Organic v. Budget. Check out these nifty organic food programs!


I'm a HUGE advocate of organic produce. And most of you probably are too. We all know the drill - organic farms use no synthetic pesticides or fertilisers and employ traditional farming methods that leverage natural cycles. Animals are treated more humanely and are not injected with antibiotics or growth hormones. Soil quality is dramatically higher, and as a result fruit and veg are higher in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. All great stuff. In the end, soil, land, animals, farm workers and consumers are all better off. Super terrific. 

BUT for most of us, budgets are pretty tight and sometimes you can't have your cake and eat it too. It's not always feasible to buy everything organic (when this happens to me, I almost cry). So here are two lists: one of foods that you really really really should always buy organic because they are farmed with a high quantity of chemicals or the chemicals used are highly toxic, and the other of foods of a lesser evil, as assessed by the EWG, because they generally require the use of fewer and/or less toxic chemicals to farm.

The Dirty Dozen (always buy organic):
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Potatoes
  • Capsicums
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Celery
  • Apples

The Clean 15 list (of a lesser evil):
  • Onions
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas
  • Mango
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Watermelon
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Mushrooms

While not listed on the official Dirty Dozen, I'd add fatty meats to it, like beef and lamb. Chemicals used on grazing pastures can accumulate in the animals' fat, ending up in our bodies and accumulating in our own fat. Not good. And here's another thing: meat from organically-raised, grass-fed animals contains more omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals making it a lot better for us. In fact, researchers have found that conventional meat contains more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3, a ratio that should be pretty much one-to-one for good health (a diet higher in omega-6 than omega 3-fatty acids can increase your chances of forming blood clots, inflammation, high blood pressure, cancer and weight gain).

Now, the thing is (if you ask me) once you go organic you can't really go back anyway because the produce just tastes so much better. And even if the chemicals used on the Clean 15 are less harmful to us, they can still impact negatively on the environment. AND the more we buy organic, the lower the prices (assuming that demand curve I learnt in economics is right). So, if budget is an issue, and you live in or around Melbourne, Brisbane or Sydney, you might like to consider these nifty organic food programs as a more affordable means of eating organically:

Food Connect
If you're in Sydney or Brisbane, Food Connect can bring organic fruit and veg (and "yummy extras") to you cheaply by sourcing produce from local farmers living within a short radius of the home city. Produce gets dropped off by farmers to Food Connect headquarters, packed into boxes, and collected by subscribers (that's you) from a network of 'City Cousin' pick-up points.

CERES Fair Food
For Melbournites, CERES Fair Food is our version. Same deal, more black clothing probably.

And remember, if you can't find a Cousin or Food Host near your home, you can always try near your work or school etc. Or you can volunteer to become one yourself.

Such a great way to be part of a community, eat healthily and do our bit (a lot) for our environment.

Oh and just in case you hadn't noticed, I've now got a Facebook page (as does everybody), so 'follow' if you like by clicking the link to the right of the page. Cheers.


  1. Hi,

    I have seen this list before but I have lost the original findings. Would you happen to have the actual article this came from?

  2. Hi, here's a link to the EWG report:



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