Friday 3 September 2010

Organic Food doesn't need to cost more

The theme for Organic Fortnight this year is Choosing Organic Every Day. According to the Organic Trade Board, 68% of people polled said that they would buy more organic produce if it were cheaper. Interestingly though the board has produced information that shows that organic staples can be cheaper than the non-organic alternative -so for the staples at least you can choose organic every day without it costing too much.

Some organic products are more expensive just because of the cost of organic inputs such as feed and the costs of certification, inspection and more labour intensive processes. This premium passes to the farmer and guarantees:

* that your food is free from pesticide residues or other unpleasant chemical additives

* that any animal involved in production has lived a good life to high animal welfare standards and

* you are likely to be supporting small scale agriculture rather than an impersonal industrial conglomerate (though this can't be guaranteed these days as industrial conglomerates are seeing the potential in organics).

Some small scale local producers find the costs of certification to be too much. Some of these producers may produce food to organic standards without the certificate to prove it. If you live near one of these producers it is worth checking them out and getting to know them. If you can learn about your organic farm on first hand terms and can see their standards for yourself, perhaps the certificate isn't so important?

If you focus on buying fresh organic fruit and vegetables and minimise the amount of meat or ready meals you buy then you will find it doesn't cost so much. Another thing to think about is that the more people who buy organic, the cheaper it will become, just due to market forces.

Excellent article on Organic Foodee - Why is Organic Food more expensive?

For Organic Fortnight

To find out what's happening in Scotland during Organic Fortnight, visit this page.

Posts from other participating bloggers:

You can have a look behind the scenes of the campaign on the Information Officer's Support Blog here.

Caroline Gill talks about the Eden Project and organic chocolate here.

Gabrielle Bryden makes the connection between pesticides and autism here and shares a light hearted look at organic free range emus here.


Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Even when organics cost more, it's usually not a prohibitive amount. Unless one is having to count every penny to get by, the slightly higher cost of some organics is worth it.

Lisa said...

I think it's a matter of where you can find organics. The cheaper food stores in the poorer neighborhoods just don't seem to carry much in the way of organic. High-end grocery stores, like Whole Foods comes to mind first, you can get anything organic in a variety of brands, but anything at Whole Foods is overpriced.

Lucy said...

And some of the things it's really better to get organic, like carrots because you don't have to peel them to be safe, are so cheap anyway that even if the organic ones are twice as much they still aren't expensive. Things like rice and seeds and lentils and flour too, which if you can get to a proper organic shop - which I don't often enough but know it's good to - you canoften get loose which offsets the cost a bit.

I also find that when things are in season, like tomatoes and courgettes recently, the organic ones are quite reasonable, so you get more aware of seasonality like that. Anyway, when people chuck out so much, buying a bit more carefully and so wasting less is no bad thing.

Crafty Green Poet said...

bunnygirl, that's true, for most things, certainly the staples

Lisa - very good point, we're definitely spoilt in Edinburgh in it being a small city with a high proportion of small organic friendly shops and good supermarkets too and even here if you live out of the centre its not easy.

Lucy - totally, and most organic campaigners nowadays do also stress the importance of local and seasonal food

The Bunns said...

I enjoyed reading the "behind the scenes" piece about the campaign.

As the line in "Phantom of the Opera" goes ... "These things don't JUST happen!"

RG said...

Sorry about the bunns - sometimes they just steal my voice!!! The rascals.

Anonymous said...

Great post. It is expensive, especially organic and free range meat and hard to get in places - but worth the effort and if people spent less money on junk food and over indulging then it mightn't be such a problem. Thanks for the links (I've done a poem too, just for fun).

Janice Thomson said...

In this strong meat-producing province organic is not always available and is always very expensive and isn't nearly as organic as toted - while pesticides may not be used fertilizers of questionable chemicals are used. I'm so glad I have my own garden!

Cathy said...

I think it is definitely worthwhile to buy organic whenever you can. I have heard it said that you should always buy organic carrots even if nothing else. I live in an area where there are a lot of wealthy people (not me I hasten to add)which adds to the cost of organic produce but also makes it much more freely available to buy. Swings and roundabouts really.

Rosaria Williams said...

Lucky me! I came from Willow's blog, intrigued by your name. Organic is probably the only salvation adjective we can trust.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Rabbits Guy - Anya used to do that to me sometimes, so don't worry about it...

Gabrielle - definitely - people never realise just how much they spend on the junk, I'll go and read your poem in a minute...

Janice - yes it depends on where you are, very true

Cathy - interesting balance there, I think organics are still seen as a luxury item by many so if you are in a wealthy area they will be easier to find

lakeviewer - thanks for visiting, I'll visit back soon!

Deb G said...

One way that I wrap my mind around the cost of organics is that it is better for me to have one organic, fair trade chocolate bar than the equal amount in cost of cheaper non organic chocolate. Same reasoning with meat and cheese.

Anonymous said...

Hi Juliet

I have posted my contribution to Organic Fortnight 2010 on my Real Food Lover blog.

I was at the Organic Food Festival yesterday and am also involved in a No Tesco campaign in my local area.

I explore the cost of an industrialised food system compared to local organic food...and a few other things beside.


Junexpress said...

Honestly its not in the cost but on the pleasure that the products could give. i always have an organic food delivered to our house because I'm always wanting fresh fruits before going bed..