Organic on a Budget

Garden Bounty
It’s no secret that organic foods are more expensive than their conventionally-grown counterparts. If you’re anything like me, you’d love to buy everything organic in as close to its natural state as possible. But there are times when this isn’t possible, especially as more and more families are facing unemployment and job layoffs.

If you want to reap the benefits of eating naturally-grown food but are running low on money, purchase organic varieties of only the most contaminated food, not everything on your grocery list. Known as the “Dirty Dozen” by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), these items contain the highest amounts of chemical residues: peaches, strawberries, apples, bell peppers, nectarines, celery, cherries, potatoes, pears, imported grapes, lettuce and spinach.

Conversely, the foods with the least risk of chemical residue are onions, asparagus, avocado, frozen corn, papaya, pineapples, mango, frozen sweet peas, cabbage, bananas, kiwi fruit and broccoli. You’re probably safe buying conventional versions of these foods.

If you’re able to buy everything organic, go for it. Organic food is much better for the environment in every possible way. During the summer you might be able to afford buying all organic produce via your local farmers market or community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. CSAs are farms that allow shareholders to buy a portion of their produce. Shareholders pick up their produce weekly and receive a much better deal than buying their veggies in stores. Some CSAs even have programs to assist low-income families.

Don’t let the prices get you down. There are plenty of ways to purchase organic food while having money to spare.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Sbocaj

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About Sarah Valek

Sarah Valek is a freelance writer based in Cleveland, Ohio. She has written numerous articles on alternative parenting and the challenges of raising a vegan child in a meat-eating world. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing and art from Ithaca College. She spends her days drinking soy lattes and taking her son bird-watching.