Lifestyle Adjustments, As Poverty Comes To The American Suburbs

suburban food bank photo

Food pantry. Image credit: St. Louis Post Dispatch, (Laurie Skrivan/P-D)

The era in which increasing numbers of people were willing to pay a premium for locally grown food or for 'organic' clothing appears to be ending. Poverty has become common in many US suburbs, triggered by 'the economy,' and in particular by the preceding fad of having a huge home with low property taxes in the far suburbs . For an example, see the emblematic story in the StarTribune, Poverty is hitting the suburbs with more sting. Here is the money quote: "People went out to get low land prices and new houses," he said. "Frankly, they were living on the edge on two incomes. When suddenly somebody loses a job, they're in trouble."

In a startling shift, Twin Cities suburbs now have more poor people than the core cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Job losses, foreclosures and disappearing insurance coverage have pushed requests for food stamps, medical assistance and emergency housing aid to record levels. Homeless numbers are rising. Food shelves are scrambling to meet demand.

Hopefully Grandma is still around to show how to make largely vegetarian foods from scratch .

Blackbird pie - no joke.
For the 'green idea' to keep any traction in the suburbs and gain it in rural America it will have to more closely align with the transition town than with the sexy organic gown. Canning food. Sharing with friends and family. Driving that car until it can't be fixed any more.

We slipped into a 30-year episode of bipolar housing disorder and we are just now leaving he manic stage. More people will be living together to survive; but, what happens to the McMansions and the burgeoning school budget? Not everyone can slip neatly away to the city high rise near the train station and the charter school.

What green ideas work in this future? Let's hear what you have to say.

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