Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm

Monsanto. In the Pet Store. With the Debit Card.

I am not Catholic.  I am pissed off.  I am giving up Monsanto for Lent.

This is Day 7.

Me: 5 – Monsanto: 1 

It was going so well, yesterday’s shopping trip.  Produce section?  All organic.  Fish counter?  Wild-caught, please.  Toiletries?  No thanks, got all  natural ones from Tropical Traditions. 

Then came the pet store.  I’d been dreading buying dog food because I knew that, caught between markups and Monsanto, my pocketbook would cower in abject horror.

Remember when I switched my own diet to organic?  This was worse:

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To avoid Monsanto, I needed an organic product.  To get the best bark for my buck, nutritionally speaking, I needed it to be grain-free.  As it turns out, I couldn’t have both.  Organic was available (1 option).  Grain-free was available (4+ options).  One brand even featured wild venison (with a side of rice).

Nothing organic and grain-free.  Worse, nothing in my price range. 

I do not have teacup pomeranians.  I have greyhounds.  Ironman has a large,  black lab.  Among them, they eat 2.25 pounds of dry food daily.  The only organic option, canned Organix, would run at least $300/month — and that’s using the sale price.

And so, I am ashamed to report that I stuck with my usual non-organic, not-grain-free brand, for less than 1/3 the price.  At least it’s local.  Sigh.

For my cat, who doesn’t eat as much, I made the same decision I’d make for myself if I had to:  grain-free, but not organic.  I hope (but can’t verify) that Blue Buffalo cat food contains no GMOs.

AND, I just now realized that I also bought athletic socks.  Made with cotton.

Excuse me while I drown myself in a bucket of Round-up.


Read all posts in the Monsanto Project Series.


27 responses

  1. Tammy

    When I feed my dogs kibble this is my favorite, you might like it too.
    It’s not really cheap and they don’t sell it at petco but I think it’s worth it.

    March 15, 2011 at 8:20 am

    • Thanks, Tammy — I’ll check it out!

      March 15, 2011 at 8:37 am

  2. It sucks, doesn’t it? We make the same decision…but don’t like it.

    March 15, 2011 at 8:35 am

    • Yeah, me either. 😦 I’d really like to feed raw, but haven’t managed to come up with an affordable means of doing so — especially if I want to be a perfectionist and get the meat/bones/offal from grassfed sources!

      March 15, 2011 at 8:38 am

  3. Have you looked into feeding dogs a raw meat diet?

    I’ve briefly looked at it, it was popular with livestock guardian dogs (or that was how I learned of it) and if a kid/lamb/calf was born dead or by some pasture accident, and they found it quickly enough, they’d use a meat saw to cut up the carcass into meal-sized pieces, freeze it, then feed it to the dog as needed. Some will actually keep poultry for that purpose, both eggs and carcasses, but I’d imagine that would get pricey.

    It seems a logical idea to consider, and one I’ve been seriously considering for our own dogs, especially since grain is really not so good for us – I’d suspect dogs are even less able to digest the stuff. Not sure really how the cost can compare, since I seriously doubt we have enough death losses to feed our dogs raw all the time. Also not sure how to figure how much to feed per day, or how to be positive your giving the animal a balanced diet, but thought I’d add that as a potential solution.

    I love the idea for not wasting, but not sure how to actually make it work out.

    March 15, 2011 at 8:47 am

    • oops, my comment was slow….you already answered the question. Sorry for the redundancy!

      March 15, 2011 at 8:48 am

    • Yes, raw feeding is my ideal — but I haven’t found a practical way to pull it off for 3, big dogs. Anyone who wants to try it should be advised that there’s more to raw feeding than throwing Fluffly a hunk of hamburger. For balanced nutrition, you need to include plenty of offal and such…not always easy to get ahold of, sadly.

      March 15, 2011 at 8:50 am

  4. Crysta

    If you have a Costco near you, both of the brands they stock (in my local store) are fairly highly rated.

    My dog’s have been eating the grain-free Nature’s Domain Salmon and Sweet Potato for about a month or so now and seem to really love it.

    The Kirkland (Costco) brand dog food also rates fairly well. I’ve fed this in the past with no doggie complaints either.

    March 15, 2011 at 10:26 am

    • Thanks, Crysta. I’ll have a look at those links. Tough to find something grain-free, organic, and affordable!

      March 15, 2011 at 10:29 am

  5. jenella

    Here in Austin, a few folks put together a purchasing coop so they could get better prices for their raw foods for their dogs/cats. (We are now about 100 people.) We have a couple of vendors who raise organic chickens/beef that several from our coop use. Not sure how rural you actually are but there may be something of the sort up your way.
    My 3 guys average 55lbs & it’s probably about $60 – $100 a month to feed them. But it isn’t grass/pastured yet. Can’t swing that. But a lot like starting PB/Paleo, we start where we are at least eating ‘better’ then moving up as we can. I have found a local pastured farmer who I’ve been able to buy rabbit & chicken carcasses from for my crew.
    Sorry this one went awry of your ‘Lent’ plans.

    March 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

    • Hey, a co-op is a great idea! Hmmm….

      March 15, 2011 at 11:06 am

  6. We have two 100 pound plus dogs and a couple cats. Lately I’ve been feeding them Blue Wilderness.

    Not organic but they seem to really like it. It is expensive, almost $20 bucks more a bag than the old food but cheaper than raw food.

    March 15, 2011 at 11:31 am

    • I like Blue, too, even though it’s not organic (and therefore possibly contains GMO ingredients). I feed it to my cat.

      March 15, 2011 at 11:34 am

      • I haven’t been able to find an organic no grain option either. 😦

        March 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      • Drat. 😦 Raw, grassfed meat would be ideal — but $$$$$!

        March 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm

  7. Jess

    Well I must have it pretty sweet then. We have 2 big dogs 24 and 27kg respectively and one 4 1/2 month old who is catching up fast. Little one eats more than the other two at 250gms a feed biggest gets 230gms middle one who is an easy keeper gets 180gms. They are fed twice a day on a raw diet.
    Ox liver at $2.50 per kg, chicken pet mince $2.40 per kilo, chicken necks $4.00 per kg, chicken frames $5.00 for a big bag and beef bones at $5.50 for a big bag. This is in New Zealand dollars btw. They get a mix of whatever is available, the chicken is free range when possible which is nearly never but all beef is grass fed. And they occasionally get some of the more expensive offal now and again. This is all available at the local supermarket.
    Haven’t been able to find a grain free biscuit here though which is frustrating. I like to have them on hand for emergencies and if anyone is dog sitting.

    March 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    • Interesting, Jess! If my understanding is correct, New Zealand has much better access to quality meats than we do here in the U.S. I’m not sure how costs compare, though.

      March 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm

  8. I feed Blue to my dog as well. It is pricier but not as expensive as organic. Dog food is a frusterating thing…not gonna lie my eye starts to twitch a bit when I see my mom dumping Old Roy into her dog’s dish LOL I’ve tried to inform her but my breath is wasted.

    March 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    • LOL I hear ya! It’s like all the people at the office who make their “healthy” oatmeal with dried fruit and soy milk every morning. *sigh*

      March 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm

  9. Tamara, do you know any hunters? That’s your best bet for affordable grass-fed organic meat. My parents’ dog eats mostly white-tail deer.

    March 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    • Workin’ on it! But *I* want to eat the venison!

      March 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm

  10. My parents eat A TON of venison, too. But their hunter buddy is a farmer who shoots a bazillion nuisance deer* a year, so there’s more than enough for the dog to eat it too. And there’s a lot of stuff that’s not exactly tasty on a deer – dogs love meaty bones, offal, etc.

    *sorry, vegans!! 😉

    March 15, 2011 at 2:33 pm

  11. FlorayG

    I feed my cats raw meat and it’s much cheaper than processed food – don’t forget they will eat less food than they do of the processed. Mine mostly have rabbit and pheasant which is cheap and plentiful round here, or chicken beef or turkey when on offer at the supermarket. No it’s not organic or even grass raised (although I do draw the line at battery chicken and it has to be barn raised at least) but even then it’s 100% better than anything processed and cooked. I don’t know about dogs as I don’t keep any but aren’t they scavengers and omnivores – can they not live on scraps and some raw meat? I have got to healthy diet the other way round to you – I started with researching what my cats really should eat, and it was years before I realised this applies equally to me.

    March 16, 2011 at 5:23 am

    • Indeed. It’s so logical. Good point about them eating less — it’s true of humans who eat their natural diet, after all!

      March 16, 2011 at 7:15 am

  12. Tammy

    It doesn’t HAVE to be expensive to feed raw. You just have to buy the less desirable (by humans) parts of the animal. I feed raw and the bulk of my dogs diet is chicken necks and backs, duck backs, turkey necks, some chicken liver and beef heart, sometimes chicken leg quarters, green beef tripe and venison scraps during hunting season. Add some raw eggs with shells, salmon oil, occasional veggies and viola! I buy the chicken and duck from a wholesale poultry company that supplies restaurants etc. A 40lb box of chicken frames only costs about $8. It’s not organic but I still prefer to feed that over kibble and that is cheaper than even the cheapest corn based kibble! The tripe (dog superfood!) comes from a slaughter house for $10 per stomach. The catch is that you have to grind it yourself and it’s disgusting. If you look for people that process deer for hunters, they often have scraps like legs, ribs, etc which the dogs love and you can usually get for free. Just a few weeks ago i got about 100lbs of free beef from a dairy farm who put an ad on craigslist. One of their cows was injured and they had to put it down and didn’t want to waste the meat. So it can be done cheaply!

    March 19, 2011 at 8:53 am

    • Thanks for the advice — I’ll check into it again. 🙂

      March 19, 2011 at 9:09 am

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