Eating Organic on a Budget

These days, it seems as if you can hardly turn on the TV or your computer without hearing about the benefits of organic foods. And the truth is that there’s a lot to be said for eating organic. From a health standpoint, you’re ingesting fewer pesticides and unnatural chemicals. From an environmental perspective, you’re helping prevent toxic chemicals and greenhouse gasses from entering the ecosystem. But when you look at it from your wallet’s point of view, you might feel as if these benefits are out of reach. After all, you’re probably already stretched from the rising cost of petrol or other random bills, such as life insurance.

Fear not! It is possible to eat healthy organic food on a budget. Let’s look at a few ways to get the best bang for your organic buck:

Prioritize Your Organic Spending

Although eating entirely organic is an admirable goal, it isn’t always a possibility – whether because you don’t have ready access to organic foods or because you simply don’t have the budget to shop at Whole Foods every week. Don’t let this stress you out – you can still reap the benefits of eating organic even if you aren’t able to do it 100% of the time.

For example, which product do you think has a higher probability of being contaminated with pesticides – an apple or a box of wheat crackers? Clearly, the more likely candidate is the apple, which has probably been sprayed with a variety of chemicals throughout its life.

Following this example, you’ll get the most value for your money if you focus your organic spending on items that are likely to carry the highest concentration of pesticides and other chemicals. In most cases, this means stocking up on organic produce and meats before most boxed goods, although you’ll want to tailor your spending plan to your family’s priorities. For example, if you go through gallons and gallons of milk each week, upgrade this one item to organic status. Or, if there’s a particular cereal you consume frequently, try to find an organic equivalent for this item before worrying about other products.

Check Out Local Farmers’ Markets

If you have a farmers’ market in your area, check it out – you’ll likely find an amazing selection of organic produce available for a fraction of what it costs in all-organic shops. But this isn’t the only benefit – in addition, you’ll have the chance to interact with the farmers themselves and learn more about where your food comes from. You’ll also help to cut back on fuel usage and emissions, as most chain organic foods stores actually ship their produce in from farms around the country, depending on which items are in season in your area.

Join a CSA Farm

A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm is a farm-share program that enables you to “buy in” to an organic farm. For an upfront payment, you’ll own a “share” in the farm – once the farm starts producing during the summer, you’ll receive a heaping box full of farm-fresh goodies every week. Although the upfront cost may seem high, divide the cost over the number of weeks you’ll receive produce throughout the summer. You’ll likely see a significant cost savings over purchasing each item individually in an organic store.

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