It’s no secret that organic food often costs more than conventional food (the non-organic food in most grocery stores). The main reason, one supposes, is that conventional food takes shortcuts — such as the use of pesticides, herbicides, "factory farming" (where animals are crammed together without benefit of outdoor pastures) and other end runs around what would be normal production of food. These shortcuts mean that conventional food is often cheaper to produce, and so we can extrapolate that it’s not that organic food is "more expensive" but that conventional food is cheaper to produce, particularly in bulk, and thus cheaper on the supermarket shelves. That doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
Nonetheless, money is money, and it’s good to save money where you can — certainly not by turning to buy non-organic food, but by finding out where you can obtain organic foods at a better cost, if possible.
One place we’ve found is local Farmers Markets. These are local markets where farmers sell directly to the public. There Certified Farmers’ Markets, where the farmers who are allowed to offer their products have been certified to be local to the area. These can be bustling affairs — just ask the individual farmers whether their produce is organic, and they’ll tell you. You’ll find the prices are probably equal to, if not cheaper, than your local upscale organic market, if you have one. (See our article about the Valencia Farmers Market; the Ventura County Farmers Markets; and the USDA list of farmers markets.)
Grow your own?
We’re not quite ready to start growing our own food, but you may be. Even a little patch of vegetables is a good place to start. Just start with organic seeds, and see how it goes.
Of course, one of the problems with all this is that one can’t always find true organic food in the usual venues. We hope that, in the future, more farmers turn to producing organic food. While I can’t imagine that being a farmer is the easiest occupation in the world, and I understand that qualifying for the USDA Organic certification also isn’t so easy, I can still assume that, with time, more farmers will see that they can sell their products at better prices — providing more organic food for more of us and a better lifestyle for themselves.
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