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Recent reports by the BBC showed that the number of people that buy organic food decreased. Veganary may well have had an impact on that but this is believed to be
Organic Foods on a Budget
There is controversy on the health benefits of eating organic food, with some studies revealing that organic products have higher levels of nutrients and lower levels of contaminants, including pesticide and antibiotic residues. Other studies claim there is no significant difference.
Whatever is believed, it seems common sense that a diet low in pesticides and residues would be desirable for health. Here are some ideas to help you achieve just that, whatever your budget.
Buy Organic Foods in Season
In the last 50 years or so, supermarkets exploded onto the scene in almost every town. They have spoiled us with a “right here, right now” mentality. If you want a tomato in the depths of winter, you have one. A pineapple in January? No problem. However all this comes at a cost.
Until I went to my local greengrocers and asked them why they hadn’t had swede for a while I didn’t even know about this but
Organic food can actually be very cheap if bought at the height of it’s season, and may even be cheaper than the same non-organic produce. It is worth checking out special offers from your weekly organic delivery systems, farmers’ markets or the supermarket.
If farmers end up with a glut of tomatoes, they will be selling them cheaply. Be creative. Buy in bulk, which could also in itself prompt an extra drop in price, and cook and then blend to make pasta sauces, soups or use to make a curry.
Make the most of every item you can get cheaply – use up leftovers and make them go further.
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Find out Where Organic Food is Available
According to Felicity Lawrence in her book “Not on the Label”, supermarkets often charge an extra premium for an added-value product. This includes organic food. Lawrence reports that supermarkets may buy in bulk and command lower prices for the farmers, but they may then increase their margin just because you are buying something that is perceived as a better product.
Because of this, although supermarkets can be useful in finding reasonably-priced organic food, you may be better off trying a farmer’s market, a greengrocer or signing up for a weekly delivery from an organic vegetable box supplier. You will then be buying
The other bonus of visiting farmers’ markets is that you can meet the producers themselves. Find out about the food you are buying, build a relationship with them and take part in some old-fashioned haggling that you can’t do with a supermarket cashier at a beeping till.
Don’t go Fully Organic Straight Away
If you have worked out your shopping list, visited a farmers’ market and revisited ways in which you can use your leftovers and still can’t afford to switch to organic, then here is the solution: switch only to the items that the family uses most.
Cereals, bread, pasta
The health and welfare benefits can still be achieved to some degree, and it is in these items that you might notice most difference between organic and intensively produced items. Slice a loaf of conventional bread and it will not compare to the yeasty taste and firm, crumbly texture of an organic loaf.
An organic free-range chicken may cost double or even triple the amount of a “value” bird, but there is no comparison to its bloated, pale and flavourless intensively-reared neighbour on the shelf.
Organic free-range chicken tends also to be much firmer and more “meaty” than cheaper birds, because they have exercised and matured slowly. This means that after roasting, one chicken can be used for leftover meals for around three days. The bones can be used to make stocks and soups and the meat used for stir-fries, stews and risottos.
Organic Food Can be Affordable
The decision to buy organic food is not just a monetary one. There are implications for health, animal welfare and those concerned with fair deals for local farmers. Buying directly, through a farmers’ market or from a weekly delivery system can be done cheaply, as long as we buy in season and make the most of what is available. Preserving and freezing items will also ensure that a little goes a long way in the family budget. These steps show that it is possible to “go organic” on a budget, even if it means switching just to those items that are used most.