Collapse Survival – should we move and live rurally ?
I know we need to live in communities to survive. But the average suburban plot of land cannot produce enough food to feed a family, let alone extended family. Our family is considering moving to a rural small holding. But the land close to towns costs a huge amount, and land further away would pose a big problem in peak oil, and local communities. I don’t know what to do, any suggestions ?
What country are you in amanda.
We moved 60klm inland from a major town – 100 klm inland from a major city. Up the top of a high mountain.
I have had built a big greenhouse and in there i do above ground gardening – i have chooks and produce our own eggs – my folks have cows – brother has pigs etc etc –
We run our own business which is based about 20klm from our house.
Our town has maybe 2000 people.
Everything is great and plenty of plenty – until last week when my two closest towns ran out of fuel.
It really opened my eyes and got me thinking about a lot of what if’s.
And in honesty – if SHTF – i still think id rather be out her with no fuel – then in a city with no food.
Thanks for your reply. You sound like you have got it pretty right with where you are, good on you.
That is really interesting. I guess I want my cake and to eat it too. And I suppose when the cities pour out to the country side, there will be more "community" there.
It is so hard to know exactly where to be because it is so hard to exactly see the picture of what it will all look like.
I am in New Zealand by the way.
Is there any books or documentation anywhere where someone is giving advice about where to live and how to set ourselves up for these events ? I don’t just mean a permaculture manual, I mean thinking about ramifications of no electricity, what basic foods we could grow easily eg if we grow wheat, how difficult is making your own bread, should we all be buying wood fired ovens, advice like should we all be buying a bike, etc etc.
And I think we all know the S will HTF, but the question is how badly and when.
I have been doing alot of research in answering the same questions. I would like to comment of a few you asked above.
making own bread……is simple from start to finish it takes time. You will need a good hand mill for the wheat and prepare yourself to gain a few pounds. (My husband loves homemade bread and eats alot of it)
It is a good idea to learn how to cook meals on a wood stove with the foods you grow (or have in an emergency stash). That way you are prepared for anything.
Bikes are a great idea. Don’t forgot though that if SHTF that everything will be small community based. Walking like the good old days will be the norm.
The more prepared you are the less likely you will worry if anything should happen. A couple days ago there was a post on Recommended books. I am sorry I dont have the link, but all those books would be helpful.
If you are considering moving to the country do not make the mistakes I did.
We decided to move and bought a rural block that looked picturesque.
There was no reliable water and although the native vegitation looked green, the soil is very poor, so being self sufficent is not likely,
Living costs are a lot higher and services much lower. Vehicle costs are over 30% of my income.
Internet access is sllooowwww.
Career opportunities are very limited, which results in low income.
The area is full of rednecks who are gun crazy and malicious with NO respect for law or order. Just about anything including livestock and machinary regularly disappear.
Crime is actually much worse in the rural areas and the Police have NO control on what is going on.
On our property there are boundary errors which our conveyancer did not discover and which now prevent us selling.
If you are considering moving, do your homework, find a good community, or plan on creating one with people you know and trust.
I’m moving in this direction myself and preparing by learning as much as I can in advance.
There seem to be two routes (or a combination) that you can go down. Try to be individually self-sufficient or become a farmer or work directly with farmers.
A disadvantage of trying to be individually self-sufficient is that you don’t get the economies of scale of producing a particular item in quantity and then trading/selling within the community to get the other items that you need. Here’s an interesting book on the subject: The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It The Complete Back to Basics Guide by John Seymour.
An advantage of sustainable farming is that you can produce a tremendous amount of food and it provides you with an incredible opportunity to use your labor and the labor of others that would be interested in partnering with you. Since the value added part of farming is labor intensive (food processing) this makes a good match when society is creating a surplus of available labor as it is right now.
My favorite book on this subject is You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise by Joel Salatin. With just land, soil, sun, water, livestock you can produce high quality food that is the future that will trump agribusiness’ unsustainable practices that simply won’t work in a world of peak oil.
Personally, if we think that there is going to be a shortage of food I’d rather be producing a lot of it to feed the people that need it rather than just having enough for myself.
The next best thing to actually becoming a sustainable farmer is to buy directly from a sustainable farmer. My hope is that this becomes a grassroots effort, as both producers and consumers, because this brings sustainability back to the people and the planet.
Hope this helps,
I am planning to move myself to a smaller more rural community. The key considerations as I see them are that you need to move to a small community and not to an isolated farm. If possible look to get a small acre or 2 in amongst other small acreages where there will be other people around whom when the tough times come will be able to pull together and help each other. As you are in NZ you are well ahead of 99% of people in the world because NZ has a small population of just over 4 million people with only about 300 000 people in the South Island (I would move to the South Island personally). This small population is great in terms of having the carrying capacity of the land being able to support the population. There will still be a lot of pain and trouble during the transition however I believe that a new more localised economy/equillibrium can be reached more quickly in NZ. I live in South East Queensland, Australia and have considered a move to NZ however cannot bring myself to part with family and the warm weather.
The other thing to realise, and this is something that my wife and I are "wrestling with" is that house prices are going to fall a lot so whilst you may not be able to afford something now you may be able to later as long as you invest wisely if you have any money to invest. Personally I think physical gold and silver is a great investment and I am considering investing into some oilrig maintenance type companies or into oil refinery companies which have the technology to process heavy crude oil which is going to be increasingly the only oil available (most normal refineries cant process heavy crude). The waiting game has its pluses but also its minuses. You wait a while and the price of property comes down but also the "system" gets closer to collapse and you dont want to be caught out by any sudden systemic collapse. One thing we are considering is renting a home near to where we want to own land and waiting there. That way if things go pearshaped quickly we have hopefully already gotten to know alot of locals and learned alot about growing food etc. (a side note, do a Permaculture Design Course, its the best money you can invest!). The advantages of buying earlier is that you get to set the property up with permaculture design principles which will enable a sustainable lifestyle to be obtained with much less effort and little external inputs.
Hope that helps… let me know if you have any other questions 🙂
I also recommend The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It The Complete Back to Basics Guide by John Seymour.
Although I just cracked it, it is obviously a good book – crammed with illustrations and detailed farming, animal-raising and food-processing knowledge.
So far the biggest challenge I see in self-sustainment, as explained by Seymour, is that it is very difficult to grow all the things you need yourself. Also, if you are planning on "just growing tomatoes and chickens" and trading your excesses to others for different items, it turns out that you need to rotate your crops and animals – often! Otherwise, crop and animal specific pests will quickly infest whatever you are groing.
Experienced, knowledgeable farmers can and do overcome this challenge, even on small farms, just be aware that there is a lot of learning and planning to do. What I’ve read so far in this book makes me realize how incredibly ignorant and helpless I will be when the S does HTF if I don’t hurry up and "get smart".
Hi again amanda – you are just across the seas from me – i am in south east queensland – also hi to Mikkwan.
In preps i am really pretty well covered. I wont go into detail but i didnt just prep for me. Ive put everything we have into prepping.
As for cooking etc and if the house goes of the grid with electricity etc etc etc all i have done for these regards is to prepare ourselves as if going camping. I got a camp oven that cooks with just a few briquettes – it can do anything from a roast to bacon and i got a kelly kettle – porta loo – solar shower bags – solar garden lights – anything i could think of for camping.
I didnt have thousands and thousands to take the house to solar – so i just bought up camping equipment.
I have 3 huge water tanks and i bought a berkly water system as well.
Our problem would be fuel and keeping our shop open but if it all went to hell in a basket – id just walk away and rest my head beside my kids in a tent – care factor for material possessions is NIL.
Could you just rent something rural – get some camping stuff – food – and have the basics covered.
You guys I am so grateful for these insightful and really helpful comments, as I have been tearing my hair out.
One thing that concerns me – and it might just be a personal paranoia – is just how safe it will be in the early days of the transition. All of these changes could occur within a very swift time frame – as pointed out in the crash course.
There will be a lag phase between this, and every single person growing vegetables in their back garden. They say society is only 3 meals away from civil unrest (???). And look at how Americans behaved with Hurricane Katrina. Human beings do not behave civilly when hungry and fearful.
If you have potatoes growing in your back yard, and the neighbour wants to feed his hungry baby – well. Things will not be nice for a while.
However, if we are to get through all this as a "community" we will need to live close enough to trade and have access to services. Again, a catch 22 situation.
I am not worried about losing electricity. My basic plan is a wood fired stove/oven. Firewood on the property. Collect the rain water. And the first thing to grow, is potatoes ! Apparantly they are higher than you think in Vitamains esp vitamin C, and contain lots of calories! From that basic point I suppose I will get more sophisticated.
Thanks again for all your comments and ideas. I find it all really useful to think about. We are in the lucky position that we have sold our property and are effectively cashed up. But it is so true – I don’t want to wait so long to buy something that I get caught out !
Keep the thoughts coming !