Friday, May 18, 2007

The End of the Grocery Store (as we know it)

I’ve thought about how Americans eat recently (this is not a screed on vegetarianism, food fads, celebrity chefs, or anything else) and intermingled with those thoughts is just a bit of TEOTWAKI (roll over acronym) concerns.

I take my trips to the grocery store for granted and would seriously miss them if everything ground to a halt for whatever reason. Preparedness is a lot more than having guns, ammo, and a bug-out bag handy. Those could get us through the first few critical days of the collapse of civilization due to the coming zombie apocalypse, terrorism, asteroid strike, or civil war (the latter seems more likely as we seem to be dividing further and further).

It may not come about because of something as dramatic as a zombie attack (and yes I know it’s fiction, but it’s a good metaphor) or civil war. We could face collapse of our food supply due to a pathogen (Irish Potato Famine), we could face a severe energy shortage.

If there ever is a TEOTWAKI situation (and I really hope not, I’m getting too old for that), too many of us have forgotten what our grandparents knew. Our society moved from farms to cities in just a few generations. We lost much that could help if we ever had to go back to the farm thanks to the collapse of civilization.

Compared to my co-workers, I’m self-reliant. Still, I don’t know how to can vegetables even though I "helped" my mom do it when I was a very small girl. I don’t know what types of farm animals are the easiest to raise and propagate. I don’t know the seasonality of plants here in New England although I’ve had a garden a long time ago in a much warmer place.

On the other hand, I know how to hunt. I can dress and butcher game with Yosemite Sam’s help. I know a few edible wild plants and mushrooms.

Because of my hunting and shooting skills, I’m far better off than a stereotypical urban liberal. They need to realize that cities are tenuous constructs of our technology and copious energy use. Cities are not sustainable to use one of their favorite terms. If TEOTWAKI ever occurs they’ll die like mayflies.

We need to keep old ways alive. Our grand- or great-grandparents developed ways to live off the land. They lived hardscrabble lives a lot of times, but they lived.

Maybe the back to the land hippies had something right. I think I might buy one or two of the Foxfire books I once thought were so strange. I could have worse things in a bug-out bag.

No comments: