Leaving aside for a moment the familiar economic indicators (GDP, stock market, unemployment, housing sales, etc.), Michael Panzner at the Financial Armageddon blog looks at The Harsh Reality of hunger in America:
In yesterday's post, "Forced to Be More Flexible", I highlighted a Brandweek report indicating that current economic conditions are leading consumers to rethink what they eat. Regardless of personal preferences, many are switching to cheaper alternatives or trading down to private label food products. But a growing number of people are being faced with a more unsettling concern. They are not so focused on which products they should buy; they are worrying about how they are going to get enough food to eat at all....
Panzner links to articles on the respective subjects of charitable food pantries (which are seeing a greater number of first time users), food stamps (being issued at record levels), and hunger among the elderly (on the rise).
These are harbingers of worse things to come. Most poverty relief efforts are based on the fiat dollar. In severe deflation or severe inflation they will falter or collapse. Government welfare will die with the dollar. Private charity will survive in direct contribution of goods, and perhaps expand more in the direction of gleaning. The latter practice is worth an entry by itself.
If you're still able to build up a food reserve in your home pantry, do it now.