“The More You Know” Thursday: Organic on a Budget?

by Janine@ThePurpleGiraffe on February 2, 2012

So you want to go organic…

Perhaps you’ve heard that incorporating organic foods into your diet can reduce your exposure to pesticides,  chemicals and other known carcinogens…

Or maybe you’ve noticed that organic produce has more flavor than non-organic…

Or perhaps you just want to do your part for your community farms and agriculture…

Whatever your reason, if you’ve been trying to incorporate organic foods into your diet, you may have noticed that oftentimes organic products are more expensive than their conventionally-produced counterparts.

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There are many reasons that organic food costs more than it’s conventional counterpart, and these reasons extend beyond the sinister plot in the cartoon above:

Organic farmers don’t receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers do. Therefore, the price of organic food reflects the true cost of growing.

The price of conventional food does not reflect the cost of environmental cleanups that we pay for through our tax dollars.

Organic farming is more labor and management intensive.

Organic farms are usually smaller than conventional farms and so do not benefit from the economies of scale that larger growers get

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But the truth is that organic food doesn’t necessarily always cost more – and there are ways that you can go organic while on a budget!

1. Prioritize your produce! You don’t have to buy EVERYTHING organic – focus on the ones that have the highest concentration of pesticides or chemicals. Fruits and vegetables with thin skin are likely to absorb higher quantities of pesticides (dirty), whereas produce with a thick outer skin or husk tends to have a much lower level of contaminants (clean). When buying organic on a budget, refer to the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15″ cheat sheet!

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2. Invest your dollars where they matter! Similarly, if your budget is tight, prioritize your dollars by buying organic meats, cheeses and eggs instead of produce as their conventional counterparts often have added hormones and high concentrations of pesticides!

3. Find local organic growers! Hit up your local farmers’ market or join a food co-op to save on locally produced organic produce and meat. Find farmers’ markets or co-ops in your area at www.LocalHarvest.org.

4. Buy in season! The fact is, if a certain fruit or vegetable is out of season, it’s going to cost more. Buying in-season produce will save you money!

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5. Clip coupons, shop sales and buy store brands! It seems simple, and really, it is! If you want to go organic on a budget, clipping coupons and keeping an eye out for sales is an easy way to save money! Check out this link for where you can find coupons for organic products!

Eating well and incorporating organic foods into your diet doesn’t have to put you in the poor house – it just takes a little planning! And you (and your health) a’re worth it, right?

 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mary C. Weaver, CSCS
Twitter: themusclediva
February 2, 2012 at 9:49 am

Great advice—and I love that you include the “in season” fruit and veg chart.

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2 Laura is Undeterrable February 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm

One thing to add about buying local – even if the food is not certified organic, ask the farmer if they use pesticides. Many small farms elect not to pay the money to become certified. I’ve seen many stands at the farmers market advertise as “spray free” or “pesticide free” but they cannot use the organic label. When in doubt, ask.

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3 Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe
Twitter: PurpleGiraffeJ9
February 2, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Mary, it’s amazing how much you can save buying “in-season” – and it sort of forces me to try things I may not have otherwise tried! New recipes with new ingredients!? Awesome.

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4 Melissa @TryingtoHeal February 2, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Great tips for buying organic! I think the in season suggestion is one of the best ones! That produce is always cheaper and tastes so much better!

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5 Ashley Winters February 8, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Thank you this was very helpful. I know that organic farming costs the farmer more, but it is harder to buy organic because of the price. My son is ADHD and Autistic so he has to eat certain foods, so this really helps me to know which foods to buy organically and what I can save on. Thank you.

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