Do you like the sound of living an organic lifestyle?

For most people, that probably means trying to eat organic food in their diet as much as possible – but it’s expensive, right? And what about when you eat out? Or have a houseful of hungry teenagers?

As the parents of five children (now all grown up and moved away), we well remember the after school munch-fests where entire loaves of bread would disappear in a single sitting.

But once you’re switched on to organics, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that organic farming is better for the environment, better for the farmers who grow your food, and better for your health.

So then you feel guilty about not being able to feed your family organic food all the time … it can turn into a self-destructive cycle.

Turns out, organic food is NOT always more expensive – it totally depends where, and when you buy it.

One of the reasons we teach organic fruit growing is because we we feel very strongly that organic food should NOT feel like a luxury!

In fact, we reckon that access to an abundance and variety of safe, nutrient-rich food should be your birthright.

A basket of organic vegies from our garden
A basket of organic vegies from our garden

So here’s five ways to live a more organic lifestyle without having to take out a loan to do it:

  1. Grow your own – obviously, this is our ‘raison d’etre, so it’s always going to be our number one. Even if you live in an apartment with a balcony, you can easily grow herbs and salad greens in polystyrene boxes, or a fruit tree in a pot. Or get a plot at a local community garden, and if you can’t find one, get in touch with your local council and start one.
  2. Buy organic the affordable way, by getting it directly from farmers. The more hands produce goes through, the more expensive it becomes along the way. There’s a few easy ways to do this:
    1. CSA’s – this stands for Community Supported Agriculture, which is a way to connect directly with your farmers. There’s an excellent explanation of it (plus lots of other resources) on the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance website. AFSA do excellent work supporting small-scale regenerative and organic farmers, so jump on their mailing list.
    2. Accredited farmers markets – here in Victoria we have the very excellent Victorian Farmers Markets Association keeping an eye on markets to make sure you really are buying food directly from the person who grew it. Join their list to get regular updates on markets near you. In other states, when you visit markets, ask the stallholders if they grew the produce themselves!
  3. Buy in season – many farmers offer special prices when they have gluts. Look out for them, join as many mailing lists as possible to hear about them, and snap up the bargains when you can.
  4. Learn how to preserve – once you’ve grabbed a bargain, eat and share as much as you can, and then preserve the rest. Before refrigeration and shipping out of season produce half way around the world became “normal”, bottling, drying, fermenting, freezing, pickling and making preserves was the only way to make sure your family would get fed in winter. They’re simple techniques, they don’t need to take a long time, and they have a massive impact on your food budget.
  5. Don’t throw food away – buy only as much as you need, and if you’re not going to use it, make sure you preserve it somehow (see #4).

Of course the first step is committing, but you don’t have to do it all at once.

Every small decision you make to include a bit more organic produce in your diet makes a difference, to your health, to the farmers who grew your food, and to the planet.