economicmultipliers_37

Economic Multipliers (37)  
 
Do you know what these are?
They help CREATE wealth in systems.
Knowing how to produce food is an economic multiplier.
 
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I’ll admit it:  I am a grocery store eater.  I’m quite sure that if I NEEDED to produce and harvest my whole diet, I would starve.

The last statement shouldn’t make any sense.  One side of my family has a farming background:  My grandmother had a garden that was approximately 1/10 of an acre which I helped plant when I was young and the original farm (for food and energy) would have been considered self-sustaining.  The other side of my family produced specialty feeds for animals and sold agricultural equipment, tools and supplies.  I worked there when I was a kid.

I should know everything – or not.

Relative to the average American today, I know quite a bit but when you’re young, you don’t always pay attention to things … especially if they don’t particularly interest you at the time.  Likewise, I was in the transitional generation where it made more sense to buy things (particularly canned goods - because they many times were cheaper) than to produce those things yourself.

Canning food wasn’t a necessity.  Salting, smoking and specially preserving meat weren’t necessities.  Harvesting root vegetables, potatoes, squash and apples (local crops) to put into a root cellar for fall and winter storage weren’t necessities.

A farm that at one time raised chickens, pigs and dairy cows and used horses for horsepower versus tractors could buy many of the products (like eggs) that they once produced cheaper at the store.

When societies no longer NEED certain skills for survival, those skills start to go away.  When the skills to produce things that are needed FOR survival go away, there’s not much room for error if a disaster strikes.

Because food is an integral need and you cannot have wealthy societies and create strong economic multipliers without a strong food producing base, I am going to write a few pieces on food production.

As you read the pieces on food, consider me the non-expert and even a haphazard non-gardener:  In my community, I truly am.

I live in a community which has A LOT of standard and organic farms and gardeners, an organization called ‘Seeds for Change,’ and an extension office that I can send an e-mail to and ask about water, soil, plants, etc. (for free … unless I’d need water or soil testing).  Not only that, the extension office posts a lot of information at their web site related to the most commonly asked questions.  The surrounding community even has a botanical garden.  (ALL of these things represent time and even tax dollars.)

'Food education’ is everywhere  – the library … the Internet … extension offices (and their equivalents all over the world) … universities and trade schools … garden centers, park departments, stores and individuals who offer seminars… neighborhood gardeners and farmers – even the local grocer (just ask).

My contribution will be little but hopefully I’ll provide some interesting tidbits (like worms seem to like hanging out around dandelion roots and wet leaves that accumulate by stormwater grates in spring might be filled with worms (for the fishermen among you)).

Go searching in your community and online for the ‘best’ knowledge related to ...
  • your soil,
  • your climate,
  • your available water and sun, and
  • your native vegetation
... as they pertain to your needs.

If the information isn’t there, create it.

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Note:  You can live in a community (and nation)
  • still surrounded by high yielding farms (many farms are being lost to development),
  • stores filled with food, and
  • government, school, religious, and community programs designed to make food accessible to people who struggle with daily expenses
and still have people who go to bed at night hungry.

If you live in a community that NEEDS food banks (despite the wealth of the community I live in, there are also pockets of great need), I also believe you NEED community gardens and orchards at youth centers, schools, community centers, religious institutions, parks, etc.

If kids show up at schools and their families have difficulty getting enough food (or enough anything), I think the community educational emphasis (the curriculum) should specifically teach kids how they can help broaden the base of food production in their communities (even if it just means getting someone to donate some tools or soil or compost or a fruit tree or sapling or cutting or seeds to help get things going).

It’s singularly ironic to me that the individuals who many times can’t afford to own property where they could have a garden or harvest native vegetation have to rely on food donations from people who many times have property, resources, tools and knowledge where they could have a garden but don’t.  It’s even odder to me when a community center or school plants an ornamental tree instead of a fruit tree or grass versus a garden if there are ANY children or adults in the community who might go home at night hungry.