Although I am crunchy in many ways, it might surprise you to know that I rarely buy organic. You see, my values sometimes war against one another. While I want to make a statement to the powers that be by buying local/organic/non GMO foods, I also firmly believe in being frugal and really can't afford the food I would like to eat. I am trying to figure out a happy medium. Here are some guidelines I've come up with for our family:
DAIRY: First of all, I try to use minimal dairy. I think we have an overabundance of it in our American diets. But we still go through about a gallon of milk a week and about a bag of shredded cheese. On the weeks I shop at Trader Joe's or MyOrganicMarket(MOMs) for $5.50 a gallon, I purchase organic milk. When I'm at Costco on the alternate weeks, I buy their milk, which is just over $3. I figure organic half the time is a step in the right direction, and it winds up costing as much as buying milk at a regular store every week. But as money becomes available, I do intend to buy more organic dairy products. And even when money is tight, I only buy dairy products which state that the cows are not treated with rBGH. It is inhumane to use on the animals, and may have negative effects on humans who consume them. Cows treated with this hormone require lots of antibiotics(for mastitis) which many believe can lead to antibiotic resistance in humans. This is a great little fact sheet, if you'd like to read more: http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/docs/SayNoToRBGH-fww07.pdf
MEAT: After realizing how badly animals are cared for, and how contaminated our meat is, I have become more determined to eat only organic meat. My ideal would be to buy from small local farms! But that is just not in the budget yet. So for now, I am cooking mostly vegetarian dishes, so that I can afford to buy organic chicken breasts. Again, cooking less expensive meals has allowed for the "splurge" of happier chickens. The taste is SO much better too! We almost never eat red meat or pork, and when we do, I buy "natural" but not organic. The only fish we eat right now is canned tuna, and that is not organic, but I'm not convinced that is as much of a problem.