When we talked a bit about reducing food-related waste, one commenter mentioned that her main frustration was over produce packaging, especially organic produce. She also mentioned that she’s a student and receives state support, so the grocery store feels like her only option when it comes to food shopping, because prices at the organic grocery shops are too high.
I can definitely sympathize with a tight food budget, and I’m sure this commenter and I are not alone. Money is tight for a lot of people, and when that happens healthy food seems like one of the first things to go. These are a few tips that have helped me keep our pantry stocked with organic foods, even when times are tough.
Find a Local CSA
Community supported agriculture programs sometimes have a high price up front, but when you break it down you’re paying far less each week for organic produce. Some CSAs will even allow you to work on the farm in exchange for a reduced fee. Local Harvest is a great place to start, if you don’t know how to find a CSA in your area.
Visit the Farmer’s Market
You can also find farmers markets on Local Harvest, and this is another great way to score cheap, unpackaged organic produce. In fact, more and more farmers markets are accepting food stamps, making local, organic produce more accessible.
When you buy directly from a farmer, you’re cutting out all of those costs associated with shipping the produce and running a grocery store, and the prices for those veggies will reflect that. You can also try popping in close to the end of the day. The selection won’t be as good, but many times farmers will drop prices at the end of the day to get rid of remaining stock.
>>Next: Going beyond the grocery store.
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by ianmalcm
Even if you have a small space, it’s possible to grow at least some of your own food. Vertical gardening is a great way to maximize food-growing space. If you’re looking for small space gardening inspiration, I highly recommend Urban Organic Gardener. Mike’s been growing his own food for years: first on his tiny NY fire escape and now on his LA balcony.
Maximize What You Have
A lot of the food we buy ends up wasted, and that’s essentially lost money. Try buying less at a time to minimize waste. If eating leftovers isn’t your favorite thing, look at some ways to revamp leftover food to make it last and ensure that nothing goes to waste. To stretch that food budget even further, you can even cook with food scraps!
Have you guys found other ways to make the most of a slim food budget? Share away in the comments!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by UCFThoughts