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Have you noticed how much food prices have increased this past year?
Food in general has been on a regular climb in the past few decades; and to think our grandparents paid pennies for it decades ago! That could mean we could be paying $10 bread in the next few years.
Recently the organic prepper lists some foods that have sky rocketed and it’s bound to get a lot worse in the coming years. There’s never been a better time to grow a garden!
Why are food prices rising?
- The rise in oil prices. Food grown on large-scale corporate farms requires a lot of fuel, because it’s mechanically harvested and processed, then transported over large distances.
- Crops that once were used for food are now used to make what is known as “biofuel,” primarily ethanol and biodiesel. A full 40 percent of the corn crop in the United States, and a similar percentage in Canada, now ends up in cars instead of stomachs.
- Climate change. Droughts, floods and storms have played havoc with harvests over the past few years, and climate scientists predict the problem is only going to get worse.
- Some experts feel that the financial crisis that swept the world beginning in 2008 also had an impact on food prices. Investing in the rising price of food seemed to make it a safe bet.
- Governments’ response to rising food prices. More than 30 food-exporting countries banned exports in 2008, fearing food shortages at home and the political instability that might follow. Such bans reduce supply to the world market and drive the price for importing countries even higher. Russia did this most recently when wheat prices rose sharply in 2010.
the California Drought
from the USDA: ‘California accounts for a large share of U.S. production of many fruits and vegetables. With respect to these crops, the immediate concern is the cost and availability of groundwater. Owing to higher production costs, insufficient water, or both, producers may opt to reduce total acreage, driving up prices not just this year but for years to come.’
Low Canadian dollar
Here in Canada things have been bad because of our plunging dollar. From Global news:
‘Canadians paid more for vegetables than at any other point in this century, numbers published today by Statistics Canada show. Fresh vegetables cost almost 15 per cent more in March than in March of last year.
Beef and pork prices are also up substantially.
The low dollar nudges meat and vegetable prices higher for Canadian consumers, but for different reasons, explains University of Guelph professor Sylvain Charlebois.
Vegetables mostly have to be imported from the United States or Mexico – 81 per cent of vegetables and fruits eaten in Canada are imported. In either case, they’re paid for in U.S. dollars.’
Grow as much produce as you can & make food from scratch
Back when things got tough during world war II and the great depression those that could grow food were considered rich. You weren’t dependent on food stamps and could preserve the extra or use it for trade. Preserving foods that are in season was essential and it’s something that is greatly lost today.
Living in a small mountain town work can be challenging and our family has been through a lot of financial hardships. When we were going through the worst hardships we had our large garden and chickens and we could still eat during those challenging times. Having a garden made us feel secure and last year I managed to grow $2,000 worth of fresh produce.
But we all don’t have garden!!
If you’re tight on space or have no sunshine:
- Buy cheaper cases when foods are in season and preserve them. Although you have to make initial purchases on things like a home canner and mason jars, trust me it’s worth it for the long haul as you can re-use them for next season (and what better way to live a trendy eco lifestyle). You’ll love opening the jars in the winter months when you paid $1 for a large jar of home canned peaches instead of $3.5 for something a 1/4 of the size!
- Grow indoor sprouts or micro greens. These are highly nutritious and an easy way to have fresh indoor greens. Learn how you can grow food no matter where you live.
- Lemon or orange tree inside? You betcha! Find lots of indoor gardening inspiration here.
If you have Containers & Sun Exposure Grow Some Food
Even if you don’t have a lot of space you can grow pole beans in a teepee in a container, potatoes in a potato tower, or grow colorful swiss chard or peppers in containers. This is also a great option for renters because you’re not physically putting in a garden.
- Balcony and container gardening inspiration here
- Because you’re tight on space focus on crops that have the best dollar value
- Grow a productive balcony garden
- Keep up with buying cases of fruit or vegetables in the summer months and preserve them.
If you have space consider spending a few hours a week on a large-scale garden. It’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding and if you want to eat healthy fresh food the best way is to grow it yourself. Cut out some of your weekly t.v. watching and do some sowing, weeding, harvesting, and eating straight from the garden! Although this is just a general guideline, here’s the approximate yield/square foot and you can learn more in the Modern Day Victory Garden post (which has info on growing a full-sized garden for troubled times).
If you need help with garden planning and figuring out what to grow for your family to get the maximum benefits for your yields be sure to check out my garden planning book (which includes a BONUS printable 30 page planner & journal).
Gardening Tips to get the most from your Garden
- Maximize your food garden
- Reduce your grocery spending and grow these veggies
- Growing a 3-season garden
- How to grow food 365 days of the year
- Inter-planting for more garden yields
- How to get an early spring harvest
- Triple your harvest of fresh greens
- Gardening for troubled times: Modern Victory Gardens
- Get more from your garden with bumper crops
- How to double your garden harvests
- Can you grow enough food to feed a family?
Do you want more food savings?
Learn to Homestead
Even if you live in the city and can’t grow your own food or keep animals you can still learn the basics of canning and preserving foods, learn how to cook from scratch, make soap, or other DIY home and body products. A lot of homesteading is using your time instead of paying someone else to do it for you. Learn more about homesteading by following me on Pinterest. Stay super organized for your gardening and homesteading season with my month-to-month homestead to-do lists.
Foraging has become back in style for the past few years. Of course, we can’t all forage for food but you’d be amazed at the wild free food in abundance!
Grow some of your own Medicine
Although it’s important to use conventional medicine for many circumstances there’s a wonderful world of plant medicine that you can grow and make yourself.
Source: Fix.com Blog
Whether it’s because of a challenging economy or if you just want some food savings, learning some of these old fashioned homesteading skills can help during troubled times.
My name is Isis Loran, creator of the Family Food Garden. I’ve been gardening for over 10 years now and push the limits of our zone 5 climates. I love growing heirlooms & experimenting with hundreds of varieties, season extending, crunchy homesteading and permaculture.