How-to: Eating Organically
By CG Lifestyles & People Editor Sarah DeCarlo
Eating organically can be a great challenge, especially for those of us with limited budgets. However, it has a large positive impact on communities through its support of local businesses and farmers, and it allows people to consume fewer chemically-altered foods. Below are a few suggestions on how to fulfill this goal.
1. Choose local restaurants
Although the food is sometimes slightly more expensive, eating at local venues supports the community and is usually the best way to get the freshest ingredients. As this has become a huge trend, there are tons of easy ways to search for local restaurants (yes, there are several apps for that). For reviews of local restaurants in Athens, reference the College Green Locavore’s Guide.
2. Maintain a balanced budget
Buying organic foods can put a stress on your wallet, so many people choose to purchase only certain items organically. When deciding for which food you will seek organic alternatives, take the availability of that food into account. For instance, strawberries are seasonal items that are harvested from June to August, and they will be more expensive outside of these months. Another way to save money is to compare prices of different organic foods across vendors, as some may have sales when others don’t.
3. Shop at a farmer’s market
Vendors in markets such as the Athens Farmer’s Market offer everything from locally grown produce and homemade baked goods to freshly butchered meats, all at reasonable costs. Shoppers can also enjoy the music of local artists while they peruse the selections. This market is open twice weekly from April to December, and once a week during the winter, when it moves indoors.
4. Start a garden
The best way to ensure that you’re eating the freshest food is to grow it yourself! Homeowners and renters can easily dedicate a small area of their yard to a garden. Living in a dorm or apartment can limit these options, but it is still possible to plant certain seeds, such as herbs, indoors. Many cities also offer a variety of community gardens where residents can each have their own section to plant what they wish. If your growing space is limited, coordinate with friends and neighbors to have a produce exchange.
5. Visit chain stores’ organic sections
Most grocery stores now feature products, mainly produce, that are organic. These foods are typically all grouped in one shared section for easy browsing and are available every day of the week, offering a convenience that other providers can’t match. Athens’ Kroger and Walmart stores each have organic sections that offer both local and national brands, so glance through during your next supermarket trip.