You will already be aware that certain foods are bad for your health.
And, too much food which is overly processed or chemical laden can eventually take it’s toll on your health in the long-run.
One of the best indicators of what a healthy food choice is are those foods which are close to their natural form — food that comes straight from the produce department.
Or, foods which have only one or two ingredients are the best choices. And, organic produce can be a very good option, too.
For crops to be labeled “organic” the USDA state they must be produced without conventional pesticides (including herbicides), synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.
Organically raised animals must be given organic feed and kept free of growth hormones and antibiotics.
Organic farm animals must have access to the outdoors, including pastureland for grazing.
So, what stops people eating organic foods?
It’s usually the perceived cost.
However, the idea that eating organic food is more expensive is not completely true. Yes, there are shops selling very expensive organic foods – but you just have to know where to purchase.
Here are 4 tips for going organic on the cheap
1. Grow Your Own Organic Produce
You can assemble your own greenhouse for under $200.00.
And, tomatoes, lettuce and herbs can easily be grown on a patio or porch, if you don’t have a yard.
But, if you do have some land, by all means use it.
There is nothing more rewarding than watching that first tomato ripen on the vine – nor can you find better tasting produce than what you’ve just grown in your own back yard.
2. Don’t Shop For Organic At Supermarkets
Organic food prices at your local supermarket will be seriously inflated, so the trick is to shop around and find special offers.
Sometimes you may even find the organic product is less, or only slightly more, than the non-organic option.
Before going shopping, quickly check the newspaper for sale items.
Many food stores such as Trader Joes and Whole foods (in the USA) advertise specific products on sale each week, so it’s worthwhile checking these out, and taking advantage of sale items when they are available.
3. Go To Local Farmers Markets
Local Farmers Markets are an excellent source of organic foods, which often cost no more than what you would pay at the supermarket for non organic produce.
The produce is generally locally grown, and farmers are ‘small scale,’ so they tend to ask more reasonable prices for their foods. And, they are fresher and picked when ripe (rather than ripening in trucks), so much healthier, too.
Organic meats, dairy and eggs can also be found at these farmers markets, and the taste is usually far superior.
4. Join a Supported Agriculture Program
You can buy shares in community-supported agriculture programs (CSA).
These programs are all over America, and can be accessed in most towns, suburbs and cities. Websites such as Alternative Farming Systems, Food Routes and Local Harvest can help you find a CSA near you.
Ms. Ruth Katz, executive director of Just Food in NYC, says this about CSA’s,
You can’t get it any fresher. You’re getting it straight from the farm, sometimes picked that morning… It’s usually organic and it’s much more delicious because it’s so fresh. And you’re supporting local farms.
A share in a CSA varies in cost, depending on the size or location, but the average for a 24-26 week share is about $300 – $400. Some even allow you to purchase a ½ share if you’re a student, or have a small family.
The produce and organic products you get from a CSA will astonish you. They will be varied, seasonal, fresh, and cheaper than buying anywhere else.
Also, there are co-ops which sell to grocery stores and other markets quite inexpensively.
They offer many of their foods at huge discounts, and all it takes is a membership.
Another tip which helps to stretch your grocery dollars a little further, is buying in bulk.
Storing them is not as difficult as you might imagine, since they are dry, and only need a cool dry place for storage.
Also, buying large quantities of something on sale, such as tomatoes, strawberries, or anything that can be canned or frozen, is also very cost efficient.
Then, you can have fresh/frozen organic produce for 1/3 of the cost, even when they are out of season.
Remember, health is our biggest commodity, and sacrificing a few cents here and there will benefit us in the long-run.
Also, supporting the organic farmers and growers will continue to drive the prices down at big supermarkets, so that in the future it will be economical, as well as healthy, to eat organic.