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Girl Scout Vegetables

March 3, 2012

Don’t get me wrong; I have an Olympian sized sweet tooth. I can pack away a pint of Haagen Dazs is twenty minutes. I can devour a box of cookies in a sitting. And I can eat peanut butter and chocolate until the proverbial cow comes home.

Except that I can’t. Not anymore. Not if I want my body to keep producing insulin. Not if I want to outlive my grandparents. And not if I want to set a positive example for my daughter.

When Eva was two and a half she became a vegetarian. She’d recently asked if it hurt chickens when we ate their eggs. She was shocked to learn that chicken soup actually had chicken in it. And she told her mom that it made her really sad when she ate fish.

So when I stopped at Safeway this morning to buy a package of drumsticks, it was for the dog. I hadn’t been to Safeway in years and it was pretty obvious why. No health food section. An over-abundance of Philip Morris and Monsanto products. Idiotic club cards. Understaffed. And the customers!

I couldn’t help looking at them – and what was in their carts – and thinking: heart attack, heart attack, train wreck, kidney failure, obesity, heart attack. I wanted nothing more than to get out of the store with my six-dollar genetically enhanced cruelty-prone chicken legs and never return.

On the way out I was accosted by a group of (overweight) ladies selling girl scout cookies. And since I’ve committed to sharing my opinion with the world, I didn’t politely decline. Instead I politely informed them that I wasn’t able to eat sugar or white flour. But if they ever decided to sell trail mix, or vegetables, or anything healthy whatsoever, I would be very happy to spend my money with them.

I felt this was the best way to support the girls within the Girl Scout organization. After all, why do their fundraisers need to revolve around selling sweets? According to “The activity of selling cookies is directly related to our purpose of helping all girls realize their full potential and become strong, confident, and resourceful citizens.” A noble cause, and one I would like to support. I can see how the program could build confidence. But strength and resourcefulness?

Here’s an idea which would better build these attributes: teach the girls how to grow and sell vegetables. Not only would they be learning a valuable natural skill, but they would be able to offer a product that people actually need and consume on a daily basis. Every aspect of the cookie program would be included in this venture – except the costly purchase of cookies and packaging.

While Girl Scout Vegetables might not be the $760 million venture that the cookie program claims to be, growing and selling produce could provide valuable lessons that selling sweets never will. It would show that health is a priority, not just a catchword. It would instill a sense of self-worth in the girls as they came to understand the value of their efforts. And it would certainly challenge their strength and resourcefulness.

So the next time you’re offered to purchase an overpriced box of Samoas or Tagalongs, I urge you to respond with a similar suggestion. If enough people put the idea in their minds we might just be able to make a difference. When I did it the adult present – also the largest of the ladies – vigorously agreed.

Change must start from somewhere, and chances are it’s going to be with the children. Their minds haven’t been closed off to new ideas.



From → Rants

  1. Secret Admirer permalink

    I’ll take a case of the broccoli biscotti, three boxes of chocolate chard cupcakes and a daikon donut for the road. Yeah!

  2. Yay! The Girl Guides (that’s what we call them in NZ) came calling at our house. I don’t eat biscuits or cake because processed sugar is the body’s enemy. Felt bad sending them a way. Three cheers for you for making some constructive suggestions for fundraisers.

    • Ah, you’re a Kiwi! Visiting NZ has been on my bucket list for years.. Maybe once I’m an established (aka paid) writer I can do some ‘research’ in the southern hemisphere.

  3. An idea whose time has come.

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