Oct 232010

We are talking about Chris Martenson’s recommendations on the subject “What Should I Do?” to build resilience into one’s life in the face of impending financial disaster. In addition to making provisions for pure water and storing food staples for short or long term emergencies there is the strong suggestion to get closer to your food supply. This might mean learning more about local sources of food (see Whatcom Locavore by islander Nancy Ging and her articles in the Bellingham Herald). More specifically, it means beginning to grow some of your own food.

On Lummi Island if you know nothing about gardening you might want to consider participating in the Gardener’s Network run by Master Gardener Ginny Winfield. This group meets once a month at the Firehouse except in winter and will soon (Nov. 3, I believe) begin a series of workshops with arborist Sean Tate. Hanging out with gardeners is a good way to start. You don’t have to do it alone. We have a Community Garden at the Curry Preserve. I presume there is a waiting list for that one and perhaps there is a need to build a second community garden.

Sharing a garden is another way to begin. If you don’t have a good place for a garden, someone you know might have the space but not the physical ability to build and grow a garden. One doesn’t need a huge space to grow significant amounts of food. Amazing amounts of food can be grown in pots, in flower beds or in a small, raised bed. The square foot garden is a very popular idea.

A family can only eat so much fresh stuff. To extend the eating season one has to freeze, dry, can, root cellar, pickle or otherwise preserve the garden output. There’s a learning curve to some of these techniques (canning, pickling), and some physical requirements for root cellaring. The point is that it’s possible to put up massive amounts of food. Even putting up a little bit is very satisfying.

We have a friend, who back in her hippie days, would can 500 quarts of peaches on a wood stove, carrying water from a creek using jars picked up at flea markets and garage sales. That’s resilience. We don’t need to set goals that high—yet. Best get started, though, growing some food and putting some by.


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