People often say that they don’t buy organic food and produce because it’s too expensive. And it is true that organic food can be more expensive. A friend recently told me about hearing Percy Tipene discuss this at the launch of the Hua Parekore, the new Maori organic standard, in June this year.
Percy is a burly man with good-sized puku. He pointed to it a couple of times as he talked about all the cheap food he had bought over the years, and how finally this had affected his health. He was now overweight and diabetic and would suffer the consequences of eating badly for the rest of his life.
He stressed that we have to be prepared to pay more for good food; that for him, buying more expensive but better quality organic food and produce was an investment in his health, and the health of his mokopuna.
This resonated with me because we all know that buying the cheapest often, is not the best. If you buy the cheapest dishwashing liquid for example, you probably use it up much faster because it doesn’t do as good a job. And it is the same with food. Unfortunately quality costs a little more.
People often tell us that Purebread is really expensive. But I say that gram for gram our bread is excellent value as everything about it is nutritious. The fact that it has gone through a natural fermentation process, makes the bread more digestible, meaning the vitamins and minerals become more available. And we can guarantee that it does not include harmful pesticide residues, preservatives and other additives, meaning what you get is going to be good for you and won’t compromise your health. And as Percy highlighted, in fact that extra couple of dollars is an investment in your health and your family’s health.
We also encourage people to grow their own food. This is one of the best ways to save money on food. In fact at the moment my office at the bakehouse is swamped with about 60,000 packets of seeds – everything from beetroots, carrots, tomatoes, to calendulas, cornflowers, sunflowers and other flowers that will bring the bees to pollinate the plants. These seed packets will go out to primary schools, kindergartens, and kohanga reo all over the country as part of the Purebread Organic Education Programme. We want to give children the experience of growing vegetables and plants at school and at home – to let them know that they can access good healthy food by growing it themselves.
And we encourage everyone to do this. Even if you live in an apartment, you will usually have a balcony or small outside area where you can install a planter and grow things like rocket, silverbeet, and tomatoes. It is very satisfying to eat your own vegetables – and straight out of the garden, they are so good for you.
Growing food organically is cheap too. You can outlay for commercial compost and mulch, but you can easily make your own with organic matter – leaves, lawn clippings, and vegetable scraps from your household and garden. Soil-enriching horse, sheep, chicken and cow manure to dig into you garden over winter can also be acquired cheaply. Look out for ‘Pony Poo’ signs on the side of the road the next time you drive out of town.
So organic might look more expensive on paper, but it is ultimately cheaper. It’ll save you money on health bills, and it offers the possibility that you can save more money by growing your own food. Give it a go!