Cutting food & gas costs in NOLA (and elsewhere)

Jun 8, 2008 by

After posting a response to today’s NOLA.com story about rising food costs in New Orleans and the ensuing comments (here) I figured it might be helpful to repost the info here. So here a few of NOGoddess’s tips on eating better for less money and feeling less pinch at the gas pump:

Someone asked about biodiesel sources in New Orleans – check out BioLiberty in Slidell (an excellent biodiesel processing group that is run by and hires vets created by members of the Vets for Peace who came up here directly after the storm to provide relief services and ended up staying). They collect grease from restaurants in Slidell and turn it into biodiesel. Right now they are trying to help a NOLA collective get on its feet. Check out their website at bioliberty.net and feel free to ask them any questions, from how to convert a vehicle, process your own biodiesel or obtain already processed biodiesel, etc. They are very helpful and very friendly!

I am working on my own container garden and hope to build raised beds and put in a chicken coop as I have the time/funds. For folks looking to learn more about gardening, check out the New Orleans Food and Farm Network, they offer many resources as well as seminars on growing organic food, etc. You can find their website at noffn.org.

Folks who do not have the room to grow their own food or aren’t ready to start their own garden should check out Parkway Partners and their community gardens initiative. Community Gardens are a great way to make something positive and useful for communities out of vacant/blighted lots and work together/share knowledge with other members of the community – and – of course, produce food! You can find their website at parkwaypartnersnola.org.

Don’t forget to check out the Crescent City Farmers Markets at crescentcityfarmersmarket.org – I have been shopping the farmers markets more and more as I find that the produce is better (organic, local) and cheaper than what I find in the supermarkets. Local food does not incur the same transportation and storage costs that food shipped in from who knows where does, so it is much more sustainable, better for you – and supports local commerce! Eat local!!

Also google the New Orleans Food Co-op. Right now it is a buyer’s club (and shipments are on hiatus for a couple of months during the summer) – it’s a cheaper way to get good, healthy foods by sharing cases with other members. They also have other info and resources, so check them out at nolafoodcoop.org.

And google Victory Gardens, the gardens that people were encouraged to grow on their home lots during both world wars to help combat food shortages. Wikipedia is a good place to start. For more ideas on how to maximize growing space in small areas, along with container gardening, look up  square footage gardening and vertical gardening (and, my new favorite, upside down tomato plants!).

And one more note about gas savings: 

Someone (on the NOLA.com comments) mentioned riding a motorcycle now to save gas money. For those who don’t want to ride a motorcycle, consider a scooter. My husband and I both drive 49cc scooters when we need to go further or haul more than we can reasonably do on a bike. We get 70-80 miles a gallon and can park legally on the sidewalks. Scooters have an easier learning curve than motorcycles, and if you stick to a 49cc scooter, you don’t need a motorcycle endorsement on your license. You can’t go on the highway with a 49cc scooter, so if you need to travel on the highway regularly, consider a higher powered scooter – you will need the motorcycle endorsement, but the gas savings are well worth it!!

We do keep a pickup truck for hauling items for home repairs, really rainy days, transporting friends and larger loads, but having scooters has saved us a bundle. We paid ~$2,000 for ours new (TNG Scooters from Scooteria on Sophia Wright Place), other brands can cost a lot more – but also check scooter shops and craig’s list for used scooters as there are more and more of those on the market as more and more folks have been riding scooters here the past few years.

Eat Responsibly, Act Locally, Respond Politically!

– NOGoddess (aka Andrea)

L’Art Noir New Orleans – lartnoir.com

St. Claude Arts District – SCADNOLA.com

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