Our partner Sara is the creative energy behind the Go Gingham blog. During Earth Month, she’s sharing with us some of the ways that her family has found to live well, recycle more and waste less. And since food is a big expenditure for everyone — especially for families — you know we asked her about eating organic on a budget! Sara makes her grocery cart count by setting priorities, knowing prices and connecting…with her neighbors and with the Earth.
We’d like to buy all organic food, but our family budget has other plans. So we look for the sweet spot where good for you, good for the environment and good for the pocketbook come together. Here’s how we feed our family well and eat organic on a budget:
- We cook at home. Our priority is wholesome and organic foods, so we rarely eat out.
- We choose consciously. We follow the the Environmental Working Group's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ to decide which fruits and vegetables to buy organic only.
- We eat organic produce in season. What’s in season is plentiful and usually less expensive.
- We grow our own food. We’re lucky to have great garden space, but we use containers to great advantage, too. Moving pots and building raised beds in sunny locations means less grass to water and more food to eat. I also tuck spinach and Swiss chard plants in with my potted flowers!
- We know prices. Knowing which store has the best prices on the organic foods helps me save when I shop. For example, I’ve found that my local bag-your-own grocery store has the best prices on organic foods in their bulk bin section.
- Eat meat less often. Organic, primarily plant-based meals cost less and they’re healthier, too. We use homemade chicken broth — made from chicken bones and veggie scraps — for flavor. It smells and tastes incredible!
- Kick the can. Dried beans, soaked and cooked, are part of our daily diet. Soaking, cooking and freezing our own means less waste, too, because there’s no can.
- We’re “free-gatarians.” When a neighbor calls to say, “I’ve got a bumper crop of tomatoes,” we say, “Bring it on over!” Then I say thank you by bringing them a jar of marinara sauce.
Eating organic on a budget isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort. We’re eating healthier, wasting less — and we’re connected to our neighbors through delicious sharing!
Sara Tetreault is the creator of Go Gingham - Stylishly Frugal Living, a great source of inspiring tips, tricks and techniques to save money, resources and time. Find her on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.