Eating healthy does not have to be expensive but does require some planning if you want to save money. Organic food is one way to ensure that food does not contain pesticides or harmful chemicals. However, it is untrue that organic has to break a budget or cost more than conventional produce. Today, the trend is growing and major food chains such as Wal-Mart and Costco are carrying organic foods. Supermarkets now stock organic foods, fruits, and vegetables. In addition, those receiving food stamps are no longer limited to unhealthy food choices.
Generic Organic Brands
Many food chains and buying clubs have included organic food products in their stores. Most often, these foods are under the store brand or a generic label. Comparatively, they are cheaper than well known or higher priced organic brands sold in specialty markets. The added benefit for families receiving food stamps is the convenience of shopping at local supermarkets and buying clubs while eating organic food.
Sites like Mambo Sprouts offer online and in-store coupons specifically for consumers who want to save money on buying organic food. The Collingswood, New Jersey based company has been around since 1996 and serves to fill the gap by providing educational material and offering money saving coupons.
It is considerably cheaper to buy in bulk and requires consolidating shopping with other families. The added bonus of saving money on food is gasoline savings because one trip replaces several individual trips made by each family. In addition, there may be a significant discount because of the large quantity purchased. Find several families from church or the neighborhood, make a list of common food items, and pool resources to save money on organic food bulk purchases.
A good source for organic food is a co-op. One of its main goals is to provide the community with affordable, nutritious, healthy food. Unlike food chains and supermarkets, members are the co-op owners and not corporate executives or separate entities of large conglomerates. Members/owners work together for the good of the co-op and make rules that reflect the best interest of the co-op as a whole. Many co-ops allow its members to use food stamps in order to pay for their purchases. If there is not a co-op nearby, use an online co-op directory to find one by state.
Local Farms and CSAs
In most states, there are farmers selling fresh organic produce to local communities. Locally grown produce does not increase the use of fuel in order to transport fruits and vegetables from another state. Additionally, it is cheaper to buy produce grown locally and in season. An online directory can help to find local farms by state.
A Community Supported Agricultural or CSA program is a group of individuals pledging their support to a community farm operation. The collective group of individuals in the community legally or spiritually owns the farm. Expenses for the farm and the farmer’s salary are set aside to cover these operating costs. The growers and consumers of the farm share in the risks and rewards of growing the crops. Individuals who invested in the farm receive payment in the form of crops harvested throughout the growing season. Another source of income comes from community sales of the crops that helps defray the operating costs of the farm. Check the USDA’s online publications database for a list of CSAs by state, city, or zip code.
If traveling to a farm is too far, farmers markets are an alternative. Several local farmers share space to sell their harvested fruits and vegetables. Typically, these markets open during early morning hours on certain days of the week. For instance, a market may only open on the weekends. In contrast, there are markets that open seven days a week. These markets make it easier to eat organic food and buy locally. The organization promoting buying and eating locally grown produce is Local Harvest and it maintains an online directory list of locations.
Although it takes a little effort, finding organic food that is affordable need not be out of the realm for families on a budget. Two messages-eat organic and buy local.
About the Author
Sarah Nash writes for Organic Baby Nook a free online publisher that provides reviews on organic baby bedding sets.
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