If you listen much to the news right now, you’ve probably heard some stories about various Costco and Sam’s Club locations rationing rice, flour or oil purchases. You may have also heard about how bad the food situation is in many countries that are poorer than the United States. It’s getting rough out there.  Some countries are limiting or refusing to export rice.

The big question is: How much should you worry?

If you are in the United States, as I am, you probably don’t have too much to worry about, at least so far. There’s not a shortage here. But people are very naturally concerned, just from looking at the worldwide picture.

My own inclination is to keep an eye on things. I’m not ready to stock up heavily… aw heck, I can’t do that very easily since my husband’s still looking for work. But even if we had a little more financial flexibility, I don’t believe I’d be panicking at this point.

For one thing, we grow so much rice we export a lot of it. Even now.

However, I have told my husband I would like to garden more intensively this year, once we know for sure that we aren’t moving. Rice, flour and oil aren’t the only foods that are subject to increased prices. Fresh produce has gone up in a lot of places, and I rarely see things like tomatoes at prices I’m willing to pay anymore.

It’s also educational for the kids. Mine had a great time last summer going out and picking fresh tomatoes to snack on, and they’ve learned a lot about edible leaves… most especially that they always have to ask first to be sure they have the right plant.

A garden costs some money to get started, especially if you haven’t had one before, but in the long run it has great potential to help you cope with rising food prices.