Feeding Our Future | alive
Nowadays it is easier than ever to access organic food. Thanks to growing consumer demand and supply, Canadians spend more than $ 5 billion annually on organic food and beverages, up a whopping 57 percent over the past five years.
But many still find it difficult to eat organic on a budget – or prepare a meal that the whole family will enjoy! It’s time to prove that anyone on a budget can eat well by favoring large, freezer-friendly recipes, smart menu planning, and organic whole foods that are priced no astronomically higher than traditional products.
The trick is to choose your ingredients wisely. Often, half a liter of organic cherry tomatoes, a pack of chicken thighs or a pack of certified organic biscuits can be considerably more expensive than conventional counterparts.
However, you usually don’t see a huge price difference between organic and traditional lentils or chickpeas. The same applies to other legumes as well as to cereals and root vegetables. Organic lettuce and farmed mushrooms are often good deals.
If you eat less meat and choose ground beef or stew-friendly cuts, buying organic meat also becomes more affordable. And as more urban greenhouses open, and production and competition increase, more locally grown and pesticide-free products, including peppers and herbs, become available at fair prices.
There are many reasons to eat organically, from reduced pesticide exposure for consumers and farm workers to improved soil conditions, biodiversity, treatment of animals, and often taste. According to the Rodale Institute (a non-profit organic organization), organic farming uses 45 percent less energy and emits 40 percent less CO2 than conventional farming.
While three main types of neonicotinoids – insecticides that have been linked to the death of bees and butterflies – are still allowed in Canada, organic farming does not allow chemical forms of pest control.
However, according to Statistics Canada, most Canadians choose organic products for health reasons. As more and more studies show that organic foods are healthier than traditional foods and lead to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, organic products are especially important for children as they provide a strong nutritional basis for their lives.
While it may be difficult to calculate the environmental impact of purchasing an organic California-grown strawberry versus a locally grown conventional strawberry, or remembering which conventional fruits and vegetables have the lowest pesticide content, our purchasing decisions do make a difference. Buying organic products sends a message that over time translates into locally grown organic products, lower prices, and improved accessibility for all.
In the meantime, these five organic, healthy, and kid-friendly recipes will convince you that kids and adults can already eat well, eat organically, and consume consciously – without breaking the bank.