Five Green Tips to Eat Organic and Local Without Breaking Your Food Budget

by Anne Englebert on March 5, 2012

Eating organic has lots of benefits compared to conventional food; it is healthier for you and better for the environment. However, the price for enjoying the freshness and goodness of organic vegetables and fruits can often be quite expensive if you don’t know the right way or places to buy them on the cheap. Here are five green tips that will help you to eat organic and local without breaking your food budget:

1-  Shop at Local Farmers’ Markets: The farmer’s market is a great source of local and fresh organic produce at great prices. Similarly eating local straight from the farmer will reduce your carbon footprint as these products do not travel from all over the world to end up on your plate. The farmers present on local farmers’ markets come only from a maximum distance of 100-miles.  Moreover, eating organic food from local farms is also a way to support the local economy of your community as the large majority of organic farms are small farms. You can easily find local Farmers Markets nearby by simply typing the name of your city along with “farmers market” into your search engine. You can also use the website Local Harvest that lists every place where you will be able to buy cheap organic foods.

2- Receive an organic basket of seasonal vegetables and fruits: Organic vegetables and fruits are often cheapest during the times in which they are most abundant. You can save even more money on organic food by joining a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  The program can supply you with seasonal food directly from local farms on a weekly basis. A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public, and these shares consist of a basket of vegetables, but other farms products can be included. Whatever the farm grows each week, you get your share of the yield. However, you can’t choose exactly what you want, you get what the farms grows. So as long as you’re not picky, you will always get the best seasonal produce for the cost of conventional produce in the grocery store or even cheaper. For fruits and vegetables that you do not like or have allergies to, most CSAs allow you to list the items that you do not want to receive.

3- Join an Organic Food Buying Club or an organic food Co-Op: A food cooperative or a buying club are a great way to get the organic produce you want on the cheap. Local co-ops typically works by gathering people who all want to take advantage of bulk buys as well as sharing the cost and savings.  Then the co-op is responsible for contacting local farms, distributors, or other sources to get the best prices on bulk orders and order accordingly for the entire group. After the produce is delivered, it’s divided up equally amongst the members. The best website to find food co-ops near you is Weston A. Price Foundation Local Chapters that only lists active co-ops.

4- Buy organic food directly from the farm: If you have more time or you are not living too far away from an organic farm, go visit the farmers and their farms yourself. You can directly check with them the quality of what you buy — either organic vegetables or organic meats. It is perhaps not the best option to save money, however, going directly to the farm can give you some great discounts! Go on Eat Wild Farm Directory to find local farmers that offer a variety of meats or on Local Harvest for organic vegetables.

5- Grow Your Own Organic Vegetable Garden: The cheapest way for getting healthy, fresh, organic vegetables and fruits is to start your own kitchen garden. It’s a great option to get extremely fresh foods on the cheap while spending time outside and working in your garden with your family. Even the first Lady Michelle Obama started a garden at the White House in 2009, so why not you?

Thanks to these options, you can now avoid paying a premium for organic produce and easily find cheap organic foods in the way you prefer that is most convenient for you and your family.

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