Monday, March 14, 2011

Preparing for Rising Food Prices

At the grocery store this weekend, signs were everywhere in the produce section, alerting consumers that severe weather in the South and Southeast means--for the next several weeks--prices on winter produce will be higher and supplies will be limited. In Japan, food shortages are already being experienced, grocery stores are closed, and people are waiting in lines for rationed amounts of food and water. The earthquake and nuclear catastrophes there are likely to affect food prices worldwide as well.

All of this has me thinking that I'm glad I have prepared a pantry. It's not terribly extensive, but there is enough to last us at least for a little bit through a natural disaster or emergency. Even if there isn't an emergency, I am thankful to be able to dip into reserves I have purchased on sale when their prices climb at the grocery store. I don't have to pay an exorbitantly high price for items our family needs.

If you haven't done it already, I encourage you to stock up on some pantry essentials--especially when you see them on sale. You can do it a little at a time to work it into your budget. That way, you'll have things on hand if prices rise higher than you can comfortably afford for a season; plus, you'll be prepared with some food in the cupboard in the event of an emergency.

There is some helpful information here about building up a pantry. Brandy tells the story of how she slowly stocked her pantry to be able to feed her family for a year. You can also use a food calculator on her site to find out how much your family would need if you were trying to build up a year's worth of storage. Even if you don't do a year, it's helpful to see what kind of items you may want to keep on hand.

(Disclaimer: she links to an Latter Day Saints site about food storage. I am not LDS. So while we disagree theologically, I appreciate the practical tips on building a pantry frugally. There is some really helpful advice there.)   


  1. We've built up a pantry--mostly to take advantage of sales, but also for emergencies. We are blessed to have enough storage space to stock up on non-perishables, paper products, and bottled water.

    I've noticed the prices of produce rising. What most shocked me was the price of eggplant, which was $3.99/pound last week! It's been creeping up, but that was a significant jump since the last time I'd looked.

  2. With the devastation in Japan, the rising gasoline prices and the rising food prices, I hope it has a lot of us thinking not only how we can stockpile and prepare for an emergnecy, but WHO is in ultimate control. As Christians, we have the wonderful opportunity when hard times come through food prices and such, to proclaim Christ - the one who calls us out of darkness into his marvelous light!

    Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the LORD. I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord is my strength, He has made my feet like hinds' feet, and makes me walk on my high places.

    Amen?! This is the message that brings hope.

    Cheryl, I agree that a stocked pantry is prudent and I appreciate the tips - Just wanted to throw this big picture out there as well, because as we have seen in Japan, utter devastation can come in a moment, and it won't matter how much food we have stored but rather are we storing up God's Word in our hearts. What a neat ananlogy to think of as we store food items, yes?

    I pray that we all have opportunities to share the 1 way, 1 truth, 1 life -- JESUS -- as we have these type of conversations. It's in the hard times that people often come to Christ; I pray I will declare Him faithfully as I have opportunities to do so.

  3. Jodi,I agree completely. After nearly 3 years without full time work for my husband, we have been creative but mostly trusted God with it. Our family may be much poorer and far more in debt because of this journey, but my children never went hungry, we kept our vehicles and never missed a payment on our home. And for that I am grateful.

    I will admit, having gone through this experience, I am torn. Yes I can stockpile sale items, but I wonder too if those resources wouldn't better go to a family who's hurting now.

  4. Hi Guys,
    I hope no one interpreted this post to mean that I was saying we trust in our food storage and not in our God. Our trust should always be (and ultimately be) in the Lord. But with that, there are practical steps we can take to provide for our families, under God's total provision for us. Think of the example of Joseph, who saved his family, Israel, and countless Egyptians by preparing for famine and storing wheat.

    Robbie, glad to hear how God continues to provide for you in this time of need. I think if you can find great sales, why not grab one item for your family and one for a family in need? (Or you can put together a box of things from your pantry, if you've been able to grab some items on sale--like pasta for .49 cents the other day at our Kroger affiliate). This is also where the church comes in--helping meet people's needs through the benevolent fund. I hope you are blessed with a generous church, and can point others in need to such a place (or anonymously share a need with your church).
    I'm rambling...hope that helps!