When you hear about countries or stories in history of people starving to death, it seems so unreal. You ask your self how could that happen? Or, why not grow something else? Or, buy it from somewhere else? Or, ”I’d move heaven and hearth to grow food or get food”! Well, good for you Mr/Ms 21st century!
My remarks here are off the excellent article by CD “Growing Food Sucks”.
When I became serious about growing enough food to feed myself and household, I couldn’t believe how much that is; how extensive the process is, and the equipment, supplies, and structures are required. It’s not about setting out a small veg garden. Further, when you factor out supermarkets, you realize how serious it is.
In some climates, where winter is severe and snows are deep, now we’re talking food preservation and storage on the same scale as getting the food grown and harvested to begin with. Thank the good Lord his creation for us doesn’t have to be harvested all at the same time.
In times of old, the human body of a laborer was done and busted by about 35, if you didn’t die of something else beforehand. There’s no harm in finding labor saving methods within the boundaries of our future resource limitations. Work smart as well as hard.
When you fall in love with gardening, it’s fun to grow all sorts of things. There’s so much variety. Nothing gets me more excited than planting something new every season. However, not everything is viable or productive enough to make all the work and time worth while. While I couldn’t stop myself from trying new thinks, I began to value quickly those foods that are resilient in your climate and very productive too. While huge variety and selection seems like a good thing, I’ve begun to value easy viability and productive crops over more variety and selection. After all, physical energy and time are also resource limits.
When you sit back and think about many of the worlds cuisines, many are based on just a few crops. I don’t think this is an accident, and not just because of a particular climate.
As I began to narrow the variety and grow for volume production, I also expanded recipes so that a narrower selection wouldn’t become boring. A wide cookbook library has a lot of value; one, I would not want to live without, especially those focused on cooking and preserving from scratch. A draw back to modern cookbooks is the use of prepackaged ingredients that will not be available in the future.
CD touched on seed saving. It is so important. It’s also something I always had trouble making time for. While I saved some, I didn’t save enough. That’s another chore to make time for and do right. But, it is so important, even more so now.
Love the work CD and CM.
Tom, thank you as always for your thoughtful post. Growing a garden for sustenance is a different beast, and so many people don’t realize that. Many people in the resilience community have their emergency seeds ready to go—but what if the seeds go bad or don’t germinate? What if rabbits eat all the leaves? What if a too-late frost kills all your work? You need to practice and come up with alternate plans before you even begin. Food resilience and mental resilience walk hand in hand. Thank you for starting this topic, and hopefully, we’ll have input from others as well! — CM