The 1942 Ava Produce reprint (Douglas County Herald 4/6/17), FOOD FOR FREEDOM, stirred my heart. Contrast the spirit of those simpler times to now, to the exhausted state of Ozark farmland, and to the decline of contemporary farm culture. Sadly, the deliverance of American agriculture into corporate control, is all but complete.
Through so-called efficiency, convenience and science we have tried to escape the sweat and sorrow promised in Genesis, only to discover that we have foresworn love, and excellence, health and joy in the process. We, the People, have lost the capacity to independently feed ourselves, no longer know how, and no longer understand why we should. The loss of our vital adult capabilities and the loss of agrarian skills and heirloom seeds, hard-won over untold centuries, have moved in lockstep with the decline of our country and the loss of individual Liberty. The temporal conveniences and material rewards we have gained in this trade-off, whatever they may be, must be weighed against the cost.
There are no adults left in the room. Few, if any, of our children have a chance, as things presently stand to escape a life of perpetual juvenility and arrested emotional development. We’ve become a nation of children raising children and the distractions of hyper-individualism (self-possession) have driven us to the point of mass paralysis. The antidote is the wholesale restoration of independent food and energy control to the civilian population.
To regain ownership of these vital capacities is the greatest unifying goal we can imagine. We should know how to healthfully feed ourselves, know where our food comes from, and who grew it in every detail, just like our pioneer ancestors, except with far humbler respect for this fragile and crowded, wayside planet.
Food Freedom comes first! There is no substitute. It covers everything. American civilization is only three meals deep, and not a single county within a thousand miles can independently feed its own people, much less help our teeming cities. Why?
American food suppliers have been offshored and processing separated from production at every level. A just-in-time delivery pipeline is the reason why we live in a vast fescue desert populated with export cattle instead of a vibrant, diverse and food sufficient Ozarks. According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) there are only two to three days of food supply for some 6.2 million Missourians on any given day. It is the same for Arkansas and for every stat around us. Check it out for yourself. Two to three days.
The strategic destruction of our independent national food base, as government policy, has occurred nowhere else on earth. The Ava Produce ad calls to us from a time when naked greed was still hidden and despised, not celebrated: “It’s up to you farmers to produce food for freedom. We stand ready to serve our nation by serving the farmers of this community.” Granted, many will read these words and shrug, unmoved, bored, and clueless. Why? Because we, personally and communally, having lost our independent food freedom cannot admit to the terrible and ongoing degradation of our integrity.
Like it or not, we are inextricably bound together in a common fate and our remaining hope is to come together with a common response. We’ve got to sing together, in tune, from the same song sheet. We have got to learn how to independently feed ourselves again. Can we drop our justifications and excuses to squarely face the question “What have we become?” I sincerely hope so. We have no chance otherwise.
Localization of all the necessities for the survival of rural communities stands, at best, at the limits of practical possibility. It won’t be easy. Maybe we can’t do it. I don’t know, but while precious time yet remains, taking up the yoke of a peaceful process of localization has the decisive argument in its favor, namely there is no alternative.
There is no alternative to resettlement, and this means a steep winding down of our love affair with the glittering temptations of our military-industrial economy. A locally managed descent, watershed by watershed, a so-called “soft landing,” is our best hope against the implosion that will come when the blind drive for growth hits the proverbial fan. People call this winding down strategy the “Transition,” meaning, transition from the excesses and violence of global Empire to a locally self-governed, planet-friendly era.
Wishful thinking, perhaps, and opinions vary widely, but the descent track for the Ozarks would broadly revolve around the introduction of valuable non-genetically modified oil see, protein and carbohydrate crops sufficient to feed entire watershed populations. This introduction, based upon a massive effort to restore our soil fertility, along with a quantified nutrient base (in acres needed per consumer), guides the Farm Resettlement Congress 20 Year Plan to restore Food and Energy freedom. Who is going to pay for all this? We are. Stop plotting to use other people money. It all comes from own pockets in the end, anyway. What we’ve already lost, in terms of personal integrity, freedom, and stature as a people, is incalculable.
Obviously, the topic is ripe for public discussion, and localized planning can only proceed from the unique needs, assets, leadership and community history of each participant watershed. The question, “What if we don’t have 20 years?” is also a good one, and fit for subsequent exploration on its own. Correspondence on any of these points is invited for a more in depth discussion if you intend to act upon the information.
Food Freedom comes first! It’s not someone else’s job. No one is coming to fix this mess. So let’s quantify the yearly intake of our personal food and energy consumption. Our local food-deficit-to-population ratio, measured by the number of acres each crop and product requires, means restoring some 16,400 acres, or so, in the several watersheds that traverse Douglas County and beyond. An acre and a half, to two acres per person is a ball park figure, including fruit and fiber, and requires intensive cultivation, with greatly restored soil vitality, and high levels of human productivity.
However small, your involvement makes a difference. Stop killing the soil with poisons, already! Stop buying imported Frankenseed (GMO) cooking oils! A 10 by 100 foot strip of sesame oil seed (or peanut, or sunflower) meets the yearly cooking needs for a family of four. If you can grow crab grass you can probably grow sesame. You can home process fresh oils on demand with a table top grinder. If most of us did this, it would mean more than a million dollars a year in net savings for Douglas County. Trans Ozarks, the sum is a hundred times more. Vote for the first politician who will champion such practicable alternatives to the top-down mind-control of Big Ag and Big Pharma.
Farm Resettlement Congress volunteers (journeymen) are active in several regional watershed basins and look forward to hearing from you. We are but the latest to join forces with the many descendants of pioneer families who have never given up, who will never stop working to maintain Food Freedom for us all. So take heart. Not all is lost! Better and happier choices for the future have already begun to reappear like the first dogwoods of spring.
Thanks for listening,
White River basin,