People sometimes ask if we ever get bored living out here in the sticks as we do. Honestly, I could be doing something all the time and still miss fun stuff. On Saturday, we went to a concert next door at our church. It was wonderful music-kind of Appalachian folk music. We hosted a pot luck dinner for the performers before the show and had a wonderful time. On Sunday, after church (where we were treated to another concert by the kids from our local music camp), I went to a Transition Town conference. I don’t think I will ever join a TT but there was some really good information and it was very nice to spend an afternoon with people who really get the trouble we in with the three E’s-energy, environment and economics.
The best part of the afternoon for me was the time spent at an open space gathering discussing food security. I came away with a renewed commitment to pay closer attention, not just to my personal food security, but neighborhood security too. These are the places I need to spend more energy.
Grains. We grow very little grain around here besides corn. I need to experiment with growing wheat and also some lesser know things like amaranth and quinoa. I have a lot of wheat, oats and rice stored but what would I do when the stored grains ran out or became to expensive to purchase?
Seeds: I have a bit of money put aside and I am going to improve my storage system for seeds. Now is a good time to buy seeds as many are 1/2 price. I also need to check the viability of the seed I have and come up with a good inventory. I need to ramp up my own seed bank and to encourage those around me to do the same.
Animal feed. I could feed pigs on turnips, mangles and beets. I could also grow enough corn to keep a small flock of chickens fed. Rabbits can be kept on very small amounts of food and I want to talk about raising rabbits again.
Additions. I have to think about what we are going to add to our food shed. We are converting some lawn to two large beds, one for blueberries and one for strawberries. I want some cranberries too. I will enlarge my potato field next year and make sure I have an agreement to swap some varieties, pound for pound, with friends so none of us will ever find ourselves without a good variety of seed potatoes.
Beans. Dried beans are so easy to grow, easy to store and easy to cook. I want at least five varieties and dedicated space for them.
On a local level, it is really foolish for me to keep beating the dead horse of a community canning kitchen when we have a gorgeous kitchen, paid for with our taxes, right here in our school. I really need to figure out some way to convince TPTB that we could make good use of the school in off hours by opening up the kitchen for community use. I suppose I will run into all kinds of roadblocks like figuring out how to pay for the energy usage and problems with security and so on. It is just maddening to have such a perfect spot and not be able to use it.
The supermarket shelves are always full of an amazing variety of beautiful foods. It can cause sensory overload just wandering the aisles. It is impossible to comprehend just how fragile that food system really is. Three days without a delivery and the shelves would be empty. Local food security deserves a lot more attention than it gets. Storing food is not enough. Eventually, the food is gone. Then what?