Organic food is worth every penny
What led to the creation of I AM EARTH was my first vegetable garden. Friend and mentor John Carroll (Prana Produce pictured) helped me build my own no-dig vegetable garden. I was astounded about the difference in flavor, vibrancy, and quality of homegrown produce compared to commercially grown.
Currently, I don’t have the time or space available for a vegetable garden. Fortunately, on the Mornington Peninsula, there are organic farmers that I can buy direct from. This does cost me a bit more than commercially grown vegetables and herbs but I think it is worth every penny. Many people have expressed some cynicism about organic food because of its higher cost. I am writing this article to express why I buy organic and some strategies you can use to ensure the benefits outweigh the costs.
Why the cost?
There are a few reasons organic food can cost the consumer more but basically it is the scale of the farm and the work required. Organic farms are usually of a smaller scale so they don’t produce enough volume to lower prices and they generally have higher labor costs. Also, organic farms produce food that is nutrient-dense but not large so getting paid by weight puts the Organic Farm at a disadvantage.
Quality over quantity
Making the commitment to eat organic food may save you money in the long run. When you eat nutrient-dense food you tend to not need to eat as much. Considering how much I used to spend on alcohol, coffee, and rubbish food full of preservatives, eating organics can be part of an overall commitment/investment in your health long term. Also, I found that organic vegetables tend to last longer so I am not wasting money on food that spoils too quickly. When buying local/organic meat I do pay more but eat it far less often.
Grow a container garden
If like me you have limited space to start a garden, consider growing out of containers. Selecting the right crops can give you some savings on your food bill. Consider high yield greens & herbs like Italian parsley, mint, perpetual spinach, wild rocket, and sorrel. If you have some beds to plant in consider perennial herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
Use the freezer
For years I turned my nose up at using the freezer as I wanted all my food to be fresh as possible. I have since realized that rather than let vegetables go off it is better to do some batch cooking and to freeze it. Also if you grow too many of a crop like beans or chili, for example, you can freeze them so they don't go to waste.
Join a community garden
Some community vegetable gardens allow you to take produce from the garden in exchange for your labor. This can also be great to get ideas for your own garden and learn from gardeners with more experience.
Commit to a CSA
CSA stands for community-supported agriculture. It is simply a farm share program between us, a local farm, and the community of CSA members who invest in the farm for the year’s growing months and in return receive their share of the farm’s harvest. This can be a great way to commit you to a healthier lifestyle and have fresh local food that is in season.
Whether you believe organic food is better for you or not one thing you can be sure of it is definitely better for the environment. Paying a little extra for organic is an investment in the future of having productive land for our food security that doesn’t harm our natural environment. Sadly, commercial agriculture uses chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides which are extremely damaging to our environment and when the land will no longer yield crops, more bushland is cleared to start the process again. In contrast, organic farming improves soil and improves yield over time.
For me being able to grow food and connect with the living things I am growing has been very rewarding. When I can’t grow my own I am happy to pay a farmer that has taken the same care I would to grow vibrant, dynamic food. If your food budget is a concern consider making changes to your eating habits and lifestyle to prioritize buying from a local organic farmer. In my experience, the benefits to your health and well being and the environment far outweigh the costs.
I AM EARTH proudly sources from organic farms for all our products. Read about Prana Produce.