What is food security to you?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by bernado soares, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. bernado soares

    bernado soares Junior Member

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    Hello Fellow Human Beans.
    I would like to pose this question whats food security to you.Lets keep it short and for our politicals lets just keep this as strictly straight forward.I will give an example.
    Food security to me is 80 grams of protien per day and at least 1800 calories and adequate potable water, so that I can continue to subsistance farm,I would want at least 18 months worth of this level of supply in storage so that I could see out bad times or at least work on contingency,I have three children a wife and an immediate extended family of about 8.I would also want to be part of a larger community who also had the same provisioning because quite frankly if food ever becomes insecure(even though it already is)I would prefer to bater with my neighbours than shoot them.
    Whats your idea of security?
    Bernado
     
  2. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Re: What is food security to you?

    G'day Bernado

    In the worst case future scenario - for example, Holmgren's 'lifeboats' (see: https://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/31/51/) - in order for me to feel 'secure' as an individual, I would need enough arable land and potable water to produce enough food, fibre and medicine to sustain a small village - because I am not going to do it alone - into the unforeseeable future.

    I have a few places in Australia marked where the above can be accommodated - semi tropical (good soil and water), elevated, an abundance of bush tucker to survive on until succession planning and development takes over, and most importantly, far enough away from large urban centres to provide an adequate buffer from the majority of the desperate and despairing.

    However I, and the people closest to me, plan to keep working in a manner that lessens the chances of the above scenario happening. Much better Holmgren's 'permaculture' scenario as an outcome:

    Sometimes permaculture is understood as simply returning to traditional patterns from the past and is consequently criticised as impractical. While it is true that older, more traditional patterns of resource use and living provide some of the elements and inspiration for permaculture, it is certainly more than this. One way to understand permaculture is as a post-modern integration of elements from different traditions and modernity that involves continuous change and evolution. This builds on the human experience of continuous change rather than static tradition as well as the more recent emergence of design as a new literacy that allows us to effectively and efficiently respond to and redesign our environment and ourselves... (for the full article, see: https://www.futurescenarios.org/content/view/21/58/).

    Yours in succinct discourse, Marko.
     
  3. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: What is food security to you?

    I see two distinct issues with food security: 1) quantity of food available, and 2) quality of food available.

    For instance, I can currently obtain sufficient quantity of food from the local market all the while knowing that often the quality of that food is suspect (hormone, steroid injected meats, herbicide covered produce grown in synthetic fertilizers, etc).

    So, my idea of food security addresses both issues and involves the design and implementation of an on-site, interconnected system of food production that will see me through year after year in abundance. The abundance goes to others in my community as gift and also as exchange for those food items that are out of the scope of my little farm. For as Mark says, I am not going to do it alone. One can become self-reliant, but not self-sufficient.

    The ability to produce the quality and quantity of food on-site, with said abundance would define food security to me.

    Bill
     
  4. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Re: What is food security to you?

    Enough high quality food for my family today.
     
  5. Dalzieldrin

    Dalzieldrin Junior Member

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    Re: What is food security to you?

    being asked the question today, I come up with the same answer

    asked a few years ago it was more about ensuring the quality of the food - ie. making sure it's free of disease, that's production did not set the scene for an emergent disease
     
  6. sbrokvam

    sbrokvam Junior Member

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    Re: What is food security to you?

    Interesting question! What you guys said, basically - security through community, interdependence, cooperation, etc.

    For me, though, the question is one of scale. How small is the future you see? If you factor in peak oil, the group of people you can meaningfully have community with gets fairly small and very localized. What are your neighbours like? Do you still have the PRI forum for asking questions? :)

    Sharon Astyk writes a lot about 'adapting in place', basically the idea that while many of us may sit around right now pondering and agonizing over what we'd do and where we'd go if (when) things come undone, due to a confluence of factors many (most?) of us will find that in the end our only option is to stay put where we are and make the best of whatever situation we're in.

    I like my neighbours, and can see them pulling together quite well in a pinch. We live in an area where many of the blocks are very large (not mine, though). Our little cul-de-sac backs onto a sizeable park and nearby is a large golf course. The idea of a bit of guerilla gardening has occurred to me (in the park - going after the golf course would be futile... for the time being, at least :). Our area has kind of mediocre soil, though, and the house we've been in for six months now came with a fairly barren wasteland of dry lawn only. While it's nice to get on well with the guy next door, friendly banter over the fence doesn't fill your belly. Getting food production going takes time, especially if you first have to build soil! I'm getting there with mulching, n-fixing trees and green manures, but it's slow going. I'm hoping to set a good example on the street and inspire others to ease up on the edge trimming and stop hauling green waste to the tip. A number of people have chooks and water tanks at least, and everyone seems to have passionfruit, for some reason! My mate across the street, a regular aussie bloke, after witnessing my crusade to turn my home into a mini-farm, has now stopped watering his lawn and has started mumbling about growing some herbs and some fruit trees.

    Hmm... basically, I really need things to plod along in some sort of BAU mode for a quite a while still! :) Projecting into the future is a funny business, though. Who do you listen to? You can go all schizophrenic trying to figure out what to think. I reckon Holmgren's Future Scenarios is among the best attempts at perceiving the whole of the elephant, really.

    Oh, and... I can't do succinct. Sorry.

    Ståle
     
  7. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Re: What is food security to you?

    G'day Ståle

    Very small, bioregional, with occasional continental forays. And factoring in peak oil, if global travel is what one requires, then sail (wind) over a 777 jumbo jetliner (fossil fuel) will be the go. Generally speaking, my future neighbours are drawn from the pool of a true community. We want to live where we are, it is our 'intention' to find better ways of living together - Intentional Community (IC) is the key to a sustainable future (see: https://www.afairerworld.org/_Developmen ... ities.html). Sure, the PRI Forum will exist for as long as people need it. It may not always remain in its current format (i.e. electronic), in fact it could easily revert to an earlier form of communication (carrier pigeon), or morph into something that we only know a little of as yet (biomimicry).

    Interesting author. Thanks for the link. I like the idea of 'living where I am'. Sure there is going to be a lot of 'shuffling' in the future as people continue vie for access to arable land and potable water - and inevitably a lot of the world's population are going to miss out. Let's hope though, that we can learn from our mistakes of the past (Jarod Diamond's Guns Germs and Steel, and Collapse), and make the transition as painless as it can be. In this regard I'm with you, Ståle. Holmgren's Retrofitting the Suburbs (see: https://www.holmgren.com.au/DLFiles/PDFs ... date49.pdf), Newman et al's call for "...thousands of urban ecovillages" (see: https://urban.ecovillage.org/resources/books.shtml), and the Urban Ecology model (see: https://www.urbanecology.org.au/), all provide us with a platform to work with.

    Isn't it amazing what can be achieved through practical leadership and demonstration within one's own neighbourhood? Take one of my immediate neighbours for example: "Bob" (not his real name) was struggling to get anything to grow in our harsh environment 4-years ago, but occasionally we would meet across the (post and wire) fence and he would ask me why our vegetable beds were producing so well. Of course, always eager to take the opportunity to provide encouragement, we would discuss things like the importance of good (balanced, heaps of OM) soil, and other factors such as deep watering (swales), crop rotation, guilds, beneficials, and mulch (moisture retention). Bob's a pretty happy chappy, these days. It doesn't always happen overnight, but it does happen.

    Yes, sometimes the task ahead does seem like it is insurmountable. But I guess that at the end of the day all we can try to do is our best, given any particular circumstances we are faced with. Education (first of one's self) is a key component for future survival, I believe. That is why I love the people in 'our' community - the PRI Forum family - because we are all on this journey together, and each is (almost exclusively) prepared to help each other get to where we want to be.

    No need to apologise (at least to me). I relish the depth of your thought and subsequent expression. With knowledge comes wisdom. Let's share the knowledge and hopefully together we can become more wise.

    Peace to us all, Marko.
     
  8. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Re: What is food security to you?

    A big gun?
     
  9. sbrokvam

    sbrokvam Junior Member

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    Re: What is food security to you?

    Diamond is very good. Re: Collapse, though - someone (can't remember who) pointed out that his examples mostly focus on fairly small, isolated communities. On the other hand, there's been some interesiing discussions of the decline/fall/collapse of Rome, e.g. recently Ugo Bardi on The Oil Drum. Perhaps more relevant for large, complex societies? On the other hand, the advantage of smaller scale examples such as Greenland and Easter Island is of course that their relative lack of complexity makes it easier to see the links between factors such as resource depletion and loss of sustainability.

    I can see that happening, yes. In my home country, 'the land of fjords', the whole west coast is a comb tooth pattern of long narrow fjords cutting eastwards into the landmass, often for forty kilometres or more. There is a huge variation in people's dialects, and these linguistic patterns have been shaped by the landscape, which in times past dictated people's travels and interactions. Dialects change much more if you cross the mountains to the next fjord north or south than if you just cross the fjord you're on. In other words, people used to cross the water all the time, but had a lot less contact with people living in the next fjord north or south, as sailing there was quite far, and walking over the mountain was difficult and time-consuming. They say "the water connects, and the mountains divide".

    However, Dmitry Orlov in a recent piece, "The oceans are coming", discusses some problems that might affect sail transport once sea level rise becomes noticeable, rendering current ports almost unusable. People will be able to sail, of course, but large scale transport of goods will be more difficult than one might imagine. However, I won't try to restate all his points - better just read the original (he's a very good writer, and well worth the time).

    Ståle

    [Edit - I think it might have been Holmgren who said that about Jared Diamond's examples all being of fairly small societies, in a long interview with Jason Bradford, which I found on Global Public Media]
     
  10. bernado soares

    bernado soares Junior Member

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    Re: What is food security to you?

    I have a big gun ,but I can't eat it, so a gun is never food security.
    A gun can be security for your food,but when the ammo runs out it's just a heavy metal stick.
    The only real security comes from the tribe.
    Food security can come from wisdom but without the personal security to act on that wisdom,you can be as wise as you want and still be hungry.
    Food will be secure when it is just food.If we as permacultralist keep putting the food out in the commons eventually we will hit a tipping point where food will lose its comodity value.
    I point you to the interesting program in belo horizonte brazil.Although not ideal it is certainly taking the sting out of the system at least in one city.
    https://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/food- ... ded-hunger
    My good friend Fernado however is a shooter,Bill M once said to him if they come over the fence I will shoot em and in each hole I will plant a fruit tree.Fernado likes that.
    The thing is it's a lot easier to shoot some one than feed them thats why we have wars.It's alot easier to deliver a 500kg payload of TNT than 500 kilos of food.
    I have just finished reading a most excellent book that outlines the struggle of delivering aid in the 3rd world.Three cups of TEa
    https://www.threecupsoftea.com/
    Worth the effort.
    Best wishes Bernado
     
  11. Alex M

    Alex M Junior Member

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    Re: What is food security to you?

    It's also a great deal more profitable. The bullet must be the ultimate consumer item; cheap to mass-produce, and used in vast numbers. An AK47 fires 600 rounds a minute.
    "The AK-47 was one of the first true assault rifles and even after six decades, due to its durability, low production cost and ease of use, the weapon and its numerous variants remain the most widely used and popular assault rifles in the world; more AK-type rifles have been produced than all other assault rifles combined." - Wikipedia

    AK's are cheap-as-chips to buy, and are flooded into Africa from factories in China, Korea and eleswhere. I don't think they use them much for hunting there, but for some they play a genuine security role, ie kill-or-be-killed.

    For me, food security is part of the whole security bundle. Food, water, shelter, hygiene, community, all go together. Merely being able to scrounge a few mean rations from the bushes for today, even on a "sustainable" basis is not what I call security. You might call me an Epicurian Taoist. Life is less convenient without mains electricity or plumbing, but by no means arduous. I don't keep firearms, relying instead on good relations with my neighbours (including the snakes, goannas, possums, spiders, ants, birds, wallabies, etc). We share the environment, treat each other with respect and share information and ideas at occassional (human only) get-togethers (aka nosh-ups) at Tony's outdoor bread/pizza oven, or (the other) Alex's olive grove, or my steel-plate-balanced-on-rocks barbeque. While I'm away someone is keeping an eye on my place and watering the trees. Sadly, none of us is self-sufficient, food wise, so food security involves access to a small supermarket and market garden in town, 40km away. This brings reliable vehicles into the mix, and a ready supply of fuel.

    Good size rain water tanks are essential to my model of food security, as well as plenty of firewood. I make compost when I can, both by raking large leaf heaps for slow compost, and occassional thermophilic piles. This, and manure from neighbours' animals will contribute to future food growing.

    I should include tools. Good solid, well maintained tools are essential to producing food. I mostly use and recommend Australian made Cyclone garden tools. This sounds like an advertisement, but the Chinese get enough of my money, and Cyclone shovels, spades, hoes and rakes are a joy to use, and I know they will last a very long time. My galvanised Willow brand watering can is older than I am, and will probably outlast me. A good axe will help keep the firewood up to the stove for cooking and heat, and chopping wood is good exercise and promotes appetite.

    "By living in accordance with nature, one is also leading a life of virtue. Thus, a virtuous life in accordance with nature is a happy life." - https://ancienthistory.about.com/library ... kas4d1.htm
     
  12. castanea

    castanea Guest

    One issue might be that desperate folks will storm you to take your food, so unless you have a walled compound and a militia to defend it, it's better to teach your neighbours how to grow a bit too, and barter and share. I have no stomach for shooting folks, so would rather teach my neighbours how to grow stuff. We have lots of walnuts and a few sweet chestnut, lots of tree fruits, and enough land for fuel wood ...but I'm getting old for large scale vegie gardening. I can grow enough for us, and barter fruits with the neighbours. I've got one neighbour who didn't garden at all who now has a producing apple tree, and I might be able to interest them in raspberries. Raspberries need sawdust mulch here, in this climate, but they burn wood and have lots of sawdust from cutting it up. If they will save the sawdust and make rows behind the house, I might be able to interest them in a few "extra" raspberry plants I have, grin. They have room for a cherry tree too, so you never know....
     

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