Cut Cost, Not Quality: How to Afford Better Food

If you and your family are trying to figure out how to afford better food, this guide will walk you through the steps — from buying locally to cooking your own food and beyond.

| December 2011/January 2012

There’s growing evidence shows that industrial food just ain’t what it oughta be. Lucky for us, the path to super-nutritious food at affordable prices offers many entry points. let us pilot you through the diverse options in this guide to shopping smart and eating better food.

Buy In Season

WHY? Like most goods and services, foods cost less when they’re abundant. Eat foods during their peak season for scaled-down price plus amped-up quality. Foods that get to you quickly lose less flavor and nutrients, and you can enjoy varieties of produce that can’t survive long-distance shipping. Buying in-season foods directly from farmers is the easiest way to save money on better food — especially at the end of market day, and especially if you’re willing to buy less-than-perfect items. Buying in season is also the best way to get good prices on more-expensive organic produce.

HOW? Arm yourself with strategies for eating fresh during any season with the comprehensive resources we’ve compiled for you on our website at How to Eat Seasonally.

WHAT’S NEXT? If you eat seasonally, it’s easier to ...

Buy Locally

WHY? When you spend $1 on supermarket food, not much of it goes to the actual producer. Some of your dollar goes to the person who grew it, while some goes to the person who picked it. Some goes to the companies who processed, packaged and transported it, and some to the firm that designed the packaging and advertising. Finally, some of your dollar ends up in the hands of the grocery store owner, and also in the hands of the store’s employees. The fewer middlemen, the less the seller will have to charge you.

HOW? Find farms, restaurants, co-ops, farmers markets and other great local-food resources on our website (see How to Find Local Food and Farmers). In addition, locally owned specialty shops can often help you find things that local farmers can’t grow, such as fresh-roasted coffee.

1/8/2012 7:17:23 PM

If you guy good quality grass-fed, grass-finished beef, you can buy the lower priced cuts, such as ground beef, and have the flavor of the higher-priced cuts. That's what I buy exclusively now from a local farmer for $5 a pound and I haven't missed steak at all.

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