Before World War II, most families spent a third or more of their income on food, as the poor majority in developing countries still do. But after the war a series of radical changes, from mechanisation to the green revolution, raised agricultural productivity hugely and caused a long, steep fall in the price of food, to a tenth of many people’s income.
We have come to expect that food is cheap and easy to get ahold of, and odds are good that this situation won’t last much longer, as the article linked to above explains. Living without access to oil is an inconvenience; living without food is a death sentence.
One of the best ways to adapt to this change is to start learning how to grow your own food. Put in some garden beds. Read about permaculture and edible landscaping. At the same time, learn how to prepare and enjoy local, seasonal foods if you don’t already do so. Fresh, tropical fruits, chocolate and the like will probably become luxuries for the wealthy or a special present/treat. Same with imported wines & beers. You can make wonderful wines out of native grapes or other fruits, yet the dominance of classical vinifera grapes has relegated these ‘rustic’ gems to the sidelines.
We’re seeing the first stages of food inflation already, whether it’s talk of skyrocketing tortilla prices in Mexico, or rising dairy & meat costs here, or Australian wines getting more expensive thanks to their drought. I doubt this is a short-term problem, for food demand is inelastic, and we’re doing a better job of degrading farmland rather than enhancing it. An increasing population competing for flat or falling food supplies means higher prices. This isn’t something that we can hoard our way through, folks.
If you need more inspiration check out any of the linked sites here in the ‘Food’ section. Path to Freedom is an especially good site for those of us living in the city or the suburbs, for it shows what you can do if you put your mind to it. The time to learn new skills is now, before we may need to rely on them.
HT: The Oil Drum