Friday, April 6, 2012

...if it all went away?

I loved reading everyone's responses to the technology post, what we require for daily sanity (and in some cases, survival) all over the world. But today I have a new question, and it is something I think about fairly often: What would you do if it all went away?

What do I think? Well, I'm walking a thin line. I don't think we're going to see the world change quickly and harshly, like some do. But I do think rising gas prices and a shifty economy will make our future far more local and less energy dependant. I would be lying if I said my interest in equine transportation, food storage, clean water, backyard chickens, seed safes, etc was about prepping for the end of the world. I just like this lifestyle. It makes me feel safe and useful. I am not creating a fort against the Zombie Hordes.

I do think our current lifestyle will go from being cheap and normal to very expensive and abnormal, and in the next few years. It is foolish to think otherwise. I don't think we'll run out of oil or electricity, but I do think if we don't make strides towards more energy independence we are looking at serious trouble. (And I don't mean as a nation, I mean as individuals.)

The best protection against rising food and gas prices is a safe source of food at home, and a strong community ready for anything. I am for every American learning to use less energy in their homes, driving less in their cars, and producing a substantial amount of food at home. I'm for it not because I'm afraid of the future, but because it seems sensible. I want pantries and larders to be as normal again as walk-in closets. (Come to think of it, walk in closets can hold a lot of food!) I want my readers to have enough set by that if anything scary ever did happen: from ice storms that take down the grid over night to $9-a-gallon gas price spikes: you are all okay. I think expecting everything you need to be at a store and an outside source to home to your rescue is both irresponsible and dangerous. I don't think this is about fear, but about sense.

On May 19th the most well-attended workshop in this farm's history is going down. It's called Plan B, and it's a full day entirely dedicated to the future of energy, peak oil, and preparing your family and farm for uncertain times ahead. It is not a tin-foil hat meeting of conspiracy theorists, but a group of concerned homesteaders and citizens talking with three authors. It will be quite the event. Featured speakers are:

Myself - Homesteader working towards a transitional farm
Kathy Harrison - Community organizer and disaster prep expert
James Howard Kunstler - Peak oil lecturer on the future of energy.

The workshop is mainly about two things: Preparation and education. It will start with getting ready now for any sort of disaster, pandemic, food shortage or economic collapse. Kathy Harrison will talk about her communities efforts to create a place ready for whatever the future throws at them. (She's well known for this subject, too. National Geographic did a spot on their new show Doomsday Preppers. about them!) And the second part is about larger national and global issues, focused around a conversation with JHK (I also got him to bring his fiddle, which will be a treat) about what is actually going on out there. What to expect. He lives just over the mountain in the next town and is a good friend.

No event at this farm has gotten such a response, people are flying in and staying at local hotels to talk with myself, Kathy and James. Two couples are staying here at the farm, one from Philly and another from Canada. Others are traveling from around the Northeast. Young couples are making the trip, so is a group of five seniors! All of them coming to learn and discuss. Kathy will be teaching us how to use a pressure canner and food dehydrator to store a garden's bounty. Others are more interested in hearing JHK's views on what is ahead. Everyone is very engaged and excited, which makes me think there are a lot of people thinking about this? Are you?

Do you think change is in our future? Are people talking about it being negative and foolish? Do you agree, and are taking steps toward a more sustainable life? Or is it all too scary to even think about?

45 Comments:

Blogger Lara said...

I think many are just a few tragedies away from living without what many deem essential. Know of many families that are living without indoor plumbing or electricity, and many raising much of their own meat in the form of poultry and pork…washing their own cloths by hand, and not using a vehicle. These families are stressed--many were not prepared to make due like this…some are learning how to get by, others barely exist. I have to think (or at least hope) its making their kids stronger and making them a tighter family unit as they try to get by, but its honestly hard to see an up to their situations sometimes—some kids I teach read each night until it gets too dark versus others who play video games until their fingers are numb, so perhaps that is a good side effect. I do think change is in our future, at least for many it is. It’ll hit the bottom socio-economical level first—it is and has hit I should say. We’ll see how far it goes and what factors will trigger such changes. I don’t do half of what I do with all this in mind, but then also have to think that if things were to all go away I could make the shift with grace. Agree…it’s about sense.

April 6, 2012 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 6, 2012 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger ~~Melissa said...

Prepping is a great way to get in touch with everything we take for granted and see how fragile our collective infrastructure really is. It's an insurance plan we hope we never need, but can learn so much from.

April 6, 2012 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger Sylvia said...

I think it just makes sense to think about what we would do in the event of a natural disaster. In most cases, the first thing to go is the power. The weather can knock it out for days. Or something like the recent tornadoes in Texas or even Hurricane Katrina can easily happen. Grocery stores have about 3 days supply of the items they sell. If trucks can't get in (because of floods, snow, etc.) the food will run out. What will we do then?
I'm working on figuring that out for a suburban family of four in a cold state (Wisconsin). I started canning and freezing local food years ago, just because it was better food than the grocery store stuff, but now I've got an eye on keeping a stock of food etc. in case of emergency. Ideally we'll be able to take care of ourselves, and help our neighbors too. I'll probably do more canning than freezing this year, since frozen food depends on electricity. And I'm learning to cook with wood and charcoal. I had friends years ago who lived off the grid, and I don't think we'll ever go that far, but it's nice to know we could manage at least for a while if it was necessary. After all, my great-grandparents lived much of their lives without any modern conveniences, and their parents never even heard of the power company.

April 6, 2012 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 6, 2012 at 7:55 PM  
Blogger Rois said...

I think that learning as many skills as you can and gathering your community is the best plan no matter what direction things go.

April 6, 2012 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger Sue Sullivan said...

Holy cow, that is quite a lineup! I wish I lived on your coast!
I do what I do because I love it and because I feel it is important and necessary for a lower-energy future. I think there's a lot more resiliency in the systems than I first thought when I became peak oil/peak debt aware a few years ago. I hope we stairstep down to a lower energy, less stuff-intensive future without too many hard bumps. We'll have to see. I'm not going to let my thinking about a likely future ruin a perfectly lovely present.

April 6, 2012 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

Jenna-
I am leveraging my family to be prepared as possible by transitioning to a farm. Here in the city I raise most of what we eat spring thru fall...can all I can for winter months, use variation of root cellaring. But, in a true emergency I would be dependent on city water and heat. I have us "off-grid" mostly, utilizing oil lamps, natural light, and candles. I didn't
grow up with this knowledge but gained it thru trial and error, reading, and asking questions of old-timers. I did have an outdoorsman, resourceful dad who trapped, fished, hunted, etc...but I didn't appreciated it at the time as I was a bit grossed out by some of it. Don't know if I could hunt or trap for food but I can fish with the best of 'em (and tell a good yarn)! Sure wish I could have learned more from him while he was alive. I feel that the shift in the economy will only get worse for all of us... unless you are capable of some self-providing and able to access local based business. My family thinks I'm extreme for planning to disconnect from utilities- by going off-grid..I call it freedom and being forward thinking. I plan to be prepared as possible for whatever comes. Hope for the best,plan for the worst.

April 6, 2012 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Grand Soft Day said...

I am continually amused by Americans freaking out about $9 a gallon fuel, that's basically what we are currently paying in Europe and certainly in Ireland, and you know what? the roof hasn't fallen in (may occasionally seem like it :)) - we don't like it but people adjust accordingly.

April 6, 2012 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger Grand Soft Day said...

I am continually amused by Americans freaking out about $9 a gallon fuel, that's basically what we are currently paying in Europe and certainly in Ireland, and you know what? the roof hasn't fallen in (may occasionally seem like it :)) - we don't like it but people adjust accordingly.

April 6, 2012 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

You have to imagine adjusting in a few months to $18 a gallon then, and having to pay for your healthcare. It costs about 20k to have a baby in a hospital here without insurance!

April 6, 2012 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

sorry, typo! about 2,000! plus!

April 6, 2012 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger becky3086 said...

Well, I don't think there is going to be any major catastrophe. We will just simply adapt and something else will be made and we'll use whatever we have.
I do have some storage but it is only for emergencies.
I live this life because I like it. I feel an incredible "rightness" when I take a step to be more self sufficient.
Thanks for the comment to the other poster about healthcare. I don't believe that some people understand this at all. I have a heart problem that I have never had checked (my 18 year old daughter has it too) and I now have a small lump that definitely needs to be checked out but can't afford it. America is the home of the free but we without insurance sure do miss out on a lot of...life...because we can't afford it.

April 6, 2012 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

@Grand Soft Day I hear you about Europe's fuel prices...however most places in the U.S. do not have any sort of public transit system or very limited at that! Adjusting is going to mean going ultra local for everything or relocating to where the jobs are vs. commuting...which is easier said than done in a lot of cases.

April 6, 2012 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Cris said...

I am fortunate to live in a rural community where many, many friends and neighbors are all thinking that preparing ourselves for a more local future is something that needs to happen. There are groups working on making wood gasifiers, planning for a hydroelectric upgrade to the old dam structure on the river, organizing classes on everything from fly fishing, making solar ovens, raising chickens in the backyard, and more. Others are organizing a local listing of goods and services, so we don't have to shop outside our community for things we need (from milk to custom lumber to the guy who can fix your roof, we've got it all). We're even discussing a local area folk school, to build on an annual Traditional & Green Skills Day--which hosts upwards of 200 people for a day of classes on all sorts of skills for living sustainably. I do my small part organizing gardening events, like a Seed Share, a Plant Swap, and a community garden in the village. I also teach folks about raising rabbits and chickens in a small yard (I farm my 1/3 acre with great success!) All it took to get this started was a small group of friends getting together to talk about what the future might hold, and it has grown and grown and GROWN from there. I am so excited for your event, Jenna--wish I could come--because it is this kind of gathering that can change the world. Best of luck to you, and all the attendees!
P.S. If you're interested, more information about our local community can be found at www.hayriverti.org

April 6, 2012 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

We would do quite well. We never worry about electricity going off, grocery prices or unavailablity of products. I have a washboard but would NOT want to use it on a regular basis. We are on county water which might become problematic.

We have grown and processed most of our own vegetables, heated with wood, used homegrown eggs and honey, ect. a very long time. It provides a measure independence from local, state, and federal goverments, groceries, and greedy utility companies.

We also run the Phony Farm on a zero-based budget -- no debt. And have an emergency fund. We were very relaxed during the "crash" in 2008. When all is paid for, the produce tastes better and Murphy does not move into the spare bedroom.

April 6, 2012 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I love this discussion, everyone's take is so different.

April 6, 2012 at 9:51 PM  
Blogger Bluebelle Quilts said...

@becky3086 You didn't specify what kind of lump, but if it is a breast lump, then visit komen.org and click on affiliates to find a free/low cost provider in your area. I learned about this service because a friend recently used them to have her lump checked out. Fortunately, her biopsy results came back negative. However, her treatment would have been covered by this group as well.

April 6, 2012 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

I was reading Cris's comments about the Hay River Transition then went to the site. Wow! Wish we could attend some of the workshops, especially about the gasifer. My husband is skilled and could probably learn to build one.

April 6, 2012 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

I think we'd be directing our energies better if we focused on educating America and the world at large on how we drastically need to re-think consumerism and industrial farming. There are so many things wrong with the world right now that I sometimes just feel overwhelmed and angry. Why are we still using plastic bags in this country? Why is there literally a sea of plastic garbage in the ocean? Why are we still dependent on fossil fuels and dragging our feet on other options? Why is vehicle efficiency is a joke still? Etc. etc. etc.

I think everyone actively touting disaster preparedness should instead be touting activism towards change.

I'm also incredibly tired of people pointing the finger toward politics as the problem. An election won't solve the disasters we are careening towards. WE need to solve these problems by becoming way more aware and responsible in how we consume resources. We live in a world where we think we can shop away our problems and buy preparedness. Not sustainable.

I do however laud everyone living off the grid, committing to buying only pre-owned goods, and truly taking steps to lessen their impact... including by having less children! Maybe I sound like an extreme pessimist, but our problems are indeed rooted in overpopulation and consumerism.

April 6, 2012 at 10:03 PM  
OpenID ruralaspirations said...

Like you, Jenna, we live this way for the lifestyle. But I do think that gas prices will continue to rise (here in my part of Canada gas is $1.50/L which is about $5/gallon) and at some point the scales will tip to where transport becomes too pricey and things like food etc will go way up in price. So in the back of my mind I think about these things and feel lucky that we have land to grow our own food, a well for water, etc. We also live in a community that puts a high priority on local food supply.

April 6, 2012 at 10:15 PM  
OpenID janetgordon said...

Anyone who lives in the country and has a deep well must look at the reality of getting water up from 300+ feet during an outage. I faced this a few years ago when we had an early winter ice storm that turned to heavy wet snow - we were without power for almost two weeks due to the amount of damage to the power infrastructure. Fortunately the local volunteer fire department as part of their service took orders for water and delivered it to those in need.
The only real solution is to combine wind and solar power and a bank of storage batteries to go off grid - all rural dwellers should be working toward this goal - not a cheap solution, but a lasting one and a green one.

April 6, 2012 at 10:35 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

We have a Battenkill Transition Town Meeting here too, Greenwich is the center of the action!

April 6, 2012 at 10:42 PM  
OpenID notherethenwhere said...

I also live this way because I like the lifestyle, and I think it's the right thing to do, and something that we should do anyway. But at the same time, I'm very aware of what seems to be an increasing uncertain and probably quite low-energy future, and I think being prepared for that is worth doing. If something happens, hopefully we'll be a bit more ready. If not, well nothing's really lost in the end.

What would I do if it all went away? Well, I'm working on that now. I'm learning to do even more for myself - gardening, baking, bike repair, preserving, sewing, knitting, and whatever else I think will be useful. I'm saving up and researching useful tools, and hope to make some purchases soon. I'm trying to develop community, where possible, because I think this especially will be important.

I'd be the first to admit that I'm not there yet, but I'm going to keep working on it bit by bit. It makes me feel better - not only because I'm somewhat more prepared, but because it's a life choice that I really enjoy, that works for me, and that feels like it has real, tangible value.

April 6, 2012 at 11:11 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

I go back and forth from thinking I could survive to believing us rural folks will be overrun by the hordes of city folks fleeing the cities.

I also look at the amount of hay and grain I would have to grow to support my draft horse, pigs, cow, etc and realize I don't have enough land to feed the family and the animals.

I raise animals for food, but if they aren't born on the farm, availability could be a big problem. I may have to rely on hunting for meat.

I've designed and built my own small scale wood gasifier, hot water solar system, solar food dehydrator, methane digester, solar water purifier, and greenhouse - they are all not perfected yet, but I've started.

I have a wood cook stove and wood hot water and heat for the house. I'm working on awind mill and ram pump water pump. But will I have enough power to operate my welder to scale up if I need to? Will the ground water be usable?

I make about 15 cubic yards of compost a year, save seeds, make our own bread - raising about 50% of the food we consume.

As I get older I worry more about my energy to handle all the work more than combustible/solar/wind energy.

I have two friends that every now and then will get into one of these discussions. One will go on and on about how they are getting prepared for the shut down of civilization. When asked what he's doing, the second says "keeping my guns ready". First says "for hunting", the second says "no, so I can come up to your house, shoot you and take everything you've store away". All in fun of course, but I think this could be a major concern.

April 6, 2012 at 11:15 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

Honestly, I think if everything went away we'd have to readjust our thinking, even as "prepared" as we like to think we are now. Some things would be very distasteful, some things would be unspeakably hard, we'd have to make some rather difficult choices, no doubt, and come to grips with what we actually have, as opposed to what we used to have or would like to have. I'm sure at times it would be quite an emotional burden. I like to believe, though, that we'd manage, and survive and even possibly thrive. I think it actually comes down to how well you cope, and how quickly you can make the emotional adjustment.

April 7, 2012 at 12:53 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Having recently lived through one of the worst natural disasters to never hit my area, I've really started to think about more long term emergencies. A power outage that lasts a few days is a very different thing that the flood that had us living on an island for several days and took out electricity across the area for weeks. The entire area had to ration water for three weeks because three out of four water treatment plants had been completely flooded. People were swept away in flash floods and many many animals needed to be rescued from homes and farms. It give one perspective, certainly. I don't think a large scale natural disaster will wipe out civilization as we know it, but I do think that the weather patterns are changing. It rained 17 inches in Middle Tennessee in less than 48 hours. That's still pretty astonishing to me. We need to be prepared for anything, it seems.

My husband and I have been transitioning our lifestyle to weather economic changes as well as the environmental ones. He works from home as a programmer and as long as we have enough power for his laptop and to keep the phone charged, he is good to go. This is very important as we no longer have to drive very much. I'm down to working 3-4 days a week and am trying to reach the point where i don't have to work outside of the home.

We have enough room to double the garden if necessary and could easily grow 3/4 of what we eat, but we would have to give up a lot of what we take for granted. Small scale grain growing is a possibility, but it is such a huge labor investment. My mother hates sorghum molasses because that's what they used instead of sugar when she was growing up. I'm so glad I have a taste for it, it's one thing that would be worth the effort. And my sweet tooth will certainly demand keeping bees starting next year. I have 9 pullets about to move out to their beautiful coop in the next few days. If things look like they might get tougher, we will add a rooster to the flock and start growing birds for meat as well as eggs.

I think flexibility is key. We chose this life after the two of us being laid of several times over the last 10 years. There is no longer any security in the 9-5 world. Between climate change, economic uncertainty and declining fossil fuels, I think things will continue to get harder for everyone. Those of us who are even partially self-sufficient will be far better off than most.

April 7, 2012 at 2:40 AM  
OpenID outdoors1968 said...

I don't think we'll run out of oil in my lifetime (I'm 43)... however, and this is a big one, I do believe well will all see energy and oil become so expensive, that it will be affordable only by the very rich. And, um, I'm not in that demographic. ;-)
We're using the stuff at at alarming rate, and ya know, it takes millions of years to "manufacture".

Although i'm growing some of my own food, doing the urban homesteading thing, and saving toward that homestead "in the country"..... one thing i'm aiming for is not so far in the country that i can't get to work by bike, etc...... my current 1/10 acre lot is not a sustainable way to live, no woodlot, etc, but transportation will / would be an issue if I were "way out in the sticks"....... so I'm aiming for a few urban acres, but not too far off the beaten path, transportation wise. I'd prefer "way out there"..... but common sense dictates a happy medium of some kind.

April 7, 2012 at 3:28 AM  
OpenID outdoors1968 said...

Dang it, i meant a few "rural acres" lol.......

Jenna, you're doing great on you efforts at self-sustainability, and independence....... What would you do for transport should fuel go balistic suddenly? I'm assuming Merlin would figure into this..... How many miles is your commute?

April 7, 2012 at 3:35 AM  
Blogger Stormy said...

I am afraid I have a bit of a fatalistic attitude about long term survivability if the proverbial SHTF. I am not sure I want to be here and experience humankind at their worst. However, I do believe it is a great idea to become more self sufficient, put away a reasonable amount of stores and learn how to take care of your family during short term interruption of life as we know it.

I chuckle every time the new Costco ad comes in the mail with their specials for those inclined to prepare for a long siege. You know you are mainstream when Costco carries it. For $3000 you to can have 1700 plus meals delivered to your door. Of course, when I read through the list it only furthered my belief that I for one will not plan on sticking around should I have to eat that bad!!

I think that is my biggest concern about the entire idea of prepping because so many people waste money, resources and energy on buying and storing things that ultimately will probably go to waste. Gardening, canning what you will REALLY eat, raising livestock whose meat and products you will really utilize-that makes complete sense.

Just this week one of my husbands well heeled young co-workers asked him if he wanted to get meat out of his freezer. He wanted to clean it out and make room for more of the cuts he liked and hadn't realized that a half a beef only had "so few" steaks.

I just read an article on the astronomical increase in gun sales and was horrified to learn rather large percent (20-30 I think) of the people buying guns actually believed we would experience some kind of zombie apocalypse. Now, that just really gives me a warm and cozy feeling about the future!!! Morons with guns-not a good thing.

Bottom line, I hope we all recommend to our concerned friends, family and neighbors that they take a breath and make a realistic evaluation of things they can and should learn how to do. If you family loves bread-learn how to make it. It will save you money in the short term and help build your confidence. What staples do you like to eat? Stock enough to have a reasonable amount on hand. Don't waste food by letting it rot in your garage because you thought you needed 500 pounds of hard wheat. Learn to can the things your family eats on a regular basis and skip the rest.

As a personal example, I have a small family that doesn't drink a ton of milk. Normally, I would think be thinking "get a nice gallon a day milk goat". But I happen to hate goat milk and cheese so for me a goat is a very bad idea. I am much better off thinking "milk cow" and trying to plan on how to barter off the excess.

April 7, 2012 at 5:30 AM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

I believe that people are prepping for harder times (many people have already hit hard times). The economy will get worse and there will always be the scare of nuclear holocaust. My husband and I downsized last year and there was an urgency that I felt through the whole process. We bought property that was useable for gardens and livestock and was more rural than our last home. Our house is small and can be heated with just our woodstove so we can be independent of oil now that the price is near $4.00 per gallon. We have a large garden area and a small orchard and chickens for food sources. We are planting a few extra rows of vegetables to be able to help some families in our town who are having a tough go of these economic times. I have talked to both of our grown children about planning for the future since it is not cast in stone that there will be social security when they retire. I feel like a Boy Scout since my new creedo is "Be Prepared".

April 7, 2012 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Being prepared should be a thread iin our lives, indeed, but I find folks don't perform a vulnerability analysis as they prepare. there are several great tools to do this. Also, data has shown that communities that prepare together, whether the emergency better.

Emergency preparedness is not a solo exercise.

April 7, 2012 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Additionally, (sorry with over 30 years in this field, I'm passionate), what makes everyone thing that wood won't become a sacred commodity? History shows us that the New England states became deforested as more and more towns emerged. Good for the environment? Well, we are all still here but it's something to keep in mind.

As far as the city folk fleeing to the rural areas, I have to ask, "In what and how are these people going to abandoned their homes for rural homesteading? 9/11 gave us some important insights as to how city dwellers respond: they gave blood, food, and everything in between.

IMHO, the question remains, "If something does happen, how am I going to support those in need?" If I'm prepared and comfortable, what can I do for my community? Volunteer for the Red Cross? Train up with my local emergency management agency? Take online independent study courses (free BTW) at the Emergency Management Institute? (They also offer courses on farming disaster preparedness.) A great example of this comes from our neighbors in Nova Scotia who rolled out the gift of hospitality during the 9/11 groundstop. These folks opened their homes, fed the stranded passengers, and proceeded to demonstrate what folks in a rural area can do. It's an amazing and true story.

I sense sometimes that folks believe that surviving a disaster singly results in some sort of power. It doesn't IMHO because I'm left with the question- Power over whom? True preparedness allows us to unselfishly give to those in need, it's a grace that cannot be described, yet brightens the soul.

Just my humble opinion.

April 7, 2012 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

P.S. If you can swing it, take Jenna's workshop on this matter. The speakers are fantastic and you'll get a real sense of preparedness from all angles. I'd be there in a heartbeat if I could.

April 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

excerpt from article:
If you think you can move to a farm in the country in order to escape the long arm of the regime, think again.

According to the "Definitions" section of the order, absolutely everything - including farm equipment, all food, water and medicine, energy, fertilizer and all forms of "civil transportation" - would be seized by the government. Even repair parts for farm equipment would fall under government jurisdiction


Elections are important as the articles below show. If you work hard to build the farm you want, Obama's executive order gives the government the authority to take your seeds, your livestock and even you if they want. It doesn't have to be an emergency to do so.

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/03/new-obama-executive-order-seizes-us.html

http://www.examiner.com/conservative-in-spokane/obama-executive-order-would-seize-us-infrastructure-citizens-for-nat-l-defense

April 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Christee said...

What a great topic.
When I go to the store I buy 1 bag of beans to put away. I have watched the DP show and laugh at a lot of it but some hits the mark. I am taking an English class right now and my final paper is on the struggles of todays farmer. I have just watched a couple of docmentaries that I found fascinating: "Dirt! The Movie", "King Corn" and on tonights playlist is one of my favorites "Food, Inc.", "Truck Farm" and another one I can't remember.
These documentaries really reminded and strenghtened my resolve to do right by the earth. Make it rich again. After we move and get settled I am going to start a compost pile and a sweet garden. :-) We have to take care of Mother Earth or she will take care of us.
I so wish I lived on the east coast or could afford to fly to one of the workshops! Sounds very informative and a hoot to boot! Enjoy!

April 7, 2012 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Um, Julie Executive Orders such as this are not new to the Administration. Historically, the Federal Government used this power to build railways, highways, and airports. It happened to my great-grandparents' home in order to build a highway. Also, during WWII rationing became a reality to support the war effort. That's when we had factories. I shutter to think what would happen to us now, since manufacturing has been outsourced.

Just another reason to work for peace.

April 7, 2012 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger E said...

Interesting discussion.
We can prepare all we want (and that might be a good thing) but hundreds or millions of little gardens and wood lots will only supply food and fuel short term.

Think 10 years down the road - with no inputs there's no gas or parts for chainsaws, no antibiotics, no seed potatoes, no plastic for greenhouses, salt again becomes a luxury item, no new canning jars.

April 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Cristhiano said...

I currently have a small backyard garden, but would love to swap it for some rural acres.I don't believe that the world is ending, but I do feel that the world is going through a period of adjustment both economically and environmentally that is troublesome. Homesteading for me is not a plan to survive a zombie world, but a lifestyle choice aiming at minimizing the impact of such economical and environmental changes happening today in my life. Living on a homestead off the grid and no debt would enhance both my lifestyle and time spent with family. What better gift can I give to my daughter? On a whole different level also, I feel a stronger connection to God as I work the garden and serve my backyard salad for dinner. I can't really illustrate in words, but the nourishment I receive from my yields are far more satisfying than supermarket stuff.

As I educated myself on making breads, gardening and other self sufficient skills, the goal remains clear: it's about lifestyle and family !!!

April 7, 2012 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Patty said...

Jenna,
Would you ever consider taping Plan B for those of us too far away to attend?

April 7, 2012 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

My SO and I have relocated to the oil patch in ND to build up a savings account to buy a small farm in the next 24 months. Ideally, it'd be in Jenna's neck of the woods, but I think more likely TN/MO. I garden, speak fluent chicken & can some.

I read a news article a year or so ago that just amazed me. It was about the rural poor who are doing without enough food in states such as AL and MS. Huh? You live in the country. Grow a garden. Grow chickens. Help each other. In climates like AL/MS you get almost 2 growing seasons per year. When did we as a society become so doggone clueless?

April 7, 2012 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Sue Sullivan said...

http://www.chrismartenson.com/blog/charles-eisenstein-time-better-narrative/71231

This is a link to a podcast, and under the player is a link to a transcript.
This was the most hopeful yet clear-eyed examination of the challenges our society faces. I really liked what Charles had to say about human connectedness and how to create positive change in the face of peak oil and peak debt.

April 7, 2012 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger Girl With A Hoe said...

Um, Julie Executive Orders such as this are not new to the Administration. Historically, the Federal Government used this power..

That's right and it needs to stop.

April 7, 2012 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Sewing Machine Girl said...

"the USA has 5% of the world's population, but generates 30% of the world's waste" I think we should also take time practicing and expecting less and being happy with it. All the trappings of success will not really make us happy. Conservation is a primary pillar of Permaculture.
I also think it is a lot easier to turn your back on something that you can afford (by choice), than it is to desperately need something and not be able to get it, so we all need to approach this idea with humility and open hearts. Myself included.

I think we all have to be careful of what drains our spare time. I strive to be productive. I don't play video games, and rarely watch TV, although the internet takes up far too much of my time. Something I have to fix for myself.

I'm not the worst at permaculture practices, but I can be far, far better.

I think developing a personal knowledge base about how "to make do" is critical. A tornado may come and blow your solar panels away, but if you built them yourself and you still draw breath, you can make them over again. Learn, learn, learn.

And it is your obligation to teach your kids how to do it too.

Bootstrappin' is a lost art.

April 8, 2012 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Kara said...

I think Lara (first comment) hit the nail on the head. The poorest will feel the effects of any disaster first, the hardest and for the longest period of time.

I would argue that we are in middle of an economic disaster right now, and many people have had to change their lives to adjust. So many have already lost their homes, due to predatory lending practices often directed to low income/minority groups. The poorest neighborhoods are now being taken over by investors, who can pay cash versus homeowners who need a mortgage. This destabilize neighborhoods and and in the long run makes neighborhoods less affordable to live in or buy homes in.

If our nations response to the housing crisis, which still isn't over, is any indication of how we'll fair in the face of an national oil shortage, food shortage or other natural disaster. I think we are in big trouble. Our best preparedness for these situations is to build strong local communities where people support each other.

I'm not religious, but there are some religious groups out there preparing their communities for disaster. I think this is a lesson all of us can learn from.

Great topic!

April 8, 2012 at 6:55 PM  

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