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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Monday, August 2, 2010

How did we fail?

My daughter asked me a question yesterday and I couldn't answer her.  She wanted to know how to figure up and write down all the things she would need for a 6 months supply of groceries and why she would want to have a grocery stockpile in the first place.  I told her I needed to think about it first and then I could explain it to her.  Ever since our outing I've thought about what she asked.  I kept asking myself several questions. 

How is it that in only two or three generations we have gone from a nation of people mostly self-reliant to being dependant on manufacturers and credit?  How is it that since the time of WW1 when almost every household had a backyard garden and never considered using credit; we are now a nation of people with thousands of dollars debt and a backyard garden is a rarity? 

Why is it that my garden harvest consists of a few tomatoes with a sort of cucumber thingie and

if I want fresh vegetables I get them in packages like this?

Why is it that I have 20 dozen canning jars still in boxes but

my grocery stockpile looks like this?

How is it we have forgotten to teach our children and grandchildren the importance of stocking up?  My grandmother would be appalled to see what's in my kitchen cabinets.  Her mother (my great grandmother) would probably have thought I was either extremely rich or terribly lazy.  Don't get me wrong, people bought can goods back then but it was only for things they either couldn't grow themselves or couldn't find while foraging. 

As a group, we have failed to teach our children the importance of staying out of debt and keeping a supply of groceries.  In our ancestor's time, the garden was planted, everything that grew was preserved, and grandma hoped it would be enough to last for a whole year until harvest time again.  How did she know how much to store?  She stored all she could get!  Even with a city backyard garden people preserved a lot of food back then.  One neighbor might have abundance of tomatoes so she traded with someone who had an abundance of cucumbers.  Grandma would also have preserved enough foods that she could donate to families when there was a need.

People didn't plan their meals around what to buy.... they planned meals based on what was preserved the year before and stored in the pantry.  One year there might be an abundance of beets so meals had lots of beets and another year they had lots of green beans so that was on the table most often.  Meals were dependant on what was abundant.  People didn't plan meals around a weekly meat purchase either, they used what they had.

Hmm.... how to teach a young person what to stock for a 6 months supply and why.  I don't think it should only be for 6 months, it should be for a year.  Why?  Well because what is bought in season now won't be in season again for a year.  Unless it grows on a shorter cycle.  Ok, it's true we can get strawberries in the middle of a January snow storm and oranges in August but that's not when strawberries or oranges are cheapest.  

If my readers don't mind, over the next few posts I'm going to be teaching my daughter how and why to have a year's worth of foods stored away. I'm hoping that other young people will find the information useful too.  She will have to purchase what she needs herself but I can help with the preserving of fresh foods.  If I'm really lucky, my daughter will come to understand the importance of having a backyard victory garden.  Victory over debt garden.  Hmm.... I wonder how long it will take that phrase to make it's way around the internet?

Yes, I can tell you how it is I have so many canning jars and nothing in them.  I got too busy as a professional quilter to be frugal.  It was easier to just spend the money I was earning.... to buy what I needed.... so I could keep working..... to buy more of what I needed.  Thank goodness slowing down has given me the free time to be frugal again. 


Anonymous said...

We believe that you should can, dehydrate, bottle, store up for two years. I do not have 2 years stored but I do have about a year. There will come a day when the stores will not have the food we need and we will HAVE to provide for ourselves. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints....look up the website for food storage guidelines. Cindy N. UT

Anita Estes said...

Cindy, would you please email me privately? estes anita at bellsouth dot net I have a question I'd like to ask about your personal food storage.

Laurie said...

After the last Hurricane in our area I overheard a woman complaining that she was out of food and where was the government to help us? After 3 DAYS! Only 3 days supply in her home? Then thinking that the government was going to provide for her and her family. We really need to have a supply on hand of easily fixed food for those hard times.

Annie said...

Growing up we never ran out of anything. My mother had a whole wall of shelves and she kept it stocked weekly. It was not uncommon to have 8-10 of everything. This was passed down to me - yes when my kids were younger we never ran out of anything either - good thing I have a lot less kids!!! As my kids have grown and left I am having a very hard time getting out to the habit of buying and stocking. I have gotten it down to at least one extra of everything. Can you imagine if I came from a familly who did garden and can???

Anita Estes said...

Annie, I totally understand the buying too much and cooking too much for one person. Thank goodness I can freeze the extra cooked foods and when I really have way too much stored away, I give it to the local food bank so it doesn't go bad.

Anita Estes said...

Laurie, in my neighborhood everyone believes the government is responsible for feeding them and putting a roof over their heads. Many of my neighbors live in subsidized housing and get food stamps. Not one that I know of keeps more than a few groceries in the house.