Since before the pandemic the conversation of food security has always been around. Although the subject is broad and can be approached from many view points most seem to look and point towards a solution. From seed banks to cold storage there are many ways to prepare. Perhaps many of you still have basements full of boxed crackers and canned beans from the 2020 shut down. Regardless of how you look at it our food system has been on a slippery slope since the 1940’s. Before this time food was centralized locally. The average person had understanding of growing and preserving along with conserving. Food waste was minimal during this time, everything was used from carrot tops to pepper seeds.
We could point the finger at industrial agriculture, cultural priority changes or the greed of man to chase the dollar and all of these would be correct. However, I find it more productive to acknowledge the mistakes of our past and move forward towards the hope of a solution.
With a quick internet search you will begin to discover a wealth of knowledge in being prepared. This knowledge used to be common, found in dinnertime stories and observed and gleaned by small children. Mothers would naturally instruct their young on how to properly wrap apples for cold storage, prep garden beds for winter harvesting and so on. Fathers would teach young boys how to chop wood, forage and hunt. Knowledge is power yet somehow we became so burdened by its easy accessibility that we stopped retaining. We read quickly, memorize quick facts only to lose them in a days’ time. Is it possible that the more we made knowledge accessible the more we lost it? The human mind can only import so much data in a day. We are slow learners by nature, we need time to process and ruminate on new concepts. We are also very physical and tangible learners, for hundreds of years we learned by the physical action of doing. This style of learning is almost obsolete in today’s YouTube generation.
I digress on the original topic but essentially what I have discovered is the solution to food security is not having a cellar stocked full of stored dry goods but the answer is in the knowledge and the skill to grow and preserve along with the relationship with the farmers nearest you. Local food is more accessible for obvious reasons. Why is it that a natural disaster halfway across the world can now effect the food supply creating mass shortages for years when there are neighborhood farms in almost every town across America. Now I realize small farms are becoming extinct at a rapid rate and so this is the time to wake up folks and understand the importance of this epidemic. Seize the opportunity of food that is just miles away from your home before that is no longer an option. How? Build a relationship with your farmer, vote with your dollar, turn off the tv and begin to learn how to grow and store and most importantly conserve!
If you’ve gotten to the end of this and are still wondering the question that’s on most Americans minds, will there be food shortages? The answer is yes, its inevitable but the solution is not to stockpile 5 years worth of food in a cellar somewhere. Make educated decisions, take preventative measures and lightly prepare. A good rule of thumb in our household is to keep 6 months worth of food on hand. For our family of five that looks like: 100# of rice, flour, and dry beans, 30 jars each of tomatoes, fruit and green beans/peas, a cold frame in the winter of fresh greens, a half of pig and a quarter beef cow in the freezer. This might seem like a lot of food but purchased locally and organically the grocery bill still totals less than $2000 for 6 months, that’s only $330 a month for everything we need! The best part about being prepared is less trips to the grocery store, less impulse purchasing and conservation of energy!