Can you afford fresh food? Heck, yeah

I don’t always have an answer for people who say that eating organic, seasonal meals is too expensive. From now on, I’m telling them to check out Linda Watson‘s “Wildly Affordable Organic.” The book’s subtitle is key: “Eat Fabulous Food, Get Health, and Save the Planet — All on $5 a Day or Less.”

There are three hitches: you have to plan, shop and cook. Admittedly, I fall behind in all three. Luckily, we eat fairly small amounts of food (rarely processed) in our childless household, and, no, I don’t cook for the dog. So for me the beauty of the book is in the healthy recipes (I’m drawn to the creative bean entries), but if I had a family, I’d be eating up Linda’s shopping lists and menu plans.

I love that one of Linda’s inspirations for her original Cook for Good project came from the 2007 Food Stamp Challenge, where politicians and activists ate on a budget of $1 per meal for a week. Remember that? I recall being baffled that most participants immediately turned to cheap and unhealthy snack food. Linda, an organic chef, started her own small-budget challenge. She and her husband would attempt to eat healthy meals on the same allotment of $3 a day. They ended up sleeping better, feeling better, and losing weight. A mission was born!

Linda's book provides shopping lists and menus

Linda walks the talk, too. She lives in Raleigh, NC, not far from me in Durham, and is always out and about teaching classes, giving demos, and spreading the word about strategies for eating healthy on a budget. I’ve followed her Cook for Good blog since reading about her in the News and Observer in 2009. Now all her words of wisdom and more can be found n her just-out “Wildly Affordable Organic.”

This is the second week (oops, I’m behind) of Linda’s two-week Cook for Good Challenge. But don’t fear. It’s outlined here, so you can follow it anytime, and Linda even gives you shopping lists and menu plans. All recipes are from her book.

It’s been fun to watch Linda’s project grow, ahem, organically, from an experiment to a business, a blog, and, now, a book. Thanks for sharing your Wildly Affordable wisdom, Linda!

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