I found the most interesting website today with surveys of various family grocery budgets around the world. The amount ranged anywhere from a family of 9 for $530 a month to a single in LA for $780 a month. Consumers varied between organic only to those who ate out every day. Very interesting information! Check it out at GetRichSlowly
Today I sat down at home and figured out how much it would cost us to eat completely organic or home-grown. Just to give you an idea of what types of food this includes, here is an example of a monthly menu:
Breakfast: Grapefruit and pancakes, french toast or waffles each once a week, eggs in some form once a week, oats in some form once a week, some kind of muffins or coffee cake once a week and a special challah bread breakfast on Sabbath morning.
Lunch: yogurt or a milk shake with fruit and homemade bread. Could be a sandwich with tuna, peanut butter or avocado, swiss and tomato.
Supper: mexican once a week, pizza once a week, a pasta meal once a week, a burger meal once a week, and a chicken meal once a week. Some of these are casseroles, stir frys, etc. And once a week a special dinner to bring in the Sabbath with elk steak or roast.
All milk, yogurt and mozzarella is homemade. All red meat is hunted (I did not include meat processing costs**). Most of the vegetables are from the garden. (I did not include cost of seeds**). This also includes the cost of feeding two goats and a dozen chickens, which we used to do. (I did not include the cost of purchasing the animals**).
The total cost of food (not other grocery items such as dish soap, etc) for one month eating organic, for a family of 7 is $570
We do not spend much on extras since I make soap, deodorant, toothpaste and we use soap nuts for laundry. We use rags instead of paper towels and cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. So most of our cost here is for toilet paper, shampoo, dish soap, and dishwasher soap. Occasionally batteries, bandaids and garbage bags. I feel like I’m forgetting something???
If you purchase organic eggs, milk, yogurt and mozzarella instead of having goats and chickens, add $89 per month.
These prices were based on buying bulk from a co-op. The co-op we use is Azure Standard, which delivers once a month to our area.
If your family were to not eat organic, but still eat hunted meat and garden-raised vegetables, and provide your own eggs, milk, butter, mozzarella, ricotta and yogurt, then most of your savings would be in tomato sauce, chocolate chips, chicken, sweeteners, hard cheeses and cooking oils, which would end up being around $115 a month, bringing your total down to $455 per month for a family of 7. Other items such as wheat, oats, rice, etc, cost less in bulk even though they are organic (at least compared to some of the prices I saw online).
**I did not include the cost of meat processing, which is about 50-75¢ per pound, and if you process your own meat there is only the cost of your butcher paper and some masking tape.
I also did not include the cost of 2 goats, which could be anywhere from $100 to $600 depending on the type of goats you buy (or free, which you probably don’t want to do). However, you can also either sell the kid goats for anywhere from $50 to $150 each and recoup that money, or you can let them mature and then put them in the freezer.
Or the cost of a dozen chickens, which is about $36. If you purchase good setting hens, you will never have to buy chicks again and as the flock grows, you can also put some chickens in the freezer.
Your seed cost should be around $150 if you also purchase some starter plants, less than that if you start everything from seed. The first year you will also have the cost of buying starter containers and building your raised beds for gardening. Some of the first year plantings can also re-seed themselves, or you can save seeds, so that the years afterward will cost less.
If you are desiring to stay away from Genetically Modified Foods (foods that are actually pesticides, they have pesticides in their genes) and hormones, the most important foods to be aware of are corn and corn derivatives, soy and soy derivatives, chicken, beef and all dairy products. Almost all corn and soy in the US is GMO and nearly all chickens and cows are fed GMO grains and injected with growth hormones. Grass fed beef and pastured chickens are the exception. Also any vegetable or fruit that begins with a 9 on the bar code is genetically modified. This is much more important than avoiding foods sprayed with pesticides, although those too can be harmful if the pesticides are not washed off.