The Preppers Are Right! : More than 50 million Americans short of food

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by Tom Dennen

“Whether they are known as home, mixed, backyard, kitchen, farmyard, compound or homestead gardens, family food production systems are found in most regions of most countries worldwide. They may be the oldest production system known and their very persistence is proof of their intrinsic economic and nutritional merit” - Robin Marsh .

CNNMoney Reported

More than 50 million Americans couldn’t afford to buy food at some point in 2011, according to federal data.

Children in some 3.9 million households suffered from food insecurity last year, with their families unable to provide them with adequate, nutritious food at times.

Nearly 17 million Americans suffered from “very low food security,” meaning they had to reduce the amount they ate, saying the food they bought did not last and they didn’t have the funds to buy more. They typically found themselves in this situation a few days a month for seven months of the year.

The number of people in this category shot up by more than 800,000 from 2010, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Wednesday. Women living alone, black households and the poor and near-poor were affected the most.

The report comes the day after the department said that a record 46.7 million received food stamps in June. Only 57% of food insecure households said they participate in a federal food and nutrition assistance program.

 

On 31 July, British Newspaper The Guardian reported “700 million Indian people had no power”.

“Thousands of train passengers have been stranded” Link to video

“More than 700 million people in India have been left without power in the world’s worst blackout of recent times, leading to fears that protests and even riots could follow if the country’s electricity supply continues to fail to meet growing demand.”

Power was restored within two days.

Tuesday, August 16  Northern Indias electrical grid

went down again.

Six hundred million people this time, half of the country’s population of 1.5 bn, were without electricity. Fortunately, power was restored by the next day. If the outage had gone into a third day, without electricity to pump gas, food delivery trucks would also have been down and supermarkets would soon have been out of food.

For this very reason, in anticipation of catastrophes like India’s, millions of people, Individuals and small communities all over the world for the last decade or so have been responding to the idea that supermarkets can run out of food.

They have turned to Permaculture, Earth ship construction, generally ‘gettng off the grid’ – one way or another becoming ‘ Preppers or Permies, whatever’’.

Permaculture comes from the combination of permanent agriculture and permanent culture. Permaculture is actually an approach in designing human settlements and perennial agri systems that copies relationships found in natural ecologies. It is a design system for sustainable living and in all aspect of human endeavour. It is a unique green career that leads into what is emerging today as Ecovillages and Ecocities, a return to the ancient Commons and the even more ancient Garden of Eden.

The Chinese are Permaculture masters

AND YOU THOUGHT IT WAS ALL RICE!

WHAT IS PERMACULTURE?

Permaculture is inter-disciplinary, knows no language or religious differences except in how the Master Chef prepares the food!

It means “Food Sovereignty”… the right of all peoples, communities, and countries to define their own agricultural, labour, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances. It includes the true right to food and to produce food, which means that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food and to food-producing resources and the ability to sustain themselves and their societies.

We do not have that.

Almost every western country is vulnerable to the greed and corruption that have left our electricty supply systems worn out, our roads, bridges and all other public infrastructure failing for lack of simple maintenance while the final “Grand Theft’ of the planet’s resources  goes on.

But when the people control the keys to the granary, they discover a new kind of freedom. They also discover the Economic Dimension of Eco Villages. As local groups and communities create their own local scrip currencies and exchange systems, they learn about economist’s deepest secret: money and information are equivalent – and neither is scarce! – Hazel Henderson

ARE ANY WHOLE COMMUNITIES DOING IT?

When the small British mill town of Todmorden, tucked in between Yorkshire and Lancashire, first began installing fruit and vegetable gardens all around the area as part of the Incredible Edible program, it likely had no idea that the novel, yet simple, concept would make the town a foremost inspirational and self-sustaining model of the future.

ANYONE ELSE, LIKE FOR CENTURIES?

51% of Russian agricultural output is home grown – on 7% of the land! When Russias consumer-capitalist economy collapsed, she survived without general starvation (like America in the 30′s) even in the severe depression that followed.

Poverty” is rare in Russia if you define Food Security as not being poor.

SO WHAT IS POVERTY, REALLY?

In the Capitalist world, poverty is the result of an embedded disconnect between mainstream society and those who become ‘unnecessary’ for sustaining its capital growth; people who become the ‘unemployable’, the discarded, those who become ‘the poor’ by definition.

The United Nations defines poverty as a denial of choices and opportunities, even a violation of human dignity.

Poverty means a denial of the basic capacity to participate effectively in society,

Yet possibly these are the very people most suitable for survival.

But I am not talking about ‘the poor’.

Food security is a concept that has evolved in the States during the 1990’s far beyond the traditional focus on the supply of food at the national level” (USAID 1995). The definition adopted by the countries attending the World Food summit of 1996 and reconfirmed in 2002 accepts USAID’s three key concepts:

       i.            food availability for all levels of society, every day

      ii.            food access and

     iii.            food utilization.

However a fourth concept is increasingly becoming accepted; namely,

risks that can disrupt any one of the first three factors (India last month).

Below is a graph of the Baltic Dry Index of total global raw material shipping to manufacturers – not how many ships are available – over the last ten years.

Recovery since the 2008 crash has been only two thirds and the current drop from end December 2012 has only reached 55% below last year, indicating another large economic downturn in the VERY near term – you can see, we are at the same level as 2008 now and the last lead time looks like about eight months.  Do the math.

The self-sufficiency aspect of Community gardens would take the ‘jobless’ stigma away, even make it disappear if the status of creating one’s own food supply became higher than a mere ‘job’ in a workplace where only a fraction of the wealth created there is taken home by the worker.

People do not need ‘a job’ if they can feed themselves – farmers don’t have ‘jobs’ – I’d rather be seen as a farmer than as a jobless bum.

With few exceptions, the concept of sustainable home gardening is not supported beyond very expensive, experimental ‘poverty alleviation’ and nowhere yet is sustainable food security an issue with the middle classes, “Transition Towns” and Permaculture societies notwithstanding.

With infrastructure collapse, particularly food distribution, the entire society is vulnerable.

That’s you Here’re a few tips from Mike, the Health Ranger:

Physical books are good, they don’t need batteries.

Surrround yourself with Garden of Eden tools:
• Family, including pets.
• Dirt (soil).
• Gardening, permaculture, seeds.
• Gold and silver.
• Consciousness, free will, awareness.
• The sun. Warmth and light. Energy for life.
• Liquid water. Perhaps the most miraculous substance in the universe.
• Honeybees, insects and pollinators.
• Sea salt. Minerals. Elements for health.
• Love, compassion, forgiveness, humility.
• Firearms, hammers and other purely mechanical devices that don’t need “firmware” to operate.

HOW THEY SEE US!

As we all “know”, the financial world is approaching an end-point, but the world’s roads and bridges, sewage systems, transport systems and the rest really are failing because no money has been spent on them, and the 99%-ers become more and more vulnerable.

Commonly perceived consequences of the west’s economic ‘adjustment’ now under way include ‘extreme events’ that are not earthquakes nor savage rainstorms, but massive interruptions of infrastructure functions including food distribution that maintain the world’s economies, which we take completely for granted, especially food.

CNNMoney Reported 

More than 50 million Americans couldn’t afford to buy food at some point in 2011, according to federal data.

Children in some 3.9 million households suffered from food insecurity last year, with their families unable to provide them with adequate, nutritious food at times.

Nearly 17 million Americans suffered from “very low food security,” meaning they had to reduce the amount they ate, saying the food they bought did not last and they didn’t have the funds to buy more. They typically found themselves in this situation a few days a month for seven months of the year.

The number of people in this category shot up by more than 800,000 from 2010, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Wednesday. Women living alone, black households and the poor and near-poor were affected the most.

The report comes the day after the department said that a record 46.7 million received food stamps in June. Only 57% of food insecure households said they participate in a federal food and nutrition assistance program.

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