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How to eat organically on a budget

Eating organic has its many benefits. It is widely accepted that organic produce is farmed free from synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms. Consumption of pesticide-contaminated food is thought to have an accumulative toxic build-up effect and has been shown to impact the body, as some studies have revealed it a contributor to some cancers, hormonal disruption, neurological damage, and issue on skin, eyes, and lungs¹. While pesticide residue is regulated in Australia, organic foods are generally considered healthier and fresher because of the lack of pesticides, additive, antibiotics, hormones, or other chemicals². Research has also revealed slight differences in nutrient levels such as higher vitamin C, selenium, and lower nitrate levels². Eating organic also support sustainability as organic farming has an excellent use for natural resources through practices such as physical weed control and use of animal and green manure².

Many perceive eating organic as expensive. However, there are many ways to eat organic and still save money. Below are some tips to eat organically on a budget.

Be aware of the “Dirty Dozen” and “clean 15.”

Be aware of the fruits and vegetables that are highest and lowest in pesticides, also referred to as the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15”. Write them down and keep the list in your shopping bag. The dirty dozen should be bought in organic, while the clean 15 are safe to purchase non-organic.

Dirty Dozen:

- Celery

- Peaches

- Strawberries

- Apples

- Blueberries

- Nectarines

- Sweet bell peppers

- Spinach, kale, collard greens

- Cherries

- Potatoes

- Grapes

- Lettuce

Clean 15:

- Onions

- Avocados

- Sweet corn

- Pineapple

- Sweet peas

- Asparagus

- Kiwifruit

- Cabbage

- Eggplant

- Cantaloupe

- Watermelon

- Grapefruit

- Sweet potatoes

Buy in bulk

Try buying your organic produce all at once and in bulk at a local organic grocer to save money in the long run. Freeze things such as bananas and grapes to increase their shelf life. Some bulk wholefood stored in Geelong/Surfcoast include:

- Organic Larder- 167 Malop St, Geelong.

- Geelong Fresh foods- 171 Pakington St, Newtown.

- Surfcoast wholefoods- 41 Bristol Rd, Torquay.

Buy seasonal

Right now in Australian spring, produce in season includes broccoli, cabbage, leeks, lemons, oranges, kiwi fruits, and mangos. Being aware of current produce in season and buying those foods will save you money as they are generally cheaper due to their increased harvest and are easier to source.

Grow your own

If you have space, get your green thumb out and build your organic veggie and herb garden. This way you know exactly what is going into them and there is no chance of pesticide contamination. A good place to start is heading to your local nursery or Bunnings warehouse to buy some seeds such as spinach, peas, onions, carrots, silver beet, etc.

1. Gilbert, S.G. (2004). A small dose of toxicology: The health effects of common chemicals. CRP Press.

2. Better Health Channel 2013, Organic food. State of Victoria, accessed: 5th October, Received from:

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