Pinching Pennies in the Organic Aisle

August 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

Now I know a lot of our readers like to eat organic and local as often as possible.  There are many benefits  from improved health to supporting your local economy.  However, it is no surprise that going organic and local does come at a price- in fact, usually the price is about 20% to 100% more than conventional foods.  Have no fear though, there are some tips to go organic and not break the bank.

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A recent article from Vegetarian times gives 10 great tips for shopping organic on the cheap- check out the September Vegetarian Times for the full article.  Below are some tips from the EnAct team.

*Don’t Over Buy– Try to plan your meals and only buy what you need. The average American throws away $1,200 worth of food every year. If you do end up with extra food, try to freeze it before it goes bad.
*Make Use of Leftovers– Try to use up as much of the vegetable as possible. Broccoli stems can be used in soups as can corn cobs. Take extra part of fruits and veggies you don’t eat and keep them in the freezer to use for smoothies.
*Pickle and Can– Use these summertime months as an opportunity to gather up food and then save it for the wintertime. In Madison, MACSAC has canning classes as well as Whole Foods.

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*Farmer Market Bargaining– Try going to farmers markets toward the end of the day and bargaining.  Most of the time you can get great deals!
*Share– This is especially important for all you renters with roommates.  Try to share food so that you don’t overlap and then end up tossing more food.
*Grow Your Own– Try planting a small garden or even some herbs in the windowsill- you won’t have to buy parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary and basil all summer long.
*Travel to the international aisle– Many international foods are already organic, natural and healthy. Try out new spices and foods to liven up your routine.
*Shop the outside of the Grocery Store– This is a trick I learned from food journalist Mark Bittman.  It is healthier and cheaper if you avoid the center aisles while at the grocery store.  You will stay away from processed foods and expensive pre-packaged food.
*Coupons!– This is a great way to get your money’s worth.  Look for deals while at the grocery store, on the shelf’s and in coupon booklets.  Also Whole Foods has its own coupon website.  Find it here.

And if you are really into the movement you can dumpster dive for food!  I know it may sound strange but there is a movement in a few cities to dumpster dive next to grocery stores and deli’s to look for food that is past its expiration date but still good- and it is free.  You can check out this article about dumpster diving at Trader Joes from Grist.

Good Luck and Be Green!

Anne Nardi, EnAct Program Manager


Entry filed under: food, organic, other, saving money, sustainability.

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