Organics is a question of priorities to me: What we put in our bodies has such an important impact on our physical and mental fitness during the course of our development and lives. The harmful effects of refined food, pesticides and preservatives can no longer be ignored and we have to find ways to move away from those foods – for us and for our poor planet. It is expensive though, and with Sydney being an ex-y town as it is, I thought i’d list some tips, not all of which are location based. Feel free to add your city or town’s great places to save in the comments.
10 Ways to go organic
- Grow your own: Whether it’s an assortment of herbs or a full veggie patch, if you get yourself a green thumb the savings are enormous. Learn the pest fighting tips of organic gardening and reap the rewards of a tasty little crop. My mother in law keeps us well stocked in zucchini, squash and spinach several weeks of the year which we love, so maybe if you don’t have the space, find someone in your family or a friend who does, and work together to get it happening on some level! Kids love gardening too and it’s an awesome way to get them interested in veggies!
- Growers Markets: Buying direct from your farmers and butchers will often save you plenty. I adore Marrickville Markets in Sydney, on a Sunday. You get a brilliant sense of community and it’s actually very humbling. The family from picton that sell their chemical free produce there aren’t certified so it’s very, very affordable and beautiful produce to boot! For kiddies, it gets the message going early that “we know the people who produce our food and we appreciate them”. Every time we make an effort to take the focus off products and put it on produce instead, is a step in the right direction. If jumping straight in there freaks you out, just ‘visit’ and check it out. Do an experiment. See how you feel and let yourself get addicted!
- Buy in Bulk: If you have good storage containers, why buy 200g when you can buy 1kg? If it’s something you use a lot and the organic version is a pinch (like for me coconut oil, flour or almonds), you can save many dollars by buying big on items that don’t spoil!
- Co-ops and bulk stores – So many co-ops are popping up all over the place and you can save so much by shopping there. Wonderful also is that you have to bring your own jars and tubs for things, so the packaging is minimised and we save the world from a few more bits of plastic – Always a good thing! Feel free to share your favourites wherever you live!
- Shop in season only. Organic strawberries in season will be $5 AUD a punnet and $13-14 out of season. Eating in season makes fruit and veg exciting and keeps it special AND saves you money!
- More loyalty programs: Find your organic loyalty programs around you. Google works a charm! Use them. You will save.
- Cook more: When you get good at cooking, you become more resourceful and things go further in different incarnations. The bones of your roast chook become a flavourful stock to use for a whole new dish the next day or later from the freezer. As a cook you can also discover the joys of secondary cuts such as shoulder and neck. A couple of lamb necks are around $12 together, and slow cooked in water and stock veggies, the result 10 hours later is superb! As you hopefully know by now, cooking doesn’t have to be time consuming either. A 10 minute prep in the morning and into a low oven or slow cooker, is an instant ready dinner for the evening when you get home! Check out my lamb shoulder recipe here.
- Get into community savings near you. I’m in Sydney and my butcher of choice is GRUB up on New South Head Road, Sydney. He often does a grass fed cow share program, where you save loads buying in bulk.
- Meal plan: People throw so much food out it’s crazy! Put a value to that waste and plan a bit better to minimize it, then inject that capital back into your organic food budget!
- Have a few non-negotiables to start with. The most heavily sprayed fruit & veg are apples, pears, all dark leafy greens, broccoli and the most anti-biotic fed animals tend to be cows that are fed grains, as grains make them sick. So as a start, maybe convert to this list. Once you’re used to organic broccoli, there is no going back. I cannot believe the difference now…
Oops there’s a last one! Buy less packets. A lot of people firstly swap all their non organic packet foods to organic packet snacks… Not only are they usually double the price, but products attract 10% GST and Produce is G.S.T FREE! There’s a 10% saving right there already!
Image coutresy of greenorganicdevotion.wordpress.com – so pretty!