This morning I headed out to see my local farmer to pick up a share of heritage pork and grass fed beef to stock my freezer. Grabbed a couple dozen free range eggs while I was there and spent some time chatting while I checked out the new piglets. He told me about his new internship program and a few interesting stories about some of his ‘students’.
Now, let me say that I have thought for YEARS that I would gladly pay my farmer friend to teach me just 1/10 of what he knows about gardening and raising animals. I have tons of garden beds throughout my yard and I am a great planter however I am not so great a grower! That is why I want to take a class! So, I was shocked to learn that he actually pays THEM to come and learn! They have short homework assignments to help them learn the basics of animal husbandry and gardening but primarily this is a hands on field work assignment. This information got me to wondering…what if there were no more farmers left to pass along this information? Would the knowledge of how to raise our own food be lost for ever? Humans wouldn’t last too long without the ability to feed ourselves!
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Now, I don’t usually get into the whole ‘end of days’ preparedness type discussions on my blog but it is something I think about. I know (in theory, anyhow…) how to build a water purification system and am pretty sure I could skin a squirrel if I could catch the little bugger but to survive for any length of time would be tough. I think my husband would give up the minute he realized he couldn’t get coffee anymore.
Think about this: According to the EPA, in 1935, the number of farms in the United States peaked at 6.8 million and today there are approximately 2 million. That is a HUGE drop in the last 80 or so years. Where will we be in another 80 years?
So, say for some reason I am unable to get to my local farmer, a grocery store, or other food source and am forced to begin raising and growing my own food. You know what? I am in a world of trouble!
- I cannot slaughter a chicken: Sure, I could RAISE a chicken…feed it, water it, put it to bed at night, etc. Has to be easier than raising kids right? But, honestly, how does one go about slaughtering a chicken? I decided to Google it. That was disturbing. There are YouTube videos on how to properly slaughter chickens. I hope when the end of the world comes I still have Internet access!
- I have no idea how to can food to feed myself through the winter. My mother used to can vegetables and my sister has mastered the art as well but it frightens me. My father told me a story once about an exploding pressure cooker full of beets that turned my grandmother’s ceiling pink and I have been afraid to try it. Pink is not a good color for ceilings.
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- Where does one find a cow in these parts? Bartering is a big concept that is pushed in the preparedness circles. I make bread, you raise chickens, lets get together and trade so we can both have a decent breakfast, right? But, the closest cow to me is who knows where?? How in the world to I barter with people who only own useless things like tennis rackets and golf clubs?
Honestly, we as a society are losing huge amounts of knowledge every year that goes by. As agribusiness continues to push out the small farmers, our children move farther and farther away from being able to survive on their own. Saving seeds to propagate for next year’s crops, knowing the right season to plant and harvest, and even being able to slaughter a chicken are not skills they are teaching our kids in school. Of course, those same schools ARE teaching them useful things like how to build the internet and produce YouTube videos so that the people who DO know how to slaughter chickens can share it with the rest of the world. Yeah, they have nothing to worry about. Me? I’ll be the one chasing the squirrels with a tennis racket.
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.