Local and Organic on a Budget

Liz McMann
Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op

It isn’t easy to balance a commitment to local, organic and natural foods with a tight grocery budget. Americans have become accustomed to cheap food, rather than food that is a good value, meaning rich in nutrients, beneficial to the environment and supportive of a local food economy.

Here are some tips to keep the price tag low on high quality foods:

  • Buy in bulk. This is one of the simplest changes you can make for reducing food cost and unnecessary packaging. Compare Wholesome Sweeteners brand of certified organic, fair trade evaporated cane juice at Mississippi Market: the Co-op is able to sell the bulk variety for $1.49 per pound, while the packaged variety is $2.99 per pound! Bring your own container to be extra eco-friendly!
  • Invest more time preparing less processed foods. Something as simple as cooking your own bulk organic black beans can make a big difference. It only takes 14¢ worth of dry organic black beans to yield ½ cup serving of cooked beans. The same amount of canned organic beans can cost 60¢!
  • Take a few minutes to soak dry beans in the morning and they’ll be ready to cook by dinner time. Drain, rinse, cover with water and cook until tender. If time is a concern, invest in a pressure cooker and you’ll be able to enjoy wholesome, organic beans in just minutes!
  • Use all the food you buy! Most of us throw away (or compost) much of the food we buy. Prevent food waste by using a refrigerator message board to list perishable foods and leftovers that need to be eaten. Use wilted vegetables to make your own vegetable broth and turn less-than-ideal fruits into your own organic jam for a fraction of the cost of store-bought!
Read Up

The Green Kitchen Handbook by Annie Berthold-Bond. HarperPerennial 1997.

Act Locally

Free “Co-op on a Budget” classes
Mississippi Market Co-op
651-310-9499 / 651-690-0507
Two locations, Saint Paul, MN

Presto Pressure Cookers and Canners
Eau Claire, WI

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