"I'm good in there!" says seven-year-old Annelie Schröter proudly, watering the freshly planted lettuce in the family's raised bed. The Schröter family has been a member of the Landstuhl Fruit and Gardening Association in Rhineland-Palatinate since this year. The family with three children wants to grow their own vegetables in their garden in the future. She finds help with this at the gardening association. Here they can create their first raised bed in the community garden under supervision; after a bit of practice, her own garden in front of her house should follow.
Home cultivation instead of supermarket
The young family is not only concerned with healthy, seasonal nutrition, as Lisa Schröter explains. The 34-year-old also has to look at the money because of the increased food prices: "I have to go through several supermarkets and compare prices because the groceries have just become so expensive. I think twice about how much broccoli I really put in the shopping basket. "
A year ago she spent a total of 100 euros on groceries for five days. Now it is 170 euros. A lot of money for the family with three children – even though both parents work full-time, the family is mostly vegetarian and cooks for themselves.
Trend towards self-sufficiency further increased
Other families feel the same way as the Schröter family. Sabine Günther is the chairwoman of the district association of fruit and horticultural associations in Kaiserslautern. She has an overview of the 23 affiliated local associations. The master gardener reports that the demand for self-cultivation has increased, especially in recent years.
The motivation for this is diverse. During the corona pandemic, many families had already joined because they felt like gardening again. "Now there is also the insecurity caused by the war in the Ukraine; and the increased food prices are also the decisive factor for many families to grow their own crops again, to make themselves more independent," says Günther. And the self-cultivation is worthwhile not only for the fun but also financially.
The mother of three, Lisa Schröter, is already preserving the tomatoes so that they can continue to be used in the winter. That saves money and tastes a lot better than store-bought goods, says the 34-year-old. The Federal Consumer Center also recommends growing your own fruit and vegetables as a savings tip against rising food costs. Other tips are to buy seasonal vegetables and cook them yourself instead of consuming more expensive ready-made products.
ifo: No end to inflation in sight
Sascha Möhrle, economist at the Munich ifo Institute, can understand the trend towards growing your own fruit and vegetables. According to a current survey by the ifo Institute, consumers in Germany must be prepared for the fact that food will continue to become more expensive for the time being. As in the previous months, the retailers surveyed by the ifo Institute stated that they would raise their prices in the food retail sector over the next three months.
"If you then get your vegetables from the garden instead of from the supermarket, that can certainly lead to significant relief – depending on how expensive the respective vegetable is at the moment," says the inflation forecaster. Because not all vegetable prices have increased: last June, the price of tomatoes and cucumbers rose particularly sharply, and that of lettuce even fell.
Politics should support families
Möhrle does not dare to forecast whether food prices will continue to rise until the end of the year. There are several factors that play a role – for example whether citizens are reluctant to buy because of the situation. On the other hand, it also depends on the extent to which companies that depend on gas pass on the costs to their customers. Still, Möhrle suspects that "food prices will soon peak." But that doesn't mean that prices will fall.
These are not good prospects for the mother of three Lisa Schröter from Landstuhl. She would like more support from politicians. However, a short-term child bonus would bring her nothing. "Family with more than two children will soon not be able to afford anything," says Schröter, who works full-time in a children's home. The child benefit must be increased significantly. "If the prices continue to rise, it will be a real catastrophe for us."