About this Blog

Welcome! Thanks for checking out On Food Stamps.

I created this blog in 2009 when I began working at the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank. My work at this organization opened my eyes to food justice issues in America, and I had a strong desire to better understand the difficulties many people face when trying to access healthy food on a limited budget. So, I embarked on my own Food Stamp Challenge, living on $31/week as a vegan. I used this blog to chronicle my experience.

While my Food Stamp Challenge project has come to an end, you can see what I learned from it by reading the Greatest Hits posts linked to the right side of the page. Please excuse any out-of-date links, as I am no longer updating this blog on a regular basis.

Stay Hungry,


Friday, May 15, 2009

The Cost of Convenience


I spent roughly 20 minutes this morning peeling carrots for my lunch today. That is 1/3 of my "get ready" time in the morning, and I was not very happy that preparing ONE part of my lunch took so long. I went as quickly as possible, but peeling half a bag of whole carrots takes awhile.
Everything would have been much easier if I had only had a nice bag of cute, pre-peeled and cut baby carrots.

Easier, yes, but also more expensive.
Here is the price breakdown from Save-A-Lot in Echo Park:
  • 16 oz. bag of Kern Ridge peeled and cut baby carrots = $0.99
  • 32 oz. bag of Kern Ridge fresh whole carrots = $0.99
That means I get twice the food for the same price if I am willing to go through the pain of peeling the carrots myself.

Eating fresh vegetables becomes more realistic, easier to do on the go, if you are willing to pay more. For the same price and less time, I could have ordered something off of a fast food Dollar Menu. (And in that case I would have been eating a burger, fries, and a soda rather than 1/2 a bag of raw fresh carrots.)
I think the inconvenience factor of preparing fresh vegetables for lunch is worth noting as it really affects people's ability to access healthful food.

I want to also point out that I work only 1 job from 8:30AM - 5PM. Many low-income Americans struggle to balance two jobs, and might have to rely on public transportation throughout the day which can also be a time drain. In those types of situations, convenience is an even more important factor in a person's ability to access nutritious food and make good food choices.
While cost ($) is a big factor in what foods people choose to eat, it is not only about money. Convenience and availability also play a major role, and as I learned today, fresh whole carrots are not the most convenient of foods.


  1. Great Blog, btw :)

    I rarely ever peel carrots, or even potatoes. There is a lot of nutrition in those peels and if you wash and scrub them really well, they just as safe to eat as any other veg...

  2. Thanks. I think I will try your scrub-really-well tactic next week. I kind of want to buy organic to do that though - carrots are on the "Dirty Dozen" list. It would save me a lot of time if I didn't peel.