Late last year, a friend asked me if I thought that the push to a more self-sufficient lifestyle, spurred by the onset of a global pandemic, was just a fad. That once things returned to “normal”, would people give away their chickens and turn their gardens back into grass.
This, of course, came on the heels of a seed shortage and a time where it became harder to source chickens for their property. Oh – and let’s not forget the perceived shortage of goods supplied to us via the industrial food supply chain.
I hope not.
Every time there is some sort of crisis, there is an urge to go back to a simpler way of living, a way of life that is less dependent on our government, on the food sources that we have grown accustomed to. After all, the history of the modern concept of a “supermarket” is a concept that is still less than 100 years old.
Think back to the victory gardens that started popping up during WWI and came more into focus during WWII. People can’t control the war (or the pandemic) but they can control their food. While the victory gardens helped to make sure there was ample food for our troops, there was also a sense of comfort in not having to rely on someone else to feed your family.
For almost all of us, farming is in our blood. In my case, in particular, the majority of my ancestors were documented farmers going back at least 300 years. There is something so right about putting your hands in the earth, toiling away, eating seasonally. It’s something that so many people have gotten away from in our current society.
My hope is that more and more people realize the benefits of producing at least a small portion of their own goods. Not only is it better on our environment, but it’s also better on our bodies. Eating seasonally is how we’ve eaten for hundreds of thousands of years.
Self-sufficiency isn’t just learning to grow your own produce, or raising some chickens for eggs, it’s about learning to do on your own. I think that so often, we just wait for others to do for us.
There will be people who will reduce their self-reliance as time passes and step back into our modern food system. However, for the majority of us, the road to self-sufficiency isn’t a road that was paved by the pandemic. It was a road that was paved by the almost invisible pull towards a better way of life, in our minds, for our family.
A push for just something more.