Get those stores in while you can still afford to! I promise, even if the economy doesn't come crashing down around us (and it will...I swear), you will need them this winter. Heating costs are going to be outrageous, as if they aren't already, and you can top it off with food prices going even higher.
In its latest food prices report, USDA said the increase for 2008 was due partly to higher costs for meat, poultry and fish, which make up about 12 percent of total food spending. Overall, costs for these items are forecast to rise 3 percent compared to 2.5 percent estimated last month.
Prices for fruits and vegetables, which account for more than 8 percent of food spending, will also rise 5.5 percent versus 5 percent predicted in July.
USDA also forecast increases this year of 9.5 percent for cereals and bakery products, a 14 percent surge for eggs and a 13.5 percent hike for fats and oils.
That is a big jump folks. Prices are already noticeably higher, there is no doubt about that as my budgeted food allowance is not getting as much as it did 3 months ago, but are set to go higher as the winter trudges on. What can you do?
Buy what you can while you can, freeze/can/dehydrate as much as humanly possible, forage while the temps are still good enough that plants are available, if you don't have a garden but a neighbor does ask if they mind if you glean behind them (I am ALWAYS gleaning behind Dad and always coming up with several things he has missed), check with locally owned groceries (yes, they do still exist in some places) about taking "spoiled" produce off their hands, ask around at local vineyards/orchards about helping with the picking in exchange for fruit instead of pay (make sure it would be an equal exchange however) and finally learn to dumpster dive. Around here you won't come up with much from the dumpster that is truly useful, but I hear in larger towns and cities you can get a big ol' bunch of useful stuff.
A few links to get you started on foraging/finding creative food venues.
Foraging: The World of Wild Edible Food
Background information on foraging for wild edible plants, the varieties and uses in nature, and how we can use them in cooking and preservation.
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Doc Weed's Doin's
Modern Day Food Foraging
Free Groceries (no, this isn't one of those survey thingies...it's a good recipe given entry on Hubpages)
And a book that I sooo want for myself: The Storm Gourmet
Also, and I know this will so tick off some of you, look into getting a few of those shelf-stable meals (aka Dinty Moore) that are in the grocery section if you don't have the capacity (like myself) to go all out on freeze dried or MRE's. These are easy to heat up in a pot of water over your alternative heat source when the electric goes off...oh and they work in a microwave too. They travel well and are palatable even when cold.
A lot of us preppin' bloggers have been warning on winter, what with needing to get yourself and your house ready, consider this one of those. I know that there are those of us out there (ahem, me and Mayberry at least ;p) that aren't completely and totally prepared for the onslaught of higher food prices and our stores could use a little boost. Sure to heck there are more out there than just us, hence the be prepared or starting getting your butt that way post.
Need some home weathering inspirations, go visit Natog.
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