Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not seeing it?

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yoshhash's picture
yoshhash
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Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not seeing it?

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20100606/food-prices-100606/20100606?hub=Health

This is something I've known was coming, even before the day that I discovered this site.  However, during the last global food shortage scare (and afterwards), I became hyper aware of the prices and abundance of various foods and staples, but did not see any noticeable change.  In fact, if anything, I marvel at how much cheaper food seems to be getting.  It makes me sick to imagine how much of our food must be going to waste if I'm only seeing the best of the best foods, not a blemish in sight.

A quote from this article- "In Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mami Monga pays $25 for a box of fish that cost $10 a year ago. The price of a 25-kilogram bag of rice has doubled to $30."

I know bloody well that we (I live in Ontario, Canada) in the rich countries are largely to blame for this massive imbalance of supply, but how is it that we are paying even less for rice and fish than in these impoverished countries?  This breaks my fu**ing heart.  This is so wrong.

Pre-emptive note- I am growing some of our own food in our back yard now, am ready to go full scale should the need arise, mostly buy locally/organically, don't eat ANY processed crap, NEVER eat out, so I feel I am not contributing to this outsourced factory farm machine.  I just want to understand better why I seem to be so insulated from the hardship that most of the world is already starting to feel.

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xraymike79
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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

Tried to find out for you:

feb 2010:

Free Trade Crippling Food Production in Africa - STWR - Share The ...

15th February 2010 - Oregan State University

Despite good intentions, the push to privatize government functions and insistence upon “free trade” that is too often unfair has caused declining food production, increased poverty and a hunger crisis  for millions of people in many African nations, researchers conclude in a new study.

Market reforms that began in the mid-1980s and were supposed to aid economic growth have actually backfired in some of the poorest nations in the world, and just in recent years led to multiple food riots, scientists report today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a professional journal.

“Many of these reforms were designed to make countries more efficient, and seen as a solution to failing schools, hospitals and other infrastructure,” said Laurence Becker, an associate professor of geosciences at Oregon State University and one of the authors of the report. “But they sometimes eliminated critical support systems for poor farmers who had no car, no land security, made $1 a day and had their life savings of $600 hidden under a mattress.

“These people were then asked to compete with some of the most efficient agricultural systems in the world, and they simply couldn’t do it,” Becker said. “With tariff barriers removed, less expensive imported food flooded into countries, some of which at one point were nearly self-sufficient in agriculture. Many people quit farming and abandoned systems that had worked in their cultures for centuries.”

These forces have undercut food production for 25 years, the researchers concluded....

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xraymike79
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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

Also, see here:

http://www.peakprosperity.com/comment/59650#comment-59650

 

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xraymike79
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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

And here as well:

Such stories are legion, and reveal the mean-spirited heart of the all-consuming drive for profit by global capitalism far more accurately than the gleaming images of affluence that are beamed into our living rooms on the television. We are never shown the downtrodden millions: 852 million undernourished people, including 9 million in industrialized countries. Despite a sharp reduction of hunger in China, the global number of hungry has increased in recent years, a trend that has been particularly pronounced in underdeveloped nations and the republics of the former Soviet Union which are now enjoying the fruits of the free market. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization asks, “If we already know the basic parameters of what needs to be done, why have we allowed hundreds of millions of people to go hungry in a world that produces more than enough food for every woman, man and child? Bluntly stated, the problem is not so much a lack of food as a lack of political will.” There is indeed enough food in the world to sustain every person. The problem of hunger is not one of supply but of an economic system based on inequality and a gross concentration of wealth in the hands of the few.

Sweatshop Manufacturing: Engine of Poverty

yoshhash's picture
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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

xray-

thank you.  Good stuff here, will keep me occupied for a while.

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

yoshhash,  I am with you and am still waiting to understand why I am not seeing the interruptions and strains on the food supplies affecting prices??  

I too am growing my own food and becoming far more food independent in expectation of price issues or simple (hah!) supply line issues,  but I am curious as to why I am seeing so little of either when there seems to be so much evidence that it exists........

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

Yosh,

http://www.heritage.org/index/country/DemocraticRepublicCongo

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

In Germany we had an (official statistic) all-overall-increase for food about 1,3 % YoY, but especially fruit (+ 6,2 %), legumes (+ 4,2 %), vegetable oil (+ 6,4 %) and Butter (20,2 %).

Best, Regina

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

In Germany we had an (official statistic) all-overall-increase for food about 1,3 % YoY, but especially fruit (+ 6,2 %), legumes (+ 4,2 %), vegetable oil (+ 6,4 %) and Butter (20,2 %).

Best, Regina

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

Here in the U.S. the data says food prices are increasing  -- a lot.   We are seeing it definitely with produce at the local grocery stores.

Here is an article from the National Inflation Association where they reference the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic's Producer Price Index for Marh 2010.  It shows the largest jump in food prices in 26 years.

http://inflation.us/foodinflationspiralingoutofcontrol.html

We, too, are growing a big garden.

 

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...
FOOD: Global prices to rise 15-40% over next decade -- report
(06/15/2010)
/snip/ 
Nathanial Gronewold, E&E reporter
UNITED NATIONS -- World food prices shouldn't spike again as seen in
2007 and 2008, but they are expected to rise 15 to 40 percent over the
next decade, according to a joint forecast released today by the U.N.
Food and Agriculture Organization and the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development.
 
Price volatility should not be as severe as witnessed during the shocks
of 2008, when frustration over commodity price gains erupted into food
riots in dozens of countries, the two agencies said. But steadily rising costs will exacerbate food insecurity among the poorest, even in
countries enjoying huge gains in output.
 
Meat and dairy prices are projected to rise faster than grains as
developing world consumers' income levels rise, while vegetable oil
prices are seen expanding by more than 40 percent on average. This
despite a boom in agricultural output from Brazil and Eastern Europe
that will increasingly put pressure on North American and Western
European farmers, FAO and OECD analysts say.
 
Food price increases will come as a consequence of the developing world
emerging as the key force in food production, trade and consumption, the agencies explain.
 
"This is the inexorable shift underway at the core of agriculture
towards an increasing role, and rising importance, of the developing and emerging economies," says the report, Agricultural Outlook 2010-2019.
"By and large these countries are rebounding strongly from recession,
and with population growth rates that remain more than double those of
the OECD area, will represent the major growth markets that will drive
world agriculture forward."
 
Emerging economies will expand their productivity at a much faster rate
than their U.S. and European counterparts. Food production is growing
fastest in Latin America, FAO reports, mainly from Brazil where output
is expected to increase by more than 40 percent over the coming decade.
Ukraine and other former Soviet bloc nations are also enjoying rapid
gains in food production, while Russia may replace the United States as
the world's top exporter of wheat by 2019.
 
 
"Stronger demand, with an anticipated return to higher growth following
economic recovery and from increasing populations, should outpace
production growth, on average, over the projection period to maintain
all commodity prices on a higher plateau relative to the average of the
last decade," the report concludes. "The increased variability in crude
oil prices should impact on crop prices through both demand and supply."

 

 

Subscription required:

http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2010/06/15/23/
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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

Hi, Yoshhash.  If you look at Canada's Consumer Price Index, the increase in food prices (.8%) from April 2010 to May 2010 is less than the CPI overall.  If you look at nutritious food basket costing you'll see more regional differences, though, not only in overall cost but also in the trend or direction of food prices (eg in Alberta, costs actually went down slightly between January 2009 and December 2009, but they have been rising in some of the other provinces / regions, particularly in the north). 

If you are eating locally, you may be less impacted by global increases in food costs than those who eat a more processed / imported diet.  The type of food you describe is likely a little more expensive than supermarket fare to begin with, and I would expect that it actually has some cushioning built in to protect it from the vagaries of global food markets.  

I went grocery shopping yesterday, and was actually quite taken aback by how cheap food is.  I'm really struggling with my personal pep talk about why its worth it to put in the hard labour to produce my own food on any scale, when Superstore food is so easy and inexpensive.  There is a part of me that keeps doing the math (ie my labour costs $50 per hour in the workforce, and I have to put a lot of hours of sweat equity into sustainable, organic farming practices, so when all is said and done it appears to be a poor investment of my labour).  I used to garden for pleasure, but on a much smaller scale.  Having become aware of the three E's this year my husband and I decided to more than quadruple our garden area and expand on the variety of foods we grow; we have two very large gardens, plus herb beds, fruit trees, strawberries, etc.  It is incredibly labour intensive. We've also set up two rain barrels to harvest water for sustainable irrigation and have installed two large compost bins (also labour intensive)

I spent 6 hours of vacation time today weeding my back garden.  Tomorrow will be the same thing.  There is part of my brain that tells me this process is a necessary investment; its not just about the food, but about all of the other less tangible benefits.  Its the learning process of producing on a larger scale, growing out my seeds, paying far more careful attention to everything, learning to build my soil, encouraging pollinators and natural pretators, and preserving / storing my harvest for winter.  It is knowing that my children are being exposed to these things, and are picking up useful skills that they may someday need.  But it is hard, hard work. 

Is anyone else experiencing this?   My Dad, the crusty old (tactless) farmer says I've just gotten too soft working for the government, and a few bug bites and blisters will do me a world of good.  I just find that the bug bites and blisters really aren't all that character building, nor is the reality of 'self sufficiency' as romantic as the idea.  I do understand the necessity, but it scares me a little how hard I'm finding this.  It is entirely different than hobby gardening, and there are days when that fast, cheap, easy (chemical ridden, nutritionally depleted, monoculture raised) head of broccoli from somewhere far far away looks very appealing.

Bluenoser

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

 right there with ya Bluenoser ,      I have to keep telling myself it tastes so much better from the garden . That I am saving money by not going to the spa    working  every drop of sweat .     Straw is precious !   I say  where dis all these durn weeds come from ?  My dad loves coming down and pointing out my weed patch ...    But yeah there is food hiding in there .   Many things I can not grow I am buying and storing .

  I say  that  it is worth the $200 to pay the locker to butcher the cow too .    We can do it but why until we have to ?

 FM

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

Bluenoser,

Daddy's right, you have gotten too soft.;-)  Hang in there.  You'll toughen up, physically and mentally.

One of the things that consistently amazes me in modern society is how weak, deconditioned, and lacking in stamina the average person is.  Most of society has not only become weak physically but weak mentally.  We have difficulty persisting and persevering with almost everything, whether it is achieving a physical task, mastering a motor skill, or pursuing a mental discipline.

My daughter had gone to Europe with friends, one of whom's grandparents are Austrian.  My daughter told me how this girl's 70+ year old grandfather got up early in the morning, rode his bicycle several miles into the village, picked up groceries, went for a mile swim in a cold mountain lake, prepared breakfast for all (since the grandmother was recovering from cancer treatment), took them hiking in the mountains (where these young girls couldn't keep up with him), came back, fixed them lunch, then went windsurfing in the lake, tended his garden, fixed them dinner, chopped some firewood, and then went for a long bike ride.  Although I'm very physically fit, my daughter said, "Dad, I don't think even you could have kept up with So-and-so's grandfather.". 

Compare a Jack LaLanne, Bill Pearl, Paul Bragg, etc. in their 70s with the average 18 year old military recruit.  The old farts would bury most of these young, so-called ""fit" kids.  Part of getting ready for what is coming is building physical and mental strength and stamina.  Stay at it .. you'll be glad you did. 

   

 

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

Thanks everyone for their opinions/input.  I understand some things a bit better, but certainly we in the developed world seem to be getting a free ride/deep discounts, a luxury not dealt out to everyone.

Bluenoser, you bring up a good point, something not discussed much on c.m.- the importance of exposure of knowledge from one generation to another.  I too have been finding it to be a nice side benefit of bonding with my parents, and it will eventually something to bond with my kids about.  Identifying weeds, learning about how to balance the chemicals in the soil (using eggshells and urine, not a bag of brand x at the gardening store), how to keep the squirrels away, these are vital nuggets of info that they are really appreciating telling me, and it is stuff you cannot just find on google, because this is specific to the occasion.

I am still at the "hobby" level, but I'm re-learning what they tried to teach me as a kid, but was too impatient to listen to, and so far enjoying all of it, and am actually looking forward to going all out (we just don't have enough land right now).

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone.  I have to admit that I'm a little in awe of the older generation when it comes down to just bulldogging through whatever needs doing.  My dad is 65, and he's up early every day doing farm work despite arthritis and bronchial problems.  My daughter fell off her bike last year as my mother and I were crossing the lower field; its about 200 yards to the road, and we could hear Kate screaming so we knew she was hurt.  Mum left me in the dust and was already in the process of splinting my daughter's arm by the time I arrived on the scene.  I'm not overweight and I'm reasonably fit (I go to Curves three times a week), but I think I'm going to have to work on that "mental stamina" that AO refers to above; the ability to dig deep when you really have to, because you have to.   

Now that the garden work is done, I'm going to spend the day at the beach with the family.  I think I'll spend some time talking to my husband's grandmother today, and really listening.  Ruth lived through the great depression, served as a nursing sister overseas during WWII, dealt with wounded men from the mine disasters of the 1950's and delivered half the babies in this town as the local midwife.  At 93, she is still as tough as nails.

Yoshhash is right about the importance of skills passing from one generation to the next (I'm actually starting to write stuff down in a little book of  wisdom like "Mum says to gather to gather those little clam shells on the beach to crush up and put them in the hens feed, in order to keep the eggs' shells from getting too soft"), but I think I will make an effort to build "mental stamina" too.  Knowledge alone isn't enough; when everything I've ever taken for granted begins to fall away, I will need the mental fortitude not to collapse into whimpering self-pity, and set about doing what needs to get done.  That's no small challenge.

Bluenoser

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

Count me among those needing to build up both physically and mentally and yes, just doing it helps! When a friend and I slaughtered chickens a few weeks ago (well, he slaughtered and I helped pluck) I cannot tell you how hard it was to put up with all the naysayers (mostly my own extended family) saying how they'd just as soon go vegetarian and how it's not worth it when you can pick one up at the store for much less than these chickens ended up costing (cost of feed.) It wasn't pleasant and with nobody around appreciating the effort I just had to keep telling myself 'that's one less thing I need to learn ... one more thing I know I can do if I need to.'

No amount of book-learning can replace a hands-on experience and as somebody who taught a solar oven class once said - use it *now* because during an emergency you will *not* turn to something you've never tried before. What we are building up that is just as important as physical and mental stamina is the number of options that are available to us just because we've tried them once or twice.

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...
Bluenoser wrote:

(I go to Curves three times a week),

Hi again Bluenoser,

The Curves equipment is hydropneumatic equipment that is the same basic equipment that a company called Hydra-Gym heavily marketed to college and professional teams back in the late 70s, early 80s IIRC.  As far as I know, all these college and pro teams have ditched this equipment.  The reason is, it didn't produce the results they wanted.  You can be pushing with 5 lbs. force or 500 lbs. force and you really don't know the difference.  Also, there is no eccentric exercise component.  Eccentric exercise is what builds connective tissue strength.  Very few of the women that I see who do a Curves work-out are fit.  Curves appeals to women because of its social aspect, that fact that it's exclusively for women, it lets them get through a workout quickly, and it has the potential for working most of the major muscle groups.  However, IMNSHO, it provides a poor workout.  Maybe look into the martial arts.  There you can build physical and mental toughness and develop a practical skill at the same time.  Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

yosh,

Here in the LA, Califonia the food prices have gone up. Many restaurants that I go to have increase prices. A lot of the fast food chains here also have increased prices (e.g. Carls Jr.). Lucky for you that in Canada the prices have not gone up. But I can confirm where I live prices are up.

Regards 

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...
Bluenoser wrote:

/snip/

I went grocery shopping yesterday, and was actually quite taken aback by how cheap food is.  I'm really struggling with my personal pep talk about why its worth it to put in the hard labour to produce my own food on any scale, when Superstore food is so easy and inexpensive.  There is a part of me that keeps doing the math (ie my labour costs $50 per hour in the workforce, and I have to put a lot of hours of sweat equity into sustainable, organic farming practices, so when all is said and done it appears to be a poor investment of my labour).  I used to garden for pleasure, but on a much smaller scale.  Having become aware of the three E's this year my husband and I decided to more than quadruple our garden area and expand on the variety of foods we grow; we have two very large gardens, plus herb beds, fruit trees, strawberries, etc.  It is incredibly labour intensive. We've also set up two rain barrels to harvest water for sustainable irrigation and have installed two large compost bins (also labour intensive)

I spent 6 hours of vacation time today weeding my back garden.  Tomorrow will be the same thing.  There is part of my brain that tells me this process is a necessary investment; its not just about the food, but about all of the other less tangible benefits.  Its the learning process of producing on a larger scale, growing out my seeds, paying far more careful attention to everything, learning to build my soil, encouraging pollinators and natural pretators, and preserving / storing my harvest for winter.  It is knowing that my children are being exposed to these things, and are picking up useful skills that they may someday need.  But it is hard, hard work. 

Is anyone else experiencing this?   My Dad, the crusty old (tactless) farmer says I've just gotten too soft working for the government, and a few bug bites and blisters will do me a world of good.  I just find that the bug bites and blisters really aren't all that character building, nor is the reality of 'self sufficiency' as romantic as the idea.  I do understand the necessity, but it scares me a little how hard I'm finding this.  It is entirely different than hobby gardening, and there are days when that fast, cheap, easy (chemical ridden, nutritionally depleted, monoculture raised) head of broccoli from somewhere far far away looks very appealing.

Bluenoser

 

Hi Bluenoser,

 

Hang in there- gardening can be really hard work. It sounds like you have a great start towards food self sufficiency when you need it. The fruits and herbs are a good longer-term investment.

 

Working smarter and being selective as to what you grow and how much cultivated area that you work can help minimize your labor time now while we have a cheap, functional food distribution system.  One approach may be to keep your expanded garden in reserve and only cultivate what you can handle comfortably now with other demands of life while food is readily available. You can always scale up food production rapidly if you have the basic skills, tools and the space ready to go.  If you have prepared beds and keep them heavily mulched, they will be there waiting for you when you need them. It sounds like you may work outside the home AND have kids.  That is a lot to handle right there.

 

If you do decide to forge ahead, here are some tricks I have learned:

  • For vegetables, I use raised beds - once the soil is turned and prepared, I do not turn it or compress it again.  I mulch it heavily, only pushing mulch aside to plant seeds or plants.  It minimizes but does not totally eliminate weeding.

 

  • Drip irrigation really minimizes watering chores and is conservative of water.

 

  • I alternate composting areas, developing multiple piles that I leave alone to compost for a full year. I do no turning once the pile is formed, it is a labor saver but requires more space than a conventional, managed pile.

 

  • I am selective as to which plants I grow. I only plant low care fruits and nuts, vegetables that clearly taste much better from a home garden or are so expensive that it only makes sense to grow at home.  I leave row crops like corn and winter squash/pumpkins to the farmers with mechanized equipment and lots of land as they are not a good value for my limited space.

 

  • I have also learned to pace myself and not to try to finish a heavy job in one day. I will mix up heavy and light chores in one session.  I alternate hands and sides to avoid stressing one part of my body, I experiment with different positions so that I spread the work around.  I use good body mechanics.

 

That said, I do spend a lot of time growing food. It is how I choose to spend my recreation time and is my gym too.  Good luck!

 

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

 

Bluenoser wrote:

I spent 6 hours of vacation time today weeding my back garden.  Tomorrow will be the same thing.  There is part of my brain that tells me this process is a necessary investment; its not just about the food, but about all of the other less tangible benefits.  Its the learning process of producing on a larger scale, growing out my seeds, paying far more careful attention to everything, learning to build my soil, encouraging pollinators and natural pretators, and preserving / storing my harvest for winter.  It is knowing that my children are being exposed to these things, and are picking up useful skills that they may someday need.  But it is hard, hard work. 

Is anyone else experiencing this?   My Dad, the crusty old (tactless) farmer says I've just gotten too soft working for the government, and a few bug bites and blisters will do me a world of good.  I just find that the bug bites and blisters really aren't all that character building, nor is the reality of 'self sufficiency' as romantic as the idea.  I do understand the necessity, but it scares me a little how hard I'm finding this.  It is entirely different than hobby gardening, and there are days when that fast, cheap, easy (chemical ridden, nutritionally depleted, monoculture raised) head of broccoli from somewhere far far away looks very appealing.

I've often felt the same way when doin' my preps. What I force myself to keep in mind is that I'm not doing these things to save money, but to build skills. James Wesley Rawles of Survivalblog.com captures it very well IMHO.

 

http://www.survivalblog.com/2008/06/budget_preparednesssurvival_is.html

Budget Preparedness--Survival Isn't About Stuff, It is About Skills

I often stress that a key to survival is not what you have, but rather what you know. (See my Precepts of Rawlesian Survivalist Philosophy web page.) In part, I wrote:

Skills Beat Gadgets and Practicality Beats Style. The modern world is full of pundits, poseurs, and Mall Ninjas. Preparedness is not just about accumulating a pile of stuff. You need practical skills, and those only come with study, training, and practice. Any armchair survivalist can buy a set of stylish camouflage fatigues and an M4gery Carbine encrusted with umpteen accessories. Style points should not be mistaken for genuine skills and practicality.

 

Tools Without Training Are Almost Useless. Owning a gun doesn't make someone a "shooter" any more than owning a surfboard makes someone a surfer. With proper training and practice, you will be miles ahead of the average citizen. Get advanced medical training. Get the best firearms training that you can afford. Learn about amateur radio from your local affiliated ARRL club. Practice raising a vegetable garden each summer. Some skills are only perfected over a period of years.

And having seeds doesn't make one a gardener/farmer. Only actually doing it will. Hopefully  we won't need to grow our own food for survival. If the worst doesn't come to pass, then all we've lost is some time at the cost of some blisters. But I'm keepin' my nose to the grindstone just in case.

I have, however, backed off on some items. Once I have solid skills in a certain area of food production, I reduce effort there (while retaining the means of resuming full production if necessary) so I can focus on other areas.

I don't think this will make your achin' back feel any better but it helps me to keep on keepin' on.

And the homegrwon food really does taste better!

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Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...

Thanks, everyone for the labour saving tips and for the broader perspective.   I believe that fresh, well grown, non-GMO/hybrid produce is a blessing in itself, but I also believe that it may be necessary to exercise these skills as part of my approach to community / family survival at some point down the road.  As such, the capacity building piece really is critical.  This year, I wanted to see if I could raise more food, and store it, and keep my seeds for next year's use.  Part of that is learning how much work is involved in this enterprise, and all of the things that can go wrong, and all of the things that can help.  I'd rather learn these things now, when the stakes are not as high. 

We've just obtained 200 feet of drip irrigation hose which will be hooked up to the rain barrels for the back garden (this will save on labour).  While I use raised beds for herbs and some of the more delicate veggies, they wouldn't be practical for the corn, winter squash, potatoes, turnips etc that I'm growning on a larger scale. 

Earthwise, your point about the difference between reading books, buying gadgets, and actually putting both to use at a practical level is critically important.  That, in a nutshell, is what this whole exercise is about - actually getting my hands dirty, and knowing that I can do what needs doing. Or finding out I can't, and coming up with a Plan B.

We built a 50' by 50' "playpen" with 4X4 posts and heavy 2" X 3" pagewire fencing for our dogs today.  They love it, and we know that they'll have more fun than in a small, pre-fabricated kennel.  We also know that that we have a very sturdy animal pen that could accommodate a nigerian dwarf goat if needed.  At least that's one I know I already have the skill base for, as I always had my own small goat herd until leaving for college (looking after barn chores, hoof care, milking, etc), so there's no need to bring an actual goat into the mix for now. 

Bluenoser

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Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2252
Re: Rising food prices/supply shortages- why am I not ...
Bluenoser wrote:

We've just obtained 200 feet of drip irrigation hose which will be hooked up to the rain barrels for the back garden (this will save on labour).  While I use raised beds for herbs and some of the more delicate veggies, they wouldn't be practical for the corn, winter squash, potatoes, turnips etc that I'm growning on a larger scale. 

What with the drought-esque Summer season we're experiencing here in the NE (no rain in last 10 days and no rain forecast for another 7), drip irrigation is looking mighty attractive.  If we are still here on our patch of land come next Summer, not only will we quadruple our garden space, but we'll install drip irrigation into the whole thing.  

I'm spending 1/2 hour a day (or more) keeping our veggies happy and watered (and holy mackerel they are growing by leaps and bounds with the heat and surplus sun).  But IMO it'll eventually be about calories in (energy spent cultivating) and calories out (what my cultivation energy has created) and drip irrigation from a gravity-flow source (e.g. rain barrels uphill) will go a long way towards making this equation balance out in a positive way.

Of course, if we install drip irrigation then next Summer will be like last Summer (28 days of rain in June alone) but I guess one of the lessons I'm learning these days is Take the Long View -- it all amortizes out eventually.  

Can't wait for the first tomato/cuke/summer squash (all in the next ~ 10 days!)....  The salad greens alone so far this Summer have pretty much been worth the price of admission... Nom nom nom...

Viva -- Sager

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