Food prices increase 3.9% in February, highest jump in 36 years

posted at 11:36 am on March 16, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

If grocery bills seem higher, you’re not imagining things.  Thanks mostly to a sharp increase in fuel prices, the cost of food rose faster in February than in any month since November 1974 — not coincidentally, during a previous energy crisis:

Wholesale prices jumped last month by the most in nearly two years due to higher energy costs and the steepest rise in food prices in 36 years. Excluding those volatile categories, inflation was tame.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that the Producer Price Index rose a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent in February — double the 0.8 percent rise in the previous month. Outside of food and energy costs, the core index ticked up 0.2 percent, less than January’s 0.5 percent rise.

Food prices soared 3.9 percent last month, the biggest gain since November 1974. Most of that increase was due to a sharp rise in vegetable costs, which increased nearly 50 percent. That was the most in almost a year. Meat and dairy products also rose.

Energy prices rose 3.3 percent last month, led by a 3.7 percent increase in gasoline costs.

The good news is that the price of oil has declined after the disaster in Japan, going down to $97 a barrel.  However, with Japan’s nuclear reactors under scrutiny and the crisis ongoing at their Fukushima Daiichi plant, Japan will need to boost its other sources of electricity.  Nuclear power accounts for more than a third of it now.   Japan will have to import raw materials for other sources to boost production, and whether that means oil itself or coal, increased transportation demand will eventually mean higher prices even while Japan recovers from the destruction.

Reuters reports that the price increase surprised economists, and it’s not the first time either:

[The overall rise in wholesale prices] was more than double economists’ expectations for a 0.7 percent rise last month. In the 12 months to February, producer prices increased 5.6 percent, the biggest rise since March, after advancing 3.6 percent in January.

The report came a day after the Federal Reserve said it expected the upward inflation pressure from energy and other commodities to prove transitory but that it would keep a close eye on inflation and inflation expectations.

Economists said given the huge amount of slack in the economy, they did not expect the strong producer prices to pass through to consumers any time soon.

My good friend Scott Johnson at Power Line blames the Fed’s QE2 policy in part for the problem, and points to this WSJ editorial yesterday warning of a rise in inflation:

The Federal Reserve has been on a media campaign to sell its monetary policy to average Americans, but this hasn’t always gone smoothly. Witness last week’s visit to Queens, New York, by New York Fed President William Dudley, who got a street-corner education in the cost of living.

The former Goldman Sachs chief economist gave a speech explaining the economy’s progress and the Fed’s successes, but come question time the main thing the crowd wanted to know was why they’re paying so much more for food and gas. Keep in mind the Fed doesn’t think food and gas prices matter to its policy calculations because they aren’t part of “core” inflation.

So Mr. Dudley tried to explain that other prices are falling. “Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful,” he said. “You have to look at the prices of all things.”

Reuters reports that this “prompted guffaws and widespread murmuring from the audience,” with someone quipping, “I can’t eat an iPad.” Another attendee asked, “When was the last time, sir, that you went grocery shopping?”

Scott cleverly titles his post, “Let them eat iPads.”  I’m not sure I’d draw a line between QE2 and what has happened in food and oil prices, at least not as a primary factor.  The effect of QE2 will be to weaken the dollar, which will hike the cost of imports, to be sure, and that may account for a little of the large price jump.  If it was the main factor — if the dollar had been weakened to that extent — then prices would be up across the board, especially on imports.  At least according to today’s report from the BEA on the trade deficit, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

The real source of this problem is America’s continuing refusal to exploit its own energy sources.  We remain too dependent on imports for energy while deliberately sidelining at least hundreds of thousands of potential high-paying jobs by refusing to extract our own oil and natural gas.  When the unstable countries that produce oil go through political paroxysms, it spooks investors and sends commodity prices soaring on the increased risk to distribution.  Those price increases mean higher transportation costs, which impacts all goods and services that require transport to get to consumers.  It’s a multiplier factor that we have seen a number of times over the last four decades, and which our political class continues to pretend doesn’t exist.

Update: Gabriel Malor reminds me that prices of imported goods went up 1.4% in February as well, so the QE2 effect could be a larger part of this than I argued — but not the most pressing cause.

Update II: Yes, it’s definitely worth pointing out that Sarah Palin predicted this in November of last year:

So, imagine my dismay when I read an article by Sudeep Reddy in today’s Wall Street Journal criticizing the fact that I mentioned inflation in my comments about QE2 in a speech this morning before a trade-association. Here’s what I said: “everyone who ever goes out shopping for groceries knows that prices have risen significantly over the past year or so. Pump priming would push them even higher.”

Mr. Reddy takes aim at this. He writes: “Grocery prices haven’t risen all that significantly, in fact.” Really? That’s odd, because just last Thursday, November 4, I read an article in Mr. Reddy’s own Wall Street Journal titled “Food Sellers Grit Teeth, Raise PricesPackagers and Supermarkets Pressured to Pass Along Rising Costs, Even as Consumers Pinch Pennies.”

The article noted that “an inflationary tide is beginning to ripple through America’s supermarkets and restaurants…Prices of staples including milk, beef, coffee, cocoa and sugar have risen sharply in recent months.”

I wonder what Sudeep Reddy thinks now?


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

The sad irony going on here is that while we b!tch and complain about food prices/inflation….it`s just the TIP of the `berg. Let us revisit this topic in 6 months or so and see where we stand (probably in a bread line somewhere).

NY Conservative on March 16, 2011 at 12:15 PM

I track prices on certain items for a marketing group. Recently, there was a jump in storage and garbage bag prices.

Milk, coffee and fish are going up, too.

Fallon on March 16, 2011 at 12:15 PM

I know, I’m a single mom with 3 kids. I already have to stretch every food dollar(well, every dollar period). It’s getting harder and yes it’s no joke to have to choose between food and gas. I’m not sure how much further I can stretch or “tighten my belt” or sacrifice.

hboulware on March 16, 2011 at 12:15 PM

When times get tough
As they sometimes will

And your daily toil
Seems straight uphill
When you feel like you
Just want to quit
Don’t go to Obama
He don’t give a shit

darwin-t on March 16, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Your poem was downright awful,
just leave obambi to eat his waffle
/

VegasRick on March 16, 2011 at 12:16 PM

retail (+3.9%)
-wholesale (+1.6%)
=================
Diff = “gouging”

MassVictim on March 16, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Both the 1.6% increase and the 3.9% increase are for finished goods from the Producer Price Index (PPI). The 1.6% figure is for the overall price change in finished goods, and the 3.9% figure is for the price change in the subcategory of finished goods that are foods.

DKCZ on March 16, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Good thing I’m doubling my garden size this year! Sheesh!

Anyone know about how much produce you need to grow yourself to be self-sufficient?

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 12:16 PM

hboulware on March 16, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Good job. I’m feelin’ it. Although it seemed a little thin on the ad hominem insults. Maybe you can punch it up a little more next time. Drop a few F-bombs. You know. Still a good job. I give it an ‘A’.

JimP on March 16, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Corn is a very nitrogen intensive crop.

Corn is fertilized with Ammonium nitrate fertilizer that is made with natural gas.

Corn is planted harvested and hauled with Diesel tractors.

1 gallons of ethanol gives you 80,000 BTU of heat.
It takes 170,000 BTU of heat to produce that gallon.
This use of corn drastically raises the price.

That in turn raises the price of:
eggs
milk,
cheese
butter
beef
pork
chicken.

It also raises the price of chem fertilizer used on all the other vegetables and grain crops.

We can thank all the gubment intervention:
Subsidies
EPA regs
Al Gore (and his lot)

If we would unleash the oil industry to explore, drill and build plants domestically and let market forces work on agribusiness,
a gallon of gasoline, diesel, milk and a dozen eggs would be $1.00

esnap on March 16, 2011 at 12:16 PM

I told you so!

— Ron Paul

Patrick on March 16, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Heads of lettuce now $1.39-1.69.

slickwillie2001 on March 16, 2011 at 12:17 PM

O/T
—–

Static Free Radio,Rush Limbaugh Online Streaming!
==================================================

The Rush Limbaugh Show on 610 KVNU
Conservative from Logan, UT

http://radiotime.com/WebTuner.aspx?ProgramId=20617&

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 12:18 PM

The problem is if the gas prices ever go back down (which under Obama is dubious), the food prices will stay high just like they did a couple of years ago before the “Wall Street meltdown” orchestrated by Obama’s cronies….

theaddora on March 16, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Drill Here! Drill Now!

JellyToast on March 16, 2011 at 11:56 AM

GROW here! GROW now!

Victory gardens to make comeback.

itsacookbook on March 16, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Prices are noticeably up. Still, food is pretty cheap in America.

Christien on March 16, 2011 at 12:01 PM

What’s your point?

theaddora on March 16, 2011 at 12:03 PM

I think his or her point is that Americans are evil for having relatively cheap food prices.

WordsMatter on March 16, 2011 at 12:20 PM

of finished goods that are foods.

DKCZ on March 16, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Is that like finishing off a good meal? :-)

MassVictim on March 16, 2011 at 12:20 PM

PastorJon on March 16, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Noticeable uptick of late in number of luxury cars in the WinCo parking lots. It’s funny to watch their bewildered looks as they shop with the little people.

Christien on March 16, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Rush Limbaugh, the one bright spot in a bleak world….

theaddora on March 16, 2011 at 12:21 PM

See, here you guys go all this anger and using your puny little brains to show how much more you understand about stuff. Our wonderful, enlightened President is simply trying to Win The Future for the unwashed masses and you all are dragging him down. Don’t you know he has your best interests at heart?

hboulware on March 16, 2011 at 12:21 PM

EVERYTHING I buy has jumped in price. One day something at the store is $1.89, next time it’s $1.97, then $2.04, $2.18, $2.44…there doesn’t seem to be an end. These “unexpected” figures of theirs seem rather low.

scalleywag on March 16, 2011 at 12:22 PM

I think his or her point is that Americans are evil for having relatively cheap food prices.

WordsMatter on March 16, 2011 at 12:20 PM

How true! How long will it be before we hear how much Europeans pay for a pound of coffee or beef — and how we should be doing our part and paying the same high prices.

MassVictim on March 16, 2011 at 12:22 PM

I told you so!
Ron PaulSarah Palin
Patrick on March 16, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Fixed it….

idesign on March 16, 2011 at 12:22 PM

$2.99 for celery here in So Cal. About the only affordable vegetable is potatoes and I have a feeling that we will be eating a lot of those before The One’s economic policies have run their full course.

skeneogden on March 16, 2011 at 12:23 PM

I remember two bucks would fill my ’67 VW Bug. Driving past a new Chevron station just across the street from the Capital, (Sacramento), I had to do a double take–price of gas 49.9 a gallon. Most other stations were selling around 37.9 and I said I’ll be damned if I’ll ever pay a half a dollar for a gallon of gas.

I miss those days………..

(and yes, I know the wage factor)

Rovin on March 16, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Fixed it….

idesign on March 16, 2011 at 12:22 PM

No sir, Ron Paul was saying this stuff; when Sarah Palin was still playing with dolls.

Sarah Palin is not even qualified to shine his…..shoes. Much less be President.

Patrick on March 16, 2011 at 12:25 PM

The good for you healthy stuff is often the most expensive, too.

scalleywag on March 16, 2011 at 12:25 PM

It’s not just food for humans. I live in an agricultural county. Hay prices are starting out higher than they ended last year–despite an enormous amount of water for our area, which usually means bumper crops. Why is hay higher? Half of the farmers have switched to growing corn (rationally, I might add). So hay is higher, which around here means beef is going up up up (we rarely feed corn to cows around here).

On the bright side, milk is still around 1.80 a gallon, but that might be because of around 8 dairys within 50 miles or so.

I still think that it is time to produce as much as you can on your own. Think of it this way: With transportation costs soaring, the world grows “bigger.” Back in the 1800s, you didn’t eat much that wasn’t produced locally, because transportation was slow and expensive. Horse wagons don’t move much fast, when compared to a semi.

Now, though, the semi is still great at hauling, but prices are, wow. It’s cheaper to move a small amount a short distance, or it will be soon. Thus, local produce will be cheaper (and better) than the stuff coming from Chile or Mexico. At least, it will be quite soon.

So start your “victory garden” and get the kids off the ipod and into the dirt. Good for them, good for you, and hey, if you grow some excess, your neighbor might just pay you for it.

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Corn is a very nitrogen intensive crop.

Corn is fertilized with Ammonium nitrate fertilizer that is made with natural gas.

Corn is planted harvested and hauled with Diesel tractors.

1 gallons of ethanol gives you 80,000 BTU of heat.
It takes 170,000 BTU of heat to produce that gallon.
This use of corn drastically raises the price.

That in turn raises the price of:
eggs
milk,
cheese
butter
beef
pork
chicken.

It also raises the price of chem fertilizer used on all the other vegetables and grain crops.

We can thank all the gubment intervention:
Subsidies
EPA regs
Al Gore (and his lot)

If we would unleash the oil industry to explore, drill and build plants domestically and let market forces work on agribusiness,
a gallon of gasoline, diesel, milk and a dozen eggs would be $1.00

esnap on March 16, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Yup. And include everything that uses corn syrup too.

BowHuntingTexas on March 16, 2011 at 12:26 PM

And don’t forget that boondoggle, ethanol!

Gothguy on March 16, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Whatever. In NYC we are all so rich 3.9% increase in food prices isn’t even noticed. Only people that care are poor people in the red states who are not even humans.
– Ernesto, Grow Fins, crr6
angryed on March 16, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Heh. The Banned of Brothers

bloviator on March 16, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Victory gardens to make comeback.

itsacookbook on March 16, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Seriously, not to sound alarmist, but yeah.

I’m tearing up half my backyard to plant vegetables, if you have any space to plant, you really need to think hard about using it to grow food. Even a few pots with cherry tomatos can, at worst, save you some money, at best, save your life.

A packet of seeds is ~2 dollars. What it produces could save you hundreds, or save a life.

Things are going to get bad, folks. Prepare now while you still can.

Rebar on March 16, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Rovin on March 16, 2011 at 12:24 PM

A discussion arose recently when we realized my slightly older brother now pays more to fill his tank than he did to buy his first car.

MassVictim on March 16, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Don’t you know he has your best interests at heart?

hboulware on March 16, 2011 at 12:21 PM

hboulware:You mean TERRORISTS!

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 12:27 PM

No sir, Ron Paul was saying this stuff; when Sarah Palin was still playing with dolls.

Sarah Palin is not even qualified to shine his…..shoes. Much less be President.

Patrick on March 16, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Paddy the Paulene!
explains soooo much

darwin-t on March 16, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Since our energy prices must ‘necessarily skyrocket’ our food prices will follow suit.

Then the Fed devalues the dollar by printing up tons of cash to cover all the government spending that didn’t do a thing save line the pockets of cronies, thus making it unproductive economically but very productive politically.

Thrown in some cash for clunkers, funds for felons, and other fun chunks of payola, and not wanting to open oil and gas production, nor actually pay to get nuclear plants started and…is inflation a suprise to anyone?

ajacksonian on March 16, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Patrick on March 16, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Hahahah, careful, that comment will start a food fight!

scalleywag on March 16, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Sarah Palin is not even qualified to shine his…..shoes. Much less be President.

Patrick on March 16, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Patrick:

Thats the talk,of a Pure Crazy Loony Moonbat,all-smacked
up,on FREE-BASING KOOL-AID.

Man,its a good thing,a RIGHTY,never said the shining shoes
thingy,OY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Hahahah, careful, that comment will start a food fight!

scalleywag on March 16, 2011 at 12:29 PM

scalleywag:In the spirit of a Lefty Union Thug,I`m
escalating it up,to, Cow Poop!(sarc)

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 12:32 PM

$2.99 for celery here in So Cal. About the only affordable vegetable is potatoes and I have a feeling that we will be eating a lot of those before The One’s economic policies have run their full course.

skeneogden on March 16, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Live near a 99 cent store? Granted it’s hit or miss but generally you can find good buys. I buy tomatoes, scallions, lettuce, milk, eggs, yogurt from there all the time.

Blake on March 16, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Rovin on March 16, 2011 at 12:24 PM

$49.99 per gallon?! And $37.99 per gallon is pretty steep, too. THE RENT GAS IS TOO DAMNED HIGH!

Christien on March 16, 2011 at 12:32 PM

I don’t mean terrorists I mean you small minded little people. He’s trying to show us the “root causes” for terrorism so we can gain a greater understanding of them. Jeez, I mean until you experience it you can’t sympathize. You should be grateful for these lessons and thank your lucky stars we have The One to lead us on the path.

hboulware on March 16, 2011 at 12:32 PM

I don’t mean terrorists I mean you small minded little people.

hboulware on March 16, 2011 at 12:32 PM

hboulware:You mean,DINNERJACKET,Iran`s President!!

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 12:34 PM

[canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 12:12 PM]

That seems about the same as here in Western NY, canopfor, but I didn’t do the weight conversions. I expect the packaging sizes are about the same. Things are relatively cheap here compared what others are mentioning for prices across the US, though the inflation rates is the same.

Fortunately, I don’t need to pay these prices but not everyone has relatives who raise livestock or has a public market easily accessible where produce prices are half of what they are in supermarkets. And even having that doesn’t address the fact that there are tens of thousands of job holders in the customary food to consumer stream that are going to eventually be hit hard as people find alternatives to the stream due to the continuing deterioration of the economy.

Dusty on March 16, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Is that like finishing off a good meal? :-)

MassVictim on March 16, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Something like that. ;)

The price for finished goods reflects various costs for transportation, labor, facilities, etc. aside from the cost of crude goods. Crude goods overall increased in price by 3.4% in February and the price of crude foods increased by 6.7%. It’s not gouging that’s causing food prices to increase for retailers (and, ultimately, consumers).

http://stats.bls.gov/news.release/ppi.nr0.htm

DKCZ on March 16, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Canopfor, you are totally ruining my troll impression. This is very difficult work and a little appreciation is in order. Now, pipe down.

hboulware on March 16, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Dear America,

Screw you…

Signed, Obama

P.S Don’t bother me I’m either golfing or in Rio

SPGuy on March 16, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Okay, here’s the deal: Did you city dwellers know that you can grow food too, even in a small space? It’s called container gardening. I’ll tell you what: even a small container with one tomato plant can produce an astonishing amount of tomatoes. Some of the spinach or leafy lettuce (not iceberg) will keep you in greens. Pepper plants don’t take much space. I recommend two tomato plants (roma are the best for canning/making sauces), two or three pepper plants, and two lettuce plants. That will provide a lot of food. Healthy too. Small space, you only need maybe ten containers to get at least some of your own food. Row veggies like potatoes, carrots, etc. aren’t really practical for containers, but maybe a zucchini or cucumber plant too for good measure.

Seriously, you’d be amazed at how much food a well taken care of container plant will produce.

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 12:39 PM

A couple of bean or pea plants can work well in containers too. Maybe a good project for the kids.

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 12:41 PM

About the only affordable vegetable is potatoes and I have a feeling that we will be eating a lot of those before The One’s economic policies have run their full course.

[skeneogden on March 16, 2011 at 12:23 PM]

Pray we don’t find out what is affordable when potatoes aren’t. On the plus side, I do still have a push mower that’s in reasonably good shape.

Dusty on March 16, 2011 at 12:41 PM

retail (+3.9%)
-wholesale (+1.6%)
=================
Diff = “gouging”

MassVictim on March 16, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Diff = transportation costs, and gross profit

The profit is used to pay employees so they can pay their union dues, so they can re-elect Obama. So, be happy.

faraway on March 16, 2011 at 12:47 PM

But let’s take comfort in our local A/P employed, Journalism School graduate, providing the proper perspective.

Excluding those volatile categories, inflation was tame.

There ya go. Next time I’m in a part of the world, where food purchases can be a big f***ing deal, I’ll just pass on these words of wisdom from the J-School retards at the Associated press.

MNHawk on March 16, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Drive up food costs.

Drive up energy costs.

Have the FEDGOV come in with a solution (FEDERAL SUBSIDIES for Working Families).

VOILA………Instant addiction for even more Americans.

OBAMA’S AMERICA?………….A NATION OF DEPENDENTS!!!

PappyD61 on March 16, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Either way, this is not good.

Patrick on March 16, 2011 at 12:55 PM

We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.

That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.

~Barry Soetoro

Campaign promise, kept.

Rebar on March 16, 2011 at 12:56 PM

[Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 12:41 PM]

I suppose you mean those who have nothing in the way of a patch of land. I’m nearer city/suburban and which is a step up from where I grew up which was city proper and 40×120 lot. You can get a lot of veggies from 20×30 equivalent of yard space if you really need to.

I’m closer to double that now and can grow enough for the year on it. Last year I put out surplus on a table at the road for free but still received $200 in voluntary payments left on the table which I figure was equivalent to a tenth of the going price for all of it.

Dusty on March 16, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Patrick on March 16, 2011 at 12:55 PM

And your solution is to run some geriatric nutbar? That will fix everything. He’ll win what? 6 states? Give Obama a second term to finish us off.

And, no, Repubics, you’re not off the hook either. Our choices seem to be the plastic man from Massholeville; that moron Huckabee, or the only woman in politics that has the potential to have higher negatives than Hillary Clinton.

We’re not going to win with any of these people. I don’t know where all the life in the GOP has gone; the only people I see on the horizon that have a ghost of a chance would be Rubio, or even longer shot, Jindal; and it’s way too early for them. We need to find someone though and get out of the habit of picking bums like McCain, or Huckabee, or Gingrich or whatever other also ran nobodies that keep popping up.
I’m not going to get excited about this election; as bad a job as Obama is doing, I don’t see a candidate that’s going to inspire anyone but the delusional to support them.
So no gloating over headlines like this. Obama seems to have no interest in fixing anything but we don’t have anyone that’s going to beat him.

austinnelly on March 16, 2011 at 1:01 PM

I’ve got my “O” face down pat, but I need to work on my jazz hands. Who am I?

Any economist reporting in the MSM these days.

ya2daup on March 16, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Garden to attract the deer and a live trap for the unwanted stray cats that the dirt bag apartment dwellers a couple of blocks away abandon as they move in and out when their subsidies run out.

Deer jerky!

Fresh veggys and

Kung pow kitty!

dhunter on March 16, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Yes, Dusty, my comments were meant for apartment dwellers, condo people, etc. Those people, many of them, are the poorest, need extra food the most to cut down their bills.

For suburb dwellers, you might want to think about that backyard. Yeah, the lawn is nice, but how much gas will it take to keep it mowed? Plant veggies (which doesn’t need a mower!) and you cut your gas bill plus get more food. Not as pretty, sure. But prudent.

Think about it– a 40 by 30 spot in the yard is a LOT of food. Even as Dusty said, a 20×30 spot. Especially since you can do intensive hand farming, which is still the best way to get the most food out of the land (just prohibitively expense to farm 300 acres that way).

If you think about it, the Mayans, ancient Indians, etc–supported a high density population without much in the way of transport equipment for food because of local, small scale farming. We are moving towards that now.

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 1:07 PM

scalleywag:In the spirit of a Lefty Union Thug,I`m
escalating it up,to, Cow Poop!(sarc)

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 12:32 PM

>ducks!

scalleywag on March 16, 2011 at 1:07 PM

The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency.
Vladimir Lenin

QE2- it’s simple- double the supply of something and the value decreases by half. That’s why all the pot growers in California were against legalizing pot. Even stoners can understand basic economics.

The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.
Vladimir Lenin

That’s happening right now.

To rely upon conviction, devotion, and other excellent spiritual qualities; that is not to be taken seriously in politics.
Vladimir Lenin

Obama must have studied this guy!

It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.
Vladimir Lenin

Rationed to those with Correct Opinions.

NTWR on March 16, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Grocery prices are going up but products are being downsized. A 64oz carton of orange juice now weighs 59oz. A quart size jar of mayo is now 28oz. The list is endless – most of our favorite products have been changed in some way.

To add to the gardening comments, you can increase your produce production by making an upside down hanging garden if you don’t have enough ground space. Containers I’ve seen range all the way from soda bottles to 5 gallon paint buckets.

GrannySunni on March 16, 2011 at 1:26 PM

There’s been years of stealth price increases. For example:
coffe is no longer in a pound container but 13 ounces. Ice cream isn’t a half gallon but 1,75 quarts and some have even dropped to 1.5 quarts. Some juices are now 89 ounces instead of 96. Some peanut butter is 13.4 ounces instead of 18 ounces. Some soap bars were 4.5 ounce are now 4 ounes. Some paper towels have less per roll. And believe it or not even chewing gum packages are smaller.
Pay the same and get less.

Deanna on March 16, 2011 at 1:28 PM

For suburb dwellers, you might want to think about that backyard. Yeah, the lawn is nice, but how much gas will it take to keep it mowed? Plant veggies (which doesn’t need a mower!) and you cut your gas bill plus get more food. Not as pretty, sure. But prudent. Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 1:07 PM

We took out 300 sq ft of lawn for the garden last year and are planning to take out another 500 sq ft this year. Gardening takes practice, even for edumacated farmers like my hubby and myself- it’s been a year of learning and I’m glad we’ve been practicing for when it’s really needed.

Also, I’ve had great luck with carrots in deep containers because I can control the soil so we don’t get as many crazy deformed ones.

NTWR on March 16, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 12:39 PM

I just told my husband that once we’re ‘officially’ in Lubbock-we’re relocating there from Chicago-I intend to have some sort of garden.

annoyinglittletwerp on March 16, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Seriously, you’d be amazed at how much food a well taken care of container plant will produce.

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 12:39 PM

A couple of bean or pea plants can work well in containers too. Maybe a good project for the kids.

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Here in NH I’ve grown my heirloom tomatoes in containers for almost 25 years now. Also cucumbers, peas, Swiss Chard, and some other stuff.

For those of you with limited yard space to garden, look into the concept of Square Foot Gardening. It really works.

And the latest toy I’ve been fooling around with is a really cool indoor growing system called AeroGarden; this is a hydroponic system and the makers have 3 different models. The smallest one (which I have) can grow a huge crop of salad greens in 2 months; while the largest model can handle cherry tomato plants. All these units require is a little bit of daily watering, and placing pre-measured plant food into the base of the unit every 14 days. And since there is no dirt, there are no weeds-also no bugs.

The smallest AeroGarden system is $60 with the seed pack costing extra. The seed packs are very pricey, but you’re paying for convenience. And I haven’t had to pay for lettuce since before Christmas.

Del Dolemonte on March 16, 2011 at 1:53 PM

We took out 300 sq ft of lawn for the garden last year and are planning to take out another 500 sq ft this year. Gardening takes practice, even for edumacated farmers like my hubby and myself- it’s been a year of learning and I’m glad we’ve been practicing for when it’s really needed.

Yes, lawn spawn shrinks, while garden space grows every year.

I actually planned on looking into canning, pickling, etc… this year.

reaganaut on March 16, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Sudeep Reddy thinks?

burt on March 16, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Some small area, high-yield crops are:

Bush beans (green beans)
Zucchini
Summer Squash (yellow, crook neck)
Cucumbers

Just a small mound of 3-4 seeds will produce a lot.

Except for the cukes, all can be blanched and frozen and will last 1-2 years that way. Cukes can be pickled though and then canned of course.

BierManVA on March 16, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Three thoughts.
Corn ethonol.
Manmade drought to central CA. 40 percent of vegs grown in the u.s.
Energy prices will skyrocket.

TomLawler on March 16, 2011 at 2:12 PM

This is what happens when you use your dinner to drive your car.

paulsur on March 16, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Containers, square foot, hydroponic – yep, they all work, you just got to make the effort. You can even grow root crops in partial shade. Everyone should be thinking of self-sufficiency right now. Get heirloom seeds if you can. You can also harvest what’s been planted by nature if you educate yourself to what’s edible. My apache grandmother would walk into the desert and come back with an armload of “food”.

itsacookbook on March 16, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Del Dolemonte on March 16, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Do you place your container plants near the house? or along a fenceline? Haven’t been as successful with container planting as I hoped. And my neighbors shaded with trees/bushes my corner of the yard garden :(

Is there a book on container planting that you recommend?

journeyintothewhirlwind on March 16, 2011 at 2:22 PM

You know for being a stupid bimbo, Palin is making the entire politcal class look like idiots…..

unseen on March 16, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Still, food is pretty cheap in America.

Christien on March 16, 2011 at 12:01 PM

In America compared to other despotic places, sure.
Even somedeveloped countries.
I’ll tell you why:
SUBSIDIES. The federal govt MANIPULATES, thorugh various subsidies, crop programs, CRP, etc. the PRICES of FOOD PRODUCTS.
As a rancher who produces beef, I can tell you that we receive no subsidies bcs we do not farm. And the govt’s manipulation of things like CORN has in turn manipulated the price I receive for my calves in the fall.
Some food becomes cheaper at the expense of other foods.
Then you have the govt acting as a consumer in the marketplace, manipulating food prices yet again, through programs like food stamps, WIC, commodities programs for veterans, Indians, etc.
BTW Vanceone-milke here in SW ND, where there are a few dairies left, is almost $6/gallon.
Powdered milk here I come!
Here are some other things that cause high food prices:
FUEL
Federal CAFE standards/regs, regulating the fuel efficiency of personal vehicles & now FARM VEHICLES.
Enivornmental regulations over chemicals, tilling, etc.
The Endangered Species act taking away productive croplands
And by chance, where does probably the lion’s share of most food that we eat come from?
AMERICA. Still the breadbasket of the world. We’re still selling surplus agricultural products to the rest of the world.
We are helping feed a large proportion of the world’s people on even less land than we were before.
The argument that processed food is cheaper is quite true.
Eating fresh, healthier food that isn’t processed is not very easy when you’re poor.
Thankfully, I have the room to plant a garden & have cows to eat.
I also forage for wild edibles on my property & preserve them.
Like mushrooms. I dry them & use them in cooking.
Currants & chokecherries. I freeze them or can them.
Onions grow wild & I pick them easily from the sandy soil.
Dry them.
I shoot pheasant & can them.
I live on the river & fish & freeze them.
I shoot the deer that come through my yard & eat them (can them etc).
I have wild turkeys I can eat.
I’m personally not worried about good protein sources.
But what is going to happen is people will start eating cheap foods with little protein &/or vitamins & minerals & malnutrition in other countries will become a bigger problem.
Here in America we are still very fortunate.
At least we have access to food.
Some people do not.

Badger40 on March 16, 2011 at 2:36 PM

BTW-a lot of processed food is cheap bcs it’s easy to take the ‘leavings’, season them up & press them into some ‘edible’ product, add a bunch of salt & sugar to preserve it & wal lah! Dinner!

Badger40 on March 16, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Canopfor,

you are totally ruining my troll impression. This is very difficult work and a little appreciation is in order. Now, pipe down.

hboulware on March 16, 2011 at 12:38 PM

hboulware:Your own a Mission!:)

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Oops,thats on a mission!

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 2:39 PM

My apache grandmother would walk into the desert and come back with an armload of “food”.

itsacookbook on March 16, 2011 at 2:17 PM

In some places this is easy, like in woodland areas like S IN where my grandma lives, i.e. morels, paw paws, wild apples, plums, cherries, edible roots of all kinds, etc.
Here in ND the wild edibles are not as numerous, but it’s a hobby of mine & I love the knowing I can go outside & find something I can always eat.

Badger40 on March 16, 2011 at 2:39 PM

This site has some good ideas on container gardening, along with everything else.

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 2:40 PM

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 12:32 PM
===========
>ducks!

scalleywag on March 16, 2011 at 1:07 PM

scalleywag:Lol:)

canopfor on March 16, 2011 at 2:41 PM

You know folks, places like Sam’s Club & Cosco are really good places to go for large quantites of meats & veggies etc. at a more reasonable price.
And if you can get a lot of stuff, then you can go home & can it or dry it in your oven or with a dehydrator or in the sun, pickle it &/or can it.
BTW-canned meat is very easy to do & tastes VERY good & makes lesser desirable cuts of meat fall apart tender & delicious.
I can hamburger, too. Just brown it & can it according to cannign directions.
WONDERFUL STUFF!
And it needs no regrigeration!

Badger40 on March 16, 2011 at 2:45 PM

There’s only one problem with canning: The price of bottles and lids. For those without a huge supply, 12 pints for around 8 bucks or 12 quarts for 9 adds up really fast. To feel good about canning meat (which is always a good idea), I’d like to have 40 or so pints of the stuff, or 30 quarts or so. That’s well over 30 dollars in bottles alone, on top of the cost of the food itself. It adds up.

Any ideas on where to get canning supplies cheap?

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Thank you!

journeyintothewhirlwind on March 16, 2011 at 2:56 PM

[Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM]

First, I recommend you scour the Salvation Army thrift stores. I did and got quite a few. I’d also keep tabs on garage sales and flea markets. I got a couple dozen from a GS a few years ago.

Dusty on March 16, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Any ideas on where to get canning supplies cheap?

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM

At thrift stores like SA or Goodwill. I bought jars there for $.25 each. Check for chips on the edges. You can also buy the metal lids and jars, but buy the rings new. Still I have also seen new unused boxes of lids and rings there too. I also got my canning pot and rack there for $4.00. You’d be surprised what you can find at those places.

Deanna on March 16, 2011 at 3:04 PM

[Badger40 on March 16, 2011 at 2:45 PM]

Good point, Badger. I’ve always bought the great value packages of meat and frozen them in meal ready portions. In addition, people ought to consider buying canned goods in bulk. There’s an Italian grocery down the street that sells all sorts of sauces, whole tomatoes, beans, etc, in half gallon or gallon size cans. I do the pizza sauce and save 65% on buying the 18 oz. can at the supermarket. When I open a can, I divvy up the rest into containers for freezing.

Another option for those who can’t do or are limited in their opportunity for gardening, is to find the wholesale restaurant supply outfits. There are three next to our public market and allow walk in traffic. You can get lots of canned goods in gallon or more cans and save a lot of money that way.

Dusty on March 16, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Do you place your container plants near the house? or along a fenceline? Haven’t been as successful with container planting as I hoped. And my neighbors shaded with trees/bushes my corner of the yard garden :(

Is there a book on container planting that you recommend?

journeyintothewhirlwind on March 16, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Here in NH we don’t have fencelines, we have stone walls! LOL

I place the containers in my back yard, where they will get as much sun as possible. For the best success you need at least 8 hours a day of sunlight, preferably more. For instance, the AeroGarden indoor system’s standard cycle is 17 hours of light a day followed by 7 hours of “night”. Of course we don’t get 17 hours of sunlight in much of the US except for a very short time frame. If you take the time you can keep a notebook on what part of your property gets more sunlight than others, and how many hours a day you get.

As for container gardening resources, try a Google search first; plenty to keep you busy!

Del Dolemonte on March 16, 2011 at 3:15 PM

The price of bottles and lids. For those without a huge supply, 12 pints for around 8 bucks or 12 quarts for 9 adds up really fast. To feel good about canning meat (which is always a good idea), I’d like to have 40 or so pints of the stuff, or 30 quarts or so. That’s well over 30 dollars in bottles alone, on top of the cost of the food itself. It adds up.

Any ideas on where to get canning supplies cheap?

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Thrift stores are certainly the best source. Also check local online classifieds. Lotsa people advertise them for giveaway or at least cheaper.
Also, if you are careful, you CAN use glass mayo, peanut butter, etc jars IF the lids you get will fit it. But the seal failure is higher, so you are taking your chances. To maintain better seal success rates, let the pressure cooker reach 0 on it’s own. Don’t try & open the stopcock at all.
That really works to cut down on seal failure.
Also check out auction sales. I found a brand new double-decker American aluminum brand pressure cooker & paid $12 for it at an auction sale. Even had a new stopcock with it.
Old people have these things a lot of times just lying around (at least people in the ‘country’).

You can get lots of canned goods in gallon or more cans and save a lot of money that way.

Dusty on March 16, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Very good point. Buy a gallon of tomato sauce, then can it in pint jars after you open it.
Or freeze it in ice cube trays & then stick in a freezer bag. Or even freeze it in ziplocs in smaller portions or plastic containers.
Another thing you can do is can your leftovers in jars in the pressure cooker.
Like if I make a bunch of stew, I can the leftovers. It’s a wonderful quick easy meal.
Make a bunch of taco meat-then can what you don’t eat.
Even if you only get one or two pint jars out of it, you don’t have to worry about throwing away leftovers bcs they keep for years that way.
I also can potatoes. They actually taste incredible.
And you can use them for potato salad, etc. or to mash.
You can can spring greens that you pick from the wild.
This book is all you need to get started. Every home canner should have one.

Badger40 on March 16, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Vanceone on March 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM

And once you buy the jars, after that initial investment, they will last for years if you’re careful with them. Just need lids & occasionally new bands.
BTW- after official canning season, I notice local WalMarts selling a set of pint jars for $4 & a set of quart jars for $6.
Sweet deals!

Badger40 on March 16, 2011 at 3:58 PM

I personally LOVE canning as one of my hobbies.
And it comes in handy during no power emergencies.
We went without power last spring for 2 weeks during temps reaching down to -20s & -30s.
We had a wood stove & lots of canned products.
One time the power was out when it was warm for about a week. I had already had canned meat & was thankful my freezer wasn’t full.
My goal this year is to can several hundred quarts/pints of meat when we butcher.

Badger40 on March 16, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Thanks Badger40. You’re an inspiration.

itsacookbook on March 16, 2011 at 4:11 PM

itsacookbook on March 16, 2011 at 4:11 PM

*blush*
Thank you!

Badger40 on March 16, 2011 at 4:25 PM

This is just the first ripple of a beginning. Hyperinflation is on it’s way.

ButterflyDragon on March 16, 2011 at 4:30 PM

When times get tough
As they sometimes will
And your daily toil
Seems straight uphill
When you feel like you
Just want to quit
Don’t go to Obama
He don’t give a shit

How sad but true this is!

And even sadder; this morning one of the WH press guys ask Jay Carney if Obama was still going on his trip to Rio despite the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. His response, “the tsunami was in Japan, not the United States”. That is really a cold hearted thing to say about an ally as close as Japan. I guess it just cements what we all know, that Obama really doesn’t consider them a priority…

Susanboo on March 16, 2011 at 5:26 PM

I used this to make up a simple hypothetical math problem for my 9th graders today:
Over a 2 year period, bananas changed in price starting at 34 cents. Then to 44 cents. Then to 59 cents. Then to 69 cents. Then ending up at 89 cents per pound.
The kids figured out every % increase at each step & then totaled the true price increase over the 2 years = 109%.
They were shocked.
From 34 cents to 44 cents doesn’t seem all that bad. But it’s a 29% increase.
We get lulled into not noticing how outrageous things are balooning.
ut my little math problem is not out of the ordinary.
Bananas here are 89 cents/lb.
And I remember a few years ago they were in the 30 cent range here.
Do the math.
Then figure out how ALL things have increased, with stagnant or decreasing wages & we have the recipe for disaster we are partaking in right now.

Badger40 on March 16, 2011 at 5:49 PM

My garden has been officially named the “Victory Over Obama Garden”. He wants to destroy us, but he can’t. I may even put up a big sign with the name.

txhsmom on March 16, 2011 at 6:16 PM

My Mom always canned and froze food.

In the pantry — spiced peaches, bread and butter pickles, tomato juice, whole tomatoes, grape jelly, grape juice, corn relish (and in “lucky” years, pickled watermelon rind)

In the freezer — sliced peaches, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, applesauce, zucchini, yellow squash, pumpkin, grapes

We grew everything except the concord grapes that came from an uncle and extra peaches (cling-free) which we bought from an orchard.

There was a “vacant lot” next door covered with blackberry and raspberry bushes that my Dad picked for weeks in mid-summer.

The thing I remember about the 1970s – last time food prices skyrocketed:

– Shortage of canning jars and freezer containers. All the stores sold out and you couldn’t get anything. Don’t know if this will happen this time, but I would stock up early.

– Sugar was hard to find. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is not a problem too since we have some daffy rule about importing sugar to America.

Tip:

– If you eat Classico spaghetti sauce, their jars are canning jars. We save them all and figure we are getting something extra for the price.

– Always buy new lids (the sealing lids with rubber rings). The rubber doesn’t hold up more than a few years and you don’t want to lose a whole batch of canned goods because they didn’t seal properly.

– When freezing fruits that discolor in open air, make sure as soon as cut you cover with Fruit Fresh.

– Aside from thrift stores, check out estate sales/auctions, especially those of older people, farms, etc. Often you can get box lots of odds and ends with many jars for next to nothing.

Peeves:

Ball has gone to silver colored lids/rings/bands. I miss the gold — doesn’t seem the same.

Greyledge Gal on March 16, 2011 at 6:57 PM

To new gardeners – the web, books, all are great. Read seed catalogs, lots of basic info in them.

I have gardened all my life, but moving from a cool moist climate to the desert was like starting over, had to get local input, because what worked up north didn’t work here.

So be sure to talk to gardeners in your local area. There will be local soil/climate/water conditions that aren’t in books, and the experienced people in your area will know.

Look for a great garden, and talk to the guy grubbing away in it. Most of us gardeners are proud of our gardens, and love to talk to people about growing. On top of knowledge, lots of gardeners will share seeds, cuttings, etc.

It’s good exercise, good food, rewarding, fun, educational for kids.

jodetoad on March 16, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3