At no time in recent history has it been more important for folks in the city to align themselves with a farm within their community. We are living in very uncertain economical times. The gas projections for this season get steeper with each newscast, and what was expected to be $5 per gallon gas by Labor Day is now expected to exceed $6. Our dollar is devaluing, and our politicians can’t seem to come to any kind of consensus on the best way to prevent that from happening. A lot of this is out of our hands. However, there are steps we can take to insure the stability of our own families food supply in case things get worse before they get better. Please understand, I am in no way an alarmist. I am; however, one who believes that a little preparedness can go a long way.
If we do indeed hit $6 per gallon gasoline this summer, you can bet our prices in the grocery store will reflect those increases and then some. Those same prices have already been affected by the issues with the dollar. Anyone else notice that first they raised the canned good prices, and then they decreased the size of the can? And how many of you realize that most farms are already paying approximately 25% more to feed their animals the same grain they fed them last year? Being a pasture farm we are less effected, but we still feel it when we pick up our supplementary grain at the mill. How about dog food prices..first they reduced the bag size… Purina Dog Food used to come in 50 lb bags, now they are 40lb bags and if you are really lucky you can pick up that bag that has the free 10% giving you 44lbs. Unfortunately, you are paying 30% more for that 40-44lb bag then you were when they were still packaging it the other way. I am not making this up, and this is just the beginning.
Most CSAs set the rate, and payment is received at the beginning of the season, which holds your pricing through the entire summer. If you are very fortunate, your CSA has annual programs which allow you to pay for the year..this keeps you in the cheap for at least 12 months regardless of who is in the White House or Congress and what they decide to do, or not to do, to ease our financial woes. Your grocery store will certainly not offer you the same peace of mind. Being a farm and being local allows CSA farmers some luxury that your grocery stores simply don’t enjoy.
If we do indeed suffer a deeper financial crisis in this country, the stocking of the grocery shelves can slow. The farmers are still producing, but getting things to market becomes more difficult. Many stores rely heavily on goods from great distances away, including other countries, who may or may not be interested in extending us further credit as our credit becomes more questionable and particularly if the dollar continues to fall. Locally grown farm fare is virtually uneffected regardless. We can still hop in the truck and pick bushels of produce, and driving our wares to deliver them the short distance to you (even in my gas guzzling F-350) is still doable.
So when you are budgeting your expenses this year, consider local food insurance - the kind offered by an area farm with a farmer who you know and can trust. CSA programs are the very best source of fresh locally grown produce, and many offer meat and eggs as well these days. Do the research, and by all means do the math. Get involved and make choices now that will keep your family finances and their food stores stable come what may.
Antaya Acres Heritage Farm
Silverwood, MI 48760