The Huffington Post food pages featured an article recently that offered a number of solutions to rising food costs, as well as links to an unusually-large amount of information about why those prices are rising. I link to the article below so that you can reference it; it is too extensive for me to pick out more than what I see as the most important thing to consider in Tucson. The article mentions this strategy:
"Join community-supported agriculture (CSA) groups. 'Basically, you buy a share in a local farm's annual crops and receive boxes containing any combination of fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, baked goods, herbs, cheese or flowers,' [Andrea] Woroch explains. Some CSAs even set up payment plans, so clients don't have to shell out for their entire share at once. 'Community supported agriculture ensures you eat nothing but the freshest food, while saving a surprising amount of money,' she adds."
There are two immediate responses you can make to this excellent advice. The first is to join the Food Conspiracy Co-Op in Tucson, which is located in the midtown University area. You need not pay your entire membership at once, and you can even shop there without actually signing up to join. There is only one drawback to it: parking is difficult, but every time I go by the area I see road work that will alleviate the problem.
If you do not drive, or you prefer delivery for whatever reason, Matt's Organics has been around Tucson for a very long time and they have both experience in organic produce and the reputation that makes it possible to trust them and sign up for a produce box. If your family unit seems small for a whole box, you can also sign up for a smaller half-box; just call them at 520-790-4360.
For community-supported agriculture programs, start at the Tucson CSA web page: http://www.organicaginfo.org/arizona/csas-tucson. Assess your needs and wants and click on the links to hook up with the local folks who are producing what you want.
Some people prefer to shop at the local supermarket simply because it is just up the street. Well, if you insist you can do that, but you will pay more, especially for the organics, than you would once you get set up with the Co-Op or get in the habit of shopping at Whole Foods or Sprouts in Tucson. People say that organics are expensive, and the article that I reference today has some advice about what products you don't need to buy organic (though I'm not sure I agree), but organic prices are coming down nowadays because there is more demand for it.
I knew that would happen when I read that Walmart is marketing organics; more farmers will produce organic crops and the prices drop. Safeway came out with their Organics label, and it is getting easier every day to find and select organic products. Costco has had organics for years as well, along with high-quality meat and dairy products.
For more info: read the entire article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/learnvest/grocery-shopping-on-a-bud_b_5366...
And check out Matt's Organics at: https://www.mattsorganics.com/