Rising US food prices

With all the talk about rising world food prices, it was only a matter of time before the issue hit US shores…or should we say stores. And it has, along with some note-worthy implications for organics, locally grown foods, and home gardens.

The Washington Post reported today that consumers are feeling the pinch while grocery shopping and trotted out some of the Consumer Price Index stats since March 2007:

“…the price of eggs has jumped 35 percent. A gallon of milk is up 23 percent. A loaf of white bread has climbed 16 percent. And a pound of ground chuck is up 8 percent. Overall, U.S. food prices in 2008 are expected to rise 4 to 5 percent, about double the increases of recent years.”

To counteract the rise, consumers are saving more, driving less, using less, and one guy in the story has gone so far as to grow his own vegetables…crazy.  

Environmentalists have long noted that a sure fire way to reduce the number of cars on the road is to raise fuel prices. The same can be said for food. What the WaPo characterizes as scrimping is actually good for the planet when it comes to American over consumption (and is clearly a separate issue from skyrocketing staple food prices in developing countries.)

Discouraging, however, is news that the high food prices could have a negative impact on the organics market. The New York Times ran a great piece two weeks ago comparing organic prices vs non-organic in a variety of stores. In some instances organic milk has reached $7 a gallon!

With those sorts of prices, maybe the next big story will be a rise in urban milking cows.


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