Excerpt from the title segment of MARRY A MENNONITE BOY AND MAKE PIE Chapter 2: The Carrot Problem
…The carrot problem reared its ugly head soon after Nina came home from Pine View. It wasn’t even a carrot problem; it was a general vegetable problem, but carrots became the case in point. Sheila missed it because she was at Grandma Friesen’s house, safe from the monotony of our rice and lentils. The rest of us were sitting on the living room floor scarfing exactly that.
“You guys,” Nina said to Beth and me, “I think we should start buying our food at the Co-op. They have such fresh vegetables, and they’re all grown organically. I think it’s important to support farmers who don’t put chemicals into the earth.”
“That’s great,” I said, pretending to consider this while I chewed. “The only trouble is that everything at the Co-op is so expensive.”
“Mmm-hmm,” Beth agreed.
“But, think about it. Where would you rather have your money go? Who would you rather support?”
Money? What money? My five dollars a week, on which I was perpetually hungry? Beth could see the storm clouds gathering right there in the living room, as the hot and the cold air that is Nina and I began to collide. “I think shopping at the Co-op is great,” she said, clawing for middle ground, “but it’s true that it’s more expensive than Kroger’s.”
“But, don’t you think it’s worth it?” Nina asked. “Pesticides are killing our rivers. They kill fish and animals and hurt our Mother Earth. Also, it’s healthier for us to eat organic food. Think about the chemicals.”
Is this supposed to be some kind of newsflash? Because I thought it was common knowledge…
…”I think the Co-op is cool,” I said. “And I hope someday I have enough money to buy everything there. But right now I don’t. We need to get as much food as we can for as little money as possible. How many organic carrots can you buy at the Co-op for a dollar? Three? That’s fine. People should do that. But if it’s my last dollar we’re talking about, I’m taking it to Kroger’s where you can get a whole bag. You know? If we buy our food at the Co-op, we’ll go hungry.”
I was serious. And I was pissed. Just because she still gets an allowance from her parents, she’s going to preach to me about vegetables? Hold me back…