Monday, May 05, 2008

When the Cities Close


Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. I say this while thinking about cities in the arid regions such as Phoenix, Los Angelis, Las Vegas. It seems totally unnatural to have a city somewhere where it can’t possibly support itself. It is also unnatural to have a city that is so large that it can’t support itself. We may see these cities abandoned within our lifetime because of a lack of water and the expense of trucking in food. It is getting pretty desperate, and it a problem that can’t be fixed with conservation. It is far past that point.

Oddly, I doubt that Clatsop County could support its population on what could possibly be grown and raised here; though we may come close to self sufficiency in the beef and dairy production. We may be able to supply enough power for local consumption is we were to have wind mills on the coast and up and down the river. We have a good water supply.

We keep hearing reports of food riots and hording, but what happens if this becomes a reality for every community? You would think that maybe the Mid-west would do fine with all their agriculture, but most of what is grown in the Mid-west is corn for processing and ethanol production. There is very little coming out of the American bread basket states that is fit for human consumption these days. The corn and soy all needs to be processed before humans can eat it.

It is becoming clear how important it is to buy locally produced foods. Transporting our food from all over the country and the world is not only costly, but it is a risky proposition if transportation prices make it too expensive to continue trucking and shipping it in. By supporting our local growers we hope it will keep them well fed so they can keep us well fed if the current system fails.

It is more important than ever to grow our own supplemental food supply. If you aren't already doing it, start small. Put in some beans or peas. It will taste good and you will save some money. You may even find that you like it so much that you may put in a simple greenhouse to grow things like tomatoes, peppers and basil; three things that only seem to grow well indoors in our cold coastal climate.

The great thing about plants is that you don't need a lot of land. Most thing can be grown in containers and easily protected when the weather changes.

Getting local now will help you adjust slowly. There is the possibility that locally grown items will be all you will be able to get in the future. If that happens there will be a mass migration from the cities to places where people can eat.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. I appreciate your rational aproach and truth. Reading this post today, I am inspired to put in some peas and beans! If I drank, I would make up a few pints of beer also.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Ahab said...

Oddly, I doubt that Clatsop County could support its population on what could possibly be grown and raised here; though we may come close to self sufficiency in the beef and dairy production

We have, despite what the treehugging fishkissers say, access to an abundance of varied fish stocks which have brought A LOT of money into this county and provided food for a lot of people over the years. Astorians are, traditonally, farmers and harvesters of the sea. Seafood, fresh, frozen, or canned is a great bartering item, if it comes to that.

12:32 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Anon, support a local brewery, buy someone else a beer if you don't drink.

Ahab, fishing isn't what it used to be. Angling isn't what it used to be either. I don't know how good the hunting is here, but I understand the poaching is pretty good.

12:49 PM  
Blogger weese said...

we sat out on the patio just this weekend discussing how we could become self sufficient on our acre+ plot. I have the perfect spot for the chicken coup, the green house and the back lot would be filled with potatoes, beans and peas. While we are on city water we have a well and could do just fine on that.
Need to figure out beer and wine making... because of course all of these great ideas of ours are fueled by afternoon cocktails.
(back in reality tho - we have committed to spending the astronomical prices at the local farm markets, hoping more business will eventually bring the prices lower)

1:06 PM  
Blogger Bpaul said...

"If that happens there will be a mass migration from the cities to places where people can eat."

We plan to slowly make that move in the next 10 - 15 years :-). First, graduate and get some money together, second get a plot of land, etc.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous g said...

Living on a farm does have its benefits!

6:52 PM  
Blogger nootka said...

Nice post!
I would love to have a small garden, and with nearly 14 acres, we have the room, but we'd sure have to battle the slugs and deer for our share.
I grow tomatoes...and shop at the Sunday Market for produce where I can.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Ishmael said...

Ahab, fishing isn't what it used to be.

Fish or fishing have'nt changed, but fish politics, regulations and resrictions have. One would expect, or at least hope, that during some sort of food shortage, economic collapse or apocalyptic scenario as you envisoned that the government wouldnt loosen up on some of the ridiculous industry killing regulations that are crammed down the fisheries throats like molten lead a Spanish Inquisition.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Mike S said...

We're blessed here with a definite lack of humans, meaning we got a shot at making it. Plenty of fish, game and even a short growing season usually yields good crops. Like most here, we have a yearly garden. We also suppliment that from farmer's markets and farm stands at harvest time and can, freeze, or dry enough to last most of the winter. Of course, there's only two of us now. Wanna make friends fast, start canning spaghetti sauce or stewed tomatos:)

11:02 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

It's really good to see people thinking about this stuff. Another way to put it is think of how disappointed you are when you go to the grocery store and they are out of one of your favorite products. Now think about how disappointed you would be if they had none of the things you usually buy.

5:22 AM  
Blogger Uncle Walt said...

Don't forget plenty of ammo. When the economic collapse or Revolution comes, those with supplies are going to be among the first targets of gangs, looters, and the gov't. There won't be a shortage of people trying to take what you have - so you better have a means of protecting yourself.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Red Ruffinsore said...

There wont be a revolution, Walt, because The American system provides us the ability to change governments every four years at the ballot box and there is not now,in the past, or probably in the future a group of citizen's numerous enough or powerful enough to want to over throw our democracy and replace it with something else. And as far as economic collapse, the Great Depression didnt engender enough chaos to cause a breakdown in civil order to the point where lawlessness was the rule of the day- I think it would take natural catastrophes or massive damage by attacking foreign military forces to cause the breakdown of American civil order . Sure, I'll concede that in the big cities there would probably be an escalation of crime if the lights were shut off and food was scarce. But those would be localized problems that the power of government could overcome in short order. A person can get all carried away with survivalist scenarios and feed on that mentality, but lets remember this is the United States Of America and we are pretty good at getting along and taking care of business.

7:00 PM  
OpenID mattstansberry said...

As a certified fish-kisser, anonymous Moby-Dick-dude is totally delusional. Our fisheries aren't in collapse because of overzealous government regualtion -- that's literally the most assinine thing I've heard today.

But to the point, nice post Guy. I'm with you on the self-sufficiency theme. I also agree that the mega-metropolises in the Southwest are going to dry up.

Lastly, we shouldn't wait for the collapse of the Western World to start growing our own food -- it's time to start gumming up the works of the processed foods/drug company conglomerate whereby we are stuffing ourselves with corn syrup soaked, hydrogenated bullshit so we have to buy insulin and heart medicine to live to be 70.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Totally Delusional said...

mattstansberry said... Our fisheries aren't in collapse because of overzealous government regualtion

Where would say the problem are with say oh, the PNW salmon fisheries as compared to, oh say 30years ago. Would you say there are more or less fish? More or less pressure on native and hatchery stocks? More or less government regulation?

11:56 AM  

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