There are as many reasons why people produce their own food as there are gardeners, orchardists, beekeepers and backyard chicken keepers. They may want to lead more a sustainable lifestyle, exert some control over the food that they feed their households or wish to be more self-sufficient. They may enjoy the light exercise, get satisfaction from participating in the cycle of growth and renewal or simply prefer their food to be as fresh as possible. All of these are very good reasons to produce some of your food at home, but the motivation that is so often missing from the discussion, despite being the oldest reason of all, is that food is expensive to buy but we all have to have it.
“Expensive” is, of course, relative. 100 years ago in the United States, the average household spent 40% of their income on food. 50 years ago it was 25%. And today, the average is just 14.3%, half what we spend on housing (31.5%). That is of little consolation if you are struggling to afford the cost of food. Food prices are increasing faster than inflation or household incomes, so the downward decline of food prices as a percentage of income may be in the process of reversing. Overall food inflation in 2013, in the United States, is expected to be up 3-4% this year and fresh vegetables are forecast to rise 4-5%.
The book shelves are full of gardening books which promote particular techniques or lifestyles, but most of them are written from a hobbyist point of view and don’t focus on how to be sure your garden pays you back in dollars and not just in satisfaction.
That’s what this blog is about. The global recession may be over (at least in February 2013 we’re all hoping it is) but plenty of people still have their very own personal economic recessions. So whether you are just tightening your belt, dealing with dire financial difficulties or trying to protect yourself from the next recession, stay tuned.
(By Nicole Castle)