Now that I have you all discouraged about the demise of the food industry, I am here today to encourage you with simple and healthy options for your family while staying on a budget!
My last blog entry was to encourage you to stop taking labels or any food at face value, be an educated consumer, and try to eat locally. I hear the groans already: local food is great, but it's too expensive. It is just easier going to Wal Mart and buy everything all at once. Well, I have some options for you that might surprise you!
Pick which one sounds best to you:
A. buy the same groceries you are buying now at the grocery store, but switch to organic versions, adding upwards of 30% a week on your grocery bill.
B. drive 100 miles a week to different farms and pick up a few things at each one, wasting time and fuel. C. Join a co-op or buying club where either the work is shared among the people, or one or two families do the work and coordinating with the farmers, and you just pick up once a week!
The latter is how I run my co-op in GA. It is so easy for people in my area to just email me their order, and come every Thursday to pick it up. And many of these co-ops around provide almost an entire grocery list of items. I know for me personally, I go to the grocery about once per month to supplement with a few things, and to buy other household items.
OK, the convenience might be simpler than you think, but what about the cost?
In my experience, there is a shift in where your money goes rather than actually spending more. Yes, the actual cost per ounce is slightly higher in organic food farmed in a sustainable fashion. More of your grocery budget will go to each piece of food you buy, however, when you aren't going to the store, you aren't bombarded with BOGO's and convenience items that you simply don't need but probably buy anyway. When I go to the store, I always buy things that I didn't plan on. The deal was just too good to pass up! And sometimes, it is a good deal and worth it, but think about how much you probably spend extra in a month on sugary treats, processed snacks, individually wrapped convenience items, ice cream, etc. If 15-20% of your grocery bill comes from items you don't need, or convenience items that save you time like cheese sticks and gogurt, your health would be much better if you put that 15-20% into eating whole foods grown right in your hometown! And added bonus: with buying locally comes the benefit of knowing your farmer and what they use on their crops and livestock, no middle man (even a co-op or buying club middle man is much less of a cost than a store), and far less fuel used, which brings the costs down over buying lower quality organic items at the store.
But Anna, I looked and I can't find a local buying club in my area!
I didn't have a local buying club in my area when I moved to Cumming, so I started one! If you aren't quite ready for that, try this: get a few like-minded friends together and place a bulk grass fed beef order. Calling up a farmer and asking what they can do for you is so easy, and they are always happy to help. http://www.eatwild.com/ is a great resource for information on pasture-raised animals, but also a great source for finding farmers in your area. You might find that a little buying power from a few friends can get you a great savings for minimal work, and you can easily expand to buying other items locally in bulk, saving you more money. Just as an example, we buy grass fed dairy from a local farmer for $5.00/gallon. At the store, milk that is organic, but not necessarily pasture raised, is $5.89 or more plus tax!!! Adding up that savings over time is signicant, and you will feel so good that potato chips and diet soda (which is horrible for you, buy the way) is not even missed.
Don't miss my next blog that will take your savings farther than you thought it could go!