Organic on the Cheap

Most people are aware of the direct health, environmental, and economic benefits that come along with buying organic foods. But it’s hard to pay in some instances up to double the amount for organic fruits, vegetables and dried goods, when you compare the prices to conventionally grown produce/products. That’s why we made this cheat sheet for investing in organic, when you have a limited budget.

1) Buy in bulk.

Buying online and in bulk sizes is the way to go for organic nuts, seeds, teas and trail mixes. You can try a number of websites, we recommend www.omfoods.com! But if purchasing online isn’t your thing, Costco was named the top seller of organic foods for the year of 2015. So make room in your pantry and put those mason jars to use! Remember you can freeze most bulk goods to keep them fresh for longer periods of time.

2) Go in on orders with family & friends.

Okay so this is more of an add-on to buying in bulk. If you don’t live with a big family, or you don’t entertain a lot, it can be hard to put all of those organic goods to use! (Not to mention a pain to store all of it!) So one way to fix this issue is to go in on purchases with neighbours, co workers, friends or family. That way you’re still getting a killer deal, and you’re not personally responsible for consuming 10lbs of nuts and seeds!

3) Buy in season.

It might seem like a no brainer, but it’s important to remember. Don’t buy organic pineapple in January! Here’s a really great infographic on what produce is in season at what time of year.

Buying in season is the best for saving money, ensuring your produce has the best overall tastes and getting the maximum amount of nutrients.

4) Start off with what you can afford.

Let’s face it, life is expensive and everything adds up. So if you find your grocery budget pretty stiff, start off small. Have you heard of the dirty dozen and the clean 15? EWG (The Environmental Working Group)’s guides show you which conventionally grown fruits and veggies on average, have the highest levels of pesticides. Those should be your first organic substitutes! And the clean 15 have the lowest levels. 

5) Buy things when they’re on sale.

Believe it or not but organic goods do go on sale. So maybe it’s worth it to hold off on yams until they’re on sale, or wait for organic nuts to be price reduced. Sometimes you’ll need ingredients that day or night for dinner or lunch the next day. However if you can afford to wait, that’s our advice.

6) Grow your own.

Herbs are very easy to grow indoors, and they cost a fortune at the grocery store PLUS you don’t even get that much! Growing basil, mint, parsley and cilantro are some super versatile options to start off with. Local garden centers will often sell pre-potted starting kits for herbs, and this will be the quickest way to grow them. You can also buy the seeds online if you’d like. Indoor herb “gardens” are the best option if you live in a small space, or if you face extremely hot/cold climates for most of the year.  

If you have a bit more of an outdoor garden space, you can try growing lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, green beans and zucchini. These plants are beginner friendly, require basically no extra care. Just make sure they’re getting adequate sunlight and water!

Tip: Make sure to research what breeds of plants are the easiest to grow. For example cherry tomatoes are recommended for beginner gardeners.

7) Monthly/weekly subscription boxes.

Ah yes, the ever so convenient subscription box. Nowadays you can get a nifty box of almost anything to arrive on a regular basis, right at your doorstep. This includes premium organic produce. The benefits include the amenity of having the produce delivered straight to your door, with most boxes you will notice a satisfying price due to the company buying in bulk and due to the brand, you might be able to tailor your deliveries to provide you with the amount and types of produce you and your family use the most. This is a primarily a valuable choice for anyone who lives in a small town that has little to no access to fresh organic produce. Just make sure the shipping charges aren’t overwhelming. You will have to do some research and find out which company is the best for you and your family. Nonetheless there are in most cases endless options. Uraaw.ca has a list of delivery programs for every province in Canada!

Try these out and let us know how they worked for you! Do you have any tips we missed? Let us know in the comment section below! Happy shopping and growing 🙂

Sources:

http://www.tastefulgarden.com/store/pc/Herb-Gardening-for-Beginners-d19.htm

Kristen Suzanne’s Raw Vegan Desserts

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/vegetable-gardening-for-beginners.htm