#OrganicWeek - How to shop for #organic #food on a #budget

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Organic Week: How to shop for Organic food on a budget

Many people who don’t eat organic cite the high cost of organic food as the reason for not making the switch. Even people who care deeply about the environment, animal rights and their own health say they just can’t afford to eat organic. Let’s face it- just eating healthy on its own is more expensive. Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) did a study in 2013 where they examined 27 existing studies that evaluated the cost of healthy vs un-healthy foods in 10 different high-income countries. Their study found that it costs about $1.50 more a day to eat healthy, even if the food items weren’t organic. The term “healthy” was given to diets that incorporated more food like fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish. “Un-healthy” diets consisted mostly of packaged processed food, meat and refined grains.

This doesn’t even break down organic food vs non-organic food. The truth is that it costs farmers and food processers more money to meet the standards required of being considered an certified organic brand. That is going to reflect in the price, and so is supply and demand. As long as supply and demand is low, organic costs will be high. Therefore the more we eat organic, the less it will cost.
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I have been shopping for organic foods for quite some time, and I have learned some great ways to save money buying organic food. Don’t let that extra $1.50 a day scare you away from food that is chemical free, ethically farmed and good for the environment. Here are my tips on how to save money shopping for organic food!

1.    Shop outside the box: Most of us think of the grocery store when we shop for food, and sure most of our food products are purchased at a grocery store. But specialty stores have a great selection of organic food with great prices. I find great deals on organic packaged foods at Winners or Bulk Barn. Many of these smaller, specialty stores will carry a selection of organic items. If you would rather shop the grocery store, then shop smart- check out a Farm Boy or Whole Foods. These stores have a large selection of organic food and often have sales. But don’t stick to only these spots either; I have found great deals on organic food at Wal-Mart. Which brings me to my next tip.

2.    Shop the sale: If you see an organic item on sale- obviously one that doesn’t parish quickly- pick up a few of that item. I do this often, especially when my almond milk is on special. It takes a while to spoil, so I usually will pick up two or three cartons at the sale price. Clip coupons and check the flyers. I saw a dozen organic eggs on for $2.99! So I bought two dozen and meal planned meals that had egg in them. Take it one step further with my next tip.

3.    Shop in bulk: Costco and other large wholesale stores sell organic items in large quantities. If it is possible and the item wont spoil, pick up a large quantity. In my community there are even organic farmers who do a monthly delivery of produce. Of course you only get what is in season, which brings me to my next tip.

4.    Shop in season: This is key when buying organic produce. Shopping in season will cut down the cost because yield is high and therefore costs are low. Shopping in season can also mean that you can get more local produce that is ripened close to home, and not preserved and slowly ripened over time on a transport truck. Local food costs less to ship, and can be less expensive as a result. I love shopping in season and creating meals with what is available. It forces me to be creative and my meals always taste authentic to the environment.

5.    Shop store brands: Many store brands for larger grocery and department stores have items that are organic. Since store brand items are usually the best priced items this can save money! Or you can try my next tip.

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Shop online: Look for great deals on organic food online. You can even start an organic food monthly subscription box like Urthbox, which is a vegan snack box that contains a lot of organic and non-GMO items.

7.    Shop from the farmers: Try purchasing produce directly from the farmers. Building this relationship and having that one-on-one discussion about the expectation you have of your food will give you a complete understanding of where your food comes from. You can visit a farmer’s markets and local butchers to purchase your food. If you want to take the ultimate step to eating organic, try my next tip.

8.    Shop your backyard: Grow your own food. I grow my own food, which means that every harvest season I have food that I can eat knowing I have not harmed the environment and am eating chemical free. All of my seed is local, organic heirloom seed- not to mention inexpensive but gives me months of yield. I don’t use fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. To keep bugs away I spray orange oil on my crop. And to keep weeds away I do things the old fashioned way. I get down in the dirt and weed my garden. My food is clean, healthy and sustainable. Growing my own food is great for the environment and gives me a sense of satisfaction when I  can finally pull that carrot out of the ground. I control what I eat and I have a fun and relaxing activity. There you have it! Organic eating on a budget- happy Organic Week!

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