"On A Dollar a Day" by Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard
On a Dollar a Day: One Couple's Unlikely Adventures in Eating in America is the story of two high school teachers who were fed up their high grocery bills and decided to feed themselves on a dollar a day each for one month. Why a dollar a day? Because that amount, or less, is how much a large portion of the world spends on food. Would it be possible to do this and still eat healthy?
While Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard found that it was extremely difficult to do this and maintain their health, the sad reality is that there are many in North America who face this every single day. In an area of the world that is fortunate to have an abundance of food, we face an industry that is not only making us sick but is hurting the poor through things like "supermarket redlining" and "nutritional racism."
After this first experiment, Greenslate and Leonard decided to then spend a month taking on the Food Stamp challenge, spending only the amount of money that people receive in food stamps as well as the average supplemented contribution which totalled $4.13 each, per day. In addition to this, they tried to closely follow the USDA's Thrifty Food Plan which is supposed to be a guide for low-income families to effectively use their benefits.
On a Dollar A Day is the result of Greenslate and Leonard's experiments which they blogged about as they happened. What they discovered about the food industry and the reality that many people in North America face when it comes to food is pretty incredible.
What I really enjoyed about this book was the author's honesty and their "realness." While Greenslate and Leonard are very firm in what they believe when it comes to eating (they are vegan and buy fair trade and organic when possible), they admit to weaknesses for sweets and other things. They do not try to pass themselves off as food experts or perfect eaters. They are also honest in admitting that they always knew that for them this was just an experiment that will end and they can go back to their previous ways, but for millions of people this option does not exist. During the experiments they became involved in Food Justice causes and raised money for a local food initiative. They compared the experience of people living in low income neighbourhoods and upper middle class neighbourhoods when it comes to food availability.
This book will open your eyes not just to the problems that exist in our food industry, but how difficult it is for people who are low-income or on food assistance to eat healthy and spend wisely on food.