E. About Me

My name’s Charlie (not really, that’s my nom du clavier). When I started this blog, I had just moved to a new town with my family. My wife was starting graduate school, and my three sons were in elementary and middle school. I was a stay-at-home dad, though also enrolled in college. We didn’t have much money, or any land to speak of, but we wanted to eat more locally while staying on a tight food budget. I studied this process and its environmental, economic, and social impacts for an independent learning contract through my college, and this blog is the product of that process. There’s more detail about the project here. Welcome aboard!

I decided to continue the blog after my graduation to continue exploring the social, economic, and environmental aspects of modern American life, especially through the lens of a low-income family.

Three years after I began this project, we are now living in a large suburb of an even larger city; my wife is still in graduate school, now a proper Ph.D candidate; my sons are in their teens; and I am currently trying to find suitable full-time employment. The journey, and the course corrections, ever continue.


10 Responses to E. About Me

  1. Blair Van Pelt says:

    It was truly lovely to meet you yesterday over applesauce. I am very interested in this blog and your project! I will be reading them from now on and I’d love to shave a meal with you (and your family) and talk about being an ethical onmivore in a budget.

    Bon Appetit!

  2. foodiehanna says:

    Sounds rough, looking forward to following you through it all.

  3. Momof5 says:


    I was directed here by Craig Goodwin’s yearofplenty blog, which I love, and I am thrilled – thrilled! – to find you. We, too, are challenged by the cost of making what seem to be the right choices about food and community, so I will be following your effort enthusiastically this year.

    If I may offer a word or two of advice, having been poor for awhile (ok, by U.S. standards, I admit) and focused on local sourcing for more than a year: start some lettuce seeds on a windowsill. If you’re on the west side of the Cascades, you could probably still start lettuce or spinach or kale in the yard. Stop by a garden center or nursery and find alfalfa seeds – there are plenty of local suppliers in the northwest, and the seed that’s sold for planting is exactly the same as the much more expensive seed that’s sold for sprouting. You’ll just want to wash it very well before you sprout it. The point of all this preparation is to have something green over the winter, because finding something local once it freezes become very difficult and expensive.

    Good luck!

    • poorlocavore says:

      Thanks! It’s great to know that someone else is paying attention. the seed-sprouting is an interesting idea, although we only have two windowsill that get any amount of southern exposure. I’ll look into it. Can you think of any other greens that would work this way? I’m not much of a gardener, so this is all pretty new to me.

      • Momof5 says:

        The south-facing window doesn’t matter for alfalfa sprouts, or for anything you’re growing to eat as sprouts – they only need a day of light to green up enough to look appetizing. Territorial Seed has a huge selection of sprouting seeds – broccoli, adzuki, whatever – but I’ve just stuck with alfalfa because I can get it at my local farm supply place for a couple of bucks per pound.

        I’m not sure what else might grow inside. I dig up my basil in the fall and put it in a pot inside, so you might be able to start some inside now. And my 6th grader’s teacher was so appalled that none of his students had ever grown their own food that he has them growing peas on a north-facing window sill – they’re very tall but I don’t know if they’ll actually produce. Apparently you can eat pea fronds, though, if need be.

        And though a full grow-light set up is expensive, it’s possible to get single bulbs of full-spectrum light that you can stick in a fixture in a back corner somewhere to keep things plugging along in the winter. I haven’t tried that because I’m pretty sick of gardening by fall usually, but as costs rise and pay drops this year I’m thinking it might be worth the effort. I’ll keep you posted.

        p.s. Love your inventories. I’m all about lists and charts but nobody else in the house finds it as fascinating as I do . . . and they outnumber me. And eat more. So I’ll enjoy yours vicariously!

      • poorlocavore says:

        Thanks for the tips. I need to think about this sort of thing now. I’ve toyed with the idea of building a cold frame too. I used to work in a restaurant that uses pea vine for a garnish, so i know they’re edible. I plan to do more inventories as well; I almost wish I could afford a shiny pocket gizmo so that I could have a digital price book too-my Thinkpad is a little bulky to take grocery shopping.

  4. Megan Messer says:

    Hi Charlie,

    I’m an undergraduate student at Denison University, and I’m writing my senior thesis on food blogs and the Slow Food movement. For my study, I’m looking for participants to give approximately 20 to 30 minutes of their time and complete a questionnaire on their blogging experiences and food philosophy. Your work is incredibly interesting! One thing I’m grappling with in my research is the issue of class and elitism, so your perspective would be invaluable. Please email me (messer_m@denison.edu) if you would be willing to participate! (Sorry, I couldn’t find your email address so I figured I’d just drop a line here.)


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