Futures Market

I’m not a fortune teller, nor am I clairvoyant. But I will make one prediction today: the price of oil and gasoline will continue to rise in the days and years to come, and the cost of food, meats and grains will go up as well. And while I don’t trade on the CME, I am doing something to hedge against rising food prices. I am growing food. And for me, that is empowering. It’s my action plan!

my idea of coffee futures (click on any image to enlarge)

My relatively small investment in seeds, plants, and time will grow into a larger harvest of vegetables and fruit. To be sure, not every year will be a bumper year for everything I grow. But with diversity, the chances of success increase. My wife and I grow around 30 different kinds of vegetables here, and almost a dozen different fruits. And we’re always looking to expand our choices.

seedlings under fluorescent lights

Right now is a busy time here at HA. I kicked off seed-starting season a couple of weeks ago, and there are still plenty more seeds to sow in the near future. This week I transplanted some of the early seedlings into larger quarters. Many of the plants are showing their first true leaves already, like the cabbage plant in the below photo.

this cabbage seedling has a future here

And while new seedlings hold the promise of future harvests, we’re still collecting the payoff from past efforts. Our fall and winter plantings are keeping us fed, even while spring and summer are just around the corner.

lettuce, spinach and arugula = future salads

Growing my own food acts as a buffer against rising food prices, but I would do it for the taste alone even if it didn’t save money. After all, how can anyone put a price on the first fresh homegrown asparagus of the season? And I mean really fresh asparagus, not the stuff that passes for fresh in most groceries.

first asparagus of 2011

As I sit here writing, the spot price of gold is $1714 an ounce (according to the ticker at CNBC) and the price of oil is north of $107 a barrel. But the value of the food we grow here can’t be tracked by an index or a ticker symbol, because to me it’s priceless!

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14 Responses to Futures Market

  1. Daphne says:

    Love the asparagus sticking out of the ground. I can’t wait to see my first spear coming up. I planted mine last year. I might get some this year or I might have to wait until the future. I’ve got a lot of futures in the garden. All those fruit trees and the blueberry bushes are long term investments.

  2. Jody says:

    That asparagus spear says so much! Come on spring; come on harvests!

  3. Mike R says:

    A packet of seeds can be shipped with a fraction of the fuel it takes to ship a crate of vegetables. Now that’s economizing!

  4. Liz says:

    I like the idea of a veggie garden hedging against rising commodity prices. Next time my share market obsessed uncle starts lecturing on the need to invest, I’ll tell him I’m not only actively hedging but doing it in a manner which is actually productive.

  5. Meemsnyc says:

    Even more reason to grow an edible garden. The prices will always go up.

  6. Robin says:

    Fresh & nutritious “Real” home grown food is priceless! Although I do keep track of what the harvests are worth $ wise, you cannot put a price tag on the taste and nutritional value of growing your own food.

  7. GrafixMuse says:

    Sometimes I feel the only control I have in this economy is the security of knowing I grow a fresh garden in the summer and preserved garden bounty in the winter. Food, shelter, water are the necessities in life.

  8. Thomas says:

    Well put, Dave! I couldn’t agree more. It’s also empowering to know that there are many of us who feel the same way. I’ve always loved your blog. It keeps me motivated.

  9. LynnS says:

    Timely post! Food is the best investment now….unless you’re an analyst with Wall Street and have no morals. lol Not only do we save money buy growing our own but homegrown flavor and nutrition can’t be beat!

    Hope all is okay at Happy Acres. I left a msg here yesterday but it wouldn’t go through. Please let us know you and Lynda are okay!

  10. Kelly says:

    I wish everyone could grow as much food as you do. There is some yummy stuff coming out of HA! Plus your blog is way less stressful to keep track of than the market. 😉

  11. Norma Chang says:

    Wish I could grow more fruits but that would mean putting up a tall fence all around my property which is not feasible. I am self-sufficient most of the year for veggies and get most of my fruits from local farms.

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