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Here's How to Host a Feast for $5 a Head

How to cook a healthy, organic feast for friends for less than $5 a person.


$5 doesn’t sound like much. In fact, I have trouble thinking of many things you can buy for just $5. But turns out $5 can buy you a feast. Here’s how.
Two years ago, some friends and I began gathering for monthly home-cooked dinners. The challenge? Dinners had to be tasty, well-balanced, and sustainably sourced. And cost no more than $5 a person.
Our aim was to test a simple idea: that being on a budget doesn’t mean having to eat fast or processed food. On the contrary, we wanted to show that eating real food—that is, buying fresh ingredients, cooking at home and eating a meal in good company—is not only a better alternative for eaters, producers and the environment, but also a more affordable one.
17 “Frugal Feasts” later, many of which have come in under budget, here’s what we’ve learned:
First, it turns out that by not putting meat at the center of the plate, you free up funds to buy higher quality fruits, vegetables, and grains—many organically grown and therefore free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals in their production cycle.
Second, despite what seems like a major budgetary constraint, when you bring 10 or so people together to eat as a community, economies of scale kick in. $5 a person turns into a $50 budget—more than enough to create a satisfying meal.

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This Bill Would Help Shed Light on California's Broken Prison System

Legislation would greatly improve media access and increase transparency in one of the largest state prison systems.

The California prison system is massive and overcrowded. It was designed to hold just over 84,000 prisoners. It holds nearly double that amount. Its annual budget is somewhere in the ballpark of $10 billion. We know these broad strokes about the penal system, but much about the day-to-day conditions and workings remains shrouded because the California prison system is also very short on transparency due to a media ban that effectively silences activist prisoners and stymies investigation.

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Biking Saves Americans $4.6 Billion Each Year

A rider only saves a dollar or so for each trip by bike. But over time, those savings add up.

The Bike Nation series is brought to you in partnership with CLIF Bar. \n

In New York City recently, when the government announced the details of its bike share plan, the city collectively whined. An annual membership, which will cost $95, was too expensive. The fees for trips that ran over 45 minutes were too expensive. The whole idea was too expensive.

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Community Colleges are Screwed: The Higher Education Wealth Gap

The chasm between rich and poor is seriously affecting public higher education, where 80 percent of our college students enroll.


You've probably heard about the ever-widening gap between rich and poor. We now rank 45th in the world in terms of income equality, sandwiched between the Ivory Coast and Uruguay. And the way America funds public education is no exception to this trend. According to a new study from a Washington think tank, higher education has never been more stratified.

Here are the facts: From 2008 to 2009, community colleges’ per-student spending shrank by $254, mainly because states and towns are broke. Meanwhile, appropriations to community colleges nationwide fell an average of $488 per student, so institutions made up some of the difference by raising tuition $113. At public research universities, net tuition increased by $369, but appropriations declined by $751 per student, and spending per student rose just $92. Private colleges, on the other hand, increased both tuition and spending per student.

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The GOP Plan to Save $40 Billion: Let Rich Alone, Dig Into Students' Pockets

Eric Cantor's new plan to save money involves forcing students to begin paying back school loans before they've even graduated.


The debt ceiling talks rage on with lawmakers considering countless proposals, from President Obama's staggering "grand bargain" to Sen. Mitch McConnell's plan that would raise the debt ceiling in three increments (and leave room for plenty of political posturing). These talks have also made it quite clear which lawmakers are out to protect the rich at all costs possible. Consider House majority leader Eric Cantor's proposal from yesterday on how to make $40 billion over 10 years: By getting students to pay interest on their loans before they graduate, rather than being able to wait until they get their degrees.

This is a guy who has made it incredibly clear that "anything having to do with increasing taxes or raising tax rates" is off the table. The GOP has also balked at cutting the $500 billion we allot each year for military spending. Of course, students getting financial aid, who will already graduate with an average of $24,000 in debt and are often paying their own ways through school, are completely fair game. What kind of twisted logic is this?

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