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Monday, January 31, 2011

Era of cheap food drawing to a close?

According the experts who wrote this article, an era cheap food may be drawing to a close. This really bothers me. I know I can get food since I live in a town of 14,000 near farms and farmland. Plus, I have a lawn, a few garden tools, and a smattering of garden knowledge.

Food shortages
Will there be food shortages or will the prices be out of sight? The latter, I believe will happen. The former, I hope will not happen. Remember when the price of gas went up because of shortages? Drive-offs caused gas station attendants to require payment first because they locked the pumps until payment was received.

Lock up food
Can we extrapolate that scenario to food access? I don't really know. But, it seems plausible. Of course, food is already IN the store, gas is not.

Family concerns
Two of my children are near rural areas, are teachers and can depend on one another for access to food. My now-single daughter in NYC is struggling as it is, and only has access to window sills for growing. Her network is large, but not so large and close that she can depend on them in a crisis-crunch, I am afraid. People have their own families. My daughter has already noticed rising prices.

Grain and meat
From what I gather, grain prices will be out of sight. Will meat costs become astronomical, also? The price fo meat will rise, but how far? Of course, all food prices will suffer. But, to me it seems that growing wheat or meat in my yard or on a fire escape will be more difficult that growing tomatoes and basil and a few beans and potatoes.

Prepare
I am by no means speaking in the prepper mode. If we save for a rainy day, why not save for that same rainy day in the pantries and freezers of America? I can only get so much in the freezer. Meats and grains seem the way to maximize the freezer for ordinary folk. Of course, the plastic buckets with oxygen packets to preserve grains seems all of a sudden to be a practical means of having flour or wheat storage without refrigeration. I truly believe the electricity will be here. Most of us don't have a half dozen freezers to store enough food. Canning meat is an option, too, depending on electricity for freezers full of meats and grains. Dehydrators will become more popular.

Neglected fruit
People who let fruit fall and rot may decide to use their fruit or have someone else take it. The squirrels in this town may have fierce competition for food!

Hens in the yard
I feel lucky to get eggs every day. Maybe this practice will be more common if prices rise or there are shortages of grain or the grain prices make eggs expensive. One hen is broody, so she could raise baby chicks and I can be set for life. I will have to buy fertile eggs!

While I won't discuss eating the three hens. I would definitely consider eating other chickens I could raise to slaughter!

Around the world
People are starving and suffering as it is. Rising prices will make their world more fragile.

Stockpiling
Along with raising some of our own food, stockpiling seems a good plan. The worst thing that can happen if you stockpile is that you will be eating cheap food when prices rise.

Buy wisely
I realize that I don't buy wisely sometimes. The ice cream price could buy flour to freeze or store with oxygen packets.. Since I am not a grinder of grain, buying wheat is not an issue with me. Maybe it should be. Maybe I need a wheat grinder.

Your turn
Do you think food prices will rise to levels that will cause food emergencies? Will groceries be protected like gasoline? Do you know people who stockpile in the extreme?

4 comments:

  1. hope the food crisis never becomes that severe, but the prices are definitely rising, rising, RISING. ugh! envy you your chickens. Wish I had a local source for organic eggs and humanely raised poultry.

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  2. I raise chickens in the city, two blocks from city hall. No one bothers me because I only have 3 and did have 4 hens and no roosters. The guy behind me had roosters crowing. I must find someone to trade my eggs for whatever. The people who have produce I want also have hens or sources of eggs.These eggs come from petted hens. My 10'x10'x6' dog pen keeps them safe during the day when I am not home. Maybe you could raise them in your city?

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  3. In some ways, for me personally, this would be a good thing. I eat too much and am often irresponsible with food choices. When I was in college I made due with a food budget of $70 a month and I was thin and healthy. Now that I have money, I pick up a lot of junk like tiramisu and these delicious creme brulees that Target has! A vegetarian, less varied diet would probably be a good thing for me since I can cook.

    But, I recognize that for most of the world, this is indeed a very BAD thing.

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  4. I am forced to spend less on food, so I am looking to the pantry for my goodies these days. I don't want to go vegetarian, but I won't die. Plus, I am sure I would lose the weight I need to lose. Thanks for that thought. Living off my fat for awhile would not hurt me. Yes, most of the world does not have the emergency layer of reserves.

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