You asked about how we stay under the industry standard/government allotment and still eat mostly organic.
1. our produce comes from a CSA….it is not certified organic but is grown pesticide free and with organic measures…..it is all fresh, local, and in season (I buy very little that is not in season….the exceptions to that are lettuce, tomatoes (which I actually get from our CSA…one of the growers grows them in a green house), and bananas (which aren’t local) and occasionally I will buy some of the produce loss leaders at the chain grocery store, but I don’t do that very often
2. I buy all of my grains, beans, sweeteners in bulk from a natural foods co-op (we use Azure Standard as our supplier)
3. I grind my own grains and make all of our own breads (and am just starting to sell breads to friends and family)
4. 90% of what we eat is made from scratch…..very very very minimally processed foods…..the only things that I buy in cans are tomatoes, some canned beans, and diced green chilies (the tomatoes and beans I get organic from either Costco or from my co-op when they go on sale)….and occasionally chicken and vegetable broth when I can get it on sale
and we don’t eat packaged foods (although, I do keep some convenience items on hand for when I’m sick and dh needs to cook….like jarred spaghetti sauce, packaged mac and cheese (I buy Annie’s Organics from Costco or Trader Joe’s)
5. I shop the sales for meat (this is the one area that we are not organic, but just recently found a local source for organic grass fed beef for not too much more than what I pay for standard beef at the grocery) and we eat 1-3 meatless meals per week.