Thursday, April 26, 2012

Food Prices Too High: Shop With Friends

Bob Ewing - What do you think; are food prices still rising or has the increase, in just about anything edible, begun to slow down?

The flow of information across the Internet is overwhelming, and there is no way to stay on top of all that is going on, no matter which news source you use. However, I find Google alerts helps me narrow down my quest for information on the subjects, such as urban agriculture, green building and community energy, that interest me. Google alerts are easy to use and save surfing time.

One topic I have been following is food prices, and within North America, I am seeing a number of news and blog posts that inform me that food prices are still rising but the rise is slowing down.

My experience in the grocery store is different. I shop regularly, but do not buy that much, however, I always check prices to see how much they are going up; they rarely go down, unless there is a sale.

Now, I know there is a time lag between prices being lowered by the supplier, and the prices being lowered for the end user, but I am beginning to suspect that a slow down in the cost for individual items, purchased at a chain grocery store, is not likely to go down. It may level off for awhile but go down; I am not planning on holding my breath waiting for that to happen. In fact, I suspect food prices to continue to rise, slowly but steadily.

So how do people,, who have not seen a raise or have lost income continue, to buy food?

I see two solutions; one is to grow our own food, either on an individual basis or on a community basis. The second is to form a food buying club. Simply put, a few people come together and make bulk purchases and then split up the goods, so each gets a share equal to their investment. It works best if everyone puts in the same amount of money; however, people can split large quantities of items such as potatoes, canned goods and carrots anyway they choose.

Items such as rice and pasta can be weighed and people bring their own containers and pay for what they need. These details will need to be worked out first.

One person buying six cans of tomato sauce is going to pay the asking price, but a group of people buying 60 cans of the same product may have some leverage. This plan works best with small privately owned stores.

If the group finds this way to buy grocery works for them, they may want to take it to the next step and form a food buying cooperative.

[caption id="attachment_15152" align="alignnone" width="260"]stew all local ingredients[/caption]