The U.S. has been giving away a lot of food in recent years.
So much food, in fact, has America given away that its own emergency food reserves are shockingly low.
Higher density living also removes at a further distance from land they can collectively use to grow enough food to survive.
GMO food crops, which have been “leaving the reservation” and mixing with surrounding crops, have often been designed to not provide new seeds for the next planting season.
I feel like it would be important for me to start saving and trading food seeds, keeping heirloom seeds. This is something that I’ve felt even stronger after hearing Vandana Shiva speak about the global food supply, and seed exchanges.
Another string to weave here is the problematic notion of the Hundred-Mile Diet. For large cities, I can’t imagine there would be enough food in 100 miles, but what about a smaller city like Olympia?
I once imagined a circular route, serviced by transit, around a city. The entire circuit would be related to community plots, p-patches.
This seems like an important design constraint for a city thinking about itself. The ecological footprint of the residence would balance land use so that there would be some significant reservation of land for cultivation. A city should consider the value of planning for providing local food resources.
Another thread related to this is the cost of fuel. If there is a significant decline in availability of oil-based fuel, then growing switch grass or some other plant resource could become an essential, strategic use for cultivated land. Municipalities would be required to mediate energy supplies in an entirely new way.
What is the state of localized planning for such contingencies? Sure, it probably seems one step from collecting guns and building an underground shelter, but doesn’t this kind of planning also meet the needs for any disaster?
I’m having a reaction to my own words here. I’m thinking about “being ready” and “being prepared” and having visions of Boy Scouts, uniforms and para-military training … not my ideal for what I imagine, but it’s a possible direction people would go.
When Katrina hit, I thought very seriously about what it would mean to get trained for disaster response work. Seems like that would be a worthy and important set of skills for a community to acquire and keep.
These are a bunch of threads which I’ve not completely woven together as I’ve written this, but it does seem importantly connected to me.
On a similar note, I see that there’s an article at The Olympian about local food growers, “Call goes out for local growers“:
Local growers are pulling together to see if they can help keep food bank shelves stocked and feed a growing number of low-income people.
Update: Apparently, the discussion of switch grass was jump started by its inclusion into the SOTU speech, and there’s some discussion of the possible cronyism in this event over at Grist.