Eating organic foods is better for your body and for the planet. A lot what goes into making processed foods and such is bad for the environment. Eating whole and organic foods means less resources being used to create and package products, no pesticides being sprayed all over the place, and more nutrients for you. Also, buying things in bulk not only saves money, but usually means less packaging is being wasted – another kiss blown mama earth's way.
I'd like to repeat myself here: It's not all or nothing! Even if you can't afford an all-organic diet it's still very much worth it to try and replace some standard items with organic ones. New Greener Family has a great article on this and they recommend starting with the following fruits and veggies, since they tend to have more pesticides on them:
Those who have a very tight food budget may have to limit what organic foods they buy. Some foods have higher amounts of pesticides on them than others, making them the top priority when choosing organic. If you can only afford to buy some things organic, choose these fruits and vegetables first:
- Green Beans
Buying some of these items organic might still break your budget (the price of organic strawberries kills me), so consider looking for frozen (still very healthy) options or better yet, buying produce in bulk when it's in season and freezing or canning them yourself for use throughout the year. You can save a LOT of money this way. If you decide to buy bulk for preserving, check farmers markets and such first, because you can usually save even more this way. Most years, I end up with lots of free organic apples and tomatoes and I don't even have a garden – just generous friends and family members. You can even make big batches of salsa and give out jars of organic goodness as gifts – fun.
I know that it's getting pretty late in the season to start on things like this NOW, but you can probably still find apples and pumpkin and squash! If this is something you'd like to do next year, start a journal keeping track of how much of whatever food your family eats throughout the winter, for example x cans of tomatoes. That way, when it comes time to load up on tomatoes at the farmer's market, you know how much to get!
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are another wonderful option, mainly if you're feeding a family. You pay for a share (some also offer half-shares) in the beginning of the season and receive a big box of fresh, local produce once a week for about 4 months in the summer and into fall. That's how it works up here anyway… I suppose in some parts of the country it could be a longer season. You can learn more about how CSA's work and find one near you at LocalHarvest.
Learning to make foods from scratch is another way to save on organic foods, especially with staples like bread. It's time consuming to do things this way, so it's not right for every family, but learning to make things like soup stock, bread, sauces and yogurt out of organic ingredients will save you A LOT of money rather than buying those things organic in the first place.
If making everything from scratch isn't doable, then buy in bulk as much as possible. Apparently Costco has some pretty sweet deals. We are getting one of those here and I'm way too excited, I've never been to one. Also, if you're on an Azure Standard route, then all of your organic eating problems are solved and you should be jumping up and down with joy because they are such a wonderful company. They deliver all kinds of organic yums, which is especially useful if you're like me and live in a community without a “crunchy” grocery store like Whole Foods.