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Buying Green Food on a Budget

One of the most basic things you can do for the environment is to buy foods that are produced in environmentally sound ways. Unfortunately, this can be quite expensive and the foods can be hard to find.

The main reason this can seem to be so hard is that people often limit themselves to the grocery stores, where organic foods are priced significantly higher than other foods. But your local grocery store may not be the best choice.

Find a local farmer’s market. Not all of the food there will be organically produced, but you can talk to the people there and find out. As an added environmental benefit, most of the food will be locally grown.

You can also try a food co-op. Joining a co-op means that you will get whatever is grown at the time, rather than choosing what you want, but the produce will be organically and locally grown. These are not available in all communities, but are well worth looking into.

Another solution if you have the room, is to grow some of your own. The wonderful thing about having your own garden is that you choose exactly what goes into it. It’s also a great way to teach children about where food comes from. And of course it is a nice bit of exercise.

You may also be able to find a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in your area. You can learn more about these programs at http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml and search for ones in your area.

Finding good, organically produced meats is generally more difficult, especially if you don’t want to pay too much extra. Some CSA programs do offer meat, but many will be strictly produce, and perhaps eggs.

One of the solutions is to cut back on meats. If you can eat vegetarian a couple times a week or even just once a week, you can save quite a bit on meat, which can make buying the better stuff less painful. Going all vegetarian isn’t for everyone, but being partially vegetarian is a very realistic goal.

You can also join a buying club or try buying in bulk on your own. These can get you great discounts on the foods you need. You will want to pay close attention to what you are actually paying to ensure that you are getting the best possible prices.

In some areas, going organic and/or local is easier than it is in other areas. I live in California, where all kinds of organic produce is available. Other states it is much harder and much more expensive.

Choosing more environmentally friendly food options is better for you, your family and the environment. Sometimes it can even be sufficiently friendly to the budget that you start running out of excuses to not go organic.

Technorati Tags: organic food, organic produce, locally grown, food co-ops, community supported agriculture

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