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The dirty dozen
If you can only buy some organic fruit and veg, the US Environmental Working Group found these fruit and vegetables are more likely to have a high pesticide content, so it’s worth focussing on these first.
Grow a bountiful balcony
A packet of seeds only costs a few dollars, and with a bit of know-how can be grown even in small spaces. Even better, collect seeds from your favourite organic produce and start growing your own fresh organic food for virtually no cost.
Spot store brands
Many supermarkets have introduced their own brand lines of organic products, particularly in packaged goods like oils and canned foods, which are often cheaper than imported lines.
Focus on fresh
Do the maths and you’ll no doubt find it cheaper to buy the organic ingredients to make your own loaf of bread than buying an organic ready-made loaf.
Buy in bulk
There’s no doubt that buying in bulk is cheaper. Make sure you store dried goods properly in jars or cooked foods in the freezer until you need it. If you buy fruit or veg in bulk you could also try your hand at preserving.
Buy fresh from the farm
Become a regular at your local farmer’s markets. Buying in season means fresher produce, and because they’re in plentiful supply it tends to bring down their price (this applies for seasonal organic elsewhere too). To chance upon even cheaper prices, head to the markets just before they close to pick up last minute
deals. Check out where farmer’s markets are near you at www.farmersmarket.org.au.
Many cooperatives allow you to pop in and grab your own box of food or can arrange for a box of fresh organic produce to be delivered to your door. You may be asked to do a few volunteer shifts to help out with the co-op, however many also don’t. Check out www.communityfoods.com.au and www.foodconnect.com.au.
Meet your meat
CHOICE found that with the quality of organic meat you get what you pay for. The easiest way to reduce your costs on organic meat is to watch your intake. Make the most out of the meat you do use so there’s as little waste as possible. One chicken can make up to five family meals: after making a roast chook with vegies one night, use the leftovers to make chicken sandwiches for lunch, pesto chicken pasta for dinner, and then boil down the bones into a stock for risottos and soups.
Chicken before the egg
If your household gets through a fair few eggs, consider building a coop of recycled timbers and housing a few chooks at home (fed with organic scraps) for your own eggs fresh from the yard.
Buy organic as often as you can afford – the higher the demand, the sooner and quicker prices go down.
To share your own tips on saving money on organic, and to pick up a few more, head to the