Here are five simple ways to go organic without busting your budget:
1. Grow your own – Have a small space in the back yard that you can call your own? How about a balcony or a sunny window? Every gardener will tell you that the more space she has, the more she will grow, but gardens don’t necessarily require a lot of space. More people are growing their tomatoes and strawberries vertically which lends wonderfully to balconies. A dwarf fruit tree could even grow on a porch or balcony. If a sunny window is all you have, growing some salad greens is will within reach, and can save more money than you’d guess. The more you’re able to grow, the more money you’re going to save. Who needs an organic certification when you grew it yourself?
2. Join a CSA – Community Share Agriculture connects local farmers with consumers. Usually the consumer pays for a “share” of the farm’s production. The consumer might buy in on a seasonal basis (usually) or pay for a share only when required. Many people might think CSA’s are expensive but if you receive an amount of food every week, you’ll be more likely to work your menus around that food and only buy the additional ingredients required.
3. Focus on the important foods – Not all foods are created equal. Some absorb pesticides more easily than others, some require more pesticides in order to produce the crop required. So if you have to choose, buy the fruits and vegetables that benefit the greatest amount from being grown organically.
4. Shop at Farmer’s Markets – Farmer’s markets ideally should sell better food, for less money. The food is fresher because the farm is near the market, which means it could be picked that morning and in your fridge that afternoon. And because the food doesn’t have to travel from all over the world (hello tomatoes from Holland!) the cost of the food, from both a dollar and environmental perspective, is less.
5. Trade with neighbors – Maybe you have a lemon tree and you have one neighbor with an orange tree and another with a persimmon tree. Ask your neighbors if they use pesticides or grow their tree organically. If your lucky, they’re like us: too lazy to deal with spraying things on their trees! Arrange a swap of produce. If you don’t have produce to swap, ask if they can spare some. Most people will gladly give their fruit away. How many people do you know who use all of their lemons? You can only make so much lemonade, you know?