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10 Sustainable Tips for Buying Organic on a Budget

10 Sustainable Tips for Buying Organic on a Budget

The human body is designed to consume natural foods, but due to our hectic lifestyles, we tend to eat rapidly prepared meals that are filled with preservatives, additives, and other artificial ingredients.

In addition, to increase food production and to meet the country’s food demand, farmers treat crops with chemical boosters or introduce growth hormones to livestock for human consumption.

All these synthetic chemicals are artificial ways to boost production, prolong shelf life, or hasten food production is bad for our health. To stay healthy, we need to shift back to eating natural, organic food and ensure that food wastes aren’t just carelessly thrown in the trash. For example, did you know that you need to dispose of cooking oil right away?

This article discusses 10 practical ways of buying organic food as well as tips for food waste disposal, as well.

How to Buy Organic Food

Do you want to shift to organic and do your body a favor? Check out these practical tips to maximize your money and take advantage of the health benefits offered by organic products.

Grow your own food

Before the advent of supermarkets and specialty stores, our ancestors planted crops in their gardens for their table. There’s no reason why you can’t do that today. If you have a small plot, you can actually grow your own food. In fact, there are so many modern ways – hydroponics, rooftop gardening, vertical farming, grow box, and more. These methods allow you to grow crops anywhere and in any condition.

By growing your own food, you don’t have to buy a lot of produce in the supermarket. Potatoes, onions, spring onions, beans, and lettuce are just some of the easy-to-grow crops that you can plant in your own garden.

Buy crops in season

Purchase fruits and vegetables in season. The cost of production decreases when farmers who grow them harvest a huge abundance of crops in a given season. Crops that are grown in season are usually harvested in local farms, thus making bulk transportation and storage of these crops easier and cheaper. The lowered cost is then passed onto you, the consumer.

But enjoying cheaper produce isn’t just the only reason why you should buy fruits, vegetables, root crops, and herbs in season. You also enjoy fresher, healthier, more eco-friendly, and tastier produce.

Purchase in a farmers’ market

The closer you are to the source, the more affordable the produce. If you want cheaper fruits and vegetables, head to the farmer’s market. Their crops are harvested from their farm and transported straight to the market. Without middlemen, the prices aren’t unreasonably marked up, making purchasing organic products easier on your wallet.

On the other hand, produce sold in supermarkets have already been marked up by middlemen, supermarket owners, and other businessmen.

If possible, buy at the source

If there’s a farm near your place, check if you can buy directly from the farm. You get healthy, organic produce at incredibly low prices. Think about it: there’s nothing fresher than food being brought directly at the source. And you can also help local farmers directly by buying from them.

Head for the bulk bins

When buying grains, seeds, and spices, don’t purchase pre-packaged products. You’re paying extra for the packaging. Sometimes, there’s less of the product inside the package than the advertised weight, amount, or volume.

Instead, look for the bulk bin. Take a store-provided bag (or bring your own), and fill up the bag as much as you want. Since you’re not paying an additional amount for the packaging, you often buy them in bulk with less cost per pound.

Purchase an hour before closing time

To empty their inventory for the day, some supermarkets sell fruits, vegetables, and other perishables at discounted prices, often as big as 50% off, by the end of the day. Find out what time your local supermarket closes and if they offer discounted prices near their closing time.

Sell used cooking oil

Don’t dispose of cooking oil you used to cook your organic food. Rather, put in a bottle or sealed container. When filled up, you can sell the container of used cooking oil to the following

  • Biodiesel manufacturers. 

The process used oil to be made into environment-friendly fuel

  • Livestock raisers. 

They use various greases for creating fertilizers and livestock feed

  • Local recyclers. 

They sell used cooking oil to other buyers in bulk

Limit your meat and dairy consumption

Protein, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 are traditionally found in meat and dairy products. However, many fruits, vegetables, and other organic food are also rich in these nutrients. Talk to your dietician about what kind of produce you eat to have adequate amounts of these nutrients. Since farm produce is often cheaper than meat and dairy products, you can save a lot of money.

Plan your meals

To avoid impulse buying on organic produce, create a list of fruits, vegetables, and crops in season, and plan out meals based on those ingredients. Don’t forget to take account of any special diet or specific nutritional requirements that you or your family needs. In that way, you can buy just the right amount of the right produce, saving you a lot of money.

Be knowledgeable about the labels

Certain organic products are packed in bottles, jars, and boxes with labels. To ensure these are safe, healthy, and organic, you need to look at the label. First, they should have the USDA Organic seal from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Next, check the product if it has any of these labels. If it does, it means that it meets USDA organic standards

  • Plant foods – the produce was grown without synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and harmful pesticides.
  • Animal products – livestock or marine animals used in this product were raised to meet standard welfare and health standards. The animals were fed with 100% organic food, weren’t given growth hormones or antibiotics, and have ample roaming space outdoors.
  • Processed foods – most of the ingredients (9%) in the food item comes from organic animal or plant products.

Note that there are other labels (around 150, according to Greener Choices) with organic-product related claims. Be on the lookout for these labels:

  • Cage-Free
  • Certified Humane
  • Naturally Grown
  • Free Range
  • Fair Trade
  • All-Natural

Go Organic

Do you want to switch to organic food? If so, do it! Your body will thank you for it.  By following the tips above, you can save money when buying organic food, ensure that you’re eating natural food, and improve you and your family’s health.

Author’s BIO

Lillian Connors is a Senior Content Developer at ACT-ENVIRO, with years of experience in developing content.

Throughout her career, she always looked for ways to contribute to the environment in recycling efforts, while providing valuable information with her written articles.

She’s deeply into green practices, cherishing the notion that sustainability not only makes us far less dependent on others regarding how we live and do business but also contributes to our planet being a better place to live on. When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book and sip on an occasional appletini.

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