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Forward planning: Food Prices are up

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Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  tomperrin on 3/5/2012, 12:12 pm

No big surprise here. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices over the last 12 months have risen 4.4% as of January 2012.
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

Given the recent rapid rise in energy prices, we can look forward to even higher food prices for anything not grown locally.

Last year (2011) the average price of fresh vegetables rose 5.6%. The government, in its infinite wisdom, suggests that the average price of fresh vegetables will only increase by a factor of 1-2% in 2012. Maybe the fellas who make these predictions are partaking of some strong weed.
http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/CPIFoodAndExpenditures/Data/CPIForecasts.htm On the other hand, the USDA's algorithm is probably just too slow to factor in fast moving situations such as conflict in the Mid-East and the recent runup in gasoline prices.
http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/CPIFoodAndExpenditures/whatsbehindtheforecast.htm
In either scenario, I don't think that the USDA's prediction is credible under current circumstances.
All food prices are forcast to rise 2.5 to 3.5% in 2012. http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/CPIFoodAndExpenditures/ But that figure was probably written before the price of gas went up significantly.

According to a USDA report, "the effect of an increase in the price of energy is fully (or nearly fully) passed on to consumers because neither food producers nor consumers can immediately respond to changing prices."
http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/CPIFoodAndExpenditures/howchangesininputcostsaffectfoodprices.htm

Even though "labor, energy, packaging, advertising, and transportation costs represent over 75 percent of the cost of food production", my experience indicates that farm market stand prices track supermarket prices. http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/TB1862/tb1862.pdf

This might be a good time to think about putting in another SFG square, planning succession planting to get the most out of the squares you already have, and learning how to preserve as much as you can for the winter months ahead.

Tom

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  Mamachibi on 3/5/2012, 2:17 pm

...and finding a local farmers market for what you can't or don't grow.

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Eek...

Post  lonewolfrissy on 3/5/2012, 3:10 pm

The whole reason I want to have my own garden. That way I save on money when it comes to fruits and veggies. And I can focus on things like meat, eggs, bread, milk, etc.

Although our local farmer's market costs just about the same as the grocery stores around here.

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  Windsor.Parker on 3/5/2012, 5:03 pm

@lonewolfrissy wrote:...Although our local farmer's market costs just about the same as the grocery stores around here.
I'll wager that the farmer's market produce is more sustainable, local, fresh, ripe, tasty, and chemical-free despite similar prices.

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  camprn on 3/5/2012, 5:26 pm

I'm still taking green beans, sugar snap peas, kale and beet greens out of the freezer every night. I am almost out of plain canned tomatoes, though I still have quite a bit of tomato juice and salsa left. The dehydrated tomatoes are still going strong, but I am starting to run low on dehydrated peppers... I need to plant more poblano peppers & tomatoes this year. Oh, I should have honey this coming season too! Yipee!! Very Happy

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I'm not sure...

Post  lonewolfrissy on 3/5/2012, 5:32 pm

I've only been there once and no one has a card reader. I know.... I move to the desert... what am I really expecting? Plus, most of the farmers that come to this farmer's market are in more stable temps when they grow their produce.

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  Mamachibi on 3/5/2012, 5:43 pm

I'm really blessed to live where I do. Not only do our farmers have card readers, they will take SNAP and WIC, most have drop off points within ten miles of my house and they're just gangbusters great people. The prices run higher than the store, but it is SO worth it to me to know where my food is coming from and how it is grown/raised.

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/5/2012, 5:53 pm

I have been to a lot of farmers markets. It ain't easy. I asked once why the same farm charges more in one city than another. The answer, stall rental costs more in some towns that others. However it is the farmer who will be accused of being greedy. The peeps I know at the markets need to pay for the following:

Market fee (cost of setting up a weekly stall)

Gas (most travel a long way + equipment fuel + refrigeration to keep it top-notch fresh)

Land taxes

mortgage

taxes

Health card fees (everyone has to pay a fee to the government to prove they are clean enough to dig in the dirt to produce and sell food)

Organic certification

If they have anyone working for them, all kinds of government fees in addition to wages

If it seems like it costs as much or more to buy local from the farmers market, it is because it does. The farmer probably is not greedy but his city, county, state and federal government all want a piece of his action. The system seems to favor the central agro-business type of farm. Support your local farmer and fisherman. What you pay to them is what food costs before the government shovels buckets of your tax dollars (subsidies) at agro-business. In fact, with the cost of fule, I would guess that local is a teriffic deal.

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Farmers' Markets in New Jersey

Post  tomperrin on 3/5/2012, 5:55 pm

We are blessed with a large number of farmers' markets in New Jersey, some of them even being permanent establishments. We also have a couple of farm auctions where the growers sell their produce to the roadside farmers' markets. In other words, not every roadside farmer's market grows what they sell. And we don't know whether or not the local produce is grown naturally/organically/chemically unless we ask. If the market didn't grow what they are selling, we don't know. It's got to the point where I do ask where the produce comes from. Almost always, it comes from some distance south of us because the produce matures earlier than local. The good news is that one supermarket (ACME in Bordentown) buys produce locally and markets it as such.

Tom

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  BackRiver_SFG on 3/5/2012, 6:25 pm


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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  plantoid on 3/5/2012, 6:29 pm

The nearest real farmers market is 45 miles away , 90mile round trip , diesel fuel oil is now £1.50 per litre

$2 per litre or $ 9 an imperial gallon , I get 30 mpg on a non motorway run that's hilly and twisty so my fuel alone would be around $18 per trip ...

It's getting to the stage that for most of the year what we can't grow veg wise other than potatoes we won't be eating .

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  littlejo on 3/5/2012, 7:13 pm

Here in the Lowcountry there is at least 1 farmers market in each of the main towns. Most haven't gone 'big time' yet. Some busineses are donating the parking area, or on sidewalk on front of a public building. (1 bank, closed on Sat.)

Most of the veggies are said to be grown organically, for folks are demanding it. You won't see much corn, for 90% of corn grown here is Gmo. When I moved here 30 yrs ago. you would find farmers on the side of rd selling corn by the bushell, not anymore. That is why I grow corn in my SFG.

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local farmers market

Post  curio on 3/5/2012, 7:31 pm

We have a fairly nice Farmers' market here in Olympia, with some nice local growers as well as some from the other side of the mountains.
One thing that just fries me though, is when they have vegetables that have been shipped in from another country. REALLY? Isn't the reason we're paying the higher prices to give us the ability to not have to BUY produce that can be grown here, but is not even from this country??? Just drives home the adage "buyer beware".

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  lonewolfrissy on 3/5/2012, 7:32 pm

Those are valid points. I never would have thought of licensing, the county demanding part of their resources and the like.

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  shannon1 on 3/6/2012, 3:55 am

"real farmers markets" I know just what you mean. I asked one gal which of her produce was from florida "all of it" she sweetly said. "and the grapes I asked?" knowing they were out of season. "oh, those are from chilie but everything else is from here." I hate being taken for a fool.

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  shannon1 on 3/6/2012, 4:13 am

i grow alot of my own vegies but my mother always puts the touch on my tomatoes and how can i say no. I did try and get her to grow at least one tomato plant last year, maybe I will have better luck this year Wink my brother and I even offered to build her a TT but she would just rather eat my tomatoes. I owe her everything as so I guess this summer will be the same and when the tomatoes start to come in she will be eyeing them as she pulls into my drive.

I kid a bit, one of the things I enjoy is sharing with the family however I have tried and tried to get them to garden before healthy food is so pricey. No luck. My brother loves to garden and we shared our first SFG back low those many years ago. I think it is his DW that has forbiden anything more than a grass lawn, palm trees, and roses. AAARRGGGGGGGG!!!Sad

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  TN_GARDENER on 3/6/2012, 6:48 am

@curio wrote:
One thing that just fries me though, is when they have vegetables that have been shipped in from another country.

Our local farmers' markets have rules that the produce being sold must come from that farmer (no resale items). Plenty of those folks on the side of the road (Georgia Peaches, Carolina melons, etc.).


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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  Mamachibi on 3/6/2012, 8:48 am

There's a term for it here: producer's market. In other words, if you didn't produce it yourself (grow it, can it, etc.) you can't sell it. Some farmers markets are very vigilant, issuing fines and kicking people out if they try to sell things that haven't been produced themselves. They even do onsite inspections! Sometimes I like going to smaller roadside markets, though. It's fun to see the lady who paid $5 for a table with a big old bowl of dirty, misshapen carrots that she pulled this morning standing next to the guy with professionally packed (and probably imported) pallets of out of season watermelon. Guess who gets my money?

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  Lavender Debs on 3/6/2012, 9:23 am

@tomperrin wrote: No big surprise here. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices over the last 12 months have risen 4.4% as of January 2012.
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

Given the recent rapid rise in energy prices, we can look forward to even higher food prices for anything not grown locally.

Last year (2011) the average price of fresh vegetables rose 5.6%. The government, in its infinite wisdom, suggests that the average price of fresh vegetables will only increase by a factor of 1-2% in 2012. ....snip.... I don't think that the USDA's prediction is credible under current circumstances.
All food prices are forcast to rise 2.5 to 3.5% in 2012. http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/CPIFoodAndExpenditures/ But that figure was probably written before the price of gas went up significantly.

According to a USDA report, "the effect of an increase in the price of energy is fully (or nearly fully) passed on to consumers because neither food producers nor consumers can immediately respond to changing prices."
http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/CPIFoodAndExpenditures/howchangesininputcostsaffectfoodprices.htm

Even though "labor, energy, packaging, advertising, and transportation costs represent over 75 percent of the cost of food production", my experience indicates that farm market stand prices track supermarket prices. http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/TB1862/tb1862.pdf

This might be a good time to think about putting in another SFG square, planning succession planting to get the most out of the squares you already have, and learning how to preserve as much as you can for the winter months ahead.

Tom


I want to get back to the points of the original poster BUT I have one more farmers market point to make....

My favorite Snohomish-Skagit County (Washington State) farmer does not produce all his own vegetables and fruit. He does produce the lions share of what he sells. But he trades his own produce to neighbor farms that specialize in products (like raspberries) but do not do farmers markets. They get beans and asparagus to put up in spring, he gets organic raspberries to sell at the markets. (or whatever he is trading for) I know him (by sight and location) and can ask about the variety of strawberries and get help for my own garden. If someone else grew what he is selling he tells me. He also trades for items like Morale mushrooms which he does not have time to forge for (now that he is getting so popular). I like that about him. It is a bonus that he looks like an old hippy. He charges premium prices to market goers and donates what is left at the end of the day to the Skagit food bank. He works three markets in Snohomish that I know of, he probably does a few in Skagit or Watcom too.

Back to the original post. Subsidies we pay for with tax money will make food prices come really close to those predictions.....in my opinion. The whole idea agro-business and the subsidy takeover of government money that was intended for poor farmers is dependent on cheap fuel. Politicians get huge kick-backs (not always directly) from agro-business (you can read it in the food bills that favor agro-business and are hurtful to small (maybe that should be normal) farms. Why does government keep throwing money at Monsanto types yet bully American oil? Why favor one and hinder the other? Do they need to control the one to justify the other? (I am going to stop here before I turn in to a fully blown conspiracy theorist)

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  JK on 3/6/2012, 10:12 am

@Lavender Debs wrote:Subsidies we pay for with tax money will make food prices come really close to those predictions.....in my opinion. The whole idea agro-business and the subsidy takeover of government money that was intended for poor farmers is dependent on cheap fuel. Politicians get huge kick-backs (not always directly) from agro-business (you can read it in the food bills that favor agro-business and are hurtful to small (maybe that should be normal) farms. Why does government keep throwing money at Monsanto types yet bully American oil? Why favor one and hinder the other? Do they need to control the one to justify the other? (I am going to stop here before I turn in to a fully blown conspiracy theorist)

If they are a politician and their lips are moving, they are either lieing or at the very least dancing around the truth and telling people what they think we want to hear. Evil or Very Mad

That being said all I know to do is try and pick one that at least seems to lie less than the others, and support local production as much as we can. And grow it ourselves Wink

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farmer's market trades

Post  curio on 3/6/2012, 10:15 am

I don't mind when a grower trades with others for product, provided it's not importing from Mexico or Chile. Our farmer's market carries okra in the summer, that is produced in Eastern Washington, where it will grow. Same with some of the peppers, apples and other fruits.

It's disheartening to see fruit with Mexico tags on them. Sad

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  Kate888 on 3/6/2012, 11:34 am

We should also remember that higher prices on everything are a result of the government printing more money, which the US gov. did to bail out the banking industry and "stimulate" the economy. When you print money you get inflation which means all the prices go up.

And the reason I try to remember it, is it reminds me the seller raising prices (even if its gasoline) isn't necessarily greedy, but trying to keep up with his rising costs.

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

Post  Daniel9999 on 3/11/2012, 12:46 am

Good advice.

In addition to high gas prices effect on transportation and production costs you also have to factor in that higher gas prices will increase the price and demand of bio fuels.

I remember last time gas went up this high it created huge problems in Mexico because corn is a major staple there and the high gas prices created a huge demand for corn based ethanol.

The demand for ethanol drove the price of corn up so high in Mexico that the poor of that country suddenly found themselves unable to afford tortillas.

It was sad situation.

We are likely to see a similar rise in the price of products like corn and sugar which are commonly used to produce bio fuels.

You might want to plant a few extra rows of corn this year.

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Re: Forward planning: Food Prices are up

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