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Photo by Shabaz Usmani on Unsplash

Target is dropping prices.

It's been a weird few years for theU.S. economy as the COVID-19 pandemic threw the entire system into disarray and recovery from it took some unpredicted turns, for better and for worse. One thing we knew would be coming was inflation, and Americans have felt it at the checkout counter. Price increases on basic food staples as well as restaurant prices across the board have been painful reminders that, despite record unemployment and a booming stock market, everyday life has gotten ridiculously expensive.

But there are some signs things may be taking a positive turn, such as Target's announcement that they will be cutting prices on thousands of items, including household essentials, in the coming months. Here's what shoppers can expect:


Target has already reduced prices on approximately 1,500 items and will continue through the summer to drop thousands more. "Consumers will enjoy savings on everyday items such as milk, meat, bread, soda, fresh fruit and vegetables, snacks, yogurt, peanut butter, coffee, diapers, paper towels, pet food and more. These price reductions will collectively save consumers millions of dollars this summer," the company shared in a press release.

More specifically, a pound of Good & Gather Unsalted Butter that was $3.99 will be $3.79, Good & Gather 5 oz. Organic Baby Spinach will drop from $3.29 to $2.99, and a 20-ounce package of Thomas' Plain Bagels is going from $4.19 to $3.79. Just in time for summer, Aveeno SPF 50 Sunscreen (3 fl oz) will drop from $13.89 to $13.19.

Savvy Target shoppers know how to get the most bang for their buck on a Target trip by using their Target Circle Card, which gives them an additional 5% off purchases, and the company recently reintroduced Target Circle, its free-to-join membership program that applies deals automatically at checkout and features member-exclusive sales throughout the year like Target Circle Week and Target Circle Bonuses—personalized deals to help members earn rewards and get extra savings.

LinkedIn editor Cate Chapman calls Target's price cuts a "sign of disinflation at work"—a hopeful sign, considering Target isn't the only store to announce price drops . Walmart predicted months ago that a "deflationary environment" would mean lower prices on dry groceries and consumables and they were already seeing lower prices on grocery items such as eggs, apples and deli snacks.

woman smiling in a grocery aisle

People's money should go a little further at the grocery store this summer.

Photo by Arren Mills on Unsplash

Even already-low-priced grocery chain Aldi has announced lower prices on 250 items for the summer of 2024. “We don’t want food prices to hold people back from getting together with friends and family or spending time outdoors this season," Dave Rinaldo, president at Aldi U.S., said in a statement.

And McDonald's, which has seen price increases over 100% over the past decade, announced recently that it is exploring a $5 meal option. It used to be that $5 could easily pay for a full McD's meal, but you can't even get a kids' Happy Meal for that price in 2024.

People have reacted to the news of lower grocery prices with a mix of relief and annoyance at feeling like they were being price gouged. They have a point. In fact, President Biden had taken aim at corporations in November of 2023, saying, “Any corporation that has not brought their prices back down, even as inflation has come down, even as the supply chains have been rebuilt, it’s time to stop the price gouging."

Whatever the reason for the lowered prices, feeling a little ease instead of squeeze at the checkout counter will be a refreshing change from the past few years.

With the stroke of a pen, California Gov. Jerry Brown funded a $5 million program that supports local farmers and families in need.

It's the kind of good news we don't hear enough about.

In this new program, the California Nutrition Incentives Act will offer discounts on fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets for low-income shoppers receiving federal benefits.



A customer shops for fresh vegetables at a farmers market in San Francisco, California. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

A similar California-based program called Market Match, which has already rolled out, matches government benefits dollar for dollar to use on fresh produce and may serve as a model for the new California program.

Basically, if a shopper wants to use $5 of their federal benefits, this new program provides $10 in tokens for the shopper to use at local farmers markets.

That's double the amount of money that can used to buy fresh produce and double the amount of fresh produce sold, too. It's a great deal for families and farmers alike.

While the bill was approved by the state legislature last October, it was unclear where the money for the program would come from.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that $100 million in Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive grants would be used to fund projects aimed at getting nutrient-rich, affordable foods to people in need.

Shoppers look at produce at the farmers market in Monterey Park, California. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Quickly, states and nonprofits developed coordinated efforts to apply for the funds. Washington and Massachusetts have already received $6 million and $4 million respectively for their programs. And Market Match received $3.7 million over two years to expand their program, too.

Naturally, California (which has around 700 farmers markets and more than 3.6 million residents in the CalFresh benefits program) wanted in.

And by funding this new $5 million project, California will receive a $5 million match from the USDA, doubling the program's potential impact.

A woman shops for peaches at the Monterey Park Farmers Market. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Projects like this are a win for everyone.

Local growers and farmers get to connect with and serve more customers.

(Yay, community!)

Uriel Espinoza, left, helps a customer pick out strawberries at a farmers market in San Francisco. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Low-income families using federal benefits can stretch that money a little farther and spend it on local food at an affordable price.

(Yay, delicious meals and strong families!)

A woman shops for peaches at Monterey Park's Farmers Market in Monterey Park, California. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

And every level of government gets the chance to work together for the people and take an active role providing better options for people with limited access to fresh options.

(Yay, good government!)

An organic farmer puts up a sign at the new farmers market in Hollywood. Photo by Sebastian Artz/Getty Images.

For everyone involved, this is the start of something good. Let's keep the good going.

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Jamie Chen had never thought much about food production until her mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Her mom's doctor recommended organic foods, something Jamie had never heard of. Following doctor's orders, the family went to Whole Foods, but the prices were astronomical compared with the price tags at the local Chinese markets where they usually shopped. She told us, "My dad saw the receipt and immediately said we should never go back."

With the family facing huge medical costs, it was just too expensive.


Jamie and her mom, spending quality time in a garden. Image by Jamie Chen, used with permission.

Eventually, the family found a cheaper, bulk organic place about 25 minutes away from them where they'd stock up on foods for Jamie's mom. It was trial and error for the whole family. She remembers her mom cooking "weird colored rice, which none of us really liked, so she would make two pots — one for her and a mix of white and brown rice for us."

The entire experience was an aha moment for Jamie that set the wheels turning. She started thinking about food and where it was produced.

Image via La Mesa Verde, used with permission.

Fresh produce can be expensive — even more so for anyone seeking organic foods, which can cost up to 47% more than the alternative.

If a family is already struggling to pay its bills, advice like Jamie's mom got from her doctor is just not feasible. Growing your own food can help, but many people don't have access to the resources and skills needed to garden.

So when Jamie heard about La Mesa Verde, she knew she had to get involved.

The gardening community La Mesa Verde empowers families by providing them with access to food and skills.

Their target group? Low-income families who want to eat better but can't afford to do so. Located in San Jose, California, La Mesa Verde is ready and willing to help — since their founding in 2009, they've built gardens for over 500 families and currently have 120 families actively participating in the program. Jamie is currently the manager at La Mesa Verde.

She told Upworthy, "I saw the immense potential that this community has for building power and making real change in the food system." So she jumped on board.

Through La Mesa Verde, families gain both the skills and knowledge necessary to grow vegetables — allowing them access to fresh, homegrown foods without putting their budgets at risk.

Image via SPUR/Flickr.

Over the course of a year, families are taught everything possible about growing vegetables and delicious ways to prepare them.

And while they join La Mesa Verde seeking fresh food options, they also find community. Jamie explains, "People help each other out. They go to each other’s houses to plant trees, they share seeds, they share recipes."

Many participants devote so much of themselves to the program and to this way of life that when the year ends, they aren't ready to leave La Mesa Verde behind.

Image via La Mesa Verde, used with permission.

Seeing the community they'd created, La Mesa Verde created a more advanced gardening program for members who waned to remain active beyond the first year. And those members refer their friends, neighbors, and family into the program. And as the community grows, so does its power.

While gardening lies at the core of La Mesa Verde, it's only just the beginning.

When Jamie's mom passed away, Jamie took over grocery shopping and cooking for her family. At the time, she wasn't thinking about activism or community building. She just wanted to heal, and to help her family to heal.

But after meeting with members of La Mesa Verde and hearing about their health struggles, their fight to heal their bodies after cancer diagnosis, and their inability to find affordable fresh produce in their traditional markets, Jamie saw how closely their experiences mimicked hers. She says,

"I see my mom in them, this soft but defiant commitment to having at least some power over what goes into our bodies that have already been damaged. I see hope, too, that we can try together to make real food that doesn't make us sick available to everyone. Cancer can make a family really lonely, so having [the La Mesa Verde] community becomes doubly important when we are sick."

A year ago, La Mesa Verde started a campaign to transform empty lots in San Jose into community gardens. In December 2015, their efforts were rewarded: The push to transform the empty lots was named the third legislative priority for 2016.

Image via La Mesa Verde, used with permission.

Members are organizing and finding out how and where they can effect the most change. And with the size of their community and the lives that they've changed, they'll be unstoppable.