Budgeting Your Organic Dollars

There are two piles of apples in the produce section of my market. The first, at $2 per pound, are grown conventionally. The other pile, at twice the price, have been grown organically. Which apples should I buy?

Every time I go to the market, I have to make the decision whether or not to buy organic. If my food budget was unlimited, it would be easy. Organic farming is better for the planet. It’s better for the field workers. And it’s better for the consumer. But organic food is also more expensive. Given that our family is on a strict food allowance, I need some sort of criteria to help me decide when to spend extra and when to buy the cheapest available.

Happily, a bit of searching came up with a list of commonly purchased food items, and their average pesticide load when grown by conventional farmers. You can find it at the Environmental Working Group’s website.

Seeing that apples score among the highest produce items for pesticide load, I’ll definitely spring for the organic ones. Onions and peas, however, are traditionally grown without a lot of spraying, so I’ll stick to the cheapest ones I can find.

I think I’ll print out this list and stick it in my wallet for my next trip to the market.

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