What is organic food?
In general, organic food is the food which in produced without the use of artificial chemical aids and methods like insecticides, pesticides or genetic engineering. Before World War II, there was no concept of insecticides and pesticides and all crops were organic. It was only afterward that farmers started using the new synthetic pesticides and insecticides to minimize pest attack on their crops. They became quite popular as it was far more convenient than using traditional methods. Currently, organic foods comprise of less than 1% of the world’s crop.
Eating organic foods on a budget
Organic foods are much more expensive than the ones grown conventionally. This is mainly due to the following reasons:
- Limited supply – increased demand.
- Organic farming is labor intensive thus the higher cost.
- After harvest, handling of relatively small quantities of organic foods results in higher costs because of the separate treatment of organic and conventional produce, especially for processing and transportation.
Due to the high cost of organically produced foods, it is often hard for a middle-class person to afford them. However, there are certain ways by which you can enjoy organic food and save money at the same time.
- Knowing your requirements:
Even though it may sound hectic, planning your meals for the week and listing down all the required ingredients will help you in shopping for the exact items in the right amount. Also, make a note of the eating trends at your home like which are the most favorite foods. It may be worth the money to buy organic on food that is the favorites. This will not only enable you to stick to a budget but will also result in less wasted food.
- Buying in bulk:
Most stores offer a discount on foods that are bought in bulk. So, to stay on a budget, it’s advisable to do a monthly shopping of certain items that can stay fresh for a longer period of time like grains and beans etc. Frozen and canned items are also suitable to be bought in bulk or you can simply buy fresh foods in bulk and preserve them by freezing at home. Either way, it can help you save money.
- Buying seasonal produce:
Most fruits and vegetables are seasonal, which means they can only grow in a specific season. Buying foods according to their seasons can not only be cheaper, but it also tastes better. You can easily look up online for help regarding which produce is currently in season.
- The dirty dozen:
The dirty dozen is a list of 12 fruits and vegetables which contain the highest amount of pesticide residue according to the non-profit Environmental Working Group. Sticking to always buying organic on these items and conditional on other items can help you stay on a budget. The dirty dozen consist of the following items:
- Sweet bell peppers
- The clean 15:
The clean 15 is a list of fruits and vegetables which contain the least amount of pesticide residue according to the non-profit Environmental Working Group. Choosing not to buy organic on these items will help you save money.The clean 15 consists of the following items:
- Sweet corns
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Honeydew Melon
- Buying generic and using coupons:
Most stores have their own generic organic brands of food products. Buying them will save some money for you. Moreover, using coupons can help you greatly in saving money over a long period of time.