weighed heavily for me was cost. The upfront cost to join a CSA is sizeable, but I’m anticipating a 40 percent savings in my food expenses for those twenty-four weeks (10 percent savings if I factor in the CSA cost). Of course, my current food expenses are significant: about 14 percent of my income. Americans spend on average slightly less than 10 percent of their income on food, a smaller percentage than any other people in history. So, even though I will be spending less than usual on food this summer and fall, I will still be spending (proportionally) more than the average American. By this measure, supporting sustainable agriculture is expensive.*

But, like many before me, I’d argue that not supporting good food and good farmers is even more costly. Conventional, monocrop farming causes loss of biodiversity and poisons our soil, air, and water. Processed and pesticide-laden food jeopardizes our health. Imported meat and produce threaten U.S. food security and cause other, more immediate problems (like the food-borne illness outbreaks so often in the news these days). So, if you haven’t already, please look into CSAs or other alternative food sources near you (for starters, try Local Harvest and Eat Wild), or if you have the means, plant a garden, raise chickens, or keep bees.

Sources and Additional Reading

  • Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, rev. ed. (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1996).
  • Wendell Berry, The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1981).
  • Farmland by the Numbers,” American Farmland Trust: Farmland Protection, 2009.
  • Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver (New York: HarperCollins, 2007).
  • The Poisoned Fruit of American Trade Policy,” Food and Water Watch, December 11, 2008.
  • Michael Pollan, “The Food Movement, Rising,” New York Review of Books, June 10, 2010.
  • Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (New York: Penguin Press, 2008).
  • Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (New York: Penguin Press, 2006).
  • Jeff Poppen, “Community Supported Agriculture and Associative Economics,” Biodynamics, Spring 2008.
  • Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001).

*But it doesn’t have to be. Many organizations are making fresh, organic, local food available to low-income families. To cite just one example, last summer I harvested corn at a USDA farm in Maryland for Food for Others, an organization that distributes free food to people in need in northern Virginia.