If the high cost of organic food keeps you from eating the way you’d like, consider joining a food coop.
As I explain here, these cooperative grocery stores and buying clubs are not in business to make a profit. As a result, organic food at coops can often be had for the same low price as conventionally produced food at regular markets. Heirloom produce, free-range eggs and grass-fed meat are also available for less.
Coop prices may be even better than prices at the farmer’s market because coops buy wholesale in bulk.
Of course, the savings don’t come to you absolutely free. Coop members usually have some kind of work requirement (their free labor lowers costs further) and may have to pay a joining fee or refundable “investment.” At the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn, where I belong, members pay both (a $25 fee and a $100 investment which members get back when they leave). But the money is quickly recouped if you shop there regularly, as I do.
The savings you get will depend on your coop and the kinds of food you typically buy. For me, they average a quarter to a third off what I would pay elsewhere. I call that a great deal for local, healthy, ethical and sustainable food and couldn’t be more pleased that I joined.
Visit This Green Life to read about my experience with the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn.