One of the most common concerns about choosing organic is the cost. Organic foods can be more expensive because farmers have higher labour costs and a different economy of scale; however when buying organic you’re paying the real cost of producing real food that is better for the environment, animal welfare and our health. Follow these tips to stay within budget.
- Buy in season
When fruits and vegetables are in season they’re usually more available and therefore cheaper. Eating in season encourages you to enjoy a variety of nutritious fruits and vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes or beans. The Australian Dietary Guidelines explains the benefit of consuming a variety of foods comes from maximising the bioavailability (absorption, metabolism and retention) of nutrients. It’s also your best chance of eating food freshly picked.
- Buy from farmers’ markets
Buying straight from the producer cuts out the middleperson. Markets are also a great source of fresh and local produce. Not only do they limit the transport time of food, but it also tastes better. Markets also make a great outing for the family – kids love them! Just make sure you look out for a certification logo like Australian Certified Organic or OGA (an organic certification program specifically for small growers).
- Look for specials at the supermarket
Supporting organic brands in supermarkets increases organic supply in mainstream stores, therefore helping to increase organic demand and keep prices affordable
- Buy in bulk
Take a bag or container and buy loose items like beans, grains, lentils and nuts in bulk in smaller stores. Team up with a neighbour so you can buy in bulk; split the cost and stash away food.
- Join a food buyers group
There are quite a few low-key organic buyers groups or cooperatives in capital cities and larger regions. There might be one near you.
- Freeze and re-use
Arabella Forge (nutritionist and author of Frugavore) has fantastic advice and strategies about how to limit and re-use food to avoid wastage. Her blog has some great suggestions.