Life skills everyone should have before leaving home... - Page 7 - Mothering Forums

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#181 of 183 Old 11-16-2011, 01:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by green betty View Post

Wow, I can't believe I made it through this entire thread and, although there's lots about shopping for and cooking food, there's nothing about producing it! 

 

My perspective is that producing food has been an essential life skill for the vast majority of human history and that we are in a relatively brief bubble of industrial food production which may soon end, or at least end as we know it. My attitude is also at least partially regional, but here in rural Nova Scotia virtually all the families we associate with do some of their own food production through gardening, farming, hunting, fishing, etc. These are complex skills, too--many take years to learn to do well. 

 

Mass-produced food is getting more and more expensive, even as paychecks get smaller, and many crop systems are susceptible to mass disaster (both oranges and bananas are on the brink of crashing already, for example). I sincerely hope I'm wrong that food production will become a vital life skill again within our children and grandchildren's lifetimes, but I sure wouldn't lay any bets. Therefore my 6 year old knows how to compost leftovers, mulch a raised bed, save seeds, use a cloche, cure a squash, etc etc.



I think those things are great skills to learn. However, some of us can't really make nay practical use of them. If I cleared every other bush out of my "garden" (which I can't do, without the permission of the landlords, anyway), I'd have a space about 4' X 12'....which floods whenever it rains, because of the way the land is sloped. One of my neighbours, who has a bigger space, which doesn't flood (we're in an end unit, and there are various issues with that, with respect to the garden plot) has most of her garden space devoted to veggie production in the summer. That creates a fraction of what her family of four needs, and even with a community garden plot (in short supply - I was on the waiting list for two years running), they don't produce even close to half what they eat....probably under a quarter, by her best estimates. I think those are all great skills, but a person needs access to land to make real use of most of them.


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#182 of 183 Old 11-16-2011, 03:03 PM
 
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There are lots of good reasons why someone might not garden--especially in an urban setting--and you've hit on a bunch of them, Storm Bride. And I certainly don't mean to imply that everyone should run out and start homesteading! I feel like we garden a lot, but what we actually produce is definitely less than 10% of our food for a family of 3.

 

I don't think what's most important right now (in general North American culture) is actual food production, but engaging in learning about food production. Depending on circumstance this might include fooling around with different seeds in windowsill pots, countertop composting, indoor/outdoor container gardening, visiting farms and exploring what happens there, buying food from area farmers and teaching yourself some simple preservation methods, helping a neighbour with their garden, reading a gardening memoir, going fishing once in a while... you get the picture.

 

The reason I think it's so important to be engaged in learning  is not because those skills are dead-drop important now, but, I predict, because they will become so in the future. Folks who are modest or amateur gardeners or even those who just read about it will be much better poised to jump into food production if/when they need to.

 

On top of that, I have a strong personal bias towards building a relationship with your food as a fundamental of living, and that happens with such richer dimension if you make a habit of participating in both cooking AND food production. Deobjectify your food! 

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#183 of 183 Old 11-16-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by green betty View Post

There are lots of good reasons why someone might not garden--especially in an urban setting--and you've hit on a bunch of them, Storm Bride. And I certainly don't mean to imply that everyone should run out and start homesteading! I feel like we garden a lot, but what we actually produce is definitely less than 10% of our food for a family of 3.

 

I don't think what's most important right now (in general North American culture) is actual food production, but engaging in learning about food production. Depending on circumstance this might include fooling around with different seeds in windowsill pots, countertop composting, indoor/outdoor container gardening, visiting farms and exploring what happens there, buying food from area farmers and teaching yourself some simple preservation methods, helping a neighbour with their garden, reading a gardening memoir, going fishing once in a while... you get the picture.

 

The reason I think it's so important to be engaged in learning  is not because those skills are dead-drop important now, but, I predict, because they will become so in the future. Folks who are modest or amateur gardeners or even those who just read about it will be much better poised to jump into food production if/when they need to.

 

On top of that, I have a strong personal bias towards building a relationship with your food as a fundamental of living, and that happens with such richer dimension if you make a habit of participating in both cooking AND food productiont. Deobjectify your food! 


All very good points. I'd say I'm only about halfway to where I should be on most of those, but at least my kids know where veggies and fruits come from. *sigh*

 

My last veggie garden was a disaster. I never did seem to have the knack, even as a kid (my mom did garden, and we spent a lot of time on it), but we'll try again next year. The kids love the process! We just need to be a bit more selective...and a bit more proactive about dealing with pests!

 

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