Organic Eating on a College Budget

Photo posted by @imperfectfoods on Instagram

Eating organic foods can feel like a near impossible feat for college students on a ramen noodle budget. Whether you’re buying fresh produce, proteins or snacks, organic options often come at half the quantity but double the price. Luckily there are many emerging solutions that are both convenient and college budget friendly.


You’re probably wondering if the benefits of eating organically are even worth the cost. They certainly can be if you know what to look for and how to do it effectively! But it’s also important to understand what organic really means. The term “organic” largely refers to the practices that are followed when growing and processing agricultural products. Specifically in the U.S., this means that crops cannot be grown using things like synthetic herbicides to control weeds, pesticides or synthetic fertilizers and bioengineered genes (GMOs).  

One of the biggest benefits of eating organically grown foods is that they contain fewer chemicals than non-organic. Not only is this good for your health, but it also benefits the environment by reducing soil erosion, soil pollution and energy consumption. Though there isn’t much evidence to definitively prove that organic foods have more or better nutrients than non-organic, there is evidence that shows the harmful effects of synthetic pesticides including increased risk of certain cancers. Additionally, foods that contain GMOs have been linked to various damaging effects like increased food allergens and gastrointestinal problems. However, the use of GMOs is safe, overall. 

Photo posted by @Misfitsmarket on Instagram
Getting Started

If you think eating organic might be right for you, there are many ways to go about it without breaking the bank. Companies like Home Chef and Hello Fresh have redefined the world of making healthy eating more convenient. But there are also similar delivery services who are making shopping organic just as convenient and sustainable too. Misfits Market and Imperfect Foods are two of the most popular brands to do this. Let’s take a closer look!

Misfits Market

Misfits Market aims to provide customers with high-quality, organic foods at an affordable price by working with local farmers and companies to rescue produce and other grocery items that do not meet superficial grocery store standards. Though their products may look a little different, the quality and freshness is still up to standard. That’s what makes Misfits Market so unique. All you have to do is search your zip code, and Misfits Market will show availability near you with your free subscription! 

Photo posted by @Misfitsmarket on Instagram
Imperfect Foods

Imperfect Foods works similarly to Misfits Market. They rescue perfectly good foods for a number of reasons like foods that are discontinued, surplus items or that have cosmetic imperfections. Imperfect Foods then sells these organic goods at a lower price and delivers them right to your door. Their biggest goal: to deliver sustainable, affordable groceries every week and reduce overall food waste. It’s completely customizable and even free to sign up!

Photo posted by @Imperfectfoods on Instagram
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Another option for sourcing organic foods at an affordable price is by joining a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group. CSA programs are a way for members of the community to support their local farmers by buying a share which, in turn, gives them a weekly box of fresh, seasonal produce. Some farmers even allow you to mix and match items and to trade with other CSA members. These programs mutually benefit the farmers and families, as well as the environment and are often organically grown too. Healthy Harvest Farm in Bellefonte, PA is the nearest CSA program to State College! 

In addition to finding lower cost options for sourcing organic goods, it’s important to think about how you can reduce your food waste and use as much of the produce as possible. Here’s some tips and tricks for minimizing food waste and getting the most for your money.  

Though eating organic has many health and environmental benefits, it’s not a necessity for living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. But if you think it’s something you’re interested in trying, rest assured that there are ways to do it on a college budget! 

Have you tried buying organic on a budget? Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, on Twitter!



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