How Real People on Real Budgets Can Afford Organic
In a world where we are constantly worried about the health of our families, the stability of our jobs, paying the mortgage and all of life’s responsibilities, the simple act of trying to eat healthy often becomes a challenge.
Not to mention that if your family is anything like mine, then you’ve most likely got some picky eaters, limited time, and a limited budget with which to pull all of this off in a world of soaring food prices.
So here are a few tips for those who want to start buying organic food but don’t want to pay the high price:
• Go Orgo-Generic. Major grocery store chains like Safeway and Kroger, and big box food retailers like Costco and even Wal-Mart, now carry their own organic foods. And all foods labeled “USDA organic” are created equal, no matter where you find them. No need to upscale your grocery store when Wal-Mart gets it done.
• Buy Frozen. Frozen foods (like strawberries and fish) are cheaper than those that are delivered fresh. So if the prices on fresh produce are eye-popping, cruise on over to the frozen food aisle for a discount.
• Eat with the Season. Retrain your taste buds to think like your grandmother did. She didn’t eat strawberries in the middle of winter. Locally grown foods are usually cheaper than those flown in from another hemisphere, so if you eat with the season, you’ll be eating more affordably.
• Skip the Box, Embrace the Bulk. Food that comes in boxes costs more because of the packaging costs associated with designing those pretty pictures! When you buy in bulk, you’re not paying for all of the packaging, you’re paying for the food, which is what you want anyway. So slide on over to that bulk food aisle and look for noodles, cereals, rice, and beans in your local grocery store.
• Support the US Economy and Buy Local. You can save money by becoming a member of a local farm (just like you became a member at Safeway or Costco!). How do you find a local farm, you ask? Well, thankfully, the USDA now has a list of online sites to help you find the closest farm near you.
• Comparison Shop. You wouldn’t buy a car without comparison shopping, so before you even head out the door you can compare the prices of organic foods at different retailers from the safety of your own computer.
• Coupons, Coupons, Coupons: Organic bargains are everywhere, so click on About.com’s Frugal Living Page where you will find All Organic Links.
• Grow One Thing. If you’re as busy as we are, there’s not a chance in creation that you are going to be able to feed your family off of your home-grown harvest, but you will find that growing a tomato plant can be incredibly inspiring. And it’s not as intimidating as it seems. So pick one thing to grow — you can do it (we all grew lima beans in cups as kids, right?).
• Find a Friend. It is way more fun when you share this adventure with someone else, so be sure to find a friend, and share your success with others.
Robyn O’Brien is founder of AllergyKids Foundation, www.allergykidsfoundation.org and author of the book, The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It. ©2010