Such and interesting, and perennial, discussion. I think so many of these answers, as always, depend on where you are, what the history and resources of a given place are. It's a slightly abstract question (despite the original intent to get concrete examples), because all of us live in a world where industrial supports are so deeply embedded in our habits that it's almost impossible to not use them in some capacity--especially the ones that work so well (like pvc hoophouses!). But we feel like we are building *resiliency* and skills, so that if we were ever truly pushed to *need* to do without the industrial support system, we could survive.
My implication here is that humans are extremely adaptable, and as all the examples given so far make clear, we do a wide variety of things to get our calories as necessary... bugs, anyone? For us, wild foods provide the protein-and-calorie dense foods that wood supplement the potatoes. So our half-acre grows significant (but not the total required) root crops for starch calories, and we also grow abundant greens and other veggies (potentially year-round in the PNW, but we're not there yet, personally) for the varied nutrients we need for health. We fish and crab, and I'm trying to increase our bean production. But this is all to basically match how my colonizing European ancestors ate and survived on the homestead (and who also still supplemented with flour, sugar, etc). But if we were truly going to try for a permaculture diet, our real calories would come from a lot more meat than we generally like to eat: deer, rabbits, quail, etc are plentiful wild animals around here, and they're not usually seen as food.
But I often wonder if this is where the population factor comes into play. I think hub and I could/would survive pretty well on the resources available to us here. But if we were competing with everyone around us? Then the question of how much land each does our diet require and how many of us are there in a given place really rears its head...
This thread is not so much about permaculture than about self sufficiency and resilience. If you read the news then you know why this topic was brought up. Potatoes can be stored and have always be stored without much problem. When I was a kid they were bought in autumn and stored in the basement. It is important that they don't get light. Yes some begin to sprout though. If you store your potatoes in the soil then you can't use your soil otherwise. Carol Deppe has mentioned corn as a crop which brought bulk calories and is the only grain which is easy to process. I have only grown sweet corn so far, but want to try other corn varieties. Don't be fooled about the amount of calories you need when you're working physically! One mentioned 1600 kcal, try to work on this amount for a week. You need fat and protein and carbohydrate. One strategy could be to use an animal entirely. That means that you eat all the old fashioned offal, put chicken feet in your soup etc.. Another to use your shady areas in your garden, maybe for growing mushrooms or perennial shade lovers. Or to raise a pig together with your neighbours.
I think animals make a lot of sense in such a system.
I think animals make a lot of sense in such a system.
I agree - they can make tasty calories from materials which are inedible or unpalatable to humans.
Regarding storing roots in the ground - I think this makes sense when it is too cold to be doing anything else with that ground anyway. Or in the case of hot climates, tuberous plants may go dormant in the summer but the tubers can still be dug up and eaten.
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
posted 9 years ago
I do not recommend raising a single pig. Pigs are very social animals, and do better if not solitary. Plus, having two creates competition for food, which causes both to eat more. Raising a single pig, you are likely to butcher a 170/180 pound animal. Raising two, you are likely to butcher two 220/250 pound animals. Pound for pound, pigs are the most efficient farm animals to raise, and take the least amount of your labor.
I think that a lot of people on this topic are neglecting fruit treees. In most of your places, you can grow quince and Asian pear, two trees which are astonishingly productive. Apples can be grown that can be eaten every month of the year. Smyrna quince are somewhat productive and Most asian pears are very storable. I think it makes sense that as we transition to a system where we produce most of our food locally, we focus on high value and great taste (fruits and vegetables). Grains don't taste that differently to me based on how they're grown, but fruit and vegetables have a huge difference. We will of course trade with neighbors. I freeze pounds and pounds of quince, and pie cherries for the winter. American persimmons also freeze quite well. Grains can be grown locally and organically even if not by every single household. I think it's useful to aim toward more self and community sufficiency, knowing that we have a few years left to make it reality.
If your environment allows amaranth and quinoa are great grains and as for tubers oca comes to mind. Oca is very nutritious and it comes in flavors from potato like to apple sweet. I haven't grown these myself but I have read that there are types that are easy to grow in warm areas.
We aren't even close. We buy grains (for us and the livestock), beans (we can grow them, but not worth the time right now), potatoes (same thing), and fruit in season when cheap(er). We are trying to get to fully sufficient--but doing it where it is the best financial advantage first--dairy, meat, and basic veg.
We have been working with friends that are much closer than we are--they still need to buy sugar, oil, salt, essential oils, and spices. They also have wonderful bottom ground for their garden.
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi.
"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
i think that in many cases we have to re examine how we put our food up for the off season and if we really need to add all the extra sugars and things..
if we look back to how things were put up many years ago, there was a lot of root cellaring or cold or spring house storage, but also you can can foods without adding sugar..it is all a matter of teaching your taste buds to not require the sweetening.
I enjoy my home canned fruit that has no added sugar.
if i choose later to make something sweet out of the foods I can sweeten it when I remove it from the can..or n ot...but I can it without
also for very little money you can buy your own smoker and smoke your own meats and cheeses..and then wrap well and package and put up in your freezer or in very cold storage for the winter...or you can salt and dry it like jerky..and meat can be canned as well with only a small amount of salt..fish requires a little vinegar to soften the bones..etc.
as for the grains, if you can't grow your own you can buy the grains locally and freeze them or very cold store them and grind them as you need them for baking.
you can even can some baked goods, like the brown bread in a can..etc..and soups and stews can be canned..so think outside of the box.
Bloom where you are planted.
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