Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Shopping Trolley.

I love shopping day. I get so swept up in the colour and flavour of fresh fruits and vegetables, which make up the bulk of what I buy these days, and love the challenge of shopping more consciously every fortnight. I get asked a lot about the cost of buying organically, and whether my food bill has sky-rocketed.

Well, here's the deal. My food bill is 75% of what it was before I started on my journey of local/organic/close to the source eating. It is true that often, organic products cost more than non-organic. This is not always the case, though. Also, when you eat natural foods that have not been processed and over-packaged, you are not paying for the processing and packaging. My food bill has gone down largely because my trolley does not contain pre-prepared, convenient foods. You pay for convenience. This includes jams, sauces, snacks, breads, yoghurts - things you can make at home, but that people often don't. As a society, we are time poor, this is true. We are also nutrient poor.

Here is a photo of what I would put into my trolley for a standard-ish fortnight. There are some things here, such as vinegars and bread mix, that would bump up my bill, but that would last me a good month to six weeks. The contents of this photo cost me $300. A more 'standard' fortnight, without these bigger items, would probably cost about $250 for the fortnight. We used to spend $400. Much of the fruit and vegetables is organic. It is ALL Western Australian grown. Most of it comes from within 200-odd kilometres. The flour is local, biodynamically grown. The meat is local, organic and free ranged. (Actually, the meat was bloody expensive. That bumped my bill up somewhat. I can't wait to be up North and shooting my own meat again.)

There are a lot of arguments against buying organic foods. The cost is the most common I come across - I shop for a family of four on a single social worker's income... this argument doesn't wash with me. Another is the science behind organics - this is a whole other post, but to my mind, it comes down to what we are prepared to put into our bodies. I would rather my children eat fruit that has not been sprayed with pesticides, or meat that has not been pumped with preservatives. I would rather know exactly what is going into their bodies - real, wholesome food, not a bundle of numbers on an ingredient list that reads like an algebra exam.

This is why I shop the way I shop.


  1. No beans? But beans are an Always food!

  2. So you don't go to the shops again for 2 weeks? That's impressive... we go every day! Need to do something about that... and need to grow some chickens...

  3. Love to see someone as excited about groceries as me! I love bringing life enriching food every fortnight.
    I also don't feel that my food bills have skyrocketed by buying organic on one income (except for meat). I just look at how healthy my family is and know what I'd rather spend my money on! To get around the meat we basically eat it less often and better quality. Somehow meat has become the main part of most meals, not the luxury it should be.
    Children lack the enzymes required to break down pesticides and additives until 7/8 y.o, so it's really important for young kids & preggies. Mind you, we still don't really know what the combined effect is of those pesticides on adults either.
    Love the blog Nic.

  4. Thanks, Rio, and considering many of the chemicals, preservatives and additives that come in contact with our food were not even in existence a generation ago, how WOULD we know the impact they may have on the body long term?

    And I totally agree regarding the meat - our diets have changed so dramatically, and I don't think we should be eating meat everyday. There are SO many reasons for this - 'Living The Good Life' and 'Animal Vegetable Miracle' go into this in heaps of detail.

    I figure if we have to pay such exhorbitant amounts for organic meat, then when we don't, the true cost of it has been felt elsewhere - whether it is in the treatment of the animal, the pillage of the land in raising intensive feedlot meat supplies or the effect it has on our bodies.


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