Saturday, April 05, 2008

Affording organic veggies…

I have written recently about ways to save money on organic meat and on ways of convincing toddlers to eat organic fish, but I haven’t been able to think of many tips on affording organic veggies (which can be much more expensive than their conventional counterparts, although not always). Since there has been some demand for this topic, I have been wracking my brain on the subject… and this is what I have come up with…

Grow Your Own Organic Veggies!

When I was pregnant I was lucky enough to be working within walking distance of the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. I also had a bit of time on my hands (life before baby) and I’m a bit of a nerd, so I made a spreadsheet of the three different organic stalls at the market, what produce I regularly bought, and what their usual prices were (per kilo). I would often end up shopping from two or more different stalls to get everything I needed, but I got the best prices on my organic produce. It would take my whole lunch hour to do my shopping, which I then had to lug back to my office, store in the staff kitchen fridge, and then take home on the train… so it wasn’t exactly convenient, but it was good for the environment, good for my health, and more affordable than buying them all from an organic shop near my house.

Post-baby I have neither the time nor the inclination for making and using spreadsheets, and shopping in three different places at once… so I’m willing to pay a little more for one-stop-organic shopping. But what I am realizing more and more is that the cheapest, freshest, and most convenient organic produce comes from your own backyard (or front yard, porch, balcony, windowsill etc).

At the Sustainable Living Festival (thanks Mom for reminding me to go!) in February I was lucky enough to come across the kind souls at Permablitz, a Permaculture group, which teaches Intro to Permaculture Courses here in Melbourne. I am so glad that I connected with them, and was able to take their 2-day course this weekend at the Port Phillip EcoCentre in the St Kilda Botanic Gardens. It was a wonderful group of people (students and teachers) all passionate about growing their own food with whatever means they have available. This ranged from a country property to growing things mostly in pots in a small courtyard (me). I’m so excited about Permaculture (short for permanent (ie sustainable) agriculture) and growing my own organic food (maybe even chickens!!!) that I might have to start another blog just to talk about that!

In the meantime, if you are looking for a way to make organic food more affordable, don’t shy away from trying your (green) hand at growing your own… I’ll let you know how I go ☺

1 comment:

Lynn from said...

Hi Annie, I love what you are doing with your blog. Your sincere voice really comes through!

I used to think that growing veggies in the back yard made them organic. But did you know that they now sell organic plants, seedlings, and potting soil? Being a bit of a skeptic about these things, I'm not sure that this really buys you much. Seems to me if you can grow without synthetic pesticides and your backyard land was never farmed (hence not full of pesticide residues), you should have organic plants!

Some claims were made that with organic potting soil, you can re-use it over and over again from year to year. (Course I do that with regular sometimes too! :)

Are food prices going through the roof in Oz too?