Ask the Readers: Do You Buy Organic Food?

By Ashley Jacobs on 8 January 2013 (Updated 15 January 2013) 122 comments
Photo: CIAT

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Eating healthy is important to your well-being and can also be beneficial to your wallet. Having a healthy diet can decrease health issues in the long run. As such, many people opt to eat organic foods! The health benefits can be great, but sometimes the price of organic food can steer people away from buying organic.

Do you buy organic food? Why or why not?

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Guest's picture
Jess

I try to buy organic with the dirty dozen produce, so apples, bell peppers, berries, etc. Also, when I can afford it, I do try and buy organic meats and dairy.

Guest's picture
Mary Happymommy

I don't buy organic because of the high cost.

Guest's picture

I don't buy organic. I cannot justify the added expense in our budget.

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Betty

I don't buy organic food. It's crazy expensive. I do shop for healthy food though. My basket is usually loaded with produce, beans, and grains!

Guest's picture
Tyler

I do not buy organic food. Mostly, I do not buy organic because the selection of organic foods are very small and not very high quality at my local stores. Also, since I live alone, a food co-op program would provide more than I could use.

Guest's picture
Christopher Sawyer

We do buy organic, but not exclusively. My wife has an elaborate system that determines which item she buys as organic. I believe she chooses items based on what is perceived to have had more exposure to pesticides and the like from research she has done.

Bonus: captcha eriveloc sawyer (if only my first name were eriveloc)

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Frank J

Not only do I buy organic foods, but also grass fed meats often. Keep your eyes open for sales, shop seasonally and smartly, and in the long run you won't spend too much more because of the health benefits and the fact you won't waste any of the foods.

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tracy

I try to buy the "dirty dozen" vegetables organic. I also buy organic milk and eggs.

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Chris

Yes, I buy organics for some things. I go by the Environmental Working Groups listing of what is the worst for us and buy those in organic. Aldi stores will have a lot of organic products this week so I will shopping there to reduce my costs. :)

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Kelly

There are certain foods I will only buy organic, like apples and peaches (from the "Dirty Dozen" list). Until we can afford for the majority of our food to be organic, I'm focusing on those with the biggest impact.

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Lani C

Yes. Fruits, vegges, milk, and when possible eggs and meat. :)

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KF

I try to eat organic when the budget allows. Any underground or thin skinned veggies are first priority.

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Christie

Not on a regular basis, but if the price is almost the same, I usually go for the organic. When the price is almost double what the regular is, I won't. A grocery budget can only stretch SO far.

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Cathie

I do. Mostly because I do not want to feed my 10 year old son pesticides, antibiotics and hormones.

Guest's picture
Carolyn Knoll

Yes, I have been buying and eating organic foods for 30 years or so. I realize organic foods are more expensive but I don't eat meat so that saves me money and I haven't eaten "fast" or "junk" food, i.e. McDonald's or Burger King for the same amount of years or even longer. Most importantly, I am saving money on healthcare. I am 65 years old and in perfect health. I also exercise so I believe doing both, eating right and exercising, is the reason I am in such excellent health.

Guest's picture
Cheapskate

I do buy organic - when the organic product is marked down on manager's special. My local Kroger store has a large organic and natural food section, but most of the food does not sell before the expiration dates. I keep an eye on that section of the store, and I often find soups, sauces, grains, milk, butter, eggs, and frozen entrees marked down for quick selling before they expire. The price is usually cheaper than non-organic items!

Guest's picture
Nancy

I do buy organic food, for three reasons. To support local farmers, to care for the environment, and to reduce the chemicals to which my family is exposed. However, I am also on a tight food budget, so not all the food I buy is organic. I belong to a Community Supported Agriculture program that delivers a box of organic fruits and vegetables to my doorstep every other week. Within my budget, I buy organic alternatives in the supermarket and at the farmer's market based on the Environmental Working Group's annual "dirty dozen list" of foods that have the greatest exposure to pesticides. Because I prepare almost all our food and seldom use processed or packaged foods, I save money and am able to afford some organic produce with my savings. However, my first priority is sticking closely to my weekly allotted food budget. Some organic is better than none, is my philosophy.

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Catherine Robinson

We not only buy organic, but we also buy local. Nearly all of our fruits and vegetables come from a CSA that offers regional produce year round. Our CSA also offers cheese, meats, and other products that we occasionally purchase, as our budget allows. The cost for the produce is quite a bit lower than it would be if we bought organic produce in a grocery store. We are committed to buying organic and local products because they are better for the environment, and because we don't ingest pesticides. Because we have a number of serious health conditions in our family, it seems important to do everything we can to reduce any health risks that might be caused by pesticides. For many reasons, we believe that buying local and organic is a very good investment for us.

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Guestcharles egger

i shop at Wheatsville food coop. they do business with many local small farms. These farms are organic and protect the soil which is our future for food production.

Guest's picture
Candice C.

I make the effort to buy organic when I can. I try to substitute small things into my shopping when and where I can, such as cereal or granola bars that go on sale/have coupons. I take advantage of the local farmers market during the summer/fall. As a grad student on a tight budget I don't have as much flexibility in this area, but I try to avoid processed foods in general.

Guest's picture
Alex H

I do, occasionally, buy organic. Some foods in particular (apples and spinach, for instance), are a subject of some alarm for me, just because of the amount of pesticides and other chemical treatments the non-organic varieties undergo. I always spend a good time washing my produce, regardless.

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Elena

I buy organic food occasionally

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Elizabeth Finfgeld

Organic food is typically way out of my budget but with strategic planning, I can almost always score certified organic eats when I stack coupons with a sale (especially when I follow specific blogs like "Growing Up Natural", etc. since they give me the heads up on the hottest deals of the week). So, my answer is "YES" :)

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Tiffany S.

No, I do buy organic foods. I often try and stay away from them because they are so pricey and do not fit in my grocery budget.

Guest's picture
Amanda

Some products, I always try to buy organic as often as possible but beyond that, only when it's on sale.

Guest's picture
Jenifer

Yes, I do. (Not everything but as much as I can afford and is available.) I am concerned out the pesticides and other chemicals used on food. I think we are just started to see (and understand) the impact of them.

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Theresa J

I prefer to grow my own organic foods, but I do buy organic occasionally.

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Kate

With the exception of milk, which I purchase regularly, I don't buy organic food as much as I'd like to because I'm on a fairly tight budget. I wait for sales to stock up on organic meat and compare prices on other items. Sometimes organic produce actually turns out to be less expensive, but it's pretty rare.

Guest's picture

Organic, local vegetables from the farmer's market are the best buy. I can buy only what I need for my small family with no waste making it cheaper than conventional from the grocery store. I also buy organic milk.

But I avoid meat because organic, locally raised is too expensive and conventional doesn't meet my values.

Guest's picture

Not often enough.

Guest's picture

I'm in the real working world, but I'm eating on a college kid's budget to save money, so unless it's on sale, I don't buy organic.

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Jillian

I buy organic only if it's less expensive than non-organic due to a sale or a coupon (so... almost never.)

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mweedman

My family buys a good portion of our meat and produce from a CSA, so it's mostly local and organic--although, a good portion of what we get is not Certified Organic.

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Diana Foster

I do not buy organic food because I cannot afford the extra expense.

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Reiney Mundy

We buy more "local," but there are some products we try hard to find "organic." Milk is a big one. My family drinks Full Circle or (preferably) Stonyfield. Many companies follow the letter of organic specifications, but not the intent. Buying local, to us, means supporting small farmers, and they need all the support they can get. Many small farmers who grow or raise largely organic products cannot afford the certifications to prove it, or they cannot afford one piece of the many required steps, and we would rather support their efforts than promote big agriculture. We regularly buy organic items that are more inconvenient to buy locally but that we still feel benefit from organic status, like milk. We regularly buy products that are both non-organic and non-local only when we really want something out of season or can't make it to the farmer's market. Are we lazy? Absolutely. But we do try.

Guest's picture
WendL

Yes, I purchase organic food, almost exclusively. And it's almost easy now. Besides WholeFoods and Trader Joe's You can find a whole Organic section at Wegman's and you'd be amazed at the Subscribe & Save options available through Amazon.

Guest's picture

Generally, No. You cannot really prove that the food is really organic, especially when it comes from Chile or other countries. Just like the "Free Range" chicken title means they open the door to the chicken house only once a week. I just try to eat a variety of foods. Keep it as close to its natural state or form. And eat less!

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BarbaraW

YES! We are lucky to have a weekly Farmer's Market with lots of organic produce. Plus, our local Ralph's stores have been beefing up their organic produce and house brands, too, so we can find organic produce, dairy and more.

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Joann Lowe

Occasionally I buy organic items....depends lots of time on pr

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Catherine

Yes, I purchase organic as much as possible, especially for fruits/veggies that accumulate pesticides more than others. I don't worry about bananas and avocados.

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Sally

I often buy organic because it's my way of treating my body well, supporting responsible farming/farmers/food production, and minimizing my impact on the environment. I'm a proud supporter of my local co-op, which offers a wide selection of locally grown organic produce. I try to stick to a grocery budget of $40 per week, and sometimes this means I can't buy everything organic, but I certainly try.

Guest's picture
CINDY

I do sometimes, I'm sort of afraid of ecoli, I do have a garden and can a lot

Guest's picture
Thrifty Writer

I try to stick to the dirty dozen/clean 15 lists, but I think the only produce that I regularly buy organic is baby spinach ($2.65 / bag at Trader Joe's). Other things, it depends on how rich I am that week:-) Organic produce can be expensive. I do my best to thoroughly wash apples. Occasionally, if I buy something like frozen berries or vegetables, I'll buy those organic too - usually fairly affordable. But most fresh stuff is outta my price range.

Guest's picture
Mary

I always buy the dirty dozen organically. Look for sales in the supermarket. Organic food does go on sale. I stocked up on bags for carrots for .99, cheaper at the time than non organic carrots. During the summer we have a large garden with heirloom seeds we save year to year (so other than buying them once it's free). We also go to our farmers market in the summer and buy 2x what we need freezing, canning, drying etc. what we wont use. We walk away with 4 large canvas bags of produce for a little over $20.00! It's not "certified organic" they just use organic practices. We have built a relationship with the farmer, sometimes she will even throw in a few free items because we are loyal. I also grow herbs and mint for tea in my kitchen year round. Living in a northern area I don't get so much in the winter but it helps. Another thing never throw away food, organic or not. Use your leftovers in another meals or just suck it up and eat them the next day. I use my scraps of veggies to make my own homemade veggie broth. I keep a plastic bag in the freezer for scraps, when it's full I make broth. Items you might not eat like stems of herbs, carrot peelings etc. Extra hint... when it's done, freeze it in ice cube trays and toss it in as needed. Even use it in place of oil for sauteing foods for a little healthy option. Meats are local grown by the farmers around us, again not certified organic but organic practices are used. When I cook meat for my husband it is more of a side dish rather than a meal.This way I can get many uses out of one cut of meat. He might eat meat 2-3 times a week, because lets face it meat is expensive. Eating organic isn't always more expensive if you put in a little work. Our grocery bill has shrunk eating the way we do (even with me bring a vegetarian) and we haven't been happier.

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Amanda R.

I buy organic whenever possible. I figure it is cheaper in the long haul because we won't have to pay for the health implications of buying food that has a lot of pesticides on it. I look at it as an investment.

Guest's picture

Yes, at the grocery store. I don't worry about it too much at a restaurant.

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Rusty

I try to buy organic. I buy from my local farmers market.

Guest's picture
Aita

I don't eat organic food. Other than avoiding pesticides sprayed directly on the produce, the term "organic" is pretty meaningless. The air, water and soil of the earth are all one. You can't separate off a piece of land and say it does not have the pollutants that the property next door has.

Guest's picture
kelly

With the exception of eggs, I only buy organic when it's on sale. Sadly, it's way too expensive for me to afford at its normal price.

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Stephanie

I try to buy as much organic food as a I can for my family. Feel that it is safer and healthier for my family.

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Rebecca B. A. R.

We buy organic if the cost isn't too much more than non-organic food.

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Eleanor Tsang

I always try to buy organic vegetables, meat and milk. There are some items -- avocados, bananas, etc that you don't necessarily need to to scale back on costs so it's important to know what is most important to have organic!

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Guest

I buy organic whenever I can - milk always, meat mostly, and produce depending on what is available and what I can afford.

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Gayle

No, I cannot afford to pay for organic food. But that doesn't stop us from eating organically grown vegetables. We grow our own!

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Lori P

I don't usually buy organic because it is so expensive, but I do shop for healthy foods. My cart is full of fruits, veggies, beans and whole grains.

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Stefanie

I buy organic whenever I can, but price often dictates when I buy organic or conventional produce. I also usually prefer to buy local conventional than far-away organic.

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Charles

Not as a matter of principle. Only if incidental to other factors - such as availability, quality, etc. So, I might end up buying organic, or I might not. It all depends. We get free eggs and vegetables from family, and we also got a freezer full of beef from the same family. So, all that is organic, but we didn't buy it.

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Karen

I buy organic produce for items that cannot be easily washed. I prefer to eat as few pesticides as possible.

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Happy Love

I buy some foods organic like bananas, apples, and soymilk. If I want to use potatoes with the peel on, then I buy those organic too (or grow them myself -- those are even better).

Over the last year, I've tried to grow and freeze more of my own veggies to avoid the organic delimna and sticker price in the grocery store altogether.

Guest's picture
Therese

I occasionally buy organic food if I can't find the regular item I'm looking for, but usually I don't bother.

Guest's picture
Mel

I will buy organic on occasion, usually with berries and avocados, but with my regular produce it is not worth the added cost.

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Diane

We buy organic milk, but other foods only when we find them at a reasonable price. I hope to gradually switch to more organic foods, as we can afford it.

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DeeDee

No and it is due to the cost

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Debra K

I do buy some organic. I'm trying to be better about buying the "dirty dozen" organically.

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Jessica Hays

I try to wherever I can like milk and eggs.

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theMark

I try to buy local and natural foods if I can. I'm not even sure what's considered organic anymore. The requirements to get something labeled organic seem to be less and less with each passing year. So really it comes down to reading labels and making the best choice possible. Sometimes the organic label is a joke. Sometimes it's awesome. I try to do the best I can, but stay within my budget.

Guest's picture
Joan

I wish I could buy organic but the cost is too prohibitive for my food budget.

Guest's picture

I absolutely do. I don't buy everything organic - but I always buy certain items organic. I definitely stick to organic for the infamous dirty dozen (items like apples and bell peppers). While I know it costs more, the long term savings to my health is worth it to me.

Guest's picture

I buy organic fruits, like apples and pears!

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Joshua Allen

I do not go straight to organic or non, but do purchase a reasonable amount of fresh produce each week. While yes, the organic produce and organic products should be healthier, the family grocery budget is based on fresh produce at the best price. The local farmers markets and stores at time have great deals on organic foods and you can count on me taking the healthier product available if added expense is balanced.

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Heather

I don't buy organic food, but I do purchase as much as possible from local farmers. Eating seasonally from food produced using small scale production methods not only improves my family's carbon footprint and overall health, but it also ensures we know where our food comes from and funnels money back into our local economy. Organic is merely a label, and it doesn't ensure the food one purchases is produced safely or with less environmental impact.

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Liisa Rettedal

Yes!!! I have lots of health issues and have learned the hard way that when it comes to food, you pay now or pay much more later! It is a great form of health insurance to eat healthy and organic as much as possible...

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Diana

I buy organic when it is available. I produce certified organic milk here on my farm Most of the vegetables I grow could be certified also. We have our own eggs and meat too, so the grocery bill is quite low, and we eat like kings!

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Bethany

I'd love too, but can't right now.

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Guest

Yes, for some products. (the dirty dozen of produce.) And I always buy natural and cruelty-free toiletries.

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NJJ

Yes, I do I buy organic when I can especially cereal I like that they don't get as soggy as quick as non-organic cereals

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Sam

I definitely buy organic whenever both choices are available and the quality is good. Choosing between buying pesticide-free produce or pesticide produce...that's a no brainer for me.

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Amber

I try to eat organic as much as possible. It is hard to find since I moved to southeastern Ohio. I do grow about 1/4th of my families needs and I usually go to a farmer's market in the summertime where it is easier to find than in the grocery stores. I do not buy it for any health benefits, but rather because of future water quality.

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Lynda

very rarely because of the cost.

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lostAnnfound

I do not buy organic, but do buy local during the summer season. During the winter, we usually stick with frozen veggies.

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sheeba m

I do buy organic and like someone mentioned in one of the comments, we buy organic the dirty dozen or at least we try to and stuff we actually eat...hate to waste...

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Kathleen S.

I buy organic milk and half and half, and I try to buy as much other organic stuff as I can afford. I know too much about what's in non-organic milk, so I avoid it as much as possible. Our local farmers' market has some organic produce, but I'll buy non-organic stuff there, too, because it's local and fresher than what's in the supermarket. Some of my organic purchases I make more to support organic farming than out of health concerns.

Guest's picture
Megan

I don't buy organic- but I do buy local.

I consider the "organic" label mostly meaningless, and wash produce anyway. What really is important to me is minimizing the amount of transport (energy, money, pollution!) involved in a food item getting from the farm to my plate, and supporting farmers and other food producers in my community.

Guest's picture
Kate

It depends. I shop at Trader Joes a lot, so I end up purchasing a lot of organics, but it's not a huge priority for me at this time.

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Karla

We get an organic CSA share in the summer and fall in order to help support our local farmers, but do not necessarily seek out organic in the winter.

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Dan6301

Yes, my wife and I buy organic food, but only as a supplement to our own produce from our organic garden. We also try to buy only fruits that are in season and try to remain as local as possible.

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Stacey Capuano

ABSOLUTELY! Yes yes yes I buy Organic, grow organic, eat organic. I feel better, look better, my food stays fresher longer in the fridge. Its a win win situation. I support ORGANIC!

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KelR1

No, because I keep seeing stories that scientists say organic produce isn't really healthier for you than conventional, plus there's the added expense, of course. I believe organic is supposed to be gentler on the environment, which is nice, but right now I can't afford to buy organic.

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Gabriella G.

No, I don't buy organic. Although I'd love to, I simply don't have enough money in my already strained food budget to pay the extra cost.

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Andrew

I buy organic, but we have the luxury of a year-round, weekly all-organic farmers market nearby. That allows us to buy seasonal organics and keep the price down.

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Guest

Yes!

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Beth

I buy organic whenever possible. I'm fortunate to live in an area where organic options are plentiful and affordable. I use the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) recommendations about which fruits and vegetables are OK to buy non organic as far as pesticide levels are concerned. I will not buy any produce or packaged foods that may be genetically modified.

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Gauri

I don't buy organic because it is too expensive!

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Lynnette

Yes, we have recently cut back to only purchasing the items listed on the "dirty dozens" list for budgetary purposes.

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Susan Smith

No I don't buy Organic because it's more expensive and right now we are on a tight budget

Guest's picture
Guest

I buy most of my fruits, veggies, dairy, and grains organic. I am a member of a local food co-op and as such get a very good price on everything (and it all tastes great!). The only thing that I don't buy organic is meat because I find that it is super expensive. Instead I just cook a lot of meat free meals!

Guest's picture
Guest

We buy as much organic food as we can afford, especially the types of fruits and vegetables that can be harmful to your health unless they have been grown organically. For some foods, it's not necessary to buy organic, but for others it's well worth the extra cost. In the long-term, you can wind up with health issues eating stuff that has been doused with chemicals.

Guest's picture

I don't typically go out of my way to buy organic, although we have some organic baby food pouches on the shelf at the moment. If I can afford it, great! :)

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Brenda Faulkner

I buy vegetables that are organic, but they are more expensive so not very often

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Summer

We do not buy organic all the time, but when we can afford it or it is on a good sale we get it because we know it can be better for us.