Food Self-Sufficiency Tips

The top winner in MOTHER's Food Self-Sufficiency Competition was the Dan Taylor family of Parthenon, Arkansas. Here are some condensed excerpts from their first prize entry.

| May/June 1977

We are a family of four: Dan (43), Mary Lou (42), Mark (18), and Brad (17). Dan taught chemical engineering in college and Mary Lou was a high school English teacher. We saved our pennies for 10 years and, in March of 1973, bought our 160-acre farm (40 acres of level bottom and 120 acres of rough, hilly woodland) in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. We paid cash for the farm and spent an additional $5,000 for stock and equipment.

Our aim has been and will continue to be the establishment of a means ... for the Taylor family itself to supply its needs for food, energy, and shelter in a manner that's most harmonious with our environment. We believe, if we are to work toward this goal, that we must have an intimate feeling for the true cost of every aspect of our lives.

Our "advanced" economy is based on technology and that technology does a very efficient job of masking the true cost (in depleted resources and damage to the biosphere) that someone or something must sooner or later pay for the food, energy, and shelter we all use.

For example, the food that is so readily available in our society's supermarkets costs so little — only about 18 percent of the average family's budget — that it is frequently taken for granted. So taken for granted, that most of us complain about our nourishment's "high prices" ... when, in fact, that food really costs us only a fraction of its true value.

And why do we enjoy such a bargain? Because supermarket food is produced with massive expenditures of petroleum for energy and for the manufacture of agricultural chemicals. And the earth and sun have invested monumental amounts of energy and other resources in the production of that petroleum over untold millions of years.

By an odd quirk of economic history, however, most of this part of the cost of our food doesn't have to be paid for at the supermarket checkout counter. It just happens to be easy to tap and use millions of years' worth of crude oil and, for the last few decades, those supplies of petroleum have been plentiful. They, therefore, have been bought and sold for a fraction of their true worth.

8/4/2009 1:40:02 AM

No, there isn't any place to hide. And preventing some kind of "big pinch" is going to take the efforts of all-- or anyway most-- of us. And most of a spoiled, greedy, selfish, materialistic society isn't going to make that effort. If I did not believe that some people are more likely to survive a crisis than others, looking around at this mess would leave me too tempted to just lay down and stay stoned until I die.

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Next: April 28-29, 2018
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