Kim Severson's piece in The New York Times last weekend has me thinking about the cost of food. Actually, I think about the cost of food every time I go to buy some. But I contend that I'm slower to notice the rising costs of food because I buy so much of it locally from small producers.
Remember when food prices spiked a few years ago, sparking riots for bread in Kenya and other places? Friends who shopped exclusively at large supermarkets complained that their food costs had gone up nearly 20%. I didn't notice an increase at all. I had already locked in my CSA costs for vegetables and was growing a lot of my own herbs. Buying in bulk for grains and beans meant that it took a while before I noticed any increases. I suspected that the forces that drove grain prices up in other parts of the globe were not the forces affecting the cost of flour milled in the Champlain Valley up north.
I do know that several local meat farmers have already informed patrons that prices for chicken and other meats have been raised due to the increased cost in feed. Maybe getting that news months before I actually purchase the chicken softens the blow.
This time around, I'm going to pay closer attention to see if food costs are rising on our other locally grown foods. I'm not in a CSA this year so will be more subject to market forces, as it were.
What do you see? Have you noticed any increases yet?