Good article....what are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree?

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Tags: hemenway, myth, reliance, self, sustaining, toby


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Comment by Joel Berg on March 30, 2014 at 8:05pm

I really like the article. I don't think it's in human nature to be self-reliant food wise. If you are, you may be using too much effort to do so. Humans, and mostly all primates are communal and help each other out. 

I don't want to go on and on about this sort of thing, but for me, it's about going against the Man. I love the idea of decentralizing food, like how the Catholic Church was decentralized in the 14th century in Europe. I have been seeing this trend of centralization in human society as not a good thing because it creates stratification and hardship. Plus, it can be unstable. Look what happens when a drought occurs in California, almonds become a delicacy for example. We might arguably be able to reduce food scarcity if more Americans grow their own food. 

Comment by Alex Veidel on January 5, 2014 at 12:20pm

Carey, I totally agree with you. And I think that's what the article was stressing. Not individual self reliance, nor the self reliance of a single family (unless you've got a large one) but self-reliant communities. The stress on relying on communities is an important part of the picture. If you've gotta do everything yourself, it's never gonna work.

Comment by Carey Ma on January 4, 2014 at 6:25pm

@ George: I agree; "If a few more people would simply try to produce some of their own food, that would be a good thing". I have been striving to feed a family of four (with surplus) on one acre and have achieved good results but in order to be truly self-sustainable requires more than one family. IMO it takes at least three to six families to make this concept possible...but IMO, it can be done.

@Alex V: I liked the article and I agree that in most cases being responsible is more important and particle than trying to be food independent. However, there are still many communities that are able to "prove" independent living. In Indiana, where I grew up, there are quite a few Amish and other communities that are, to this day, self reliant from food to shelter and clothing.

I don't have the setup anymore but a few years ago I was able to produce all our own food (with surplus), including starches; grains, potatoes etc. plus meat and dairy on just over an acre. This included all feeds for animals, using human/ animal labor exclusively. However this was a full time occupation for three adults or two adults and two part time help (kids after school). Again, however the income produced from surplus was not enough to support the other needs like rent, clothes, utilities etc. At best we could pay maybe one third to half the bills if we were more stringent and bartered more efficiently.

Like my comment to George, I do think it possible but very unlikely given the easy and cheep access we still enjoy from products from China and other third world sources that trade in abuse. There is not enough incentive for us to truly adopt true self reliance while we are still in a petroleum based, capitalistic economy. I believe things will change when and if we ever get back to commodity based local economies. 

Comment by George on December 20, 2013 at 7:18pm

 fully self sufficient in providing for their own food, clothing, shelter, energy - - - -  I don't know of know of anyone who is doing it.  The closest I've seen to it was the last holdouts grandfathered in ANWR - don't know if they're still there or still alive.  Even they were resupplied on occasion by plane.  Myth is right.  Preppers mostly stockpile, which, to me, is not self sufficiency, except on a temporary basis.  What the heck is being fully self supporting in community needs?  Don't get that one.  If a few more people would simply try to produce some of their own food, that would be a good thing.  


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