Late last year, the Canada Food Price Report estimated the cost of food would increase by five to seven per cent in 2022.
Danielle McIntyre, the executive director of the Lethbridge Interfaith Food Bank Society, is feeling the crunch.
“Number one, we see increased demand from the people who we’re serving, because it’s harder for them to buy groceries,” she explained. “And then we see it on our own end because we’re purchasing a lot of food that we’re providing.”
In an effort to assist residents with learning how to cook in a cost-effective way, the food bank offers classes in partnership with the local family centre.
“The programs are free. You come for free, you cook for free and take home the food that you make,” McIntyre explained.
“Right now we’re offering both in-person and online classes for which we provide all of the ingredients.”
She added the classes are open to all ages and members of the public, not just food bank clients.
“On average each year, this kitchen is helping to support about 6,000 individuals.”
Another way to save on your grocery bill could be to grow some of your own food.
Custom Indoor Grow, a growing supply shop in Lethbridge, sells a wide variety of items to help people get started, including lights, hydroponics and aquaponics, which use waste from fish as fertilizer.
“We’re all about indoor gardening,” said manager Tim Robinson. “So seeds, we have plants year-round, we grow vegetables, fruit, bananas, peppers, just about anything you can think of.”
Indoor gardening has become a hobby for many during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Robinson.
With rising cost of food, he encourages others to pick up the practice.
“It just makes sense for you to be growing at home for you yourself to eat, but also money that you could make on the side.
“A prime example is… if you were to buy chives from the store, they’re (more than $3) for a bundle, maybe even $5. depending where you’re at. (Our seeds are) $4.59, and there’s approximately 600 seeds in there.”
Cathy Lancaster, co-owner of Purple Carrot Health Foods, said a lot of customers are looking for local produce.
“It’s all locally grown, so you don’t have to worry about the transport issues,” Lancaster said. “We’re really teaming up with farmers that do (things) differently, so we have some that grow in greenhouses all year-round, or even the hydroponically.”
Purple Carrot’s recently-expanded space has allowed the store to offer a greater variety of certain products.
“We have also expanded our bulk section,” she said. “So as we see the costs of everything going up, how can we make things go a little further?”
-With files from Erica Alini, Global News