Food Storage Class Wrap-Up

Sharon January 29th, 2009

Wow, I’ve now done this class three times, and much of the material will now be part of a book.  I finally got to cheese making, sourdough and sprouts.  I mentioned zombies at least 6 times.  I did more material on community issues (no, I haven’t forgotten about the handouts to allow other people to teach and distribute material in their communities – those will go up as soon as I get the printable formatting write - I have PDF issues – hopefully in a week or two).  I’m hoping that all of this means that there are legions of emissaries out there talking and teaching about food security, and building up their pantries (I always wanted some legions ;-) ).  It makes me feel more secure and hopeful about the world.

I still think the ending of my first class was the best wrap up I could write.  So here it is again:

My littlest, Asher is a head first kind of guy – we calling him “the flying squirrel” because he thinks he can fly, as long as an adult is holding his hand (we hold on TIGHT).  He has no fear, merely boundless enthusiasm.  And when he was about 18 months old, he would yell “Bunt to the Whee!” when ever he was about to leap head-first into things. 

Well, it occurred to us that everyone needs a battle cry, and since “Spoon!” was already taken ;-) , “Bunt to the Whee!” is ours. (His present battle cry, btw is “Ears!  Local Ears!”  Don’t even ask.) 

Just in case you don’t have a battle cry, I wanted to offer to share mine.  Because I think you might need one too. Enthusiasm, and the courage to screw up are what is needed to feed yourself these days. Food preservation and storage  is one of those things that takes time and practice, and gets immediately clearer once you start doing it.

Growing food, storing it, preserving it – all of these things are overwhelming at first.  And despite my hubris in teaching this class, we certainly haven’t mastered everything.  Every year we mess new things up, and forget old things and make new mistakes.  But every year we get a little closer to our goals – to having a reserve to share with others, and to living off our own homegrown and home preserved, to taking fewer trips to the store and to being able to accomodate guests at any time. 

The thing is, sometimes you just have to dive in even to know what you don’t know.  Sometimes you have to make foolish mistakes so that you can figure out what it is that you are trying to accomplish, or how to adapt an idea from me or someone else to your real life.  To an extent information can help.  And to an extent, it probably can’t – you just have to dive in.

So I offer you my son Asher’s battle cry – Bunt to the Whee!  Now is the time to dive in – to make that first bulk purchase, to save those first seeds, to start cooking one or two meals a week from storage, to try the pressure cooker or canning jam, to experiment with whether you can dry those things in the sun, to build that solar oven and try that new lentil recipe, to ask the farmer at the market about buying bulk peaches or your neighbor whether she wants to come over for a day of canning. 

Most of all, I hope you’ll all jump in, and not be afraid to make a mess of it.  The mistakes are part of the process, and the process is central to the project.  What project?  Well, economic security – saving money so you can either do other things that matter to you or keep your house and meet other needs.  Food security so that you can feed yourself and help out those in need around you.  Political action – so we can stop giving our dollars to industrial agriculture, and start voting with them for something better.  And a little step back towards democracy – the ability to no longer be beholden for the food in our mouths to corporations we abhore.  The chance to depend on and trust in our neighbors and those around us building real and good food systems.  Community.  Better food.  All those good things.

That’s why we need a battle cry.  This isn’t just about the rice or the garden or the canning jars.  This is a small but important step in making a better way of life.  And I admit, it brings me a great deal of joy to know that some people out there are trying new things and making changes.  I sort of think about it (of course, I’m clinically insane, as we all know)  and my own efforts as a whole bunch of us, holding up our seed packets, jar lifters, grain grinders (the not-too heavy ones – we don’t want anyone getting hurt) and wooden spoons up above our heads, ready to take on the world and the screwed up food system.  BUNT TO THE WHEE!

 Cheers,

 Sharon

18 Responses to “Food Storage Class Wrap-Up”

  1. bonnieon 29 Jan 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Glad to hear you are putting it all together at last- is it still true that those of us from the original food storage class are still privvy to a complimentary copy? I’ve been looking forward to it since the class ended!

  2. Jillon 29 Jan 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Sharon – thanks for the encouragement. I took the food class last summer and it was a huge eye opener for me. I’ve finally making a move on our local food systems. We’re starting small, encouraging a garden at our church. Everyone is really excited to help and serve. Many of the older women are happy and ready to teach how to can and preserve as well.

    my 18-month old -Jack- has his own battle cry he yells ‘Bonzi!’ and bares his belly. (I don’t suggest we all imitate him, i’d rather hold up my wooden spoon than bare my belly.)

    Jill in Michigan

  3. My battle cry is “Up the fuckstick!” As in, raise the fuckstick. What, you might ask, is a fuckstick? I’ve always imagined it as akin to a hayfork, scythe, or some other farming implement that would be hastily grabbed, along with the torches, when the peasant underclass throws off their shackles and marches against injustice. Something seen raised in silhouette above the heads of determined people, mobilized by their collective power to change things. A banner almost, something to rally around.

    Evidently, Asher is being raised with less of a potty mouth than I’ve got. Nice piece, Sharon.

  4. Cafn8on 29 Jan 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Ahh, the battle cry of flatware! I knew there was a good reason I should come back and look around occasionally. The Tick is so under-appreciated.

  5. Loison 29 Jan 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Bunt to the Whee!! I am so there!

    Tonight’s dinner is from storage foods. Got the 2 adult children back under under the roof, willing and able hands for the garden this spring. ( Dear daughter is even forgoing acrylic nails to play in the dirt w/ Mom. ) Economic times what they are, the empty nest is full again…and my little eaglets are on board, having experienced The Incredible Shrinking Economy. They’ll have the skill set when they are able to fly the nest again, plus I get young backs & knees for now…I think it’s a good deal.

    Your blog is Bunt to the Whee inspiring and informative.

    Mazel,
    Lois

  6. dogear6on 29 Jan 2009 at 6:00 pm

    We will never learn without failure – not at work, not at school and not at home. The hubby and I (okay, mostly me but he didn’t mind) started the food storage last summer. It was not to save money but to better control the quality of what we were eating and to buy local.

    We’ve been mostly using a freezer and dehydrator so far; now we’re moving into a garden and canning. The freezer jam didn’t work very well but does good flavoring plain yogurt. One of the tomato soups was far better than we thought and will have more next summer.

    Due to lack of time, I will not raise or can tomatoes or corn. I can get them at the store with a minimum of added ingredients and I simply cannot do it all due to the demands of my job. But what I did with the peaches and apples was far better than what I get at the store. So those I will continue to do.

    Years ago I learned how to make bread and yogurt. I threw out bricks of bread until I got it right and had runny yogurt shakes because it didn’t set right. But after I played with it enough, I could get it first crack most every time.

    It’s all an experiment. You’ll never know until you try.

  7. The Screaming Sardineon 29 Jan 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Bunt to the Whee indeed! Thanks for this class. It was quite a wealth of information.

  8. Kimberlyon 29 Jan 2009 at 7:18 pm

    I love it!
    You’ve just described the last year of our lives and we’ve just gotten started. We expanded the garden, went to bulk and organic foods, almost all scratch cooking, homemade cleaners and I taught myself to can. This year we’ll expand the garden a lot more, keep on doing what we’ve been doing and add in homemade cheeses, yogurts and soaps.
    Bunt to the Wheeeeee!!!!

  9. Michelleon 29 Jan 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I love it :)
    Thanks Sharon.

  10. Shambaon 29 Jan 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Is this a new book or part of one already planned?? In any case, it’s a great idea.

    cheers,
    Shamba

  11. [...] Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » Food Storage Class Wrap-Up Wow, I’ve now done this class three times, and much of the material will now be part of a book. I finally got to cheese making, sourdough and sprouts. I mentioned zombies at least 6 times. I did more material on community issues (no, I haven’t forgotten about the handouts to allow other people to teach and distribute material in their communities – those will go up as soon as I get the printable formatting write – I have PDF issues – hopefully in a week or two). I’m hoping that all of this means that there are legions of emissaries out there talking and teaching about food security, and building up their pantries (I always wanted some legions ;-) ). It makes me feel more secure and hopeful about the world. [...]

  12. jlpicard2on 29 Jan 2009 at 10:00 pm

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  13. Sylviaon 30 Jan 2009 at 2:03 am

    Yes, I’m easily discouraged but timidly/stubbornly keep trying despite what feels like the enormity of all the crazy tasks we’re taking on. My 20 month old Eli’s battle cry is, “DOO-DAH!” and I’ll be taking it as my own as well! Nothing like watching my little guy chase a 4 year old around while ferociously waving a spatula at him and yelling “DOO-DAH”. Occasionally he’d stop and randomly smack a large pad of paper with it, then continue the chase. It was wonderful! He still yells it all the time… So, bunt to the whee and DOO-DAH!

  14. DiEllaon 30 Jan 2009 at 7:56 am

    I have a motto that could also be a battle cry. “I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl.” That means if I grow something in the garden and it doesn’t work I plant something else. If I’m cooking and don’t have an ingredient I use something else. It’s how I learned to bake bread, sew, paint (pictures-probably could use some lessons), and just about anything else I do. I make plenty of mistakes but I usually learn something and its always an adventure. Next thing I want to do is make cheese, do you think the city would let me have goats in my back yard? Probably not.

  15. Lydiaon 30 Jan 2009 at 9:08 am

    Bunt to the Whee!???? OMG, LMAO!!!! Pop tarts be damned!

  16. Jyotsnaon 03 Feb 2009 at 4:27 am

    Sharon,

    I thoroughly enjoyed the food storage class. Thanks for all you do, and I truely feel like I am set on a new path. It’s effecting everything I think about. (In a positive way!)

    Who knows just what kind of messes I’ll be getting myself into this spring and summer.

    Bunt to the Whee!

  17. Jenon 19 Feb 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Bunt to the wheeeeee!!!

    That’s just fun to say. ;o)

  18. Markon 19 Mar 2009 at 10:36 am

    Speaking of diving in to know what you do not know, I started my bulk purchase with 100 pounds of organic brown rice. Turns out brown rice should not be bought for bulk storage because it spoils quickly. Whether the rice self-oxidizes or can last for while with oxygen packets seems to be an open question.

    I don’t intend to eat five pounds of brown rice per week, so I will donate most of it to the local meals on wheels, if they will take it.

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