If growing your own produce just isn’t something you are able to do much of, don’t fret, there are still ways to get good organic food without breaking the bank!
1. Shop at the Farmer’s Market– do make sure you ask the farmer if he grew the produce he is selling, or where it comes from. I was surprised to find that a lot of stuff at the market has actually been shipped in from other places! So, ask.
2. Join a CSA (community-supported agriculture) program– what you do is buy a share in the farm, which is really just paying a weekly or yearly fee (depending on how the farm’s program is set up), and in turn you will get so many pounds of freshly picked produce, baked goods, and fresh eggs from the farm each season. To find a CSA near you, check out Local Harvest. Each farmer has their own prices and policies. This is a great way to get truly fresh, and often truly organic produce without the middle man!
3. Join a Co-op– there aren’t many of these around, but if you have one in your area, it may be worth checking into. These are small grocery stores that only carry local organic produce and products. If you join, you pay a fee to buy a share in the business, this will earn you special privileges and discounts. Often, if you volunteer to help in the store you will get significant discounts on your grocery purchases as well. To see if there is one near you, check out Cooperative Grocer or Local Harvest. Maybe you’d even like to start one in your area!
4. Buy in Bulk– sugar, flour, grains, lentils, beans and nuts are all things that you can buy in bulk and store for future use. Buying in bulk will often save you some extra cash; just make sure you calculate the cost to make sure it’s worth the effort. You can also split the cost with a friend and share the goods if you don’t have storage space.
5. Buy in Season– stocking up on produce that is in season is a great way to get more for less. Keep in mind that you can always can, freeze or dry your goods to have them handy when they are no longer in season.
6. Buy Preserved in the Winter– while the growing season is on hold, it is much cheaper to buy produce that is canned or frozen rather than continuing to buy fresh produce. I know it’s tempting to buy those delicious looking tomatoes or bananas, but wait until the harvest is back in full swing… your wallet will thank you!
7. Coupons– often you can find coupons for organic foods either on the company’s website or in newspaper inserts, or even inside the product’s box. Muir Glen, Stonyfield Farm, Cascadian Farm, and Annie’s often have coupons available. Keep an eye out for sales on these products, then snatch them up using your money saving coupons! Mambo Sprouts also has a bunch of printable coupons for organic products.
8. Transition to Organic slowly– if you are just deciding to begin buying organic, don’t jump in with both feet; you may give your budget a shock! Start off slowly, buying a few things that your family consumes a lot of. You may find that you’ll have to adjust your budget (or your shopping list) to accommodate the extra expense of the better stuff. Cutting out all of the fatty junk food from your grocery trip will help make room for the quality foods your family deserves.