The organic lifestyle on a budget may be as simple as a mindset tweak–leading to new shopping sources, less waste, and better ways of doing. Look for our new Organic On A Budget icon–the yellow piggy bank–throughout our website for sources, ideas, and products that will help you Go Organic while saving money.
By Bonnie Raindrop, Grassroots Coordinator, Smart on Pesticides Coalition
Curiosity and letting go of habit put me on the path to an organic life.
Just a few years ago, I was focusing on “buying local” for most of my food purchases and feeling pretty good about it. But then, I began to realize that buying local–with no assurance of pesticide-free organic growing practices–actually means that my spending dollars are going towards increasing the local pesticide pollution load in the Chesapeake region–that’s not good!
I’ve been learning a lot, as a Facebook friend with Maryland Pesticide Education Network (MPEN). As a result of their daily pesticide news posts, I have become increasingly alarmed, with good reasons. The cost of our “conventional” chemically-intensive farming model is the one that is way too expensive. We might pay less at the checkout, but we will pay exponentially greater consequences in medical costs, in damage to children, in contaminated drinking water, air and soil–and in climate change. The science is clear. With this in mind, paying a little more at the checkout is the best investment I can make with my income. Now I’m voting with my wallet and my fork! If more and more of us make this shift, we ALL–you, our children and the Bay ecosystem–will be healthier for it!
Once I made the decision to buy organic, new opportunities to save emerged. My first step, replacing the “Dirty Dozen,” the worst chemically contaminated foods, with organic. I discovered a side benefit: because the outside vegetable peelings were no longer contaminated, I began throwing all vegetable waste into a ziplock freezer bag. Once a month, I dump them all into a stock pot and brew up the most delicious homemade vegetable broth and freeze containers to use all month. I had been spending, on average, $3 to buy a quart of stock. Now I’m making organic stock for free and saving $20 a month! That extra $20 can now go toward modest premiums on my organic purchases.
Using tips in the article below, and instead of doing my shopping at the farmer’s market and neighborhood grocery, I could expand to a few more locations and meet 80% of my needs organically at a good price. My new go-tos: MOM’s Organic Market, Aldi’s, the Farmers Market and BJ’s Wholesale Club. Finding deals on organic food has become a fun and rewarding game I play. A little creative menu planning and keeping a running list is all it takes for me to get 80% of my groceries organic, for very close to the same weekly budget that I was spending before. Voila!
You can do it, too, and GoOrganicMd.org will help you get there. May your hunting and gathering be fruitful!
Vani shares her top money-saving ideas–let the savings begin!
Quick fact: Americans waste an estimated 1,400 calories of food per person EVERY SINGLE DAY.