1. Shop the farmer's markets for food in season. The best prices and the freshest organic produce come from the farmer's market.
2. Buy seasonal produce in large quantities and freeze what you cannot use immediately. You can make shakes and smoothies all winter from a couple of flats of frozen organic strawberries or raspberries. The flavour is better, too!
3. Shop around at different stores to see where the values are found. Plan your shopping trips around your findings.
4. Join a food co-op. Members often receive a discount or monthly coupon for five to 10 per cent discounts.
5. Buy a share in a CSA (community supported agriculture). Shares are typically about $400 (you can pay in installments) for a weekly box of produce during the growing season. The cost typically works out to about $30 or less per week.
6. Use coupons. The best way to obtain coupons for natural or organic foods is to visit the website of the manufacturer, or use an Internet search engine and type in the words "grocery store coupons" and "organic" for printable coupons.
7. Buy from the bulk bins. Organic flour, sugar, cereals, pasta, spices and many snack foods are less expensive (and easier on the environment) if you purchase them from the bulk food section. Some stores even have peanut butter, maple syrup, cooking oil and even cleaning products available in bulk. Bring your reusable bags or containers and reduce your waste at the same time.
8. Grow your own healthy foods.
9. Shop the sales. Buy organic or shade-grown coffee beans on sale and freeze the excess. Organic meats, frozen foods, butter and bread products all freeze well for several months.
10. Practise cooking creatively. When you have leftovers from dinner, try to use them in another meal -- add them to a pasta dish, veggie burrito or omelet, or fold them into a soup or sauce. Don't waste food.
Excerpted from To Buy or Not to Buy Organic: What You Need to Know to Choose the Healthiest, Safest, Most Earth-Friendly Food by Cindy Burke. Copyright 2007 by Cindy Burke. Excerpted with permission of Marlowe and Company, an imprint of Avalon Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.