One of the most common arguments that people use against buying organic and local foods is the added expense that comes with the lifestyle. It is true that buying organic can often be more expensive, but that is definitely not always the case. However, there are many cases in which ethical shopping can be affordable and even cost-effective. One of the more interesting possibilities offered by many organic food markets is the option buying bulk dry goods.
For under an Euro each, I can usually get a week's supply of rice and granola from biocoop. I've also started buying dried beans in anticipation of soup and chili season. While dried beans are a bit more of a time commitment than their canned confrères- they need to be soaked overnight and then pre-cooked before use- I found out that they have many benefits. Along with being less expensive and easy to store, dried foods also have certain health benefits, such as reducing the amount of sodium in your diet, which is found in most processed and canned foods. Most people have a sodium intake which is high above the recommended daily allowance. Cutting sodium out of your diet can significantly reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
Along with dried beans and grains, dried fruit also offers several health benefits. While they can be pricier (I recently bought delicious dried cranberries from biocoop for 31 euro/kilo- expensive, but worth it), dried fruits provide essential nutrients for all, but especially for vegetarians who can benefit from the iron found in dried apricots, raisins, and other fruits.
The vegetarian resource group's site offers a handy grid of vegetarian sources of iron, including lentils, black beans and sesame seeds (all available in bulk at biocoop).
So this is my challenge to those who think they can't foot the organic food bill: buy bulk, buy dry and I'm sure you'll see the difference in your food stores and savings!