"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On Feeding Oneself...

I watched these videos linked from the Homestead Revival blog this morning and thought I would share them here as well. While I do not consider myself to be a hard core doomsdayer (well, maybe just a little:) I surely can see some dark clouds gathering on the horizon and found all of the information put forth by Marjory Wildcraft in this presentation on food storage, water supply, and gardening to be very thought provoking to say the least.





For more information on the subject of food preparedness, my friend Lynn has written numerous excellent posts on her blog about food storage of late that include many useful links.

"Let us be in a position so we are able to not only feed ourselves through home production and storage, but others as well" - Ezra Taft Benson, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

48 comments:

Veggie PAK said...

I watched the videos on her site as well and they are great pieces and sources of information. With the current state of the economies throughout the world, we are closer to a real economic meltdown than ever before. Self-serving greed powers almost all of the politicians. Who is left to defend the people? Just ourselves...

small farm girl said...

Great info!

Lorena said...

Thanks, that was interesting and helped pass the time during our current blizzard!

Kim said...

I just watched these last night. I am like you and not a hard core doomsdayer but I too see some dark clouds on the horizon. We are currently talking/planning/prepping for ways to become better prepared. I will be looking to your blog even more now! :)

Vickie said...

I watched all four videos and they were interesting, informative, and timely. Being a Texas girl myself, I can totally relate. I've been gardening for 4 years now and am finding it to be such a worthwhile hobby/necessity. Thanks for posting these!

vrtlarica ana said...

A poverty line is defined when 1/3 or more of a persons income goes to buying food. In Croatia that index is at 28%.

If everybody was growing their own food, then there would be no poverty, as we would spend zero on buying food.

Julie said...

We take the most interesting field trips on your blog Mr. H ; ) I'm planting trees as fast as i can. Did you know that a breadfruit tree can produce up to 400 pounds of fruit a year?

Buttons said...

Hello Mr.H. Darn this rural internet access. I will be making a trip to our library to view you videos. I can't wait to see them. Sounds like a subject I would enjoy viewing. B

Bev said...

I've been up and down on the whole food/collapse/peak oil/prep thing, but I'm definitely getting more serious. I got a phone call yesterday from the natural food store where I order my wheat, that the hard wheat was on backorder and they would try again next week. Perhaps it's nothing related to anything, but I have been ordering large quantities of wheat kernels for years without any logistic issues.

All of a sudden, feeling a lot more vulnerable.

Mr. H. said...

Veggie PAK - "Self-serving greed" says it all. So with eyes wide open I guess we attempt to share this information with our friends and family in the hopes that some will listen and then simply continue to grow our own food and keep our pantries well stocked to the best of our abilities.

Small Farm Girl - I thought she did an excellent job on covering all the bases in the amount of time she had to speak.

Lorena - Oh no, not a blizzard...we are receiving some snow today as well and are supposed to get down into the negative digits, hopefully winters last hurrah for both of us. Rowdy says hello.:)

Kim - The first part is awareness and once that happens it's just a matter of committing to the rest. I think if we all just try to incorporate more measures of preparedness into our daily lifestyle many of the issues that are out there will not have such a negative effect on us. I think a well stocked pantry, raising some of ones own food, and a focus on freedom from debt should be a top priority for everyone.

Vickie - With four years under your belt you have no doubt gained some very important knowledge. I'm glad you enjoyed the videos, isn't she great...so smart and yet very down to earth. I bet you were excited when you heard that she was from Texas, it's always more real when you can relate to the climate and conditions of a gardening author or speaker.:)

Vertlarica Ana - I think we are at 14 or 15% and rising in the United States. You stated that - "If everybody was growing their own food, then there would be no poverty, as we would spend zero on buying food." You are so very right and this is what is so scary in the US. I know very few people that grow their own food or even stock up on food. I would be very nervous if I had to depend upon the availability of food from a grocery store...really nervous.

Julie - I'm so glad you enjoyed the field trip. The average person should easily get by on 1500 lbs of food each year so you only need have 4 breadfruit trees.:) Seriously though, 400 lbs a year per tree is absolutely amazing. Some day I hope to try eating breadfruit..so many wonderful fruits where you live. I'll be planting a couple more fruit trees this year too...maybe another plum and pear if I can find them.

Buttons - You will not regret watching this video and it is worth a trip to the library to see. Our Internet connection speed comes and goes so we often can not watch videos either.:( Have a great day!

Mr. H. said...

Bev - It will be interesting to know if your provider of wheat is having issues keeping it in stock do to new demand or shortages...hopefully not. I think that the best thing is to simply be prepared at all times...make it part of ones lifestyle. I have been up and down on all of this as well and finally came to the conclusion that if something does happen it will most likely be when I am not worried about it, so we have really focused on being well stocked at all times in the goods that we do not produce ourselves. So far the only difference between being well stocked and not is in the little bit of extra room required to store our goods.

Fiona said...

Thank you for this, Mr. H. I, too, will have to make a trip to the library to watch this (I'm on satellite, so have limited download). When we moved to our farm almost three years ago, it was with a sense of urgency... that we needed to create a homestead where we could thrive if, or perhaps when, the world turned upside-down. Since then we've been so busy with day-to-day living, that we've become a bit complacent. Yes we focus on reducing spending, living more simply, growing food, but how 'prepared' are we? Not very. There's no plan or goal. Thanks for this reminder.

LynnS said...

I watched the first clip yesterday evening and still want to watch the rest of them. Out here, I have to pre-load a video and it takes time. lol

Doesn't it seem that each new day brings more bad news? I for one am grateful that it's almost Springtime when our collective focus can be on renewal and positive things!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

I can be a bit paranoid, have to be honest...sometime I think I grow things because I am afraid if one day something happen and the food supply in our area stop.At least we have food from the garden ;-).

Mr. H. said...

Fiona - You have already achieved one of the most important aspects of self-sufficient living...property.:) You will be fine, but yes, we all need to consider the future and take steps towards being better prepared...just in case.

Lynn - I think you will like this lady a lot and I immediately thought of you when I heard her speak. The part about the water storage system she has in place was really interesting to me.

Malay-Kadazan girl - Me too, growing and gathering food is something all of our ancestors did and we should continue this tradition in order to be better prepared for whatever the future holds in store for us...it is in our nature to do so.

WeekendFarmer said...

: )
Thats it! We are planning on making another veggie patch. Last year was a disaster for us. This year - I want my 75 feet row of beans like you!

The only issue is our furry friends...how do you keep them out?

Would be great to see some photos of your fencing. I dont lose things to diseases, but wild animals : (

Spring is here...isn't it?

Roasted Garlicious said...

just in the news they've predicted rising food costs, a cucumber that was $2.00 will go to $4.00 or more... i know that i'm slowly cutting back on shopping, not because i want to but because my income did not double... ahhh for a bigger garden again this year.. going to try and get grandson to help me... (pray for me ;) ) our electrical company is making noises about doubling their charges as well... what a world we're living in...

randi said...

Mike..you know how strongly I feel about this issue and you also know nothing fundamental will occur for more than a few of us until it is so in-your-face it is undeniable and that, seems to be will be happening sooner rather than later. One foot in front of the other and pinkies crossed for a great growing season!

Mr. H. said...

WeekendFarmer - Our critters are mainly deer, moose, and rabbits. All we do to keep them out is is to put up regular 58" tall field fencing with chicken wire running along the bottom and about 2' over the top, not the best fence but it has worked for quite a few years now.
While we do have numerous skunks and raccoons they do not seem to bother the garden, not sure why.

Roasted Garlicious - My wife says that she has not seen too many increases on the goods we buy yet, but I think it might just be a matter of time as we are hearing the same things on the news as you are. I wish you luck getting the grandson to help out with this years gardening endeavours...I wonder if we will be able to get ours to help too.

Randi - Unfortunately, I couldn't agree more with you on that and am well aware that I am probably preaching to the choir but at least there is some camaraderie in that I suppose...someone to talk to about these concerns.

We are in the negative digits as far as the weather goes and are expecting two more weeks of heavy snow. This is a good thing though as over time I have noticed that on the years that we have a cold snowy winter we are often rewarded with a dryer warmer summer and vise versa. So with fingers and toes crossed I hope you and I both have a really good gardening season.

WeekendFarmer said...

hmmmm....Moose : ) I dont know why I started craving for a moose burger!

So you dont dig the netting in the ground?

Ohiofarmgirl said...

wow thats for posting this! this is a great resource for folks who think that we are all nuts...and i learned some things too. i watched while i was shelling some beans.
;-)

Mr. H. said...

WeekendFarmer - The moose are just for looking at not for eating.:) No, we do not dig the fence into the ground and have so far not had too many issues with anything getting into the gardens besides voles.

Ohio - Your nuts, why would you grow and shell beans when they are available from the grocery store?:):) Someone asked me that once...yep. Glad you enjoyed the video, us crazy people have to stick together.:)

Ms. Adventuress said...

I love all of this. Thank you so much for sharing her videos. It's so wise, what you two are doing (and for your grandson!). Every baby step we each learn and take makes a wonderful ripple effect as we all move forward.

(And thank you so much for sharing about your sauerkraut. You also answered the red cabbage question I'd been searching the internet high and low for. I remember having and loving red cabbage/kraut while growing up, but I wasn't sure why I've not seen others use the red. That bright red/purple color means so many important NUTRIENTS!

And I am sincerely apologizing in advance for any jealously that may arise upon viewing my surprise next week. But I promise: You two will love it. And it's a bit more affordable than some other "items" out there! :o)

kitsapFG said...

I don't talk about it much because it kind of freaks some people out, but we live a prepared and a voluntarily more simple life. Our garden is part of that. It's not about any pending doom, rather it is about cooking from more basic ingredients (fresh produce, properly stored grains etc)and providing some insurance against personal financial downturns (loss of job or unexpected large expenses), avoiding price spikes (I don't replenish the food supplies during big run ups in prices), and yes, providing food during periods of potential emergencies. It actually is just good financial management to live a more prepared life. This is a rather alien concept in every day society though where on demand purchasing is taken as a right and where everything is packaged in individual sized servings and colorfully wrapped in disposable containers - requiring virtually no cooking skills to prepare other than firing up the microwave. Its amazing the kind of negative reactions most people have to the idea of living a little more simply, putting a little more effort into their own daily food production, and actually planning beyond today's meals.

Mr. H. said...

Ms. Adventuress - Yes, definitely try the red kraut...so good. I can't wait to see your new prize.:)

Laura - Everything you just said is pretty much exactly how I feel. I think perhaps the biggest impending doom is in how we as a society have removed ourselves so very far from the basic necessities of life which in turn causes every little ripple to be of great concern due to our dependency upon the system.

Sense of Home said...

Survivalist or not, gas prices are a little scary. I hope to grow much of our produce again this summer and preserve some of the bounty for winter. Saves us a lot of money and is healthier.

-Brenda

Kim said...

Thank you so much for sharing these!! I have been doing so much reading and research about this subject and it's gotten me so crazed, almost in a panic that I don't have a big enough area to grow veggies. She actually made me feel calm and focused: Learn to grow. It's simple but it calmed the doomsday feeling that's been rumbling inside me for weeks now.

My kids laugh at me because I have bottled water and other things in the basement and I won't let anyone touch any of it. I'm that paranoid, doomsday mom :) Now the key is to learn how to cook with basic ingredients like they did in the stone age ;)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

yeah i know i could just go and buy beans for a DOLLAR! sheesh! hee hee hee anyway.. happy sunday, brother!

i have been snickering a little.. some of my old corporate monkey friends are starting to panic. seeing them drive off in their range rovers to costco to load up in their new "stocking" area in their $750K house is a little funny to me. but heck.. i'm cheering them on. and i'm waiting for them to ask me to "visit" which is code for "come and help us do this we are afraid of the pressure canner!"
;-)

Mr. H. said...

Brenda - We saw gas prices from $3.09 - 3.19 when we were out and about yesterday and it is indeed becoming a bit painful to fill up the rig these days.

Kim - I know how you feel and agree that the best way to use up all these frustrations is in growing of ones own food. An amazing amount of food can be grown in a small area as was pointed out in the video. Stone age cooking is a good thing, simple ingredients that we grow or gather are always so much healthier anyway.:)

Ohiofarmgirl - Wow, with a $750k house there should even be enough room to keep a couple hogs out of the weather if need be. Yes, the foods we grow or raise are much more real than anything we can stock up on from Costco...but it's a start I suppose.

Elizabeth said...

Mr. H-
Don't worry I will pass on the info to you and the recipes for both(fermentation)!! If I forget, please remind me once you see the post about the meetup. Hopefully I can post about it a few days after the event--life here can get sooo crazy.
Peace & Raw Fermented Health,
E

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

Thanks for bringing this to us Mr. H. Was just the perfect thing to listen to while starting seeds this cold February morning.

Mr. H. said...

Elizabeth - Thanks so much.:)

Rick - Wasn't that a great presentation, so glad you were able to view it. I need to get some of those water tanks going.

A Farmstead Pilgrimage... said...

Hi Mr. H!

We just listened to her on a radio program last night. It's always an encouragement to hear something like this, especially when everyone else around you thinks your crazy. ~grin~

I had hoped to contact you privately, but hope this comment will do. I wanted to say, 'Thank You' for all your kind continued comments. For some reason, I have a hard time accessing your website. It takes a long time to load. So comments are not shared as I'd like them to be. I also want you to know how much you keep me inspired! Thank You again!

Keep up the G-R-E-A-T work!

Blessings to all!

~Kris

Mavis said...

Growing fruits, veggies and eggs :) is easy... it's the wheat and rice that I'd have a hard time with. Bottom Line... everybody needs to know 1. How to grow their own food and 2. How to preserve it.

It would be (I know it wouldn't happen) be fascinating put a video camera in everyone home/backyard for one year and see how they would fare with trying to survive on their own with the knowledge they have.

I bet most people would starve to death.

Mr. H. said...

Kris - It really is nice to know that there is other crazy people out there isn't it, and to know that our thoughts and ideas on living a more simple and sustainable existence are shared. I'm glad you were able to listen to her on the radio, sounds like a station I need to be tuning in on. Thanks for stopping by and don't worry, I have a hard time accessing my blog as well...too many pictures I suppose.

Mavis - When times get really bad I will have to plant up an acre of wheat and barter it for toiletries from you...rice is a whole other issue though.

So, as far as the back yard garden and starvation goes I think you just came up with a fantastic idea for a new reality show...hmm.:)

Mavis said...

Mr. & Mrs. H... I'm in if you're in...call PBS... wait... call one of the major networks... the paycheck would be better!

Here's the pitch

Drop a group of 100 people (teams of 2-4) off in say April... Each group gets their own dwelling (For the record I'm totally against a shared/community dwelling) give them a 60-90 day supply of food plus all the necessary seeds and tools they'd need. An axe for chopping wood, a canner and canning jars for example. Maybe a bottle of lemon juice to prevent scurvy... ya know... stuff like that.

And start taping.

And in case the network bigwigs ask... there should be a nice prize for whomever can survive/grow/store the most food.

Since you have such great communication skills I will leave it up to you to do all the talking. Just send me the contract to sign.

Mr. H. said...

Mavis - Sounds like a plan. PBS is out as I hear the government is going to shut them down so I will have to submit our proposal to one of the big three. Better yet, perhaps I should contact Mark Burnett directly and see if he is interested in producing this series. I'll let you know.:)

Roasted Garlicious said...

gee Mr. H and Mavis.. got room for one more?? i might be old and cranky but i got some skillzzz :D

as per my last post... over 8 dollars for a kilo (2.20lbs)of brussel sprouts and now gas is $1.23 a litre (translation: $4.65 an american gallon) i'm not much of a doomer either, but i'm trying hard to teach my kids and grandkids to be more self sufficent if only to keep that pocketbook a little fuller and the body a little healthier....

Mr. H. said...

Roasted Garlicious - $4.65 a gallon is insane...and we have been complaining about $3.19 a gallon.

Ohio - A nanny...thanks for making me laugh.:)

Leigh said...

I'm hoping that the reality of rising food prices, will prompt folks to take a closer look at home gardening. Historically, it was the thing to do when times got tight, but with the rise of the agribiz folks, who seem bent on monopolizing food production, the attitude about growing one's own food seems to have changed. The thing I hear from neighbors is, "all that work." I don't get that they don't get how rewarding gardening actually is.

Mr. H. said...

Leigh - You are so right, I don't understand it either. All that wonderful fresh produce and the empowerment that goes along with growing your own should be enough in itself. Far to much confidence is placed on the agricultural system we now have in place, and as it is set up now it would only take a few unforeseen events to dramatically limit our countries immediate food supply.

Daphne said...

She really reminds me of my dad in some ways. My dad was a survivalist when I was growing up. He was convinced that economy would collapse. He picked the date of 1982 which was when I would be off at college. Not a fun thought for a kid leaving home for the first time. My job as a kid was to learn what was edible in the woods. We owned several acres and lived next to a national forest, so foraging wasn't out of the question in a disaster. They stored a years worth of food in 5 gallon buckets in the basement (no longer now that my dad has so many massive food allergies). I so don't do that. But the funny thing is that my friends used to say they would come to my house in an emergency. They knew I kept more food than most (hungry teenagers and I only went to Costco every 4 months). I used to backpack so I have water purifiers. I even have a camp stove that runs off tiny sticks. I can build a rocket stove pretty easily. But I'm not a survivalist in my father's sense. I'd probably die in a year without the economy running since I wouldn't have a source of my medications.

I still believe in backyard production though and local farms. I also believe in our long distance agriculture. Without a good long distance agriculture system in place, we would have a lot of small starvation events due to weather events. I say small, but in reality I mean not world wide. Small would be drought along the east coast or something like that. I think we really need both local production and a world wide system to keep our food production safe.

But in the end what we really need to keep our food systems safe is renewable energy and a lower population. I don't see either of those happening any time soon.

Mr. H. said...

Daphne - There is just no way that everyone can get a few acres and live like Marjory, but I have a feeling if things really got bad that many of us would/could form tighter knit communities and work together to get the job done...I hope. Unfortunately that might take time to happen. So for now lets hope that all we experience are blips in the system and continue to focus on our own gardens and keep those shelves stocked with foods that we would normally eat anyway. Hold on to those water purifiers too...it seems like whenever there is a major disaster around the world contaminated water is one of the biggest issues.

I agree with you though, renewable energy, more local farms, and less people would go a long way towards making life on this planet more sustainable...and I don't see that happening anytime soon either. Thanks for sharing the story about your father.

Gail said...

CBC radio announced today there will be a 30% increase in food prices very soon. Thanks for posting the videos....I am going to post them on my blog too...very good info to share.

SimplyFaith said...

I always learn something from a visit to your blog! We have a very small yard (I call it a postage stamp yard) and a large family. We even garden in our front yard. It may never support us, but it does help. Immensely.

Mr. H. said...

Gail - Thanks for sharing these videos on your blog, I'll come check it out.:)

SimplyFaith - It really is amazing how much food can be grown on a small amount of property. When my wife and I lived in town for a while our little garden was only 4' by 8' but provided us with a good learning experience. I think one of the most important things is not how much one grows but the knowledge of how to do so in case you ever had to.

R said...

Oh COOL...we just received this lady's DVD set in the mail before the weekend and gleaned some great information..plus she grows moringa (!!!) as well as leucaena (sp?) and other forage and nitrogen fixing (and edible!) trees/plants (that really got our hearts beating faster :)) Instead of feeling horrified, we feel more urgency but actually more empowered than we would have a few years ago. As always, your blog is our gold standard for being inspired to grow greens. We're trying to situate ourselves for the longterm now that we're out of debt...hope this economy doesnt fully tank till we're set!

Mr. H. said...

R - I'm so glad that you had an opportunity to view her video. I bet you smiled when she mentioned the moringa, how neat is that. Throughout history it seems as though every population has had good years and bad years, times of plenty and times of hunger. I think one of the big differences between now and then is so very many have no clue on how to prepare for the possibility of the bad times...and they will come, they always do. I don't think there is anything to be afraid of though, just a different lifestyle that brings us all back down to earth where, in my mind, we are supposed to be anyway.:)

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