Archive for June 17th, 2008

The Good News and the Bad News

Sharon June 17th, 2008

I think we all know what the bad news is.  You can see a first-hand view of it at my friend Matt’s site, where he’s been describing life in Cedar Rapids during the floods.  I know that some of you have first hand accounts as well. 

 Early this year, two different market analysts predicted corn rationing in the face of rising ethanol and meat consumption.  Another agricultural expert essentially said that famine was inevitable unless we had record harvests in all major producing regions.  Well, guess what’s not going to happen?  I have to admit, I’m completely in agreement with this gent over at Daily Kos and with Kunstler (for once ;-) ) that the reverbations of the Midwestern flood through out a host of systems are going to be problematic. 

And it isn’t just the floods in the US Midwest – there are the floods in rice producing regions of Southern China, the Australian Drought, the Drought in California and more.  Meanwhile, the increasingly shrill voices of the ultra-orthodox freemarketeers continue to say “No subsidies, no tariffs, nothing we can do here but decrease the surplus population.”

Of course, that is complete and utter bullshit.  There is gracious plenty food to go around, and so those who argue that we shouldn’t subsidize, shouldn’t try and create local food sovereignty, that we should keep investing in the bankrupt globalized food market are unblinkingly and casually condemning the starving to death.  Never do we hear them call for less meat, fewer biofuels, restraint of appetite.  Afterall, restraint is bad, human intervention in markets is bad, starvation, well…call it creative destruction.

There’s a fairly decent chance that we’re going to have a famine in hundreds of places all over the world, and hunger growing everywhere – including here – all for no reason whatsoever.  At some point, people will grow so angry that other options, including local food security and just allocation of food will have to be explored, but we’re not there yet in the places that are powerful enough to change things. 

I have to say, the whole thing makes me spitting mad.  And there’s damned little I can do, except make you spitting mad, and get the hell of my car.  I think the thing I want people most to remember is this – you and I aren’t different than the people who are being allowed to starve.  That is, if they will starve them, they will starve you.  But I dop’t know how to get that message out before it happens.  The only good thing is that I don’t have to say it, your government is working overtime to demonstrate the truth of that statement.

Now the good news.  The good news is that the Independence Days Project and my Food Storage classes are going to combine to become another book.  I’m going to be focusing on the food crisis, and Food Indepenence and Preservation as a solution to said crisis.  I think it is going to be a good book, and it will be enormously better from all the feedback I’ve gotten from y’all.

And, the book (tentatively called _Independence Days_) is going to include about a dozen profiles of other people doing the Independence Days challenge and trying to integrate food storage, preservation and local food into their lives.  Guess where I’m imagining those profiles will come from…hmmm…. ;-).   So I’m hoping some of you will volunteer to be profiled – I probably can’t use everyone who will volunteer (although I may take some extras and run them in my other project, the previously mentioned new food magazine _Hen and Harvest_) in the book, and I’ve already got a few of you in mind, but I’m definitely looking for more.

 So if you want to be profiled, send me an email at [email protected], and let me know where you are doing it, what you are doing, what your personal situation is!  I think this is going to be a blast.

 Also, I still have spaces in both my online classes, Food Preservation (July) and Adapting in Place (August).  Send me an email to the above address if you’d like to participate – the July class will have a strong emphasis on preserving the harvest, season extension (ie, planting a fall garden and keeping it going through the winter) and storing in the context of the food crisis.  The August class will focus in on making your yard feed you even in imperfect conditions, keeping warm/cool as prices rise, living a low energy life in a home built for a high energy one, community building, and getting along well no matter where you live.  I think both are going to be fun!  More details are here.  I’ve filled the low-income spots already for both classes, but if you were hoping to take the class and can’t afford it, send me an email – if the class doesn’t fill up, I’ll donate the rest of the spots. 

Actually there’s been so much demand for the low-income spots that I think sometime this winter I’m going to offer an “Adapting in Place” class that will include a food storage component, specifically for very low income households.  That class will be free (but will include the same enrollment benefits as my other classes), and open only to people who are trying to get settled on a minimal income.  So if you don’t get in this summer, I’m going to do a whole class on adaptation on the ultra-cheap.  I’m not yet taking enrollments, just because I don’t know my winter schedule yet, but if you are interested, you can let me know in the comments.

I’m still pissed, but I admit, it helps to know that I’m doing at least what little I can – growing what I can, sharing what I can.  I recommend it, just in case the bad news gets overwhelming.