Affording Organic Produce
cultivated by community
We eat pretty healthy foods (i.e. little junk food, limited soda, lots of fruits and vegetables, etc.). I cook virtually everything from scratch. I'd really like to move to the next step and shop for more organic foods, but they're so expensive! I had my first garden last year and plan to plant another this year, so the vegetables aren't really an issue. I'm more concerned with - everything else!
Living on a strict budget we have a hard time affording the bad-for-you-but-cheap groceries. How will we ever be able to afford organically produced food and foods with better quality ingredients? Any advice on how to eat healthy, organic foods and still keep the roof over your head?
Start a buying club. Or join a co-op and volunteer.
A co-op is a great idea. I actually just finished reading a book about co-ops. The only question I have that didn't get answered in the book was about generating enough interest. Times like these it would be so nice to live in a "greener" place!
Have you checked around online - any local bbs with veggie boards?
What about La Leche League, Naturopath offices, MW offices, Seventh Day Adventist churches, etc.?
Here's some co-op/buying club info:
For CSA farms, also check with the organic certification board in your area...they should have a listing of all the organic farms. Or go to http://www.localharvest.org.
You might want to look for:
A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm where you can buy a subscription for a season's worth of food. This also doubles as entertainment if you get to go to the farm to harvest your own stuff.
A community food circle organization that connects farmers with consumers. Around here, one can buy grains, meats, dairy, eggs, honey & sorghum, & produce straight from the farm. The food circle puts out a publication with the contact info from various farmers.
In season, a farmer's market. Be careful. Some do not feature organic & local produce. We are lucky that ours only allows food from the five counties around here, and 80% is pesticide free (though not often certified organic).
Grow as much of your own food as possible.
As others have suggested, join a food co-op or buying club.
Also, do some research and make decisions about which items are the most important to buy organic. For example, I won't normally eat nonorganic berries. Luckily, berries are abundent in the wild around here so it is easy to harvest & freeze my own. I think Andrew Weil has a list of the most important produce to buy organic -- it is worth putting on your fridge. If you can't buy all organic produce, make sure you wash carefully and remove the skins (yes, even of nonorganic potatos). I make small sacrifices all the time. As our fortunes improve, we will improve the quantity of organics in our diet -- though local and in season is equally important to us.
Dh and I just jointed a large co-op that has everything from food to banking services. It was relatively inexpensive to join, only 25 dollars per adult in the household and a thirty hour time donation per adult. We are already saving money!