Eating Organic/Locally on a Budget

by Marcy on January 27, 2008 · 0 comments

eating locally on a budget

Eating Locally on a Budget

Eating locally on a budget is something that can seem daunting.

I grew up in a very rural area, and I can remember my mom sending me to our large garden before dinner to grab an onion, potatoes or whatever else she needed for dinner that night. We also had apple and cherry trees, and a grape arbor, and we loved to pick fresh fruit off of them when we were outside playing. What we didn’t grow ourselves, my uncles supplied from their large gardens. We ate beef and pork butchered from a local farm, and got our eggs from local farmers as well.

I have memories of my grandma and mom canning, freezing corn, making grape juice and jelly etc… and of our cellar being stocked full (believe it or not, this was in the early 80’s.). Granted, as I got older and life became more hectic, my parents gave up our garden and we didn’t can as much as we used to. But we still knew where most of our food was coming from.

I can remember when I went to college and started grocery shopping on my own, how freaked out I was at having to buy beef and jelly at the grocery. I had never had to do that before and it unsettled me (mostly the beef). Eventually, I grew accustomed to it, and for years paid little attention to where my food was coming from or what it cost (I just needed to get in the store and get out). About 4 years ago, one of my coworkers began to turn me on to the thought of buying organic, and so I started purchasing a few organic products (eggs, milk and some cheese).

After my oldest child was born, my interest in buying organic and/or local foods grew. At the same time, my grocery budget got smaller. And so I decided that I would focus on giving Gracie as much organic food as I could. I breast fed, and bought organic baby food and snacks. When she transitioned to table food, I focused on organic dairy, organic fresh fruit (with the exception of fruit that can be peeled) and organic eggs.

Now I am trying to figure out how to increase the amount of organic foods we eat, while staying within my reduced grocery budget. I think that I want to first focus on switching to organic dairy for all of us (not just our kids) and to organic beef. (We currently buy 1/4 of a beef from a local farmer every year, but his farm isn’t organic.)

I found this post which talks about saving money on organic foods. I am also thinking about joining a co op this year as we don’t currently live in a place where we can have our own garden. I found this site which seems to have lots of good info about co ops and local farms.

What are your thoughts? Do you or anyone you know have any experience with co ops? If you eat organic, how do you save? Do you have favorite natural foods stores that you shop at, or do you prefer the local grocery?

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