When people learn that we’re eating organic, free-range, ethically grown foods, they often comment that “eating that way is expensive.” As a way of dismissing the idea. Some say that they’d love to eat “like that” if they could afford to.
Truth. We can’t afford not to. I don’t think anyone can.
Weekly medical costs add up more.
The costs of organic broccoli look minuscule when compared to our family’s weekly medical costs; brought on by one of our children contracting a lifelong, life-threatening disease. Toxins in non-organic, processed food helped the disease into his body, exponentially, and we don’t want to help it along any more. For my own interests, I want to reach my old age full of good fuel. I’d rather not be a bucket of unhealthy rust.
But, I get it.
In 2017, Choice reported that 73% of Australians were concerned about their food and grocery costs. In 2019, I doubt the concern has decreased. I’d guess the priority placed on food cost has probably increased, throughout the developed world. For our family, the cost of living is a major concern.
It’s also true to say that the cost of dying is something we would perceive to be a greater loss.
The toxins we consume are killing us.
Many of these toxins are also hurting the planet. I’m not interested in being hurt by food, or hurting others by supporting unfair labour. I’m interested in working with the planet, not against. I want to be connected to my planet, and its nourishment. I want to heal my family through food, or at the very least, not allow toxins to wreak havoc on my family’s health any further.
I could write a listicle about how to afford organic food. It would say things like:
Buy direct from a supplier.
Go to local farmers’ markets and buy fresh from a grower whose practices you know.
Cook! Cut out the costs of processed foods by preparing meals from scratch, from whole foods.
Cut out the excess rubbish from your shopping list.
Keep chickens (we are).
Grow your own organic fruit and vegetables (we are).
I don’t think I need to write this list post. You can find it a thousand times online.
I will say that I cleansed my pantry, and swapped from non-organic to organic foods, one ingredient at a time. And I’ll swap from high cost to affordable organic foods one ingredient at a time, too.
Here is my first step in swapping to sustainably priced organic eating.
Here are the ten kilos of green banana flour that arrived on my doorstep today. Buying in bulk, direct from the grower, saved me $42 per kilo.
I ordered the flour directly from the grower, in Queensland. Previously, I’d been buying it first from health food stores (same grower, store-bought costs), and then from the supermarket who stock this grower’s flour. As I write this, the small 100-gram portions of green banana flour at the supermarket cost $6, or sometimes $5.50, on special. So, $60 per kilo, or $55 per kilo on special. My ten kilos of the same flour, direct from the same grower, cost $180— $18 per kilo, with free delivery because I purchased in bulk.
That’s $18 per kilo in bulk from the grower, compared to $60 per kilo in small portions, at the supermarket.
Better for me. Better for the grower.
Sure, $18 per kilo is still far more than the flours we used to buy. But the organic tag is not solely to blame there. Green banana flour is also grain-free. And our family have gone grain-free. I could have replaced our $1 per kilo wheat flour with a certified organic equivalent, for $4.50 per kilo. Maybe less if I bought in bulk. A little more cost to the weekly budget, a little less cost to our health, and a little less cost to the planet.
So, what is the real cost of buying organic?
We’ve been adding it up, and we estimate our weekly food cost has increased by a third to a half. A margin I’m sure we can reduce.
We now buy $8 bags of ethically grown, certified organic coffee, instead of the $3 bags of coffee we used to buy. Other certified organic purchases have less of a markup from their non-organic equivalents. Like anyone, we counter costs by buying on special. We will also follow suit with our green banana flour bulk buy, and get the costs of the good foods we buy, down.
But we won’t stop buying the good stuff.
The thing is, you get what you pay for. And sometimes, what you don’t pay for now, you’ll end up paying for later.
The cost of not eating organic is far greater than the cost of eating organic.
That’s the real discussion about the cost of buying toxin-free foods. With every synthetic fertiliser, pesticide and additive, we are one step further from nature. One step further from wellbeing. One step closer to losing our planet’s bees; our planet’s good health, and our own.
These losses are far more expensive than the cost of buying organic. The cost of losing your health is far more expensive than the few extra dollars a certified organic foodstuff costs to buy.
Take it from a mama who is now bearing both costs. Buying organic is my investment in my family’s connection to this beautiful earth, and its wholesome nourishment. No harm added.