You’ve probably been noticing how much your grocery costs are going up. Yes, you read the title of this article correctly, and honestly, I hope it only doubles. It could get much worse.
I’ll explain why. There are many unstoppable forces that are colliding and the result is that food prices will go up like an eruption from a volcano. I’ll highlight the three biggest forces in this article. By the end, you’ll realize that it is time to make some plans, take action, and get ready for a really ”new normal”.
The number one factor pushing up prices is simply the weather. It doesn’t matter what you believe about the cause of climate change – and who really knows? But the fact is that weather patterns are changing around the globe. We are getting more and more severe weather and the bottom line is that it is affecting crop production around the world. Here are just a few examples. Russia has had severe drought and went from being one of the largest exporters of wheat, to having to go out on the open markets to buy food for its people. Australia used to produce enough rice to feed millions of people, but due to heat and drought they have lost almost 98% of that production. Texas has been in drought for over four years now and the ranchers have been selling off their herds because they can’t afford to
feed them. In the short term, this has kept the price of beef low, but soon the last of these great herds will have been butchered, and the price of beef will skyrocket.
Do you remember the flooding along the Mississippi last spring? That was farmland being destroyed. And the tsunami that hit Japan? That not only destroyed local farmland, but the water table is now contaminated with radiation which is affecting a much greater area than the devastation in the videos we saw.
Next time you are watching the news and see those poor people stuck in airports because of severe cold, also think about the livestock and winter crops that are freezing to death. Remember that scorching heat this summer? Not only is it tough for you, but the corn and soybeans can’t handle it either.
Around the globe we’ve had droughts, floods, heat waves, cold snaps and worse. These losses have been going on for much of the last decade. To keep things stable, we’ve been eating our stored grains. We are now scratching the bottom of the bin. Even the conservative USDA is reporting our reserves are razor thin.
It is a simple supply and demand situation – the weather is destroying supply while demand increases.
#1 Severe weather is reducing global food production.
Are you getting used to the ‘new normal’ at the pump being somewhere around $3.50 to $4? Do you think oil prices will be going down? No, me neither.
All across the US you’ve seen those mega farms growing the corn, wheat, and potatoes that make up our basic food stocks. Every step in the process of growing that food involves oil and fossil energy. The planting, the chemical fertilizers, the harvesting, processing, and transportation are all processes that need massive amounts of energy (oil) to run.
As the price of oil goes up, so does the cost to produce food. I have a link to a video at the end of this article and in that video I’ll show you a graph of the direct correlation between oil prices and food prices.
#2 As the price of oil goes up, so do grocery prices.
Many Americans are surprised to find that we are no longer the ‘Bread Basket’ to the world. I certainly always believed that. I thought we produced two or three times what we needed and we were shipping it off to Africa, or India, or somewhere like that. The truth is we export only about 15% of what we grow. And, we import about that much. In fact, the US is almost a net importer of food.
So we saw above that almost all of the food grown in the United States is utterly dependent on oil and fossil fuels. Did you know that the US imports almost 65% of its energy? That means our food supply is largely dependent on foreign oil. The United States in not food self-reliant.
This gets us into the third biggest factor of why your grocery bill is going to double. The US Government has been issuing more and more money which is having two detrimental effects: inflation and the dollar losing value.
As the dollar loses value it becomes more and more expensive to buy the oil we need to grow food. The dollars that buy that oil are losing value – and with the possibility of the US defaulting on its debt, well, everything is going to get more expensive.
As the Government prints more and more money it is the textbook example of ‘too much money chasing too few goods’. You are probably already seeing inflation, what you may not realize is that hyper-inflation is right around the corner.
Another complication is that as this crisis unfolds there will be all sorts of governmental interventions – most of these will have the net affect of increasing prices. Already, over 30 countries have put export controls on food products to keep food in their country. Within the US, the increasing regulations for ‘food safety’ have put some farmers out of business. Price fixing and rationing are certainly possible, and historically have been shown to be ineffective. Price fixing was tried as recently as the 1970’s here in the US, and you can expect it to come up again.
#3 Government spending and interventions to the food crisis will push up prices.
Unfortunately, this is a very long-term problem. I definitely recommend you start stocking up on food supplies, but the real solution is to learn how to grow your own. The weather patterns, the price of oil, and the various world Governments are not going to suddenly change track any time soon. And there are a host of other factors that will push up prices which I have not written about here. You simply cannot store enough food to get you and your family through this crisis. It is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about growing food in my backyard – and encouraging everyone else to grow food too.
You can take control of your grocery bills and get immunity from the crisis we are facing by simply using what you’ve got right in your own backyard. It is really fun and easy to do. And you’ll be eating much healthier than ever before.
I read the comments section on the video webpage regularly and would love to hear from you.
Marjory Wildcraft is an Expedition Leader and Bioneer Blogger with The [Grow] Network, which is an online community that recognizes the wisdom of “homegrown food on every table.” Marjory has been featured as an expert on sustainable living by National Geographic, she is a speaker at Mother Earth News fairs, and is a returning guest on Coast to Coast AM. She is an author of several books, but is best known for her “Grow Your Own Groceries” video series, which is used by more than 300,000 homesteaders, survivalists, universities, and missionary organizations around the world.