Last week at the grocery store I heard a woman exclaim about the price of celery, "That's ridiculous! I would NEVER pay that much for celery!" I looked at the celery and it was about $1.39 per bunch. A decidedly high price, to be sure. Her words remained with me throughout this past week, as I wondered what she will do as the price of not only celery but all of the other food in the grocery store continues to climb to more and more seemingly ridiculous heights. And I was brought once again to the concept of Food Security.
I have been thinking seriously about Food Security for about a year now, ever since I was introduced to the concept of peak oil through the writings of James Howard Kuntsler and his cohorts. Peak oil is the concept that half of the oil that the earth has to offer us is gone, up in smoke you might say. And not only that, but the second half is going to be considerably more expensive to retrieve (in real dollars, energy costs, and ecological degradation) than the first half. (Think tar sands, and fracking about which you surely have heard recently, not to mention the endless Middle Eastern wars) Because of this greater expense life will change, even right here in the good ole US of A.
I do not pretend to know what kinds of changes will take place or when, although higher prices of pretty much everything are sure to be part of the scenario. But, my typical reaction to the possibility of approaching hard times is to think about food. And, considering the commentary of the woman in the grocery store, my thoughts about Food Security have been on the increase.
Food Security can have a variety of meanings depending on whether one is speaking of a nation, a city or an individual, and I only plan to make suggestions on the individual level. Basically, it entails having a greater level of control over your ability to eat. You may have read my previous post concerning this subject (click here). For an individual, thoughts on Food Security will vary depending on where you are geographically and where you are psychologically. For example, if you live in an apartment in the city and eat all of your meals at restaurants, you probably don't have a high level of food security, especially if you do not even know how to prepare your own meals. But, anyone has the ability to raise their level of food security. The person in the previous example could purchase a cookbook and cook a meal or two at home each week. Voila!! Improved food security!
Whatever level of Food Security you have right now, you might consider notching up just a little. The great thing about improving your Food Security is that even if peak oil is a farce, nothing goes wrong, and prices drop again, you will be eating fresher food, learning new skills, and perhaps getting lots of exercise out of the deal.
Exercise?? How's that? Well, for my family, as you already probably know, food security involves improving our ability to grow food on our little piece of land. We have started a humanure compost pile, we have a greenhouse full of open polinated plants, and we have had two blowout days of planting. The first of these was a day in which we planted twenty trees (some of them on the back of the property), and on the second we moved about thirty berry canes, replanted several trees, and re-potted about 104 tomato plants. All of this involves a great deal of lifting, digging, and even walking (back and forth through the saddle between the house and the back of the property). Hence, exercise!
So take a little time and think about where you currently are on the Food Security continuum, and think about what you need to do to move up just a single level. Then make use of the Nike principle and JUST DO IT!