Getting Used to Life Without Food, Part 1

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Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
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Getting Used to Life Without Food, Part 1

http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/william-engdahl/2011/06/29/ge...

My late grandfather, a man of sturdy Norwegian-American farm stock, who later became a newspaper editor and political activist during the First World War, used to say, 'A man can get used to pretty much anything with time, except dying...and even that with some practice.' Well, as fate has it, it seems we, the vast majority of the human race, are about to test that adage in regard to the availability of our daily bread itself.

...Then, how can it be that our world faces, according to some predictions, the prospect of a decade or more of famine on a global scale? The answer lies in the forces and interest groups that have decided to artificially create a scarcity of nutritious food. The problem has several important dimensions.

1. The ability to manipulate the price of essential foods worldwide at will -- almost irrespective of today’s physical supply and demand for grains -- is quite recent. It is also scarcely understood.

2. The elimination of national grain reserves in the USA and EU and other major OECD industrial countries set the stage for the next step in the process—elimination of agricultural commodity derivatives regulation, allowing unbridled unchecked speculative manipulations.

 

 

 

 

butterflywoman's picture
butterflywoman
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'A man can get used to

'A man can get used to pretty much anything with time

 

so  true so true.

americans have gotten used to food being provided for them. indeed, all one has to do is drive to the store, select from all seasons of  foods, get in line , pay for it with a little plastic card that does it all, and drive home. or drive up to a fast food store and have them hand dinner to you thru the window of your car.again drive home.

the connection  to growing food and where it comes from, and the work involved has been lost  more or less, unless you live on a farm.

if people are going to continue to  expect others to provide them their food, then they will pretty much have to accept how others do it...chemicals and all, shortages and all and price spikes and all, ecoli and all.

strawberry season for my garden is just about over. it only comes once a year where i live.  these strawberries have not been sprayed with any chemicals, no fertilizers, no pesticides, or herbicides. the cultivar i bought was not meant to be shipped long distances, so the berries are soft and fresh when they are picked.

i eat some then i have to  preserve the rest so that i can have the luxury of strawberries through out the year til next june .processing the berries takes a lot of hard work to bend over and pick, wash , cut up, freeze or boil for preserves. it is labor intensive and time consuming.

i am on the strawberries schedule. after a few days, the novelty of fresh strawberries wore off and going out in the morning to pick and having my evenings spent canning or freezing the berries got old and bothersome.  wouldnt it be cheaper and easier to go the store and just buy some?

the strawbwerry window here is about 2 weeks...maybe three weeks. then that is it. i have to be able to see that strawberries at christmas or in february are worth  these 2 weeks of hard constant work.   i found that i could shift my attitude from one of drugery to one of gratitude that the crop was large this year. i shifted my thoughts of hurry up and get this done, to enjoying the sounds of nature as i picked and marveled how nature provides these sustaining beauties.

my motivation? i like good food and wish to stop eating soylent green now or in the future.

the strawberries are over and now i begin on the raspberries. they look to be extremely abundant this year, and so  the hard work and gratitude continues. then the green beans , pepers tomatoes, spice.etc

looks like a full summer of work for a years worth of fine eating.

to continue to eat as we do now, will require a large pocketbook or some hard work., as oil is removed from the equation

cheap oil and cheap food are memories

it's not the end of food, it's the end of cheap and easy food.

one last thought: i hear many say to me, "oh when "it " happens, then i guess i'll just start growing my own food."  well folks you have to be able to feed yourself  until the harvest comes and it takes years to learn how to do this successfully. throw in weather, flooding, drought , insects , worms, animals and it's not hard to see why our ancestors celebrated the harvest with thanksgiving.

 

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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the end of cheap and easy food

Hello Butterflywoman,

i hear many say to me, "oh when "it " happens, then i guess i'll just start growing my own food."  well folks you have to be able to feed yourself  until the harvest comes and it takes years to learn how to do this successfully. throw in weather, flooding, drought , insects , worms, animals and it's not hard to see why our ancestors celebrated the harvest with thanksgiving.

Sadly, I hear the same thing. They have no idea what it takes to prep the soil, the insects, pests and diseases; the multi-year trial-and-error learning of what varieties work in your micro-climate. The time spent hunkered over:  planting, thinning, weeding, picking. The time and effort drying and canning.

Just last month I had a relative who at least "got it" enough to move out of a populous area remark that they would just plant the lawn if things got back. With what? If there is a shortage they had no seed.

 

maceves's picture
maceves
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different food

One thing I have been remembering lately is what people used to eat in the Southeast.  Fresh or canned green beans,  tomatoes, corn, berries, fresh or from the cellar potatoes, sweet potatoes, melons, homemade bread, cornbread, pies and cakes, and we had a freezer full of meat and another one with some fruit and veggies that stored well in the freezer.  A lot of that was from our own property, and some of the rest of it was local, like the peaches.

It was a source of pride to my mother and many of my aunts that they were able to do that, and there was some bragging about how many quarts of green beans each one had put up.  Many of them had full time jobs and families to take care of, but they did this any way just in case.

Green beans were almost always on the menu, year in and year out, usually cooked with potates.

We had to learn to eat these foods when we were children.  If you didn't eat, you sat with your plate long after everyone else had finished eating.  For me, it was yellow squash and cauliflower.  For my brother, there were lots of things he didn't like.  I have been thinking about the wisdom of making children learn to like the foods that are available from the land locally.

Now we are bobmarded with advice to eat exotic foods for whatever reason, and most people are accustomed to things they might not be able to get if they had to forage closer to home.  It is also easier to get foods that are partially processed---peeled, sliced, and spiced---that are very easy to fix.

maceves's picture
maceves
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getting better

I am getting better about this.

Just yesterday my daughter-in-law and I bought and split a gallon of blackberries. I dont know what she will do with her part, but I froze part and dehydrated part, dehydrated a blackberry yougurt fruit bark, and still have  few in the fridge.

I'm learning.

Now to work with my tomatoes---lots of dried plum tomatoes and maybe some tomato sauce....

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
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My Garden

My Garden is abysmal this year

It's my first try at it.

I couldn't get my seeds to grow right then I planted too late. Growing your own food has a huge learning curve to it.

I console myself with the fact that I won't make the same mistake next year.

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
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My garden is different every year...

...and right now -- since my wife & I don't depend on it for survival, it's kind of fun/interesting to see what thrives from year to year.  2 years ago, we had an insanely wet summer without a lot of sun.  Our collards were the superstars of the garden that year.  We ate it until it came out our ears and then we kept eating it and giving it away.  Last year was warmer/sunnier and the tomatoes and pole beans were the BVOCs (Big Veggies On Campus).  This year we've been having a mix of super wet weather followed by day after day of hot bright sun.  So far the sugar snap peas have been tops but that's mainly because they're early birds.  But the spinach and lettuces have not done well and the pole beans are almost completely failing to thrive (over half the plants have gotten to 3-4" tall and just stopped, while the rest are climbing normally).

So in the current sitch, I'm learning what does well in various conditions.  But if we were really leaning on the garden for food it would be difficult to cope.  Seems to me one answer to not knowing in advance what the weather will be like is to overplant everything -- i.e., if you want 100 quarts of green beans over the summer, plant 130 so if the weather (or pests) reduce production you still meet your 'quota'.  If everything goes well you have surplus to can or dry or barter or give away.

 But since the wife & I are going to be moving at some point we're not expanding our garden currently, and we're just sort of at "hobby gardening" level of commitment.

Yep:  it's a multi-year learning curve (and I bet the learning never stops, it just slows down a mite).

Viva -- Sager

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Nate
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Our kids were active in 4-H

Our kids were active in 4-H and took our entire garden for their projects.    When they went off to college (5 years ago) I got my garden back and started to actively garden.  This was the first year I figured out a solid, long term rotation that incorporates both soil building from local organics and a crop rotation.  Total space is about 2500 square ft.

This is the first year we have been flooded (100's of pounds) with produce (onions, garlic, potatoes, beets, carrots, and salid fixings).  Friday night my wife and I froze 12 quarts on beans (round 1) and started picking squash and tomatoes.  The time commitment is much greater than I thought it would be. It's that darn day time job that keeps getting in the way......... 

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capesurvivor
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blight

Four Earth Boxes with zillions of tomatoes last year.

Tomato blight killing everything this year.Frown

Glad I'm not surviving on them.

 

CS

Poet's picture
Poet
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Small Garden Plot

Our little community garden plot has provided a few broccoli leaves, a few scrawny bunches of cauliflower, many cucumbers (mainly from just one really vigorous plant). Lots of raspberries - my wife ate most of them - that I had hacked away at back in March, thinking they were wild climbing roses left by the previous gardener. We've had some upside-down strawberries.

What didn't work: eggplants (leaves just got eaten away). peas (dried out and died from lack of water).

We got some Luffa growing, but not yet producing. Our few tomato plants may be producing soon. My wife got a few watermelon and pumpkin seedlings planted.

Few people realize why commercial farmers rely so much on fertilizer, pesticides, and migrant laborers. They also grow the same things over and over and over again. Practice.

Poet

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nigel
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Maceves, try blackberry jam.

Maceves, try blackberry jam. It's very easy to make and it can keep for a long time.

changingman's picture
changingman
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seed saving

Just last month I had a relative who at least "got it" enough to move out of a populous area remark that they would just plant the lawn if things got back. With what? If there is a shortage they had no seed.

Totally adree Safewrite.

I've been growing veg for a few years now and it is really hard work but very enjoyable. Lately I started to think about where I buy my seed and what if it can't be bought? I can't grow anything! thats alarming to me.

So my new plan is to start seed saving. I'm reading up on it at the moment and it seems fairly straight forward but you need to be organised and committed. I think we need as many people as possible to start saving seeds otherwise we will all soon rely on hybrid seeds from catalogues, and if  the S.H.T.F can we still get these seeds?

The way we live today is so vunerable to change and we have got far to distant from food production. It's time to step back. I wish I could spend all my time re-skilling myself but this damn day job gets in the way!

HOPE SOME OF YOU WILL TAKE UP SEED SAVING!!!!

butterflywoman's picture
butterflywoman
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seed saving

there is a lot of science going into seed saving....of which i am not an expert but a learning novice.

some seeds you buy are hybrids and produce sterile seeds, so you may get food to eat that year , but the seeds won't germinate the next....thank you monsantos.

some seeds will cross pollinate with others in your garden , and you will get your own hybrid. some like corn, each kernal may produce it's own ancestors traits...i once had yellow and white popcorn growing next to each other and the ears came out yellow and white kernels. so it was a bicolor ear. the next year when i planted this corn, the white kernels made white popcorn and the yellow kernels yellow ears, not bicolored

and then there is the neighbor who plants decorative corn that mixes with my food corn....if we plant at the same time and they cross pollinate

i can tell where different posters live based on what they are growing right now. and that's another aspect. some cultivars do better in hot climates and others tolerate the cold better.

i agree every year is a different garden. so now i can two years worth, instead of one.

isn't this what chris and similar web sites are warning?....that we have gotten so use to things being the same year in and year out that we expect to be able to continue this lifestyle into the future. we expect paychecks to be there on payday, the banks to be open, the atm's to work, the roads and bridges repaired,gas for our cars, boats, planes, trains to be endless and our food grown for us and available in all 4 seasons.

then the cost factors....root cellars, freezers, canning supplies, garden tools, and of course room to store all of this and store the food

there is alot involved in growing food

nature is set up so that when something is taken, something else is put back. we need to learn to do that.

every tomatoe or berry you take out of your garden, takes out nutrients from your soil. so the soil needs to be built and kept alive also.

gardens take alot of work, even if they are just functional and not pretty.

i know a person who grows a garden every year. she plants it, waters it for a week, and then goes on vacation in europe for several weeks. guess what happens to the plants? every year she starts over intending the results to be different.

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
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changingman wrote: Just last
changingman wrote:

Just last month I had a relative who at least "got it" enough to move out of a populous area remark that they would just plant the lawn if things got back. With what? If there is a shortage they had no seed.

Totally adree Safewrite.

I've been growing veg for a few years now and it is really hard work but very enjoyable. Lately I started to think about where I buy my seed and what if it can't be bought? I can't grow anything! thats alarming to me.

So my new plan is to start seed saving. I'm reading up on it at the moment and it seems fairly straight forward but you need to be organised and committed. I think we need as many people as possible to start saving seeds otherwise we will all soon rely on hybrid seeds from catalogues, and if  the S.H.T.F can we still get these seeds?

The way we live today is so vunerable to change and we have got far to distant from food production. It's time to step back. I wish I could spend all my time re-skilling myself but this damn day job gets in the way!

HOPE SOME OF YOU WILL TAKE UP SEED SAVING!!!!

Changingman

Let me know what you find out about how to save seeds. I'd like to do this as well.

changingman's picture
changingman
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seed saving

Johnny Oxygen wrote:

Changingman

Let me know what you find out about how to save seeds. I'd like to do this as well.

Well Johnny I'm new to it myself infact I haven't even started saving but I think it is best to concentrate on one variety of plant to avoid cross breeding, just like butterflywoman mentioned above. To begin, the seed planted to grow a certain vegetable/fruit has to be from another seed saving plant (catalogue seeds can not be saved) and it's best if that seed is from somewhere near the climate you live in, because that seed will be hardened to growing in that particular climate. I'm from the UK so I have linked up with seed saving group within my region and there aren't too many. Do a search on google for American seed saving groups.

I intend to get as many growers near me to join in seed saving. We all save a different variety and exchange for free - FREE SEEDS.

Who said 'there's nothing in life for free'?

My other suggestion would be buy a seed saving book so you can learn the theory first.

Saffron's picture
Saffron
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seed saving book
changingman wrote:

My other suggestion would be buy a seed saving book so you can learn the theory first.

recommend this one:

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners

by Suzanne Ashworth

The author has tested everything she recommends herself and it includes best way to start the vegetables. I got this for dh after we realized his tidy way of keeping tomato seeds - rinsing them well then drying them on a paper towel, was all wrong and offered up no tomatoes the following year ... gotta save the goopy part and even let them ferment a little.

~ s

earthwise's picture
earthwise
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Posts: 848
Saffron wrote: changingman
Saffron wrote:
changingman wrote:

My other suggestion would be buy a seed saving book so you can learn the theory first.

recommend this one:

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners

by Suzanne Ashworth

The author has tested everything she recommends herself and it includes best way to start the vegetables. I got this for dh after we realized his tidy way of keeping tomato seeds - rinsing them well then drying them on a paper towel, was all wrong and offered up no tomatoes the following year ... gotta save the goopy part and even let them ferment a little.

~ s

I refer to this book constantly for growing instructions (though I haven't tried the seed saving techniques yet). If it wasn't for the writings of Ms. Ashworth my garden would be a miserable failure instead of just a modest failure. LOL.

land2341's picture
land2341
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Tomatoes and seed savers

I learned the  hard way not to bother saving tomato seeds.  When the season has nearly ended I drop ripe tomatoes on the ground around the plants.  Some get eaten,  but some only partly get eaten and are smushed into the ground by nature.  After no more tomatoes are growing I till the plants right into the soil.  Next summer I get so many volunteers I simply thin and relocate to suit my needs.....

Also look into heritage seed savers exchange.  They know more than I'll even know and they;re very kind.

land2341's picture
land2341
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Posts: 402
Link

http://www.seedsavers.org/

 

Also try growing mulberry trees if you're on the east coast.  They're very hardy and produce magnificently for almost a month.  Tremendous output kids and chickens eat them right off the tree and it makes the most wonderful sweet jam.

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