Rising Food Prices and Greenhouse Gardening (Google / The Greenhouse Catalog)

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Rising Food Prices Make Greenhouse Gardening more Attractive and Economical

June 19th, 2008 by Greenthumb

Not many consumers today would argue with that statement. With gasoline prices over $4 a gallon and diesel fuel selling for a good $0.80 cents above gasoline, everyone is feeling the pinch. Because it is costing more to transport produce, and farmers are raising prices to compensate for the increase in the cost of living, a gallon of milk now costs the same as a gallon of gasoline and fresh produce is nearly worth its weight in gold. For families with growing children at home, fresh produce is a necessity, not a preference, and putting a balanced meal on the table three times a day is becoming more of a challenge as the economy continues its downward spiral. The cost of food affects more than just our health and our wallets. The national poverty index is determined by multiplying the average cost of feeding a family. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the cost of feeding a low-income family of four has risen 6 percent in 12 months. For some families, that 6 percent increase in the cost of groceries means less fruits, vegetables and dairy products consumed each week to make up the price difference.

According to a recent news report
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/31/food-price-inflation-chan_n_94283.html), the price of food is rising across the board. “Record-high energy, corn and wheat prices in the past year have led to sticker shock in the grocery aisles. At $1.32, the average price of a loaf of bread has increased 32 percent since January 2005.

In the last year alone, the average price of a carton of eggs has increased almost 50 percent. Ground beef, milk, chicken, apples, tomatoes, lettuce, coffee and orange juice are among the staples that cost more these days, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall, food prices rose nearly 5 percent in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That means a pound of coffee, on average, cost 57 cents more at year’s end than in 2006. A 12-ounce can of frozen, concentrated orange juice now averages $2.53 – a 67-cent increase in just two years.

A carton of grade A, large eggs will set you back $2.17. That’s an increase of nearly $1 since February, 2006.”

The Benefits of Greenhouse Gardening

Greenhouse gardening is a terrific way to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for your family at a fraction of the cost of purchasing those same items from a commercial retailer, like Wal Mart. Growing your own fruits and vegetables in the greenhouse also allows you to grow organically and to control what, if any, pesticides are used in growing your family’s fruits and vegetables. Greenhouse gardening produces fruits and vegetables all year-round, providing fresh, balanced nutrition for the whole family.

Greenhouse gardening is also very relaxing and fun for many gardeners. The whole family can become involved in working in the greenhouse and reap the benefits of the satisfaction of producing fruits and vegetables with your own hands. Greenhouse gardening is also an educational experience for gardeners of all ages. Adept gardeners study soil types, bacteria, chemistry, pollination, water quality, and hundreds of other scientific factors affecting crops.

Commiting to Greenhouse Gardening

Greenhouse gardening is a committment. The initial cost of obtaining a greenhouse and supplies for growing fruits and vegetables in a greenhouse may not seem like much of a savings at first, but gardening tools last for years and plants can be cultivated to produce seeds for next season’s crops.



May I refer to the pleasure of growing seedlings in mini-greenhouses, made of yoghourt pots or other plastic containers, like bottles (see my former postings on this subject).


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.