Neil Moran gardens in northern Michigan and is anxious to see gardeners succeed in the cold climate. To this end he has published two books on gardening in the north country and an ebook on how to save money when buying garden tools and other products. He also taught horticulture for over 12 years and conducts garden workshops.
 

 

Whole Foods a Better Deal: Here’s Why
by Neil Moran - posted 02/03/13

At first glance you would think that whole food: the carrots, eggs, fish etc. you buy at places like farmer’s markets or via CSA’s (community supported agriculture), is more expensive to purchase than what we can buy at the big box stores. It would seem. However, whole food, purchased locally or grown in your own garden, is a much better bargain than the food bought in a super market.

Here are some of the reasons why.

Is it Really More Expensive Buying Locally?

A lot of folks think locally grown food is hard on the wallet because at times it does cost a little more for that carrot or dozen eggs than what you would pay in the supermarket. Sheila Bergdoll, market master of the Pickford’s Farmer’s Market, spent a year tracking her expenses, or rather, savings, from  buying locally produced food instead of driving 20 miles to Sault Ste. Marie to do her grocery shopping.      Bergdoll, who admits to being a bean counter (figuratively speaking!), said she saved over $1500 in groceries over the course of a year (this didn’t  count the money saved on gas and wear and tear on her vehicle). Her savings may have come in part because she has sworn off processed foods, which while convenient, are more expensive than fixing something from scratch. And if you’re still not convinced that local food is a bargain, read on.

A (Fresh) Apple a Day Will Keep the Doctor Away

I don’t have to tell you about the high cost of health care. But I can tell you that there is a ton of research that will support whole foods as being a lot better for you than processed foods. So even if you do pay a little more for those fresh beans or peas, it’s going to give you a bigger bang for your buck in terms of health benefits. And of course the payoff of staying away from doctors and hospitals (and being able to continue to work) is enormous. Still not convinced that local foods are cheaper than the produce at the supermarket? Read on.

The High Cost of Driving (to the nearest supermarket)

If you live 20 or more miles from the supermarket, it can be expensive just driving to and from the store.  Bergdoll didn’t even figure in the cost of transportation back and forth to the Soo. Yet, she still saved a bushel basket full of money simply because she changed her eating habits and cut out the processed food. Just think of all the money you will save and good food you will be eating if you stay put and purchase locally produced fruits and vegetables, or better yet grow your own. And with more farmer’s markets and CSA’s springing up, it shouldn’t be hard to find fresh produce near you, at least during the summer months.

So the next time you hear someone complain that it’s expensive to shop at a farmer’s market or other local venue, remember the savings you will realize in fewer trips to the doctor, to the out-of-town supermarket, or eating expensive processed foods. 

 

 

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