Garden in July

What systems are you dependent upon?

And how dependent are you on them?

These are a couple of questions you should ask yourself and try to answer honestly. Even if you don’t like the answer. If you ask yourself these questions and figure out which systems that you and your family are reliant upon, then you know where to start working if you would like to be less dependent on them and more dependent on yourself. In other words, be more self-sufficient and self-reliant.

So what systems are you dependent on? If you are like most of us, you are dependent on most, if not all, of them to one degree or another. That isn’t anything to worry about though. Not really. What is more important is how much you are dependent on them. For a list of The Systems, go back to What Are The Systems and take a look. Read through them and jot down which ones you rely on. It’s not a 100% complete list so if you can think of anymore, write those down too. And maybe comment on that post letting me know what I might have missed.

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Self-Reliance in the Pantry – Part Two

Long-Term Food Storage

Packaging rice in jars - Long Term food storage
Packaging Rice

So sticking with growing your pantry, I wanted to talk a little bit about long-term food storage. To me, this includes the food that lasts longer than the average canned food shelf life of 1 or 2 years. Stuff like beans, rice (you know, the classic survival stores), grains, lentils – essentially, dry goods. Properly stored, this stuff can last for years. And then we move onto freeze-dried food. The big #10 cans of this and that, that last 15, 20 or 30 years. Brands like Provident Pantry, Auguston Farms and Mountain House. That’s your REALLY long-term stuff.

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Self-Reliance in the Pantry – Part One

In one of last week’s posts, The Intertwining Systems, we saw how precarious our food system really is. I showed you just some of the points of failure and how if just one of the many systems that prop up our food system were to fail, it could fall apart.

Pantry - Canned foods
This pantry needs to grow!

So what are some things we can do about it?

For one, we can start storing our own food. I’m not talking about going out and buying 120 cases of military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). I mean buying a little extra of what you already use on a regular basis. Just a little at a time. If your family likes canned clam chowder, the next time you buy a can, buy

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How would you do with a winter storm like Juno?

Blizzard 2015!

Blizzard from Staten Island Ferry
View from Staten Island Ferry

We talk about lessening our dependence on the collective systems here and for good reason. The systems are not always there functioning as they’re supposed to. The less dependent we are on them, the better our lives are.

Buried_Cars_in_Cambridge
You’re not going anywhere!

Look at the images below, some found on Twitter, with hashtag #Blizzard2015. This is what happens when the masses think that they can always go to the grocery store to pick up this or that and the store will always have food and other essentials. So why keep anything like that in the home? If we need it, we can just go get it. Think again.

Then, the nightly news guy says, “this is going to be the big one, go out and get some food and water.”

Everyone panics and buys everything they can at the grocery store.

Here is the aftermath:

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The Intertwining Systems

The Food Distribution System and the Energy System

Food System - ProduceToday I was thinking about our food system here in America. Of course, it’s the same the world over. Our food system is a very precarious system indeed, relying on other systems to keep it functioning the way it should.

I’m not saying that it relies on only three other systems, but let’s pretend that’s true. Now, imagine our food system is a three-legged stool. With all three legs planted snuggly on terra firma, everything is fine. The stool sits there securely and functions as, well, a stool. The seat of the stool is our food system, and the three legs, let’s call them oil, just-in-time inventory and supply. There is a lot more to it than that, but this will suffice for the point. Now, imagine that one of those legs breaks, just snaps in two. What happens to the stool? Here on Earth, the stool, now being unevenly supported by only two legs, will fall over.

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