Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo: Why SNAP to it?

Vegan MoFo

For this Vegan MoFo 2014 and Hunger Action Month, I am going to take the SNAP challenge and live within the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) budget of about $4.50 per day ($137.05 per month), which is the average benefit here in Colorado where I live. I don’t actually qualify for the SNAP program, but I want to take a month of intentional eating: carefully planning what I’m going to eat each day, making time for meals, cooking from scratch, and planning scrupulously so that I don’t waste food. I am in nursing school and currently taking an OB class, so I would also like to write about how food insecurity impacts families with babies and young children. There’s a WIC clinic at the hospital where I will be working this month, which I plan to investigate, and I’ll also map out the food shopping in my neighborhood, a food desert in Denver. Because this is Vegan MoFo, I’ll add a few low-cost, speedy recipes suitable for a busy nursing student schedule. I’ll also throw in a couple of posts about edible weeds in Denver, and vegan gardening!

Being vegan is often talked about as an upper middle class white lady thing, which needs to change! I want to prove that being vegan and healthy is possible for low-income people, even if it requires a great deal of planning. Food insecurity is a huge issue: over 47 million low-income Americans participate in SNAP to help purchase food, and 76 percent of SNAP households include a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. I hope that a month of the SNAP challenge will help me come to a greater awareness of food justice issues and examine my own class privilege and food security.

My rules for myself:
-Don’t eat/drink out, even for coffee, tea, or drinks! Eating out isn’t covered by SNAP benefits. I want to challenge myself to do other activities to connect with people socially, besides go to a restaurant and eat food.
-Prepare everything with basic kitchen utensils – time to give the VitaMix, dehydrator, other fancy appliances a break! This expensive equipment is not accessible to low-income people.
-Avoid accepting free food from friends, family, or while at work. (Exception: I will attend a weekly potluck that some friends and I organize, because I will be bringing something. I’m all for supporting one another and combining resources for greater strength.)
-Keep all grocery receipts to ensure that I’m staying within budget.
-Don’t include food that was purchased prior to the challenge, except for small amounts of oil and spices.

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8 thoughts on “Vegan MoFo: Why SNAP to it?

  1. acookinthemaking says:

    This is such an important and meaningful issue and I’m really interested to see how you handle the challenge. Best of luck and Happy MoFo!

  2. Welldone and goodluck! I recently did the Live below the Line challenge, it was only 5 days but you could only live off £1 per day ($1.50). It was a very tough week but I learnt so much and found it extremely rewarding. Looking forward to seeing your tips!

  3. MeShell says:

    I love your theme, and just really happy to have discovered your blog in general. Thanks for the great topic, it is definitely something worth looking at more.

  4. fairlyoddtofumom says:

    I blogged about this a few years back – mostly because my 3 kids and I had no choice but to live on a “Foodstamp Budget” (even though we didn’t actually get SNAP benefits) and people always wondered how I did it!
    It’s possible, and once you develop a system, it’s VERY do-able (though I have the luxury of transportation out of my immediate neighborhood, which many SNAP recipients struggle with – even if they HAVE the money to get food, they don’t have many options…)
    . I only have one teenager left at home now, but still run a really tight budget and stay pretty close to a “Food Stamp” amount for my groceries. We eat VERY well and our cupboards are never lacking. I actually teach classes at our local food bank now, helping share the tips and tricks that I learned with other people!
    I’ll enjoy following your blog!

  5. Penelope Green says:

    I think it’s important to steer away from the stereotype of ‘the vegan bourgeois’, and explore the barriers that people below the poverty line and living in food deserts may encounter in their vegan journey.

  6. Great theme! I agree that veganism is too often portrayed as a lifestyle for the privileged. I’ve been writing a bit about food justice (the focus of my volunteer work) in my own VeganMofo blog, and will include a link to yours.

  7. Pingback: Vegan Chews & Progressive News {1-23-15} | Farmers Market Vegan

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