Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The cost of "going organic"

Since Peter was born (almost seven months ago), we have overhauled our food habits and increased the grocery line on our budget. We had been spending $150/month for the two of us and now are up to $210/month. If you surf the web and look for how to eat organically, many sites will tell you that switching to organic food will save you money because you'll buy less junk food and fewer processed and individually packaged items. This is true only if you had negative shopping habits before you switched. Buying organic beef, soy milk, organic apples and granola cereal definitely costs more than boxed mac-n-cheese, "family packs" of ground beef, and whatever fruits were cheapest. To us, it has been worth the cost. We like to know that Peter is not ingesting all kinds of chemicals through my breastmilk. It is satisfying to know we are voting with our wallet to support organic farms and reduce the use of pesticides that inevitably end up in our drinking water. We enjoy shopping at the public market when the weather is nice, supporting local business and having a fun time people-watching, too! We buy Monks Bread, strengthening the local economy, getting healthy bread, and supporting the monastery. And although I love fast, sloppy, Mexican food from Taco Bell, we have switched to Chipotle when we crave food from south of the border. Responsible spending and consumption of resources is an essential part of stewardship. Are we changing the world? Well, every little bit helps.

From my husband: I'd add for those who may be thinking of switching that it "pays" to do your research. We still buy "regular" bananas, for example, because the peels keep enough of the chemicals out that you're not getting a great benefit from switching. Ideally, we'd go all natural, but since we don't have that kind of money, it's been nice to know which areas are more important to change our habits.

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