I often struggle with the difference between being organic or being Green. To me, an organic lifestyle can sometimes seem wasteful. Trading in perfectly usable bedding, clothes, towels, kitchen gadgetry, etc. for items more sustainable is an honorable endeavor, but what of the perfectly good items being replaced? And, is trading in a traditional package of processed cookies for a package of organic cookies really any healthier for ones family? Don't get me wrong; I think the positive effect organic farming has on the environment is a good thing. It just sometimes seem that the Organic Lifestyle can get to be a little over the top, if not completely overwhelming.
Green, on the other hand, focuses more on reusing items already in the stream of commerce-- not re-inventing the wheel, so to speak. Green definitely speaks to the frugal side of me. To me, it's about simplifying for the greater good.
But, again, comes the question of healthfulness. Is it better to buy a local apple or an organic one? Obviously, the best answer is both, but that's not always easy to achieve. Speaking of apples, I searched high and low for a local, organic, "pick-your-own" apple orchard this past fall with poor results. For me, this means buying the organic ones from Argentina, rather than a chemically treated, local apple, as I choose to put the health of my family first. On a similar vein, I sometimes sacrifice the humane treatment of animals to buy organic milk, eggs or meat that is less expensive than the grass-fed variety. I just can't always afford to make all the best choices for man and beast alike!
Here are some tips I've found for overcoming the high cost of organic food:
1. If you have room for a freezer (energy star, if possible!) I highly recommend buying a side of organic meat directly from a local farmer. By doing so, we are able to save approx. $3-4 dollars per pound of meat.
2. Grow your own! If you don't have room for a full-scale veggie garden, plant a few containers of tomatoes, peppers, or lettuces. You just can't beat the fresh from the garden taste.
3. Coupons. Lots of the organic brands have coupons available on their websites, and many grocery stores now have an organic/natural section in their sales fliers.
4. Club memberships. Costco has many choices on organic food at reasonable prices. I can buy 2 lbs. of organic butter for the price of one at the normal grocery store. You, of course, have to shop enough to balance the cost of the membership-- try going together with some friends to cut costs even more!
As organic becomes ever more popular, being both Green and Organic will become increasingly more achievable. In the meantime, make the best choices you can for your family.