I have been aware for a number of years now of how commercial fruits and veggies have gotten bigger, brighter, and more uniform in shape, but more dull in taste and nutritional content. But that does not change the fact that until commercial ag subsidies and organic ag penalties are reconciled, it is much cheaper in the supermarket (and far cheaper than the farmer’s market) to buy regular ol’ fruits and veggies.
I highly value accessibility of sustainable lifestyles for everyone, not just the middle and upper pay grades. Eating organic means buying organic which means spending more money on the grocery bill each week (unless you’re growing your own fruits and veggies, which begins a different kind of conversation). Until we can all grow all of our own food (once again, limitations and issues of accessibility), we’re stuck buying it.
I try to live frugally and within my budget while developing alternative lifestyle strategies that offer low-tech, cheap solutions that are more widely accessible. For a long time this meant buying the cheapest fruits and veggies I could find – commercial ag fruits and veggies. And since this was exclusively what I bought, the knowledge that these foods might be tastier and healthier if they were organically produced was not quite enough to push me over the edge given the financial constraints. Then a friend offered me an organic gala apple for the ride home after a visit – and I typically eat around 12 apples a week. It. was. amazing. I could not believe how delicious it was!
Even with this experience, it took me a week or two to wrap my head around the increase expense of buying all organic. So I started small – my next shopping trip I replaced 1 bag of organic gala apples and 1 bunch of organic bananas from my list of commercial ag fruits. I ate one of my organic bananas that day and had the same wondrous experience as my apple experience. And then it was decided – I had the side by side taste comparison and the organic fruit just tasted more vibrant and more full of life.
Now that I’d decided I wanted to switch over fully to organic, I had to make some sacrifices. I don’t have much luxury income so I made a comprehensive budget and had to make some cuts in other places to compensate for my increased grocery budget. And for me, it’s worth it. Maybe it’s not for you, and that’s okay. Maybe there just isn’t any flexibility in your budget to make cuts to accommodate the increased bill, and that’s okay too. Perhaps the accessible strategy is to slowly start growing some of your own food using sustainable methods. A window sill or tiny patch of yard is all it takes to begin this process. This in itself can still be a challenging strategy as most of us today were not taught cultural knowledge about plants, and far fewer of us were taught sustainable growing strategies for food. If you’d like to learn more about growing your own food or other lifestyle modification strategies for greater sustainability, feel free to contact me and set up a free consultation or dive into your own research!