How to Invest in . . . Food?

How did you do in the stock market last week? Lose much? I know. You have to look at the long haul. Not watching the numbers every day, you have to think, “When I need the money in 20 or 30 years, it will be there.” I wonder if that’s what people thought in October of 1929*. I’m not criticizing stock investments. I just have another idea—a way to keep your portfolio diversified. Something that – no matter what the market does – will retain enough value that you will not go hungry. I’m talking about investing in food. Also known as “stock”-ing up. This process can be as simple as buying a case of ketchup when on sale; to as complex as a complete food-storage system as promoted by survivalists. In my neck of the woods, where most households have at least a backyard garden, everyone stocks up for the winter. Women all over the countryside spend their summers canning and freezing, families spend fall weekends butchering; and starting in November, men comb the mountainsides in search of wild game. All in an effort to feed the family the entire year long. This concept is not just cultural. It is scriptural as well: Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. – Proverbs 6:6-8 He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame. – Proverbs 10:5 But what about those things we don’t grow in the garden or provide for on the farm? Going to the grocery store every Friday is getting expensive. In fact, according to an  article  by Carla Fried on CBS’s  MoneyWatch.com , grocery prices rose up to 19% for selected items during 2010. And another source said that February 2011 saw a rise in grocery prices of 3.9% overall, “the biggest gain since November 1974.” So, how do you keep ahead of the game? You have to know your prices. I know what a bottle of ketchup costs at the places I usually shop. When it goes up, I notice. You should too. Read the paper. When Iowa experiences severe drought, figure that corn prices will go up that year. Corn prices affect everything; as some form of corn is added to most processed foods. (Think high fructose corn syrup.) If Montana is suffering unseasonal weather patterns, you can figure the same for wheat. Wheat prices not only affect flour; it is another additive used in processed foods. When you anticipate an increase in grain prices (whether wheat, corn, or rice), go buy a few hundred pounds. To figure how much your family would need for a year’s supply of a certain item, this  site  has a Food Storage Calculator. You just type in the number of family members and it will tell you how many pounds of different food items a family that size would need. If you see a sale on something your family normally eats, don’t just buy one extra bottle, box, or can. Don’t even buy 5 extra. Buy a case. Think about this. If a bottle of ketchup normally costs $3.50 and you see it for $1 and there are 12 in a case; you will save yourself $30. If you do this with everything you buy, you will cut your food bill drastically. What do you do with all this food? Properly store it. Moisture and infestation will ruin your grain. Therefore, the best way to store it is in a sealed container with oxygen absorbers. Once the oxygen is absorbed from the airspace in your container any insects in the grain will die. Space here does not allow discussing milling your wheat and making bread from the flour; but the resources below have plenty of information on that, on storing grain, and purchasing necessary supplies. Put it away. No basement? Who said you have to have a room devoted to pantry space? Put cans under the bed, boxes in the hall closet, buckets behind the couch with a piece of plywood on top covered with a tablecloth. Just be sure to rotate your stock-up; eating from that which was purchased earliest. Can or freeze it. If your grocery has bananas 3 pounds for $1, buy 10 pounds. Pop them in the freezer just like they are. When you want a smoothie, milkshake, or banana bread, simply run the frozen banana under warm water till the peel slips off and run it through the blender. If you find a deal on tomatoes, green beans, or anything else your family would eat, buy a bushel and put it up. Share the bounty. This method of investing not only saves you money, but also gives you the means to bless others. How many times have you been called on to take a meal to a new mom, but you just didn’t have anything in the house to prepare? If you’ve invested in food, that won’t happen again. Someone in your community lose their job? You have something to share with them besides your sympathy. In Luke 12 the rich man wanted to tear down his barns and build bigger ones to store all his crops so that he could “eat, drink, and be merry.” I wonder, if his motives were different, would the Lord have said, “Thou fool, this night thy soul will be required of thee.” Think about it. You may not get the monetary return on investing in food that you would in stocks, or even gold and silver. But the side benefits make it worth adding this commodity to your investment portfolio. Resources: The Urban Homemaker The Bread Beckers Everyday Food Storage The Country Living Grain Mill *The U.S. stock market crash that started the worldwide Great Depression happened October 29, 1929 (also known as Black Tuesday). This guest post is part of the  CPF Writer Auditions . Freelance writer Carol J. Alexander tries to stay ahead of the food-buying game to feed her family in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Read more of her strategies at  EverythingHomewithCarol.com . Related Articles: Learn How To Invest In Stocks – For Free How To Save Money On Groceries – 13 Tips Would Peter Lynch invest in Crocs? Buying Organic Herbs & Spices In Bulk & Saving 90% How To Invest In Gold & Should You 7 Ways to Save Money Grocery Shopping Christian stock investing: How to be Biblically responsible This article was written by a Guest Author. If you would like to write a guest post for our personal finance blog , you can find out how here . Download your copy of ” 25 Ways To Save Money in 2011 ” for FREE! The articles on this site are for entertainment purposes and should not be taken as financial advice. Please contact a financial professional for specific advice regarding your situation. 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How to Invest in . . . Food?

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