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Food forests, climate change, and who's going to eat!  RSS feed

 
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A related question is who will get the pharmaceutical drugs they need to stay alive? this is not just a question of antibiotics or tetanus antigens. An ever growing portion of our population is dependent on the pharmacopeia to stay alive. Insulin, Heart medication, thyroid replacement hormones, asthma inhalers, and I can't imagine what else. If most grocery stores have 3-days of food on the shelves, what does the pharmacy keep in stock. Pharmacies are already the target of robberies. How long will they last in a crisis? Certainly, with our over all population aging, in the added duress of a crisis, we could lose many people pretty quickly. Maybe my keywords are off, but I am having trouble finding any consolidated information about this on the inter-webs. Anyone have any ideas what portion of our population would be at risk? In a crisis, do we know what herbals might help any of these folks off the drugs they take and may be addicted to?

Just some thoughts...

Sue
 
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Steven Goode wrote:What can we do to select and protect species and varieties of plants that have such long life cycles that breeding them is the work of generations?



My family has been breeding tree crops specific to our village for 6 generations, 155 years. That whole time, we have been collaborating with the other villagers on this important work. The work will continue whether or not any particular person or family is around to help out. Even if every person in our village died, and it was never resettled, the work would go on without human intervention.

If there is one thing that I don't like about the permaculture movement, it's that so many participants seem to be lone wolves with little connection to other people, to the past, or to the natural world... They get a piece of land, and start tearing into it, and making plans for it based on intellectual knowledge, and can't seem to see the people, animals, and plants that are already tied to the land. The land is part of a ten thousand year old agricultural tradition. For millions of years before humans came along, the land took care of itself just fine. It didn't stop taking care of itself just cause someone claimed to take ownership of the land. It won't stop taking care of itself if all the humans disappear.

Call me a druid if you like. Many of my plant breeding projects are done with the idea that my work is geared towards the benefit of people 10,000 years from now. That's why I do everything I can to use non-native species in my work, and to domesticate wild species. The more species I can coax to grow in my climate, and the more genetic diversity I can get into my village, the more likely there will still be something to eat or make medicine from in 10,000 years.








 
pollinator
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I expect many of us will die miserable deaths in the event of a rapid collapse. Herbs just don't cut it in treating some illnesses. It will be like the old days, when life expectancy was much lower, or like it is for much of the world's population now, for whom pharmaceuticals are not affordable. Many of my family (including me) would be casualties of a rapid collapse. Not all of them conveniently or mercifully fast. In my regional family, only my husband is not on medication. Perhaps if one is seriously concerned about this, one should learn to grow Sleepy Poppy and how to use it.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
Call me a druid if you like. Many of my plant breeding projects are done with the idea that my work is geared towards the benefit of people 10,000 years from now. That's why I do everything I can to use non-native species in my work, and to domesticate wild species. The more species I can coax to grow in my climate, and the more genetic diversity I can get into my village, the more likely there will still be something to eat or make medicine from in 10,000 years.



I really like this attitude.

 
pollinator
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Susan Hessel wrote:A related question is who will get the pharmaceutical drugs they need to stay alive? this is not just a question of antibiotics or tetanus antigens. An ever growing portion of our population is dependent on the pharmacopeia to stay alive. Insulin, Heart medication, thyroid replacement hormones, asthma inhalers, and I can't imagine what else. If most grocery stores have 3-days of food on the shelves, what does the pharmacy keep in stock. Pharmacies are already the target of robberies. How long will they last in a crisis? Certainly, with our over all population aging, in the added duress of a crisis, we could lose many people pretty quickly. Maybe my keywords are off, but I am having trouble finding any consolidated information about this on the inter-webs. Anyone have any ideas what portion of our population would be at risk? In a crisis, do we know what herbals might help any of these folks off the drugs they take and may be addicted to?

Just some thoughts...

Sue



I think it's a related problem, but with several additional complications, and much will depend on how fast things collapse. In a one-shot event we could indeed lose a lot of people like that very quickly. In a slower slide, things would be a bit different. Worldwide, many of those people already under some degree of food stress are those less likely to have access to modern pharmaceuticals in the first place, and in a slow slide it might simply be a matter of more people having no access to medicines, perhaps with a corresponding increase in fake drugs and snake-oiled treatments, of which there are plenty already.

A lot will depend on how bad things get and how quickly. Do you plan for the middle of the projected climate disruption range, or do you plan for the lower (like some deniers) or upper tail of the distribution?

A well-planned forest garden can be made to produce a range of herbal farmaceuticals, but this opens up a whole other problem. Much of the science underlying the use of such drugs is even worse than the selective-publication, statistically shoddy-ridden papers in the mainstream medical literature. There are no good replacements for many drugs. For others if you get the dose wrong you are as likely to kill the patient.

It may again be a lifeboat question: grow those medicines you know can safely be used by someone in the community, and if things really do go badly wrong then understand that you are going to have to accept losses.

This also puts the question of the eradication of malaria-carrying mosquitoes, even using genetically modified ones, into a whole new light!
 
pollinator
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A tangential but related interview with geoff lawton on everyone's favorite survivalist's podcast recently touched on some important notes about how permaculture fits into, and may be the lone saving grace, in a "degrading global ecology"...definitely worth a listen to anyone interested in this general topic

After listening to the interview, we got thinking on how much hope there really is at this point - how much more likely it is, with each passing year, and with each new project based in a permaculture design philosophy, that we might avert such global catastrophe through a fundamental change in the way people think and act.

From the broad-acre and farm scale, ecologically regenerative food systems through to the 1/8 acre backyard food forests of western suburbia, more and more people are starting to think in holistic/whole-systems terms, leaving the piecemeal and silver bullet mindset behind. Permaculture, when practiced (not preached) is downright contagious. We do have a long way to go, and I don't think anyone here would deny that, but each of the systems put in place by someone that "gets it", even if only a little one, even if it's not designed to perfection, is inherently self-replicating on both physical and ideological levels.

A neighbor of ours, many years ago, would watch my mother out gardening. She was retired and not in the best of health, but found herself admiring the beauty of all the plants growing and flowers blooming. We'd give her baskets of peaches from the lone tree we had which always produced way more than we could use. She'd enjoy excess strawberries and tomatoes as they came ripe. Before we knew it, she was planting her own trees and bushes. She planted runners from out strawberries and had potted up seedlings from the peach pits off our tree.

When we left that place, the people that moved in were a little less aware of the beauty and utility of what was there and quickly destroyed most of what was left. That neighbor, however, successfully rescued many strawberry plants and blueberry bushes before things were too far gone. Her yard, last we saw, was a paradise of fruiting trees and medicinal herbs.

All around us we can see this spread of the idea happening. Many of us here on permies caught the bug from others practicing these things. Over time, neighbors, farmers, and local government catch the bug and start practicing a more regenerative approach to their daily life and ideas of "profit". That can only be a good thing. Given enough time, even the major corporations will be forced to make the switch as their customers and investors demand it.

The same is being seen in all facets of our lives. Regardless of how you feel about, say, paleo diets or probiotics, these "systems" are "holistic" in their approach to health and the human body itself. People are changing the way they think about everything, looking at the interconnectedness and "sum of the parts" rather than the "singular point", be it the NPK or the statin drug, in their attempts to fix what's broken. Again, this can only be a good thing.

I'm a romantic but truly do believe that, eventually, the truth will out...the truth of how "all of this" works, about what we are, what our place in the world is, and how we fit into this "sum of the parts" system. It, like anything else, must happen in stages and phases, and never in anything resembling a linear way. More like a "fits and spurts" model. But like all systems, our "thinking system", as a species, will reach a tipping point.

Will the necessary change in mindset and approach (to food, fuel, resources, or what have you) change fast enough to save us all? I doubt it. But will that change happen fast enough to save some of us? Will it happen on enough scale to dampen what otherwise might become a civilization ending catastrophe? With each year I feel more optimistic about that prospect...that by "doing" we people are solving the problem we've created.

To address the OP title itself, when it comes to food forests and climate change, in a sense, the former can save us from the latter. Add back in that "who's going to eat" question and the answer is "it depends" (don't you hate that?) If there are enough "food forests", maybe we'll all eat...maybe there wont be any "climate change" to worry about, or what little there is will be mitigated, or even nullified, by the very existence of said food forests. If there are only a few, however, the "who" is inevitably going to be the "you".
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote: But I will continue to plant it for the future. Same with Buffalo Gourd, Osage Orange, and other useful and edible regional and adapted plants that I probably won't eat very often.


Semi off-topic [but not completely as this is a thread about forest food and to an extent about particularly subtle forest food] but I have to ask...

... which part of Osage Orange is eaten and how is it processed?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Seeds: http://www.eattheweeds.com/maclura-pomifera-the-edible-inedible-2/

I haven't yet tried to eat them; maybe next year!

 
garden master
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Kyrt Ryder"... which part of Osage Orange is eaten and how is it processed?"

We tried them raw this year. quite blah. But not nasty. Without soaking in water, it is very labor intensive to get to the seeds. On a potentially promising note, I find raw almonds to be boring... Toasted, awesome! Next year we'll try toasted.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:But not nasty.



That is very encouraging!
 
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Quite frankly I feel the talk around people not eating what they can't identify only typifies the initial post-___ situation. As we've seen throughout the history of famine is the complete and utter usage of nearly any plant, seed and root available.

Sure people will get sick from eating horse chestnut without processing or die from eating other plants but word spreads fast in such scenarios, people learn and quickly people find ways to get the caloric needs met.

I'm not a fan of the golden horde convo, (I find it to be a talk for survivalist minded circle-jerking to put it bluntly) but what I can say is even in the midst of catastrophe a significant amount of people will die waiting to be saved and the rest would be too unprepared to survive outdoors/will also likely be killing each other for the lowest hanging (read: easiest identifiable) fruits in supermarkets, kitchens and basements first. That'll take months, then people will begin to eat anything green or looks like starch is in it.

Honestly I'd rather just teach people to grow food or identify food in the community, we have orchards productive and abandoned throughout the area.
 
Tyler Ludens
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What plausible climate change catastrophe will leave food in supermarkets yet cause people to kill each other for it? Food is getting more expensive, and I expect it will just keep getting more and more expensive and scarce, causing more people to try to grow their own, as they did during the Depression and the world wars.
 
Heda Ledus
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Tyler Ludens wrote:What plausible climate change catastrophe will leave food in supermarkets yet cause people to kill each other for it? Food is getting more expensive, and I expect it will just keep getting more and more expensive and scarce, causing more people to try to grow their own, as they did during the Depression and the world wars.



Food will literally still be in supermarkets and store, not being purchased but just around after say am earthquake which cannot really be predicted.

There's some plausible for you.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I don't really see earthquakes as a climate change scenario.

 
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Not that I see this being a long term circumstance, but substitute earthquake for hurricane and then look at New Orleans. Up north events like catastrophic spring flooding could probably be substitute. While I can visualize short term circumstance, the long term events where a food forest would be vital will probably start with a supply shortage for stocking the grocery stores.

I work at a grocery store and at the least hint that people might not be able to shop for a day the stores are completely emptied of all food, every time. I've seen this with many predicted winter storms and hurricanes. Even on a regular day, keeping the shelves of my grocery store stocked requires dozens of trucks, every day. It's not sensationalist hype when people say there's only a three day supply (at most) if anything ever happens to the transportation systems.

Really I think the closest thing to worry about that we can look at right now is the situation in California. And Texans are already very familiar with the tendency to mass exodus to more favorable areas. That's part of why we need to start planting ASAP. If you're in one of those favorable regions, the demand might be exponentially higher when you actually need it. Hopefully your trees/shrubs/supporting plants are producing excessively at that point.
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Casie Becker wrote:Not that I see this being a long term circumstance, but substitute earthquake for hurricane and then look at New Orleans. Up north events like catastrophic spring flooding could probably be substitute. While I can visualize short term circumstance, the long term events where a food forest would be vital will probably start with a supply shortage for stocking the grocery stores.

I work at a grocery store and at the least hint that people might not be able to shop for a day the stores are completely emptied of all food, every time. I've seen this with many predicted winter storms and hurricanes. Even on a regular day, keeping the shelves of my grocery store stocked requires dozens of trucks, every day. It's not sensationalist hype when people say there's only a three day supply (at most) if anything ever happens to the transportation systems.


In most climates in the US, a Food Forest in-and-of-itself is unreliable to protect against unexpected supply shortages which could hit at any given time of year.

It's an incredibly stable and diverse food production system that requires minimal inputs for a good yield, but that yield [at least the bulk calorie component] comes in at specific times of year.

If you want insurance against food shortages, you need to couple food production with food preservation and storage.

Unless you live in parts of Florida or Hawaii [or possibly Southern California and the Gulf States]
 
Heda Ledus
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I don't really see earthquakes as a climate change scenario.



Well although you might not see earthquakes as a climate change scenario I know Bill McGuire of the University College London's Hazard Research Center does which is why I stated earthquakes in the first place but also because I live in earthquake country.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I used to live in earthquake country, and went through the Northridge quake.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Casie Becker wrote:
I work at a grocery store and at the least hint that people might not be able to shop for a day the stores are completely emptied of all food, every time.



So it looks to me as though there could almost certainly not be a situation in which a climate change disaster strikes and people kill each other over food in the supermarkets, because by the time they want to start killing each other over food, all the food will be long gone.
 
Casie Becker
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:
In most climates in the US, a Food Forest in-and-of-itself is unreliable to protect against unexpected supply shortages which could hit at any given time of year.

It's an incredibly stable and diverse food production system that requires minimal inputs for a good yield, but that yield [at least the bulk calorie component] comes in at specific times of year.

If you want insurance against food shortages, you need to couple food production with food preservation and storage.

Unless you live in parts of Florida or Hawaii [or possibly Southern California and the Gulf States]



A good point about food storage, but I would expect anyone living in a climate which requires long term food storage would be including that in their plans when they planted. I don't think you can be a gardener without some tendency to plan for the future. I know even with my fledgling gardening efforts I pickle vegetables, dry herbs, and store pecans. Eventually I plan to be drying large quantities fruit from the trees I have planted. A food forest is more likely to survive extremes than a traditional garden. With the proper earthworks, rainwater management and planting choices, even in Texas the feast/famine cycles of flood/drought won't faze a mature tree. I've personally seen this play out with the pecan tree in our front yard. A natural swale gathers around an acre of rainfall just uphill of our tree. This tree produces abundantly a month after trees across the street have dropped a pitiful scrap of tiny nuts.

I do have to laugh at your last sentence. If you check under my user name, I do live in a Gulf State. We actually have three distinct gardening seasons which overlap each other nicely. I don't think there's ever a period of longer than 3 months when some edible tree or another isn't producing fruit. That's part of why I'm thinking about preparing for masses of people moving into favorable areas. For all of our gardening woes (and we do have them) this is probably gonna be one of the more favorable climates. I'm building my soil, my skills and my collection of long lived trees now. In addition to that I talk with my neighbors about what I grow and how. I shameless plant edible trees and vegetables in my front yard, right against the street. We have a couple of new gardeners in our neighborhood that weren't growing when I moved here, and I like to think I had some influence there.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:

It's an incredibly stable and diverse food production system that requires minimal inputs for a good yield, but that yield [at least the bulk calorie component] comes in at specific times of year.



I think it might be possible to have a lot of tubers and bulbs to provide calories during otherwise lean times.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Casie Becker wrote:For all of our gardening woes (and we do have them) this is probably gonna be one of the more favorable climates.



So little food farming is done in my immediate locale, it's hard for me to imagine this as one of the more favorable places to grow food. Foods grown here are cattle, goats, sheep, oats, sorghum, and pecans. Not a lot of variety.
 
Casie Becker
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What they do grow is not what they can grow. The two environmental handicaps we have in this area are degraded soils and water issues. If you can tackle the water issues (and your efforts with your seasonal creek is a good example of what should be happening) a lot of the soil issues would be self repairing, the soil biology needs water to function. If we had less industrial chemicals being used that would make another big impact.

I have in the last year seen abundantly fruiting lychee, pears, figs, pomegranates, silver berries, olives, pecans and peaches. We're well situated for jube jube, hardy kiwi, certain grapes and the most cold tolerant of the citrus.

And I'm deleting a long paragraph of annuals that have thrived in my garden this year, as it's so far off topic. I have the advantage of mother who has gardened in this region for more than thirty years. She's already worked through solutions to most problems. I'd prefer having enough time for all my trees to mature, but while I wait, there are a lot of interim possibilities.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Casie Becker wrote:She's already worked through solutions to most problems.



I hope you'll share those with us! Maybe in the Texas forum?

 
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Hey everyone -- my first post in Permies after lurking for years.

Let me comment on an assumption that is being made here by many—the idea of a sudden collapse that causes thousands of people (the so-called zombie hoards, as they've been labeled) to take off, head to the country, and become a swarm of locusts eating anything in their path.

Not going to happen.

We have seen societal collapse many times down through history. One need only look at the great empires that have reigned in Europe, Asia and Latin America, all fallen as a result of multiple factors, including environmental collapse. On a macro and micro scale, we've seen large scale (and small island scale) collapse of economic and food systems. One might even look at recent events in the past 30 years, famines, wars, political upheavals . . . events that are taking place today. How do people respond?

First, in disaster situations, urban people don't suddenly take to the highway and head for the countryside to find food. They become more passive, waiting for someone to bail them out. Look at New Orleans post-Katrina. Look at almost any disaster event (earthquakes floods, hurricanes) . . . people hunker-down and wait to be rescued. They don't have camping equipment. They are not capable to suddenly going on a looting and pillaging spree in the country-side. Repeatedly throughout history, we see that hungry people don't get MORE active, they get less active. They passively do less and less, slowly starving. One only need to read the history of the Stalingrad occupation to see how hungry people become more and more passive with each passing month. If there were such a zombie event, it would be relatively easy for law enforcement to close the roads, lock a few people up, and turn the "hoards" back. In truth, it would never happen. Despite all the post-apocalyptic dystopian movies we've all seen, it will never take place like this.

Second, an environmental collapse caused by climate change is not happening overnight. It's not like one day everyone's fridge is full and the shelves of Costco are well-stocked, and the next day everyone is hungry. Look at a place like Venezuela right now. Over a course of months and years, consumer products have become more expensive and less available. Those with money will continue to buy consumer goods, but with each passing month, the poorest will find themselves less and less able to maintain their lifestyle. More of their money will go to purchase basic life commodities. No more vacations. No more luxury goods. No more sending kids to college. Eventually you sell the car. Pretty soon, you are spending most of your income on food . . . it's not a sudden collapse. So there will not suddenly be thousands of hungry people in the street all at once. The reality is that we will see the cost of food continue to rise with each passing year, and people will have to make difficult choices where to spend their limited dollars, but people will not go hungry all at once. There will be food, but with each passing year, less of it will be available. There are hungry people out there right now, correct? But they aren't raiding the farms, are they? So that will not change.

Third, climate change will impact people in over-populated and under-resourced nations first. Is India currently experiencing climate change? Of course. Has it adversely impacted their capability to feed themselves? Yes. Are there 1.4 billion zombie Indians rampaging across their country-side in search of food? Nothing of the sort. But there are more and more hungry children in India. Their farmers are struggling to make denuded soils and dry wells produce a crop to feed their families and meet their needs. Yet somehow India manages to maintain public order. When they are no longer able to feed themselves on the farm, they head to the city, not the other way around.

What we will see in increasing measure are refugees like we are seeing on the news in Turkey, Greece, Europe . . . all over. I recently returned from Ankara Turkey, where there are over 50,000 refugees in a city of 4 million. Turkey has upwards of 2.7 million refugees. They are everywhere. They they are not acting as zombie hoards, rampaging over the country side. They are desperate, yet they head INTO the cities, not OUT from the cities.

Continue to build the soil, plant your trees, develop resiliency on your land (be it 1000 acres or just a suburban yard), build water capturing systems, add to your tool collection and your skill in using them . . . in general, enjoy the abundance permaculture provides. If things get worse, and I believe they will, worry about water, not zombies. Civilizations do not (and never have) suddenly broken down as some are predicting here, nor will we have hungry mobs raiding the garden.
 
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Neil Layton wrote:

R Ranson wrote:
That's not the interesting bit. The interesting bit is looking at how they coped. It took about two generations to really get the hang of the new weather... what with all the starvation and plague and such... but they did find ways to manage and trive. We can learn a lot from them.
.



Indeed. Have you got a good source for this? I mean, it doesn't seem to me like something to look forward to. We're talking about a less then 1 degree C drop in temperature, and yet, to quote Wikipedia, "The Great Famine started with bad weather in spring 1315. Universal crop failures lasted through 1316 until the summer harvest in 1317, and Europe did not fully recover until 1322. The period was marked by extreme levels of crime, disease, mass death, and even cannibalism and infanticide."

Not quite zombies, but bad enough. I mean, we can learn from their mistakes but, as far as I know, not from their successes.

i

Perhaps looking more closely would be called for. One, they had crops back in seven years - that is a success, and recognizing the elements of that success might be helpful. Two, a very great many of us chatting here are descended, at least in part, from survivors of that difficult time - further proof of long term success.

So, might be worth looking into the distribution of events, identifying areas that had less crop failure, lower pestilence rates, etc. and finding out what they were doing that set them apart. And Wikipedia might not be the best source for that kind of information.
 
Peter Ellis
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Regarding movement into cities rather than out of cities - That holds only so long as infrastructure keeps operating. It happens now because cities are the destinations for everything and people in need go there because we send everything there.

Two weeks after the shipments stop, everybody pretty much turns around heading the opposite direction, because stockpiles in cities are not large.

But here is my fundamental problem with an aspect of this discussion. The ethics of Permaculture.

Earth care
People care
Return of surplus

Personally I think number three is redundant because returning surplus to the earth is part of Earth care.

But that People care part. I don't see it as Self care, or Family care, but as caring for humankind.

So the whole zombie horde thing - from my seat it doesn't fit well with People care. It dehumanizes People.

As I see it, the best possible means of preparing for a future where desperate people might come marauding to take away our food supply is not to try to disguise or hide or defend our food.

It is to press, now, for food security for all people. For freedom to garden laws, for regulations that permit small scale, local production, for educating people in the importance of local food production, in ways of growing with minimal inputs - all the things we are here talking about at permies.

But I don't think hiding our gardens or 'defending' our food from other people is a productive thought exercise.

Designing food forests - and everything else - with climate change considerations in mnd? absolutely. And that, I think, means wide diversity in plantings and developing our own dining habits to be accepting of wide diversity.
 
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My way of dealing with the Zombie hoard is to bait them. I harvest seed and plant them on public land away from my place. This spring I have planted current cuttings persimmon and cherry seed balls. These have been put in parks and right of ways and I make it a point to tell people where they are. Just my way of returning the surplus and insuring the safety of my own crop.
 
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I've got 5 acres of complete experimentation. Every tree and bush that should do halfway decent in our climate is planted. What survives my neglect will be propagated around the property. I think that's the only way to survive in my climate. I'm in dust bowl areas. I'm sure drought will be our problem.

As for zombies:

When you look at places that have had trees wiped out, Haiti for example, the trees were cut down and burned. So, regardless of the obscurity of a tree food crop it's still burnable.

In the event of the complete end of civilization I think you just have to hope most people die before they get to your forest.
 
Marco Banks
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Just watched this a few minute ago:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/695662/venezuela-food-queues-soldier-delete-video

Venezuela is experiencing exactly what this thread is about -- a massive food shortage and economic collapse.  People are lining up for 12 hours without certainty of actually getting anything once they get to the front of the lines.  A couple of key points:

1.  A collapse of the food system does not equal a similar collapse of the government and all social order.  The military/police/paramilitary will still get fed, even as they maintain order with guns, intimidation and the threat of incarceration.

2.  Mobs are not roaming the countryside in search of calories.  For the most part, people just line up longer and longer with each passing month.  Any theft that is happening appears to be the work of individuals, and not some roaming dystopian mob of zombies.

3.  Those who can feed themselves are doing so.  I'm sure that they are selling a few eggs or veggies on the side.  It is very hard for even a confiscatory government like Venezuela to police every fruit tree and garden patch. 

4.  Hungry people will bitch and complain but they remain largely passive.  Their limited resources will increasingly go to pay for what little food there is.  That's what is happening in Venezuela.  Any luxury spending has long-since ceased.  But it's crazy how even hungry people will still spend what limited funds they have on alcohol and tobacco.  Permies take note: a little patch of tobacco and a small copper pot to do batch distillery will find a lucrative use for all those extra apples that fall at the end of the season.  If there are zombies roaming your garden, they wouldn't know a tobacco plant from a corn stalk.  That's a great value-added crop if you know how to grow it and cure it.
 
Alex Riddles
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Just an observation about tobacco.  Several years ago I planted a little tobacco.  Just enough to roll a couple of comically huge cigars.  Shortly after the tobacco bloomed the honeybees disappeared from my garden.  I can't be certain about cause and effect.  But in the back of my mind I'm thinking the nicotene may have killed them off. (think neonicitiniods)  It took several years to eliminate all the volunteer tobacco.  Now that I have the honeybees are making a comeback.
 
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Alex Riddles wrote:Just an observation about tobacco.  Several years ago I planted a little tobacco.  Just enough to roll a couple of comically huge cigars.  Shortly after the tobacco bloomed the honeybees disappeared from my garden.  I can't be certain about cause and effect.  But in the back of my mind I'm thinking the nicotene may have killed them off. (think neonicitiniods)  It took several years to eliminate all the volunteer tobacco.  Now that I have the honeybees are making a comeback.



Interesting. I know lots of homemade concoctions use tobacco for a natural insecticide.
 
Marco Banks
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Alex Riddles wrote:Just an observation about tobacco.  Several years ago I planted a little tobacco.  Just enough to roll a couple of comically huge cigars.  Shortly after the tobacco bloomed the honeybees disappeared from my garden.  I can't be certain about cause and effect.  But in the back of my mind I'm thinking the nicotene may have killed them off. (think neonicitiniods)  It took several years to eliminate all the volunteer tobacco.  Now that I have the honeybees are making a comeback.



That's a bit frightening.

I've wanted to try growing some tobacco.  I enjoy a pipe once a month or so -- so it really isn't a cost savings thing for me, as I spend about $4 on pipe tobacco a year.  But I've heard that it's a helpful plant to mix in with compost and then feed to your trees --- a natural insect deterant.  But I wouldn't want to chase all the bees out of the orchard!

Years ago, I watched a video of a guy who would make a compost mix filled with rock dust, old tobacco, some manure, etc.  He'd burry a section of 8 inch diameter clay pipe -- like a 2 foot long section of it, right along the drip line of his trees.  It would stick up out of the ground a couple of inches like a stove pipe.  The pipe was unglazed red clay -- the cheap stuff.  He'd fill those clay pipe repositories with his compost/rock dust/manure/tobacco mixture once in the fall, and once in the spring.  I think he'd just dig out whatever remained from the year before and dump it on the ground, and then fill them up anew.  I always wanted to try that, and then I thought, "Why mess with burying a clay pipe and all that?  Just dump it around at the drip line and scratch it into the mulch a bit with a hoe. 

I'd love to see some research on the effects of tobacco in an eco-system upon beneficial insects.  If anyone has a link, I'd love to read anything that is out there.
 
Marco Banks
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An update on our living case study: Venezuela.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-09-14/venezuelas-death-spiral-dozen-eggs-cost-150-hyperinflation-horrors-hit-socialist-uto

People are starving, yet we are not seeing wide-spread chaos and rioting.  Social order is increasingly being kept by a well-armed and well-fed military.  People are waiting in lines for 12 hours or more, only to find that no food exists in the stores, yet there are not turning into a rampaging mob.

A couple of things are becoming clear.

1.  Even if the governing officials call their economic plan socialism, people will buy and sell independent of the constraints imposed by the government.  Capitalism is a bit like swimming.  If you toss someone in the water, they'll splash and thrash and make a way to keep their head afloat.  If you have a chicken that lays one egg a day, you have capital, and you will sell that resource (one egg) to the highest bidder.  The take-away for permaculturalists is that your food-security system is also a powerful economic engine for your ongoing survival.  People will pay desperate amounts of money for something as simple as a couple of fish or a dozen eggs.

2.  Hungry people, while desperate (eating pets, for example) are still controlled by the man who has the guns.  The Venezuelan society hasn't descended into chaos.  There are no reports of farmers being attacked by swarming clouds of human locusts. 

3.  Yet, there will be individuals who will strike out and take what they can.  Herds, no—lone wolves, yes. If owning a gun isn't a part of your SHTF scenario, you may wish to reconsider.  A humble suggestion of what you might want in your arsenal:1.  a shotgun, which would allow you to hunt birds, but also makes a loud noise and is a great home/farm protection devise, as it'll pepper an intruder with shot just by pointing it in their general direction.  If you are concerned about home-invasion type attacks, a shotgun with a pistol grip is perfect, and the shot does not go much further than one standard drywall wall.  2.  a handgun.  9mm is a very common ammunition, and will be available for trade/barter if things go crazy.

4.  It would appear that if you are too big, the government will take your resources/food for their own use and re-distribution.  So smaller is better, or a distributed food system is easier to hide.  A big chicken coop with 100 birds is just asking to be raided by the authorities, where as a dozen or so birds on the loose out in your orchard don't draw that same kind of interest.  Even in a suburban yard, spreading out your food within a landscape with a few ornamentals in the front yard does not announce to the man, "Hey --- come take my calories."  Roosters announce to the world that we've got chickens.  Better to just keep hens, and try to noise-proof the coop to mask their clucking when they are laying.  I could imagine a couple of suburban neighbors coming together to share a coop, and then feed their food scraps to the birds.  That way, you'd have a barrier on either side of your home of cooperative guardians, more range to graze your birds, more access to fallen fruit and other food sources, and good social will rather than envy and theft.

I will continue to follow the tragic unfolding of the Venezuela story in the months and years to come, because I think it's instructive for those of us who want to be thoughtful about the future and the worst case scenario.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Marco Banks wrote: Roosters announce to the world that we've got chickens.  Better to just keep hens,



But then after a few years you won't get more eggs, or more chickens...

 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Marco Banks wrote: Roosters announce to the world that we've got chickens.  Better to just keep hens,



But then after a few years you won't get more eggs, or more chickens...



This is why I have ducks. They're a lot less noisy. But, of course, people hear ducks quacking in a survival situation will still come looking for food. But, it's harder to hear ducks from as far away as one can hear a rooster.
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Marco Banks wrote: Roosters announce to the world that we've got chickens.  Better to just keep hens,



But then after a few years you won't get more eggs, or more chickens...



Or you could borrow a rooster for a week or so to harass the girls and then take him back.  Or just find a source for chicks.  But if you've got a rooster crowing all day, everyone in your neighborhood are going to salivate ever time that bird crows.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Marco Banks wrote:
Or you could borrow a rooster for a week or so to harass the girls and then take him back.  Or just find a source for chicks.  But if you've got a rooster crowing all day, everyone in your neighborhood are going to salivate ever time that bird crows.



Where are you going to borrow a rooster or find a source for chicks when there are no roosters because everyone has eaten them, and eaten all the chicks because they're starving?  I thought the whole reason for not having the rooster is because everyone is so starving they'll come get our chickens, yet at the same time here you're saying we can just go somewhere and borrow a rooster or find a source for chicks.  This makes no sense to me.  Are people so starving they'll come steal our chickens, or is everything so normal we can just go borrow a rooster or find some chicks.  I don't see how it can be both.

 
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Sorry if this was already talked about earlier - I read through a bunch of the posts but not all of them. I have been thinking a lot about climate change while working on the design for my property and I think building a good system for water is more important than almost any other consideration. Here in the western Pacific Northwest, the climate models show us getting drier and hotter during the summer months and wetter and warmer during the winter months. Essentially, we won't have a shortage of water on an annual basis but it won't show up when we need it (summer) and we may get too much of it when we don't want it (winter). Based on this I have been focusing my design on holding onto as much of the winter rains as I possibly can while also ensuring excess water has a path off my property (ideally through the ground instead of on the surface) once the water has maxed out the capacity of my land to hold it.

I'm also not going to rely on anything that is dependent on active irrigation beyond the early stages of growth (seed/seedling for annuals and 1st year for perennials). I'm planning on doing some landrace experiments to develop strains of annuals that don't need any active watering on my property. I'm also going to rely heavily on perennials since they can more easily establish a deep root system and generally not irrigating can encourage this development. Instead of active irrigation (hoses, sprinklers, pipes, etc.) I want to rely on techniques such as hugelkultur beds and earthworks that help to increase the water storage capacity of the land. I'm also considering developing cool micro-climates for my greens and other plants that are beneficial but can't stand the heat. Part of this may involve using shade cloth to block a portion of the sun on the hottest days - I have seen this technique used in Cuba and other hot areas and I can see some advantages to doing it here for certain garden beds depending on what I'm growing.

I think if you are dependent on irrigation in the Western United States then you will have issues due to the changes caused by climate change. Our water systems were traditionally based on winter snow slowly melting well into summer and then being transported/shipped to where we needed it. Climate change is resulting in less winter snow and then melting what we get faster than the historic average - on top of that we then have hotter and drier summers which increase our demand for water. A core part of building resilience to climate change in the Western United States and growing enough food for us all to eat is going to be learning how to harness winter rains instead of winter snows. Our traditional system with dams and canals just won't cut it - there has to be water flowing through the system for the dams to work. Snow moved through the system slowly but rains move through quickly unless we design the system to slow the water down.

This general line of thinking is what is driving the design for my property.
 
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:
Semi off-topic [but not completely as this is a thread about forest food and to an extent about particularly subtle forest food] but I have to ask...

... which part of Osage Orange is eaten and how is it processed?



There are tons of them in the Northeast Texas area, but I have never heard of people eating them.
They are locally called horse apples… So with that in mind, maybe you feed them to the horses and then you eat the…... Oh I guess I don't want to offend the more sensitive.    If somebody determines that they are tasty and worth the effort, I would love to know, I could get nice and fat!

On a different, different note, I was super pleased with this year's native persimmon crop in the area. I really wish that I had spotted it sooner.
Who else has and eats 'date plums'?

And if you are interested in what I'm talking about, I put a video link in the movie/DVD resource area under my YouTube thread.
 
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