Sunday, March 8, 2009

Peak Food: the obvious strategy

So, in light of this, it doesn't take a lot of insight to figure out that increased food prices, and increased taxation, even outside of the context of price inflation and stagnant wages--growing one's own food is starting to make a hell of a lot of sense. Even at this point it's starting to make real economic sense, and especially for couples the model of one wage earner and one gardener is very attractive. The garden produces implicit untaxable(so far) income and it's disproportionally valuable. Clearly it will only become more so.

So, what to plant? I think the mistake that I see most often is that people get all fired up about planting tomatoes and herbs and the like, which is good--but not at the cost of neglecting staples. Many assume that major staple foods like rice and wheat will be available if expensive but garden crops like the above will not. This is not what history suggests: Actually the basic staples are the first thing to go. Again, we've already seen this with rice, and to some degree both corn and wheat. In the age we live in, these common and traded commodites are also much more vulnerable to market manipulation--whereas other crops are not. This is a risk as well. Also, we face competion from the biofuels market for things to eat--this as well has caused a great deal of price pressure on basic staple crops. I do not see any of these trends easing any time soon.

The great difficulty is that the majority of staples are difficult to grow in a garden setting. They tend to be best cultivated in large land holdings and with mechanized cultivation methods. Growing wheat in a small home garden is a near pointless exercise and a waste of space. While one can grow beans, or chickpeas, or even corn and potatoes--and certainly I grow a lot of sweet potatoes--yields beyond what basic subsistance requires are often difficult to come by. Few options exist, and careful research is bound to be important. Ask, what is it that you're going to eat every day? It's not going to be lettuce. What will be the backbone of your homestead?

1 comment:

islandnotes said...

Trees, for sure; citrus, avocado, a large variety, to fruit throughout the year, pineapples, breadfruit, jakfruit, bananas; these last two also as less-ripe cooked starch.

Still, the protein gig trumps all this. So, chicken/duck eggs and fishpond looms large.

Me? You'll still see my pathetic ass bending into the KTA freezer..but I'm workin' at it.

Another big unrecognized elephant-in-room-thing is our..shit. The equation of survival surely requires composting and enlisting our shit. I'm lucky(?)to have a comp. toilet, but short of that, a banana circle would just eat that shit up!

Heh, nothing like scatology on a sunday morn--The Church of Scatology! (Who might be the Tom Cruise celeb. to pimp it? I vote: Steve Buscemi..)