Thursday, March 17, 2011

Notice Anything At the Grocery Store? Yeah, You're Not Crazy!

The other day I was at Kroger (a big chain grocery store in the Midwest/South) and I noticed that zucchini was $2.79lb and eggplant was $3.99 each!!! I about flipped. Well, this wasn't a fluke because food prices rose by 3.9% over the PAST MONTH ALONE the biggest increase since November 1974. Yes, there's been several cold snaps in Florida, California and Mexico, where most of our early season produce comes from, so that's a big factor, but meat and milk are rising as feed costs more and even junk-food composed of various soy/wheat/corn bi-products will rise in response to several factors, including the steadily increasing cost of fossil fuels and our own laughable "green" efforts to subsidize ethanol (which is a biofuel from corn that requires more OIL INPUTS FROM FOSSIL FUELS THAN IT GIVES BACK--GREEN MY #$@@). So, more ethanol, more corn production, less corn/wheat/soy for feed, more expensive meats/dairy and of course, more expensive travel of fruits/veggies across thousands of miles from here to there.

So, what can we do in both the short term and long-term about this?

Short-Term: personally, I can't wait until the Farmer's Market opens in April. I love going to the Farmer's Market just because the energy is so great, but mouth-breathing pro-greed enthusiasts should shop there too because its cheaper than the grocery store. Generally you have to pay via cash, but honestly that's good for establishing and keeping to a budget. Also, very little junk food is available at the Farmer's Market, so you'll probably end up eating healthier if you can plan your meals around seasonal availability. Another thing to look into is eating more vegetarian--not French Fries vegetarians we all know--but incorporating more rice/beans into your meal plans to help with the expense of general market upward trends. The easier thing in the universe is mixing up some kidney beans with spaghetti sauce and additional tyme over brown rice--serve with some fresh wilted greens from the Farmer's Market and, heck, shred a little extra sharp white cheddar cheese from the dairy stall, on those beans/rice--its dynamite!

Long-Term: Consider riding your bike to that Farmer's Market! Try to cut down on your own carbon footprint, lobby for sound agricultural as well as environmental policies--Do not vote Republican, evar--not one Republican on the Environmental Impact Committee in the House the other day agreed that Climate Change was real, though our most august bodies of scientists have shown the proof over and over again, they don't care about reality. Reality based thinking is what we need to save our collective asses (from ourselves). Anyway, long-term is hard and I'm working on my long-term strategies (and I bet several of our readers are well ahead of me on their footprint management--for example, I still commute 40 minutes via car 4 days per week; I really really really want to change that, but that will take a job switch, which I'm working on).

Meanwhile, just know, you are not crazy--food costs more!

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