This is what's going to convince Americans to invest in local food and alternative energy: the demise of the backyard barbecue.

High gas prices are finally trickling down into U.S. food markets, and the red-meat-loving New York Post has calculated that an outlay of burgers, hot dogs, trimmings, potato salad, and ice cream will cost 29 percent more this year. Last Memorial Day, feeding 12 people would have cost $154 if they brought their own beers. This year, it’ll be $199. (We’re assuming that if they didn’t bring beer, you didn’t invite them back.)

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When everyone's had a few beers and burgers this Memorial Day and starts shaking their heads at the cost and saying, "There's gotta be a better way," that's when you know you've got them. Start small. Suggest your climate-skeptic in-laws grow a couple of tomato plants: The price of tomatoes has increased 86 percent since last year. Or just throw a couple of (cheap!) tofu dogs on the grill, and don't tell anyone unless they ask.

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