[MONEY] 11 Ways To Eat Organic On A Budget

Originally posted on Tom’s Feast.

Eating organic can be costly, but below are ways to have a healthy organic eating lifestyle to keep within your budget.

  1.   Grow your own products: Planting your favorite vegetables is a great way to save money, even if you don't have the accessibility to a garden. Herbs can be the more expensive to purchase, by growing these items indoors (as well as outside) can be cost effective. Herbs such as basil, chives, cilantro, ginger, mint and rosemary are easy indoor herbs to grow (Source: http://greatist.com/health/best-plants-to-grow-indoors ). 
  2. Eat Less Meat, save more money: Eating less meat is another way to eat organically on a budget. Organic meat is often the most expensive part of the meal, so cutting back on meat and eating more vegetables saves money. Also, buying the parts of meats such as the shoulder and belly of animals is another way to cut the cost. Michael Pollan, a popular author and activist wrote a book about America's food system titled, The Omnivore's Dilemma, which shed light on America's food system and the human struggle is a must read when looking to gain knowledge in the food industry.

3.   Reduce your waste and waist! By making smaller portions of food, you reduce the amount of food you waste. According to The Soil Association, on average about 20-30% of household’s wastes food. Another tip is to use the older vegetables and meats first before they expire, this will help reduce the waste thrown out. 

4.      Buy in bulk! Choosing foods that are often bought in bulk is a great way to store foods that are easy to preserve and have long life spans. Foods such as onion, potatoes, pastas, and other dry foods being bought in bulk are ways to keep cost down. Freezing meats in portions is a way to also preserve the meat and is also cheaper. Wholesale clubs is also a great way to buy in bulk, wholesale companies such as Costco and Jetro are found nationally. 

5.      Buy seasonal foods: The abundance of foods that are in season are cheaper. The quality of these products are superior. This is due to the products that are out of season had to travel a long ways to get to local supermarket. Fruits and vegetables that are in season can be found on the following site:  http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-spring

6.      Cook from scratch: Use raw ingredients to make recipes from scratch. Using this method of cooking from scratch can lead to extra food that can be eaten for lunch or dinner the following day.


7.      Know the 'Clean fifteen': Vegetables that have less pesticides have been named by The Environmental Working group as the fifteen fruits and vegetables. These are considered to be the best to buy if you can't afford to eat organically.

8.      Join a local organic box scheme: Local organic box schemes are not always cheap, but they are the main competitors of organic products found in supermarkets. This option will save you time going to the supermarket and it also supports local farms. Products that are imported cost a lot more, so be sure to get boxes that don't include imported products. For example, refer to this West coast company http://www.farmfreshtoyou.com/   for organic box schemes. 

9.     Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) : Get together with other people that also share an interest in buying from local farms. As a CSA member you will receive weekly seasonal fruits and vegetables from the farm of your choosing [ find out more about the purpose of CSA's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community-supported_agriculture]. Also, be sure to check out the CSA directory and find one near you at  http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

10.  Shop wisely and avoid supermarkets: Supermarkets views organic products as a premium so organic products are more expensive at supermarkets. You can save money by comparing the costs of supermarket prices, organic online shops and farmers markets for the best pricing for products. Local farmers markets is also a great way to support local organic products, here is a directory to search for your local farmers markets http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/default.asp

11. Only shop organic produce as recommended by EWG's Dirty Dozen: Not all produce absorb the same amount of pesticides. Avoid the Dirty Dozen, if organic is too expensive, and focus more on the Clean Fifteen, also included in the list.




The author of this post, Rashidah is a 2014 Cornell graduate in Media Communication who has a strong interest in food ethics and always strive to integrate healthier practices in her life.  She is a mentor at Unlocking Futures  where she helps transform the lives of disadvantaged youth.