Rising Food Prices: What You Can Do About Them

Posted on Mar 9 2011 - 2:11am by Mike Lieberman

The rising food prices have been in the news a lot lately. I mean c’mon it helped to cause an uprising in Egypt.

Here in the States, the food prices are starting to rise as well. While indeed that may be true, it’s not the food that is too expensive it’s everything else that goes into getting the food to your plate that’s causing the price to increase.

The Daily Green had a great post titled For Every Dollar You Spend on “Food,” Less than 16 Cents Pays for Food. They broke down where the money goes based on what the USDA reports.

Wait how much actually goes to the food?
As you can tell by the title less than 16% of each dollar goes towards the actual food. The other 84% goes towards the marketing of the food.

They break down that 84% even further. Food processing (19%) and services (34%) make the lion share of that 84%.

Food processing are the ones that process your food into the “food” products that can be found on the shelves. Food services are the ones that distribute, package and label the food.

Pretty much what this means is that most of the money that we are paying for food goes to the middleman NOT to paying for the food. This system doesn’t seem like one that can work and is sustainable in the long term.

That is the real issue.

Great food prices are rising, but what can we do?
Our current food system relies on these middlemen to provide us with our food. I say we cut these middlemen out of the equation thus bringing down the price of food.

There are a few ways that you can cut out the middleman and get your food from closer to the source.

  • Start to grow your own food. You might not be able to fully survive off of what you grow, but every little bit matters.
  • Go to your local farmers market and buy directly from the grower. There is no middleman involved there.
  • Join your local CSA. This is a good way to connect with others in your area and to support the local farmers.

By doing any of those or a combination of them, we can combat the high prices of food and help to cause the change that we want to see.

What are other things that we can do about the rising food prices?