Co-op en-US Healthy Eating: The Sequel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/healthy-eating-the-sequel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A while back, I wrote about the conundrum of wanting to eat healthy but finding that most healthy choices cost more than less healthy choices. My post, entitled <a href="/healthy-eating-itll-cost-you" target="_blank">“Healthy Eating: It’ll Cost You!”</a> was based on a <a href="" target="_blank">New York Times article</a> and on my personal experiences trying to shop wisely in rural America. I received a range of responses—many people seemed to agree that the American poor face a true dilemma when it comes to eating wisely. Some pointed out that I should just head to Trader Joe’s or a local ethnic market to save money. I don’t blame those people for not realizing that we don’t have Trade Joe’s or a local ethnic market. Sometimes when you’re used to living with those things, you forget they’re not everywhere. </p> <p>My friends in more metropolitan regions of the state have Trader Joe’s, as well as a nifty place called Plum’s that seems based on the same idea as Trader Joe’s, and a smattering of other small, reasonably priced “healthy-and-organic-on-the-cheap” options around town. Here, in sum, are my grocery options within thirty miles of my small town, whose economy, for what it’s worth, is largely stimulated by tourism and whose local residents are rarely as wealthy as the vacationers who flood the place in summer and winter. I’ve listed the stores in ascending order according to price:</p> <p>• WAL-MART—you all know this one. Rock-bottom prices and questionable company policies all around. I know people who drive 20 miles to shop here.<br />• THE REGULAR GROCERY STORE—a regional grocery chain with decent food selection, where you’ll pay more for the same items you get at Wal-Mart.<br />• THE FAMILY-OWNED GROCERY STORE—a small family-owned grocery with locations in four small towns. Decidedly more expensive than Wal-Mart. <br />• THE FOOD CO-OP—a well-stocked food co-op with plenty of healthy, but inevitably premium-priced, organic and local options.</p> <p>Come summer, of course, all of this changes; I live in a beautiful, agriculturally rich area, and the farmer’s markets are unmatched. But from November to May, you’ve got those four choices. I&#39;m sure the choices are similar throughout much of small-town America.</p> <p>I think it’s really all about short-term versus long-term thinking. Am I willing to pay one-and-a-half times as much, or even over twice as much, for groceries in short-term, if I know that by doing so I can support local businesses in the long-term? For those living close to or below the poverty line, short-term thinking is sometimes the only option, which is why these corporate giants can be so detrimental to our communities. When given the choice to pay $3 or $1.75 for a loaf of bread, there are plenty of people who simply have to pay $1.75. </p> <p>If you’re somewhere in the middle, check out my…</p> <p>SHORT-TERM TIPS FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH LIMITED GROCERY OPTIONS:<br />• If you have a food co-op in your area, ask them for a coupon book. Most co-ops put one out monthly, and clipping coupons can offer amazing savings on regular grocery items. Most co-ops will also trade volunteer hours for discounts: volunteering just four hours a month at my co-op will earn you 10% off your total purchase every day of that month. <br />• Call your Chamber of Commerce to see if there are any incentive programs available for shopping at local businesses. In my town, anybody who works for a local business can get a Chamber Discount Card, giving them deals when they shop locally. It’s meant to encourage local businesses to support one another.<br />• Start small. Choose one or two items you want to buy organically or from a locally owned store each week. Maybe you’ll decide to buy organic milk, or local apples, or maybe you’ll just get a cup of coffee at the local shop instead of Starbuck’s (which we don’t have either, by the way…and I don’t miss it. Our little coffee shop is just what I need!). A friend of mine recently said she started out just buying one item a week, as well as whatever was on sale, at our food co-op. “Then, I just started buying more items there each week, and now that’s pretty much the only place I shop for my family,” she said. “I’ve made it work.” This might not be within economic reach for everyone, but you never know.<br />• Check your budget and weigh your priorities. Are there places where you could adjust in order to allow you to shop locally for a few items? I rarely buy a $3 latte anymore, and I rent movies rather than going to the theater, and the extra money in my pocket gives me a little extra to cover, say, the difference between shopping at a local grocery versus Wal-Mart.  </p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Healthy Eating: The Sequel" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Baughman</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Co-op grocery shopping local food Wal-Mart Wed, 02 Apr 2008 15:11:41 +0000 Sarah Baughman 1968 at A (by no means definitive) list of some cool (and free!) additions for your blog or website <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-by-no-means-definitive-list-of-some-cool-and-free-additions-for-your-blog-or-website" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="html code" title="html code" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a supplement to my <a href="/using-wordpress-for-blogging-and-more" target="_blank" title="Using WordPress">last post</a> about using WordPress to set up a personal or business website for free (minus the price of domain name registration and/or hosting), here are some ideas for enhancing the functionality of your site or blog with some plugins and other third-party add-ons. Almost all are free, although there are a few that have a nominal fee, based on what you require:</p> <h3><span class="sub-heading">Must-have WordPress Plugins</span></h3> <p><em>(Note: to install and activate a plugin, first download and uncompress the file, drop it into the directory <strong>wp-content/plugins</strong> and activate it in Dashboard under the <strong>Plugins</strong> section. I suggest keeping a copy of your WordPress files and directories on your local disk, dropping the plugins into the wp-content/plugins folder, then uploading via FTP. Just my .02¢)</em>:</p> <blockquote><ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Akismet spam blocker for WordPress">Akismet</a> will help catch comment spam and holds it in queue for you to check out and give the comment the thumbs up or thumbs down;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Used in conjunction with your Google account, <a href="" target="_blank" title="Google Analyticator for WordPress">Google Analyticator</a> will install the JavaScript needed to enable <a href="" target="_blank" title="Google Analytics">Google Analytics</a> to start getting stats on your site;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Inserting a Flash file into your post or <a href="" target="_blank" title="A bit about WordPress Pages">Page</a> is easy with <a href="" target="_blank" title="Kimili Flash Embed">Kimili Flash Embed</a>. Once installed and activated, you’ll see a little Flash button in your toolbar when you are writing a post or creating a new page. Browse from your uploads and you’re all set;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Social bookmarking is all the rage and a great way for your site/blog to get some exposure. <a href="" target="_blank" title="AddThis! plugin for WordPress">AddThis! for WordPress</a> gives your visitors choices for bookmarking a post to their favorite site (like Digg, for example);</li> </ul> <ul> <li>If you want to start making Benjamins with your site using Google AdSense, Acme Technology’s <a href="" target="_blank" title="AdSense Deluxe">AdSense Deluxe</a> makes inserting ads simple. Once activated, customize it under the <strong>Options</strong> section in Dashboard with your AdSense code (from your Google AdSense account). When composing a post, switch over to the code view, type &lt;!--adsense--&gt; exactly like that and save. Your ad block will appear in your post wherever you’ve entered the tag;</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="Google Sitemap Generator">Google Sitemap Generator</a> does just what the name suggests: it helps you get indexed by search engines by generating an <a href="" title="XML">XML</a> sitemap. Important if you want to shoulder your way into search results related to your posts, services, products, etc.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p><a href="" title="WordPress Plugin Directory">Browse for more plugins on</a> </p> <h3><span class="sub-heading">What’s that? You want to edit the HTML of your web pages?</span></h3> <p><span class="sub-heading">Great! There’s more stuff you can add.</span> And, no, it’s not a spinning mailbox gif that tells people to email you, nor is it a sawhorse or man digging, telling people your page will be coming soon:</p> <blockquote><ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank" title="AddThis! Widget">AddThis!</a> is also available as copy-and-paste HTML for your site. You can choose to add a feed widget or bookmarking widget to keep track of how many of your posts are being shared on social bookmarking networks, and how many people are subscribing to your feed;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Google Analytics is a great tool, with very detailed reports, but it’s not the only kid on the block. <a href="" title="Tracksy">Tracksy</a> is free and easy to add: just sign up and grab the code. It will tell you what people looked at, where they came from, their computer platform, etc. A pretty straight-forward way of getting some quick stats;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>A fresh way to exchange messages and ideas through your blog/site is with <a href="" target="_blank" title="Evoca">Evoca</a>. People can leave a voice message for you using a regular phone, a computer mic, Skype or an uploaded recording, then you get an email that lets you login to your account and listen. You can also broadcast voice messages, produce a podcast, tell a story, etc. A unique way to communicate with potential employers, clients, blog visitors, etc. A free account gets you 15 minutes; $4.99/month covers 180 minutes;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>An alternative voice messaging add-on is <a href="" target="_blank" title="MyChingo">MyChingo</a>. You can moderate what comments people can listen to or throw caution to the wind and operate it as an open system. Free accounts allow a maximum of 2 minutes recording time per message; paid accounts ($3.95/month or $45.00/year) allow 30 minutes of recording time per message;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Add a shoutbox in a few minutes with <a href="" target="_blank" title="ShoutMix shoutbox">ShoutMix</a>. Interact with your visitors in real time thru your blog/web page;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Spread the word about your blog (and increase traffic) by creating your own widget at <a href="" target="_blank" title="Widgetbox">Widgetbox</a>. Or, grab the code for a widget you like and add it to your blog/site;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>See who your visitors are with <a href="" target="_blank" title="MyBlogLog">MyBlogLog</a>; it turns your blog/site into your own community.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>One more powerful (and, yes, <strong>free</strong>) feature you can add is your own search engine, which you can create with <a href="" target="_blank" title="Google Co-op">Google Co-op</a> , thru your Google account. You can customize your engine, based on your interests or profession, in just a few steps and have a search field on your site that will yield results based on the parameters you set. Link it to your AdSense account and you can also generate some revenue from your visitors’ searches. Read more about the latest news, tips and updates on the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Google Custom Search Blog">Custom Search Blog</a> .</p> <p>There’s tons of free stuff out there to help you monitor your traffic, enhance communication and interaction with your visitors, and even help generate some revenue. If anyone has some favorites I’ve overlooked, feel free to add them in your comment.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="A (by no means definitive) list of some cool (and free!) additions for your blog or website" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ed O&#039;Reilly</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Entrepreneurship AdSense blog Co-op Google JavaScript plugins search engine shoutbox stats voice message widget WordPress Sun, 03 Jun 2007 06:13:02 +0000 Ed O'Reilly 696 at