Kim started a discussion about dealing with the future and the fear it is generating on Bioneers Community site. I was getting ready to respond in the comments section and changed my mind. It is an issue that is relevant to what we are doing here and to micro-farming and home gardening in general. So, I’m posting my thoughts here.
People are starting to really feel the pinch as fuel prices go up and everything gets more expensive. The news is full of doom and gloom about the recession or worse. People are worried. Couple this with news of global warming and other scary environmental threats and fear kicks in. The truth is there are some real things to be concerned with. While scientist can debate global warming and its long term effects and the news can scare us with the latest dire predictions about the looming global destruction, we face a very real potential food crisis that doesn’t get a lot of press. Most places have a 72 hour food supply or less. We are one short step from disaster. All it would take is an oil embargo, a truckers strike, the collapse of a few more airlines and shipping companies or something like that to leave millions of people stranded without food.
We all think that there is lots of food out in the country. Most places, if you drive out a ways, are surrounded by farms. If a food crisis arose we could just make the long drive and get what we need. It might not come pre-prepared, but we could eat it. In reality, most of the farms in the country don’t produce anything you can eat. Some of what they produce can be made into food you could eat, but it isn’t a process you would want to undertake at home. There are also large chunks of time when there isn’t anything edible. A corn farmer, for example, may grow 1000 acres of corn. At harvest time, or just before or after, you could find corn at the farm that you could eat. It probably wouldn’t be exactly what you were expecting, but you could eat it. That’s about a month out of the year. After that the corn is shipped to the elevator and on to the processing facilities where it is made into whatever. The rest of the year there is nothing edible in those fields. I live in a very rural area, and I thought it would be fairly easy to live only on locally produced food. It has so far proven to be impossible. I come close, but that is because I produce a lot of what we need myself. That has taken me several years to develop.
My fear is that we will sit on our butts waiting for the government to do something, and when the system crashes the local infrastructure won’t be there to get us through. But, I’m not filling my basement with food and guns, I’m putting my time and energy into building local food systems in my community. If you are worried about the future you should do the same. Learn to garden. Support your local producers by buying their products. Etc. If you are not worried then I’ll see you when the whole thing collapses. Bring your work glove, because your money won’t be worth anything.