Food: cheap and convenient or healthy and local

North Wind Staff

College students have a downfall that’s pretty common across the board, and that’s being broke. As we throw our money into our education, we find that we don’t have a lot of funds leftover for things as important as food.

This leaves us with the dilemma: do we buy what’s cheap and convenient, or do we buy what’s beneficial to our health or local economy?

More than once do we find ourselves trekking to Wal-Mart or a similar supermarket, spending our meager budgets on what we need to get by. We then need the leftover funds for gas money, textbooks, or a similarly meager savings account. And while this process does save us money for other things, it feeds into large retailers and the sketchy ethics oftentimes shadowed behind them.

Buying locally benefits the local community economically. Organic foods and products arguably have a better effect on our health, or are beneficial to the planet overall. There’s considerably less worry about the ethics of the products that we’re buying.

But, there’s a higher price involved that is harder to swallow for students with less in their wallets and bank accounts. Of course ideally we would strive to purchase local, fairtrade, or organic foods and items. We recognize the value of benefitting the community or making changes to our consumption to improve our own well-being. But, we often don’t have the full funds for this.

The answer to this dilemma is balance.

We can’t always buy locally, but we can choose to purchase a few items from time to time. We can and should reserve space in our paychecks to benefit our community or our health.

Balance also means sustainability in how we go about our daily lives. Living a healthy life doesn’t only mean eating better, but also means recycling and being energy efficient.

While it takes a bit of extra money to buy organic, it’s free to recycle an aluminum can. It’s free and energy efficient to turn a light off when leaving a room. These small things are not insignificant and they benefit us, our community, and the planet in the long run.

Balance as students is obtainable, either with buying some groceries locally or taking a few extra steps to recycle or be energy efficient.