UPenn Food Stamp Challenge - Justin

Justin Broglie
Age: 21
Graduation: 2012
Major: Digital Media Design




"I decided to take part in the Food Stamp Week.  I spent $18.42 at Mariposa food co-op on Tuesday night, purchasing oatmeal, quinoa, some oranges, mustard greens, arugula, a loaf of bread.  I had some peanut butter at home, and a few other items. For those of you who don't know what Mariposa is, it is a member-owned cooperative grocery store in West Philly, and it purchases mostly local/organic products. 

I have so many feelings/thoughts that I want to share about this challenge, but I find it hard to articulate them.  I will try below:

  1. I realized that I was not mentally prepared to do this, so I decided to go somewhat go half-baked on it, spending probably $5-$6 per day.
  2. I felt fear during this challenge, fear of not being able to make ends meet (even with the knowledge that I was just "pretending" to be food insecure).
  3. I partly feel like a hypocrite because I rationalized not completely doing it: because I value spending time on educating myself on the issues and thus want to be at my optimal health.  Having said that, I feel like I stayed around $6 per day, and that was purchasing local, organic products, so I could probably easily do $4 per day if I went to a place like Shop n Bag, and planned more.
  4. I realize more viscerally the harsh realities of having such limited funds.
  5. The biggest limit is time...I feel that monetarily it is pretty doable if you go to grocery stores, but this requires you to prepare all your meals yourself."