With energy and food prices continually rising, it is becoming more and more difficult to put healthy and organic food on the table. So how do you buy organic and cut corners at the same time?
Firstly, assess which food items you will only purchase organic for, and which items you are not as concerned with – choose your battles! Meat and dairy are generally top of the list when it comes to food items where organic is best; reducing your intake of these will also help with the budget. Fruit & veg comes next, and buying these in season is a great way to ensure availability and value for money.
Ask around locally to see if there is a buying group or co-op for organic foodstuffs – this is a great way to get organic food at regular food prices (or sometimes cheaper) while fostering a sense of community spirit. If there isn’t a local group then start one! Buying in bulk will significantly reduce your grocery costs, particularly for dried and preserved items – you can even ask your usual organic supplier if you are able to get a discount for bulk purchase.
Support your local growers by buying at Farmers’ Markets – this also means that you can chat with the person who grows your food. It may not be labelled as organic, but you might find when chatting to the farmer that they don’t use pesticides or are currently in conversion to organic. To find a Farmers’ Market near you, check out www.farmersmarkets.org.au.
You can also set up a food swap with locals – anyone who has ever grown their own food knows that it is typically a case of feast and famine – one month you are inventing new recipes to cope with the dozens of zucchini you collect every other day, then next thing you know you are desperately trying to fob off tomatoes or lemons to anyone who comes to visit! If everyone brings along their surplus and people take what they need, with the remainder being dropped off at a shelter or soup kitchen, this is a wonderful way to get to know your neighbours and ensure you are getting a variety of fresh, local, and seasonal produce. Everybody wins!
The Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides in Produce (compiled by the non-profit organisation The Environmental Working Group/EWG) lists the following twelve conventionally grown foods as having the lowest pesticide load based on around 43,000 pesticide tests:
The 12 Safest Non-Organic Foods (in no particular order)