Don’t Forget about Food!

My father was born in 1922, in Germany.  As many people know, hyper-inflation in Germany peaked in late 1924, but shortages undoubtedly lasted for a while after that.  Although I’m sure my father didn’t understand about inflation at that time, he did remember accompanying his parents to his grandparents’ farm to find food.  On one occasion, he even told the story of the full moon rising and his exclaiming, “der Mond!, der Mond!” while riding on his father’s shoulders and pointing to the bright white orb rising in the sky.

For some reason, I never forgot that story, and so when I inherited some land from my mother’s side of the family, and I was trying to figure out what to do with it, I finally hit upon the idea (about 14 years ago) of growing some fruit trees on it. My mother had said that when she was a child (in the 1920s) there had been an apple orchard on the hill behind the farmhouse. So I knew apple trees would grow there, but I didn’t stop there. I planted pear, plum, peach and cherry trees, as well. At first, we had two acres cleared, and a couple years later, we had three more acres cleared. More recently (last year), we had 10 more acres cleared. You might say the project has taken on a life of its own. In fact, I’ve already ordered 200 more fruit trees for next year.

You’re probably thinking about all the fruit we must be getting, but you’d be wrong. It wasn’t until last year that we discovered the importance of fungus for the production of fruit. And what a difference it makes! This year, for the first time in 14 years, the trees are laden with fruit. We may even have more peaches than the ground hogs can eat when they climb the peach trees. What a fortunate find. For those of you with fruit trees, the brand name of the fungus we used is Santerra. It was mixed into rain water with a couple other liquids (Seashield and Rejuvenate) so it could be sprayed on the ground around the trees, berry bushes, and garden. But I digress...

The point I’m trying to make is that during hyper-inflation, it’s a good idea to have a source of food in the family. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, it could take you 14 years to produce it. Fortunately, vegetable gardens are easier to grow. But it could still take a couple years to discover what you would like to grow and what you can grow, depending on your soil and climate.

While I don’t like to be a scare-monger, I am concerned...about all those people who aren’t prepared for the price-inflation that is here now and the price-inflation that will be even worse tomorrow. In fact, I’m even planting fruit trees along the main road that runs next to our land to make it easy for the public to steal fruit from us. Hopefully they’ll leave the rest of my stuff alone (it’s out of sight from the road). I’m not kidding.

By the way, the same greenhouse frame that cost me $650.00 last year now costs $1,000.00. Price inflation is no longer an academic concept. It’s here, and it’s time to get practical and prepare for the possibility that we could end up like Germany of the early 1920s or France of the 1790s. For a step-by-step chronicle of the French inflation, see Fiat Money Inflation in France by Andrew Dickson White. The French couldn’t get enough money, even after they seized all the church property and used it as collateral for their currency…so they kept printing more. Same with the Germans in the 1920s. And what about today in the USA?

Many people say hard assets are the way to go. And that’s true, but don’t forget about food. Even if we don’t end up with hyper-inflation, it won’t hurt for you to learn how to grow some of your own food. Remember, one of the things that breaks down during inflationary times is the division of labor. People become generalists rather than specialists. And shortages do persist. Good luck!

Robert F. Sennholz

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