Eating organic is better for you. But eating organic can cost you a pretty penny. Join us today for this interview with David Eson of Isidore Foods, who has been kind enough to let us in on how the food industry works, why eating organic is so important, and the best way to look at the cost/benefit ratio. He’s even got some expert tips on how to realistically cut costs that should hit a chord with all of my frugal friends!
We all know that eating organic is better for us. But why is it better for us?
Here are the top three reasons, in my mind, to eat organic. First, the number and types of pesticides used on produce are greatly reduced when eating organic. U.S. government organics law guarantees this. Consumers need to avoid food coming from large farms servicing the biggest regional and national supermarket chains.
Second, due to healthier soils, organic produce contains on average 50% more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other micro-nutrients than intensively farmed produce. Our bodies need these nutrients to function properly. Better farm soil improves our chances of getting them in our diets.
Finally, eating organic guarantees that your food is Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) free. Again, U.S. law guarantees this. This is especially important in meat consumption. Nearly all feed lot and intensively-raised meat is fattened on GMO feeds.
The cost of eating organic puts a lot of people off. What do you say to financial concerns?
This is a difficult question to answer because it is complicated. It is complicated because conventionally grown food from large farms outside of our region are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers to grow food.
We subsidize these farms through government programs that do the following – guarantee them a minimum price for their food, provide below market prices for water usage and rights as well as their usage of land, offer loans with lower than market interest rates, clean up the pollution they create and generate new business for them through trade missions and policy.
Its hard to wrap your head around all of that because we do not see or touch any of this.
To try simplify my answer, I will use my own family as an example. We have health coverage with a $12,000 family annual deductible. It costs us $428 per month.
If we had a plan with a lower annual family deductible, say $2,000, than we would pay nearly $800 per month.
As you can see, the savings difference is nearly $400. I would rather spend the difference on healthy food and stay out of the doctor’s office. This approach is working for my family of five.
The alternative is to spend more money on health insurance so I can spend less at each doctor’s visit after I meet my $2,000 deductible. Why do I want to spend my time at the doctor’s office so I can get the most out of my policy? That sounds crazy to me.
There are tons of ways to take short cuts with food prices, but most of them aren’t healthy. Do you have any real world ways to save on healthy or organic foods?
My family saves on healthy and organic food because we know when different types of foods are in season and we buy in bulk. Remember, nearly 85% of all food costs come from beyond the farm gate expenses – distribution, packaging, marketing, etc. If you buy directly from a farmer, you cut out a lot of these costs.
So a plan of action would be to determine what items you want to save on, find a regional farmer to buy them from and then determine the best way to preserve the extra bulk amounts you can not eat right away.
There are plenty of farmers’ markets and local food guides to help you find a farmer and many internet resources will help you determine the best way to preserve and store your items for use later.
As a kid, I was the youngest of 5 and lived on a farm. Our family garden was 2 acres. We picked, prepped and preserved nearly all of the produce that came out of our garden. Of course we ate a lot of it, but my parents had a second kitchen in our basement just for canning and freezing. Even now I can remember how good our garden produce tasted in the winter.
Remember, you pay for convenience but save money when you have the knowledge to do something yourself.
Thank you so much, David! This is all information our family will be implementing on our quest to lead healthier, wealthier lives. Readers, how do you approach your food? Do you put health before cost, price before product, or do your own gardening? How do you feel about the health care equation? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
David Eson grew up on a family farm in southwestern Ohio, and sold his first vegetables at the age of 13. He and his sister operated this enterprise for 6 years. David has been assisting farming families with distribution and market development since 1997. He has worked for the extension service and various non-governmental organizations, and now operates his own business, Isidore Foods LLC. Isidore Foods operates an Internet based business for marketing and selling local farm products. He currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife, Wendy, and their three children.