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massive floods in the US, deaths of livestock, farmers going bankrupt--what to do? Grow more food

 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

James Landreth wrote: small kitchen gardens will insulate them from the price pain.



Very few small kitchen gardens produce sufficient calories for the families that grow them.  Without sufficient calories, we starve.  



I agree that calories are important. It's probable that no small kitchen gardens, in fact, supply the calories that people need. What I’m referring to is shorter term shortages and rises in food prices--not the complete dissolution of the industrial agricultural system. Hopefully we still have many years to transition to a more sustainable, resilient way of growing food, though we’ll do so with weather conditions continuing to be volatile.

I think fruit and nut trees are an important part of becoming more resilient, though nothing is foolproof. Both can provide calories, including animal feed, and even if they don’t replace all the annual staples if they can even reduce the amount of garden I have to grow I will be grateful. I love gardening, but there were a few years where I was growing a lot of what I ate in the annual garden due to necessity, and honestly, it was pretty exhausting. I look back on it fondly in some ways but hope that more of my food will come from trees in the future.
 
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I grow very few calories, but in my opinion my garden still insulates me from rising food prices to an extent.  "Just calories" are pretty cheap -- grains and legumes can most of them be found for a buck a pound or less if you shop smart, and a pound goes a long way.  If those prices multiplied by ten after several years of bad years for the industrial farms, I could still buy enough calories without much pain.  But fruits, greens, vegetables, and herbs are more expensive and likely to go up quicker under bad conditions (I saw celery at six dollars a head at my local grocery not long ago due to, apparently, bad weather in California.)  If my garden gives me a bunch of fresh herbs and vegetables, I can devote more of my food budget to the calorie crops that get harvested with million dollar combines.  Indeed, my entire growing strategy is focused on replacing the most expensive things in my shopping cart with self-grown produce, and (since I don't eat much meat or dairy or refined oil) those expensive things are almost never full of calories.
 
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Trace Oswald wrote:
What you say is true Tyler, but I think the point James was making applies more to crop shortages, rather than a complete absence of food.



You're right.  I was catastrophizing.  Things are so dire these days, it's difficult not to do that sometimes...
 
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I think in alot of catastrophe situations there would still be food distribution, but that food distribution would be boring staple foods ( rice/beans) etc... so people having some vitamin rich foods is very helpful.  Yes, do more if you can !

And dont forget food storage, you can get one persons worth of one months calories in sealed #10cans ( a case of 6 cans, beans, rice, oats, wheat berries..) that will last for over 30 years for about $30 for that one person/month of calories from a Latter Day Saints food storage center.  It would be prudent to have 3 months tucked under the bed.  Get one can each of the dehydrated carrots and onions they sell, I have opened and tried these and they are very well done, after being soaked in water, they are like fresh in both smell and texture.  Make sure no matter how small your apartment or house to grow some greens. Yes, grow more variety of foods if you can.  

If you have a yard, have an apple tree and add a plum tree if you have room fro a second tree, these are so versital and dont need any work to have a crop ( apple juice, apple sauce, dried apples, apple crisp all winter....plum jam, dried prunes, fruit leather mixed with the apple)


If you just have Magenta Spreen Lambsquarters all summer and red russian Kale all fall-spring,  those are very nutritious,  very good vitamin and mineral source, super vegetables realy and easy to grow and dont take much room, they go with everything too, soups, stir frys, salads, side dish.... they also dry realy well, no dehydrator needed, then store the dry leaves in a jar if you live in a climate when you will have time between crops.   If you have room for more than that, consider a couple tomato plants, so good fresh and canned or dried to use in cooking the rest of the year.  
 
gardener
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such bad days in the midwest-- after weather and floods, now drought. someone is quoted here as saying 90% of corn yields will be affected. along with major damage to sugar beets and beans. Tough times to be a farmer.
https://nyti.ms/313rkBu
 
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Reading the NYT article Tereza linked remind me of one of the most educational things I ever accidentally did. I always read more than one book at a time, and at one point I was concurrently reading Jared Diamond's "Collapse" and Timothy Egan's "The Worst Hard Time." Collapse is about various cultures who have collapsed due to bad decisions about what to do in a culture with natural resources. The Worst Hard Time is about the dust bowl in America in the early 20th century. To me it was like looking at the problem in the long overview, and in a close up at the same time. The current news is looking at it all happening again real time. It's the same thing, has happened before, and too many people aren't learning the lessons of history, and it is happening again.

Things like this is why permaculture looks like the best answer to me. Design assuming possible extremes, and have back up plans to account for their effects. Keep erosion from happening, and water balanced. This isn't hard, but so many cultures have failed it, reading the news, we as a culture aren't doing a lot better.

 
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Canada isn't fairing well this year either. Albertan friends say that after a spring drought, farmers are struggling through a rare wet summer, with rain and cool temperatures most days. Here in my part of Ontario, we had a wet spring, with fields standing bare for a month past usual, too wet to plant. Thought of this thread today as I listen to our first real rain in almost a month.... fire bans all over the place and grass and trees are yellowing early.

My father lived through WWII and was starving most of his childhood except for the things his mother grew or he foraged/stole. My mom grew up on a small farm, poor, but never hungry thanks to a large garden. I think growing food as a preparation for "what if" is in my blood. The least I have ever had was 2 tomatos and 4 pepper plants.

I am so glad we planted a bigger than usual garden this year-spurred, I admit, at least partially by this thread! Food prices are nuts ($7 for a medium watermelon!), and every thing I can scrounge out of the garden is something we don't have to pay for. The garden is new this year, the growing season has been slow and the soil is poor, but has given us a few meals now. I plan to preserve a lot this year.... if prices are bad now, I can't imagine winter.

We don't grow staples, other than a few potatos, instead focusing on expensive nutrient rich food we are more inclined to skip at the grocery store when prices climb.
 
Pearl Sutton
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August 22... yesterday I picked my first handful of cherry tomatoes, seven ripe supersweet 100s... I have picked two Cherokee purple tomatoes. In all the planting and replanting I lost track of how many tomato plants I put in, in various areas, lots of types, everything from heirlooms I grew from seed, to hybrids from the hardware store and everything in between. Probably 40 plants total. First ones went in in April. I just got my first handful. This aint good. We went from drowning wet to high heat, back to drowning (got .75 inches last night, more to come the next few days) and waht the fungus didn't kill, the heat did. If I mulched them, they fungused. If I didn't mulch they died of temperature shock. And the bugs are happy and rowdy this year. Boom year for bugs. They ot some too. Never managed to get any zucchini or yellow squash to survive the fungii, and no melons.

This is SO not good. I'm not happy about going into fall with no food stocked that I didn't buy at the grocery store.
 
Sue Reeves
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Pearl Sutton wrote:August 22... yesterday I picked my first handful of cherry tomatoes, seven ripe supersweet 100s... I have picked two Cherokee purple tomatoes. In all the planting and replanting I lost track of how many tomato plants I put in, in various areas, lots of types, everything from heirlooms I grew from seed, to hybrids from the hardware store and everything in between. Probably 40 plants total. First ones went in in April. I just got my first handful. This aint good. We went from drowning wet to high heat, back to drowning (got .75 inches last night, more to come the next few days) and waht the fungus didn't kill, the heat did. If I mulched them, they fungused. If I didn't mulch they died of temperature shock. And the bugs are happy and rowdy this year. Boom year for bugs. They ot some too. Never managed to get any zucchini or yellow squash to survive the fungii, and no melons.

This is SO not good. I'm not happy about going into fall with no food stocked that I didn't buy at the grocery store.



This was also my first year with a bad tomato year, I am just now getting a  few ripe and many will not yield well due to cold wet spring diseases. But, I know weather every year is variable, ok, some like this worse than usual, so I usually over can in more productive years ( when I have productive years back to back, I give more away ).  So, I have canned diced tomatoes in the pantry, maybe 5 cases.  I managed to harvest onions and potatoes, all the onions I will need and maybe half the potatoes I would like.  No cukes, no peppers, no many things.  So it was ok.  But, the garden was overgrown with magenta spreen lambsquarters. That means I dried alot of magenta spreen lambsquarters.  I have many jars now with the dried leaves.  And, I am optimistically planting a few fall crops, which may or may not yield.  Generally red russian kale will grow thru the winter even if nothing else survives being a fall crop, so we will see.

This is also the reason why I have a #10 can of dried carrot dices, one of dried onion dices.  If we have a supply disruption I will have something on hand to make the dried staples of grains and legumes more interesting.  And if no disruption, that's ok as they are packed for a 30year storage lifetime.

I just tidied the pantry last night and this morning.  I also have, left over homemade, dried persimon slices and raisons from my grapes, dried green onions, the canned tomatoes, a case of apple juice, a case of applesauce, a few misc cans of things like chow chow, dilly beans, pickled carrots, carrot habanero butter, a bit of dried cabbage still, the magenta spreen leaves I just dried this summer.  I picked alot of blackberries last evening, and I see plums and other fruit.  SO, I will dry and can some more, since I dont want to be too optimistic of next week or month, I will speak to what I can do now, I will can a few jars of blackberry pie filling and blackberry jam today, I have 2 trays of grapes set out to dry.  Some plum jam too.  I am buying a flat of organic peaches that I am going to can when the azure order comes, unless they run out, because that will cheer me up this winter.  

If your crops are bad and you would like a full pantry, go buy a case of produce locally and preserve it for your pantry, ie., can some farmers market tomatoes and fruit if any are available. It is good practice on preserving skills and also you will have food security
 
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but that food distribution would be boring staple foods ( rice/beans) etc... so people having some vitamin rich foods is very helpful.



That reminds me of something I heard once. The lady said "we'll be eating rice & beans like everyone else but our rice & beans will be kicking." She was referring to having spices & green things in her garden & some of both stored for long term.

Our summer garden did fairly well overall in spite of excessive beetles. Excellent harvests with some things, mediocre with others. Have a few things still producing. Finished planting the fall garden today. Many sweet potatoes & peanuts to harvest in another month or so. I think canning or dehydrating surplus is an important part of the general don't starve plan. We gave quite a lot of some things away this year. Canned & froze some goodies too.
 
James Landreth
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Food is getting so expensive that people are getting threatened at knifepoint over berry patches and one woman was killed over a mushroom patch. I looked for the article but couldn't find it. The berry patch incident happened to an acquaintance of mine. Part of the issue is that they can sell it in cities for a lot more. Fruit trees have been stripped bare in the middle of the night. In most years there's lots of extra apples rotting around here, but not so much anymore.

My solution, as mentioned, is to try to get more production going, like Nicole mentions in the original post. Some people on here have given me plants for that and I really appreciate that. I wish you all the best in your struggles, and you're in my thoughts and prayers and are represented in my actions
 
Sue Reeves
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James Landreth wrote:Food is getting so expensive that people are getting threatened at knifepoint over berry patches and one woman was killed over a mushroom patch. I looked for the article but couldn't find it. The berry patch incident happened to an acquaintance of mine. Part of the issue is that they can sell it in cities for a lot more. Fruit trees have been stripped bare in the middle of the night. In most years there's lots of extra apples rotting around here, but not so much anymore.

My solution, as mentioned, is to try to get more production going, like Nicole mentions in the original post. Some people on here have given me plants for that and I really appreciate that. I wish you all the best in your struggles, and you're in my thoughts and prayers and are represented in my actions



Wow ! That is pretty crazy.  By my place, the cold hardy fruit trees ( apples, pears -- there will be no apricots...) are having a bumper crop year.  There will be too much to handle for the area, lots of wildlife will be happy too, the birds are going crazy.  What area do you live in that people are stripping the fruit trees at night ?  IS that too sell or because people are hungry ?  In this county, we have so many free produce distributions, likely at least once a day.  There is also a fruit gleaning group with a mail list anyone can be on so that people with too much fruit let others come and pick, so it isnt wasted.  Not everyone knows about that one, but it does save quite a few apples a year.
 
James Landreth
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Those kinds of groups exist too, and are growing, thankfully. The fruit tree stripping happened in Olympia. In that case I think it was hungry people.
 
Tereza Okava
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after 2 weeks of unseasonable high-summer heat (last weekend was supposed to be the last weekend of winter here) we had ANOTHER hailstorm last night. Sigh.
They were only marble-to-quarter size, but everything is totally shredded. This year the farmers just CANNOT catch a break. (and we are supposed to get way down to 5C this weekend, which will make it extra fun as they're out slogging in the mud trying to clean up)

(i was lucky- most of what is in the beds is about to get harvested and I have flats of new plants starting inside on my porch. My passionfruits got a very serious pruning, my poor blood orange just got over its bug problems and now has to deal with being naked. But my young mulberry trees seem to be okay, even if all the fruits got blown off; everything else can be replanted.)
 
Pearl Sutton
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End of September in southern Missouri, and it's BAD. There are almost no birds. I hope they are elsewhere, eating whatever the flooding has made grow well, because they are not here. The neighbor at our property has a bunch of bird feeders, she says she has zero birds at them. I mowed out there for two days, I saw 2 buzzards, 6 mourning doves, one squirrel, and one rabbit. That's it. Usually it's a zoo out there. No singing pretty twitter birds, no one pecking at the bugs in the wood of the trees, no barn swallows chasing the mower for the bugs it kicks up, no hawks, no small birds cursing the hawks for nest robbing, no mockingbirds, no crowds of buzzards riding the thermals above my property. This is NOT GOOD. At the rental we have crows, one mated pair of cardinals that eat the chicken food, and I hear a few things at dawn. I had more birds around when I was living in the desert of New Mexico. This is scary bad. Where have they gone? Didn't see dead birds, haven't seen migrating birds, they are just not here. There's usually more here in the dead of winter than this.

Also, the bug boom from the rains in spring seems to be down to mosquitoes, spiders, crickets, some hover flies, and a few grasshoppers. The normal chaos when I mow of things running from the mower was almost not there, just a few grass spiders and crickets. Never thought I'd be unhappy about no ticks, webworms or Japanese beetles, but they should be around, and they aren't. I saw one small webworm web.
Doubleplus ungood.
I don't like this.

Edit: also the wild osage orange (Maclura pomifera) trees didn't fruit at all, the nuts trees are not producing much, I don't see small fallen fruit under any of the trees that normally have some around.
 
pollinator
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Sorry things are not going well Pearl. Unfortunately this weird weather causing so many issues could (some argue has) become the new normal, causing large areas to become unsuitable for growing food easily.

The recent National Climate Report provides chilling predictions that are organized into regional chapters. The chapter on the Midwest has increased humidity and temps forecast for southern Mo that will cause more rain.
 
Pearl Sutton
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James Whitlaw: thanks, I'll read that. We are expecting a cold wet winter here.

Thinking on it all, this whole summer we didn't have the usual roadkill possums, armadillos, raccoons, or turtles, or the turtles crossing roads.
 
James Whitelaw
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Seeing lots of critters in the lower Adirondacks. Yesterday surprised a giant wild turkey coming out my back door (I almost ran the other way when we saw each other). Deer, skunks, possums tons of frogs butterfly’s, birds and pollinators of all stripes appear common.
 
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Some good news on the corn that got blown down.  I am glad we use our own line of corn, because it is resilient.  The stocks that got blew over bent back up and still produced corn.  I have many 10” ears that are almost on the ground.  We learned that the rows north to south are much better than east to west.  We won the county fair for tallest corn and biggest ear again.  It quit raining a month ago and the corn is almost dry enough to pick.  The peppers were extremely good this year.  My son has sold around 5 bushels.  The green beans are still going strong and making him money every week too.
 
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Thank you, Pearl, for the update! I was wondering how things have been going, because the news hasn't been covering it since the flooding stopped. That, of course, give people the feeling that "Oh, everything is fine now, no big deal." This year for us in the Northwest has been wetter and cooler than recent years--more like our "normal" weather, but with much bigger rain events. We usually get constant drizzle--downpours used to be very rare. Now we get a lot of 1+inch of rain in a day events.  So, our weather hasn't been too bad, which of course makes people forget how last year we couldn't go outside for over a month because everything was filled with smoke. It's easy for people to forget the bad and think everything is honkey-dory, when it's not!
 
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I think things are moving around. I don't like it when I don't see animals and insects I expect to see. It troubles me.

Places I used to go driving that would paste my windshield with the carcasses of insects barely do that anymore, at dawn and dusk, and at night, maybe, but not in the same way as before; I suppose it's those agri-chemical insecticides at work. There is less birdsong, and I have read that their populations are being damaged by the appetite-suppressing effects of neonicotinoid-treated seed.

But I think that's the reality of climate change. It's shifting, and so things must shift with it. Things that can move around will do so. Things that can't, won't. I think that's where we need to focus.

I think we need to identify which native species won't survive imminent changes and relocate them to somewhere they will. I think we need to eschew plant nativism where it would otherwise leave barren wilderness, as a constructed, rebuilt biome is better than the tattered remnants of one that we once knew and will never know again.

I think it was the Cahokians, but in any case it was a Mississipian mound-building culture whose civilisation was ended by a mix of local stupidity regarding deforestation around their main water sources and a larger climactic shift that resulted in drought that made their historical agriculture unsuitable for the area. I think it was the Mayans whose civilisation was ended by climate change in the form of drought.

This is not news, nor is it a recent thing that our effect on the climate is being felt. It's just recently become so undeniable to even the most wishful of thinkers, unless their personal politics forbid it, that we can't ignore it any longer.

And yeah, I am not surprised that the wildlife is heading for the hills. Wouldn't you want to?

-CK
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:James Whitlaw: thanks, I'll read that. We are expecting a cold wet winter here.

Thinking on it all, this whole summer we didn't have the usual roadkill possums, armadillos, raccoons, or turtles, or the turtles crossing roads.



Apparently, all your roadkill & birds are hanging out, here, just a couple hours away from you! We take all our meals on the deck, weather permitting, and one of the greatest joys of it is watching and listening to the birds, trying to identify them by their songs, spotting wildlife, and insects. We had an incredible influx of hummingbirds, last month, that have slowly dwindled back to about the numbers we began our summer with, leading me to believe the ones that flew further north have simply finished paying through, and the ones still here are just not quite as willing to leave, just yet. Hubs even saw our very reclusive beaver, again, just yesterday morning.

Roadkill is ABUNDANT, here, too. There is *something* on the road, at least every couple hundred yards, , and the buzzards are growing fat, for the winter. Most of seen are (no surprises, here) armadillos, opossum, raccoons, squirrels, and the occasional bird or cat. That's just what we've seen *ON* the roads. Very often, we just smell it (one of the downsides to motorcycling), and see the buzzards tearing at something just off the road, that made it to the ditch.

Our squirrel population, on our acreage does seem to have dropped, but I  pretty sure that is much more to do with the very healthy coyote and fox population, than a weather issue.

Something we haven't seen, are rabbits. I mean, at all. I can't recall seeing a single rabbit, this year! Not even as roadkill. That, to me, is really odd.
 
Mike Barkley
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I just returned from a vacation driving through many miles of corn in Missouri, Iowa, & Minnesota. Almost all of it was short & very brown & dry. The only green corn was even shorter & seems to have no chance of a harvest this late in the season in MN. It's almost winter there. I saw a few patches of cotton that appeared to be normal. Also some canola (I think) that looked healthy. Far more dead corn than anything else.
 
Dan Boone
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The polar express that dipped south on Friday night froze out all my peppers and tomatoes, even the ones I had covered; that was almost a month before our normal hard freeze.  I haven't seen a follow up to this article but apparently a bunch of that corn and soy in the upper midwest wasn't ready to harvest before that front moved in:

https://uk.reuters.com/article/usa-crops-weather/snow-freezing-temperatures-threaten-northern-us-corn-soybeans-idUKL2N26U1KN


Plunging temperatures and heavy snow forecast for the upper U.S. Plains from Friday to Sunday are likely to damage unharvested corn and soybean crops in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa, meteorologists said on Wednesday.

The winter-like blast could dump up to 3 feet of snow in central and eastern North Dakota and send temperatures plunging into the 20s Fahrenheit in Nebraska, western Iowa, southwest Minnesota and the Dakotas, said Kyle Tapley, senior agricultural meteorologist with space technology company Maxar.

The forecast sent corn and soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade to multi-month highs this week on concerns that late-planted crops that have not yet reached maturity could be destroyed or damaged by the hard freeze.

About 14% of the U.S. corn crop and 5% of U.S. soybeans are at risk of some level of freeze damage, Tapley said.

 
Pearl Sutton
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As of October 7, so before this weekend’s Arctic front even blew through, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported the percentages of crops unharvested: CORN was at 100% with only 22% mature; SOYBEANS was at 92%; SPRING AND DURUM WHEAT at around 20%; CANOLA at 31%; FLAXSEED at 37%; SUGAR BEETS at 81%; and POTATOES at 55%.
The majority of this produce is now buried in the fields.


That is  what I clipped off an article yesterday, I do not see that report linked off the National Agricultural Statistics Service site, so I'm not 100% positive it's accurate. The National Agricultural Statistics Service site is, however, badly organized, I couldn't find much at all.
 
Nicole Alderman
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The Derecho hurricane-force winds in Iowa, and strong winds in Utah, and forest fires in the western states of the US, got me thinking about this thread.

From the Seattle PI

“We can second-guess ourselves, but I’ll say that we didn’t take the situation lightly," Lohr said. "When you have a fire run 15 miles in one day, in one afternoon, there’s no model that can predict that. And so we can look at those things and learn from them, but the fires are behaving in such a way that we’ve not seen.”



The winds are blowing from the east. That's not normal. We never have dry air on our property after the sun goes down. It's dry now. The smoke still fills the air, even though we're on the "safe" side of the mountains. But, who would have thought there's be fires along the coast of Oregon? I have friends in the major metropoliton areas of Oregon, and they're packed and ready to evacuate.

California has reset the record for most acres burned in a fire season:

California has already set a record with nearly 2.3 million acres (930,800 hectares) burned this year, and the worst part of the wildfire season is just beginning.

The previous acreage record was set just two years ago and included the deadliest wildfire in state history, which was started by power lines and swept through the community of Paradise, killing 85 people.



My 6 year old is terrified of forest fires. This is his third summer where the sky filled with smoke enough to taste the smoke and obscure the surroundings. We try to reassure him that he's safe here. Sometimes I feel like we're lying.
 
Tereza Okava
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my lord. looking at this thread a year later. We are exactly in the same place, only worse. Very little rain. The crappy farm season in the US meant that our farmers here sold their production up north (since the exchange rate means they can make more money exporting than selling domestically), China swooped in and bought anything that was left over, and we are about half a breath away from riots in the streets as the price of staples has gone completely insane due to scarcity. Rice and beans have quadrupled in price. Ah, and unemployment is so high that nobody is even bothering to estimate it anymore.
The garden is working doubletime for us. Water is being rationed but all my graywater from laundry goes into the beds (I hate to do it, but desperate times....). I was waiting to start rabbit production til I had a really good reason (since space is limited and the rabbits are siblings, one of them would have to go, and I like them both...) but it looks like I might be starting soon enough.
 
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We have been evacuated as the Obenchain fire has increased in size. We don’t know if will have anything to go back to.
 
Tereza Okava
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Stacy, it is staggering to even think about having to leave in the face of a fire. I hope you get back to an intact home soon.
 
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Dan Boone wrote:I grow very few calories, but in my opinion my garden still insulates me from rising food prices to an extent.  "Just calories" are pretty cheap -- grains and legumes can most of them be found for a buck a pound or less if you shop smart, and a pound goes a long way.  If those prices multiplied by ten after several years of bad years for the industrial farms, I could still buy enough calories without much pain.  But fruits, greens, vegetables, and herbs are more expensive and likely to go up quicker under bad conditions (I saw celery at six dollars a head at my local grocery not long ago due to, apparently, bad weather in California.)  If my garden gives me a bunch of fresh herbs and vegetables, I can devote more of my food budget to the calorie crops that get harvested with million dollar combines.  Indeed, my entire growing strategy is focused on replacing the most expensive things in my shopping cart with self-grown produce, and (since I don't eat much meat or dairy or refined oil) those expensive things are almost never full of calories.



wow.  I've never read this thread until now, or actually anything in the ulcer factory. Add in 2020 and it's an ulcer in the making.
But reading what Dan wrote above makes me feel a whole lot better about my small garden and it's purpose. Now I'm viewing it as insulation from rising food prices instead of fretting over the amount of work for such little return. Rice and beans taste so much better with a sprinkle of cilantro and a homegrown sweet potato!
 
Stacy Witscher
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So I was able to get out to my property today and feed the animals and pick up supplies. My house is well stocked and we are evacuated to a small town that is running out of supplies so I grabbed enough to share. My property is pretty much out of danger but the firefighters are using it and our neighbors place for staging so I am trying to stay out of their way. I’m feeling much better knowing that our animals are okay. Hope everyone is safe.
 
Pearl Sutton
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2020 just ain't ending... The weather people are calling a La Nina pattern this year.
From the Wikipedia page La Niña

La Niña causes mostly the opposite effects of El Niño, above-average precipitation across the northern Midwest, the northern Rockies, Northern California, and the Pacific Northwest's southern and eastern regions. Meanwhile, precipitation in the southwestern and southeastern states, as well as Southern California, is below average.[16] This also allows for the development of many stronger-than-average hurricanes in the Atlantic and fewer in the Pacific.


In Canada, La Niña will, in general, cause a cooler, snowier winter, such as the near-record-breaking amounts of snow recorded in La Niña winter of 2007/2008 in Eastern Canada.[20][21]


Rest of the world is on that Wikipedia page.

Lovely. Take the info into account in your planning.
:D

edit: reading through the wiki page, comparing it to the maps, when you get to the part about what type, this is a 3.4, CP   type.
 
Chris Kott
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At least we can attempt to predict these things now. We simply didn't have the data earlier than what, two decades ago?

What a La Niña means for us in Ontario is the potential for some recharge of the aquifers, possibly record-breaking floods in some places, and probably record water levels next spring and summer. I expect to have a lot of fun when I can go cross-country skiing in the snow, and canoeing in the spring and summer.

I think it's unlikely that this revelation would affect my design at all. We need to plan for both extremes of this pattern of natural variation. History is a great teacher. We need to make hay while the sun shines, and think about extending our food stores to the three-year or more range.

And finally, we need to resist the mentality that suggests that to not rebuild is treasonous, and that to move somewhere more appropriate for building and growing is somehow a betrayal of one's ancestry. Population migration has been with us since before we were homo sapiens. We might be able to do something about wildfires, but the flooding is going to be with us for the long-term. If we want to live in flood zones, we need to adapt to ways of living and building with the expectation that flood zones will be flooded regularly, and that building with drywall and matchsticks is financially unsound.

And in the meantime, when there's snow, let's ski, snowshoe, whatever. Snow can be enjoyed. Drought, or sewage-laden floodwaters, or rising seawater, not so much. Let's realise what we can deal with and adapt to, and what we need to move on from.

-CK
 
James Landreth
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I've really loved this thread over the past two years. Not because I like bad news, but because I get to hear what's going on from real people, anecdotally. It is really hard to get a grasp of what is going on sometimes based solely off of what is in the news. And reading about all of this has really helped me get my ducks in a row, so thank you for that.

I hope everyone is safe and that their property is intact

And thank you, Nicole, for starting this thread
 
Nicole Alderman
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James Landreth wrote:I've really loved this thread over the past two years. Not because I like bad news, but because I get to hear what's going on from real people, anecdotally. It is really hard to get a grasp of what is going on sometimes based solely off of what is in the news.



THIS! I have been surprised and extreemly thankful for the stories of those around the world. My heart broke when I read this from Tereza:

Tereza Okava wrote: my lord. looking at this thread a year later. We are exactly in the same place, only worse. Very little rain. The crappy farm season in the US meant that our farmers here sold their production up north (since the exchange rate means they can make more money exporting than selling domestically), China swooped in and bought anything that was left over, and we are about half a breath away from riots in the streets as the price of staples has gone completely insane due to scarcity. Rice and beans have quadrupled in price. Ah, and unemployment is so high that nobody is even bothering to estimate it anymore.



I had not idea that we had, essentially, exported our food shortages by importing most of their food. It allowed us to keep thinking everything was okay, when it was not.

 
James Landreth
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I don't know if this has been your experience, but I have had a very hard time keeping on news from the fires. It just seems like they're very slow to update, and the news outlets all parrot and copy from one another. But word of mouth and social media have been better about keeping me informed, sadly.
 
James Landreth
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

Tereza Okava wrote: my lord. looking at this thread a year later. We are exactly in the same place, only worse. Very little rain. The crappy farm season in the US meant that our farmers here sold their production up north (since the exchange rate means they can make more money exporting than selling domestically), China swooped in and bought anything that was left over, and we are about half a breath away from riots in the streets as the price of staples has gone completely insane due to scarcity. Rice and beans have quadrupled in price. Ah, and unemployment is so high that nobody is even bothering to estimate it anymore.



I had not idea that we had, essentially, exported our food shortages by importing most of their food. It allowed us to keep thinking everything was okay, when it was not.




This kind of thing makes it so hard for me to galvanize people for change, and to convince them to be better prepared for hard times. There are so many ways our current system obfuscates things, it is hard to see the problem until it is too late
 
Pearl Sutton
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James Landreth wrote: There are so many ways our current system obfuscates things, it is hard to see the problem until it is too late


That's why I try to look months ahead, so I see it before it's too late for me to do anything. I try to tell people, but few listen. I work on keeping myself where I want to be, and try to talk to who I can. But few listen.

And seeing things at ground level, as you mentioned, helps me, because so little does end up on the news, because it's not thrilling, when it's very good data points to see the curve of what is happening.
 
Tereza Okava
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

I had not idea that we had, essentially, exported our food shortages by importing most of their food. It allowed us to keep thinking everything was okay, when it was not.


So the thing is, I am about 99% sure that nobody up north would want anything to do with this. We did this to ourselves. One of the first things our president did when he took office was to cancel our food security program, which used to ensure that a certain percentage of agricultural production stayed here to avoid situations like this. Said it was better for the market to control it (also trying to cozy up to the US government). So now nearly everyone is growing soy for export, since it is a guaranteed sale somewhere. That means fields of beans, rice, sorghum, wheat, and corn are not being planted for consumption. We are importing ethanol from the US right now, which is only one drop less crazy than Brazil importing coffee from China would be (not yet happening, but I wouldn't be surprised-- coffee production has been dropping for decades, even in the 13 years I've been here there are visibly fewer coffee farmers in my region, which used to be a powerhouse for coffee).
I can't fault farmers for exporting wherever they can get more money. Farming is hard work, our weather gets weirder and weirder and they want to be able to pay off their tractor loans and feed their kids. I can get that. I support less government controls but this is a situation where it's leading to chaos. It's a mess we made ourselves.

But I need to see something positive come of this, and as James says, it is a chance for people to learn (most people I know have no idea what food security means or where the rice and beans went. Government is not helping, we had a true "let them eat cake" moment last week when the president said everyone should just eat pasta [more expensive than rice as well as imported, since we're not producing much wheat anymore]). I have to believe that people will not just get angry at bad guys and will start to think about where food is coming from.
There isn't as much of a movement to start growing here, as the people who need it the most don't have access to land and there is a lot of cultural baggage about class and farming. On the other hand, my neighbors are super interested in my garden, and the lady next door and I have decided we're going to plant pumpkins in a vacant lot up the street that just got cleared. Maybe people will start to wake up and pay more attention. Youtube channels on balcony gardens and cooking with fresh produce have been taking off like crazy, so maybe there is some hope.

So maybe a chance to translate and adapt Paul`s new book for Brazil? :-)
 
Chris Kott
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That sounds messed up. I had no idea what the reality on the ground translates to.

I'd say we need some kind of manifesto outlining how permaculture can be used as a grassroots movement to overgrow classism internationally, but half of us are unfavourably compared to marxists as it is; I don't think I'd call it a manifesto.

If our bible is the big black book, maybe we need something different, a little lavender ledger, perhaps (I wanted to work in mauve, but the alliteration wasn't there; it's a shame because except for earth, mauve is the universally recognized colour denoting emergency) that states our view of the issues at hand, and the larger classist conflict, the tools we've chosen as most appropriate, and a grassroots call to action.

The Better World Book can't do this. It's apolitical by nature and design. The L3 may refer to the BWB, but I think it would be good to refer to the B3 for continuity and recognizability. I think the BWB is a great book to introduce after the flame is lit, because it can gradually immerse the reader in the way that the B3 just can't for it's technicality, depth, and breadth; it's just too big, but the BWB is bite-sized and a little fun, a perfect positive direction for those who'd otherwise probably waste a lot of time being angry at the bad guys.

It really is just the same old classism at work, in my opinion. All that's changed are the names of people involved and the terms for things. I think it's important that wherever possible, we get our representatives in government to push for things like the removal of taxes on feminine hygiene products (they should be subsidized, along with barrier contraceptives) and staple goods, both food and other consumables. I think it's despicable that grocery giants like Loblaws, for instance, are making record profits off the backs of their workers, whom we are rightly lauding as heroes, simply because they provide the goods that we need to live.

That's like the whole insurance situation in the west. We are legally required to have auto insurance, at least to cover liability, and it's risky to not have insurance in other aspects of one's private and professional life. So why is it a for-profit industry? It recalls Chris Rock's "Incase-Shit" argument. To summarize and paraphrase, "Insurance ... is in case shit happens. If shit don't happen, shouldn't I get my money back?" All insurance should be not-for-profit. Anything else is just robbing the poor.

Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of sales taxes on appropriate goods. Any luxury good, for instance, should be taxed. The fancy car you just paid way too much for, that costs as much as a private jet to fuel? Yeah, that should be subject to a luxury surcharge. Your daily driver worksite pickup, not so much, as with anything that could be termed the tools of your trade. Sales taxes should be limited to those types of lavish waste that we want to discourage.

As to taxes, and I think I have voiced this opinion elsewhere here, income taxes are the stupidest idea ever. You don't disincentivise something you actually want to encourage. We actually want things like taxes or caps on wealth accumulation in excess of the human scale, such that nobody pulls a Smaug (or a Bezos; at least Elon's making some kind of positive change, even if indirectly. Bezos underpays his employees and destroys not only local mom-and-pop-shops, but really all brick-and-mortar operations).

I'd have a hard earning cap for individuals. Whether it's a hundred million or a billion dollars is irrelevant. All that matters is that an individual can't own more than that. There would also be a hard cap on how much, per recipient, you could pass on to the next generation. The more one surpasses one's personal earnings cap, the larger the donation cap per recipient. Beyond that, excess accumulation would earn naming rights, and above a certain level, the ability to choose which infrastructure projects to donate to and have named (from a preapproved list of necessary infrastructural improvements).

Beyond that, waste would be taxed. That includes energy and material waste. Thus we'd have a financial incentive for energy efficiency and material waste. I would tie all such taxes to the producer, and move for reforms that would include the recently failed right-to-repair ideology and the related design-for-disassembly design philosophy, and mandate cradle-to-grave product waste controls.

I would tie land tax directly to productivity, but through a permacultural lens. The more self-sufficient your systems, the lower the taxes. The more you import onto the property, including utilities, the higher the taxes. There would be hard breaks for measures that, for instance, leave surface watercourses running cleaner off of your property than they entered it, and systems that produce good soil would likewise benefit, though the metrics for gauging this would need to be devised.

I am going to stop myself on this track, because due to the systemic nature of human activity, I could just keep going with energy production, land use, and how I think cities need to become environmentally and carbon net-positive arcologies. Instead, I am going to mention adaptation.

I perused an awesome article linked to on a thread here on permies, about how areas in Pakistan that are having to deal with flooding are using an old technique of making floating islands and islets of pounded floating vegetation, and growing crops on those in a somewhat aquaponic system of growing (I have seen soil being used to greater and lesser extents). It's not just chinampas anymore.

My point is adaptation. We need to adapt. A lot of that is changing how society runs, as I have detailed. A lot of that is also literally changing how we live and grow, in the case of the floating island crop beds.

I hope we can be the change we all wish to see.

-CK
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