Green Vibrance

Green Vibrance

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How to Go Organic/GMO-Free on a Budget

If you’re committed to providing your family with organically grown/produced foods, but worry about the higher price tag compared to conventional items, take heart. The cost of USDA certified organic foods will eventually come down. Meanwhile, there are clever ways to save along the way. For example:

Buy local

Many communities have nearby farms selling organic foods for a fraction of the cost of those found in upscale markets. You can obtain fresh, reasonably priced fruits, veggies, eggs, nuts, honey, etc. at the local farmer’s market, but can save even more by going directly to the farm if you have growers in your area, or working with a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

Invest where it matters most

By now you may be familiar with the “Dirty Dozen,” a list created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) targeting produce with the highest levels of pesticide residues. The list includes: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines (imported), grapes (imported), red bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries (domestic), lettuce, and kale/collard greens. It’s been estimated that going organic with these 12 items, pesticide exposure can be reduced by up to 80%.

Save where it makes sense

Along with the Dirty Dozen, the EWG also categorized produce items with the least amount of chemical pesticide contamination. This “Clean Fifteen” consists of: onions, corn, pineapple, avocado, asparagus, peas, mango, eggplant, cantaloupe (domestic), kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, and mushrooms. You may be glad to know that in addition, cucumbers, tomatoes, bananas, broccoli, and winter squash rank among the least contaminated options.

Target bulk items

Buying organic items in bulk is a brilliant savings strategy and “greener” too. Stores like Raley's and many web sites offer inexpensive bulk organic items. For everything from beans and legumes, to whole grains and cereal, to nuts and seeds, flour, coffee, and more, visit: Another great resource is: which offers 2000 discounted organic foods online including pasta, nuts, fruit, beans, flour, and more. For herbs, spices, seasonings, teas, and personal care items, check out:

Seek sales & use coupons

A very smart way to save on organic foods is simply to zero in on sale items first, even if they weren’t on your list. Great chance to expand your horizons! Also, organic produce in season will nearly always cost less than out-of-season/specialty versions. Check your market’s weekly circular/newsletter for bargains, and maximize online coupon web sites like And definitely sign up for newsletters that will send you coupons/promotions on organic food.

Like much of life, healthy, organic eating is a journey, and it needs to fit your budget. Ideally, these tips will help you gain greater access to cleaner, safer food. You and your family deserve it!

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