Military members, their families, and military retirees have the opportunity to shop at grocery stores called commissaries. Many stationed in remote or oversees locations rely almost exclusively on commissaries for their grocery needs. The commissary claims to be 30% cheaper than competing grocery stores in town and offer a wide assortment of foods. Our current base in Florida features one of the largest commissaries in the country. Spanning over 15,000 sq.ft., you’d think the selection would be outstanding. Sadly, I visited the store several weeks ago and found that instead of a greater selection, there was just more of each product on the shelves. Instead of five rows of pop tarts, I saw ten, instead of two rows of bleach, I found eight. You get the picture. I walked up and down the aisles with my kids searching high and low for organic, unprocessed foods. We found a tiny produce section, some organic milk, eggs, and some organic (and highly priced) meat in the freezer section. I left very disappointed.
I think it’s time to change things. If we need our troops, retirees, and their families to be strong and healthy, we need to provide them with the necessary resources. This means making healthier foods available in the base commissaries.
I wrote on my Facebook wall about this predicament and asked if others were in the same situation. Within minutes many commented, lamenting the lack unprocessed food options.
Instead of just being frustrated, I contacted the head office for the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). I also contacted Organic Valley since they already sell several products in the commissaries. I talked to a sales representative at Organic Valley who was more than happy to try and get more of their products in our stores. I talked with the head of dairy and others at DeCA headquarters. They said they’ll listen to the needs and desires of commissary patrons, then work to meet them.
So, if you’re a military family, please take a few minutes to fill out the DeCA survey, letting them know what you need at your local commissary. Also, if there are specific products, go to this link and list the items you’d like to see. I also suggest contacting other organic companies via social media or email to let them know we’d like to see their products in stores.
If you are a military member, do you find it difficult to find organic or unprocessed foods at your local commissary? What foods would you like to see available? Please let me know as I will be sending your feedback to DECA headquarters.
If you’re not a military member, could you please take a few minutes to write companies via Facebook or Twitter – letting them know we need more unprocessed, organic foods in our stores? It’s a small way you can help the troops here and abroad.
The other night, we hosted several families from our squadron for dinner. We had a great time getting to know some of the people who serve in our squadron. I served baked Shrimp Scampi, Caesar Salad, Grain-Free Cheesy “Cornbread”, and Vanilla Ice Cream with Homemade Magic Shell. You can find the “Cornbread” recipe in the grain-free adaptations to my first cookbook, Deliciously Organic. One 11-year old guest said, “That was the best salad dressing I’ve ever had!” I was delighted he enjoyed a healthy salad in our home. Many asked for the recipe, so I’m sharing my Mom’s Caesar Salad Dressing I’ve made since I was a kid. You can simply toss it with romaine and serve or add extra protein via grilled chicken or shrimp.
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