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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?

groceryreciept 200x266 Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?As you may have noticed, food prices are going up all over the place. Your grocery budget just doesn’t go as far as it once did.
Not only are prices going up in a noticeable fashion, but you may have also noticed packaging shenanigans that the food companies are pulling to hide the inflation that’s occurring.
In a nutshell, they’re changing the packaging to contain less product with the same size package, often for even higher prices.  The price per unit for so many things is going through the roof and most people out there have no clue this is happening.
The problem is just going to get worse.  Commodity prices are going up.   Bigtime.  We’re talking a doubling in some food commodities in the last year.  And oil prices are going up with no end in sight.
All of this impacts the price you pay for food.  Oil most of all.
So what are you going to do about it?

Plant A Garden

squarefootgardening 200x151 Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?One of the easiest things you can do is plant a garden and raise some of your own food that way.  Everyone can do this, even if it’s just a few terra cotta pots in a window.  The more you can grow, the better off you will be money wise as well as health wise.
Starting a garden is pretty straight forward.  If you’ve never gardened before, I recommend Square Foot Gardening as a good starting point.  It’s simple, easy to understand, and above all systemic.  This is very important, because having a system to follow is key to your success.
Once you’ve got a garden going, keep expanding it slowly.  Don’t go whole hog the first year, but learn and grow more as you go.  Your first few years will be a big learning experience for you, I guarantee!
But it’s definitely worth the work!  If you’ve never had fresh vegetables that came from a garden, you have no idea what you’re missing.

Raise Small Livestock

P8010195 500x375 200x150 Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?By small livestock I mean primarily chickens and rabbits.  They are quick to produce, and are generally pretty hard to screw up too badly.
Now, you’ll definitely want to check your locality to make sure that you can have rabbits or chickens in your back yard, because sometimes you just can’t.  We can’t have chickens, for example, which annoys me to no end.
I recommend at least having a few chickens if you can, eggs are expensive commercially and if you have your own chickens, you’ll never have to buy an egg again!  Check out this post on raising chickens for more details.

Join A CSA Program

csafood 200x150 Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?CSA is short for Community Supported Agriculture.  It’s sorta like a buying club for farm products.  You’re helping to pay for the expenses of raising the crops on the participating farm.  One upside is that you get great food, but a corresponding downside is that you end up sharing the risk with the farmer.
After you join, you do not pay for a specific amount of product but rather support the budget of the whole farm and receive weekly what is seasonally ripe.
This approach eliminates the marketing risks, costs for the producer and an enormous amount of time and labor, and allows producers to focus on quality care of the soils, crops, animals and co-workers as well as on serving the customers.
If you’re interested in participating in a CSA, you can look for a local program on the Local Harvest website.

Purchase Local Products Farm Direct

grassfedbeef 200x150 Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?Most areas have a farmers market that you can buy food from.  Be careful that you’re buying farm direct though.  Several ‘farmers market’ stands around here are actually selling full on commercial food, not the good stuff you get from smaller organic operations.
Another good thing to consider is buying meats from local farms.  You can usually buy portions of cows, hogs, and other common meats for a flat fee per pound.  The downside of this is your average price per pound is probably higher than you would normally spend, but the quality is better and you get a bunch of fancy cuts for way below what you’d normally get.
I highly recommend buying your meats this way instead of from the store if you can.  It’s much better for you.  Trust me on this!

Hunting And Fishing

fishing 200x131 Are You Ready For Massive Food Inflation?If you’re into such things, you could go hunting and fishing to fill up the freezer.  It’s a ton of fun, and you are building and practicing a skill that will be invaluable during any sort of survival situation.
Most areas have seasons to consider for both hunting and fishing, but that’s where the freezer comes into play.  Be sure to enjoy the bounty of your catch fresh as well!
I’m not going to go into too much detail on this, but if you’d like to learn more, let me know and I’ll see what I can do about putting together some more information for you.

Wrapping Up

These are just a few ideas on how to prepare yourself for the continuing increase in food prices.  I’d love to hear what you’re doing for your own family.  Leave a comment and let me know!