Our time has come?

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Our time has come?

Post: # 293690Post bonniethomas06 »

Hello, bonniethomas06 here, back from the dead (again).

With all of this craziness that is going on, my first thoughts after panic buying compost and seeds, was of this lovely forum. I want to stop well short of implying that this horrible crisis is a good thing in any way - it definitely isn't, but all of those years of growing my own and being 'ish (with your support) makes me feel a bit more confident about facing any food related difficulties that are coming up.

I've been thinking about the fact that in some ways, this potentially lean period of who knows how long was actually what I wanted once. All this producing my own food was very satisfying, but ultimately a bit disheartening. I'd lovingly pick slugs off carrots, keep them watered and weeded and cossetted for months, only to go to the supermarket and find they were being sold for 40p a bag.

I'd grow soft fruit, pruning it in winter, keeping it weeded, mulched, watered, netted - only to find in the budget supermarkets, you could buy an enormous bag, frozen, for a few quid. Same for potatoes, cabbages - just about everything really.

The UK food system felt so gratuitous and wasteful and I felt like my efforts were some kind of unnecessary, quaint indulgence. I used to make chutneys and pickles and preserve things, when I had no real need, since I could easily buy fresh asparagus in November or sweetcorn cobs in February at the supermarket if I really wanted. Buoyed up on the middle class bucolic orgy that is River Cottage, I had this ideal of living off the land. I kidded myself that if the 'worst happened', I'd be knee deep in my own organic food and I could smugly watch the masses scramble over the last box of potato waffles, preparing some Nigel Slater recipe whilst drinking my own organic cider.

Now after just a week or so, I can see that it is only when you have the luxury of choice that you would chose to be in that situation. In fact, when Andrew went to the shops yesterday to try and pick up some fresh fruit and veg before what looks like an inevitable shutdown, it was a biblical situation where there was literally nothing fresh or frozen to buy. We are lucky to have quite a healthy store cupboard situation at the moment, but it's frightening and I feel vulnerable. That we might run out of food, or more realistically that society will show it's ugly side when resources get scarce.

Also, I can see the irony of the whole 'Self-Sufficent' idyll. Sure, it might be useful to relieve the burden on producing for those who can't, if some of us had our own supplies of veg in the garden, but I am kidding myself if I think we are truly ever self-sufficient. If there isn't water in the taps, people to deliver animal food and bedding, compost at the garden centre, seed suppliers, electricity, rubbish collection, sewerage services - things would soon collapse. What if we have a garden full of vegetables and some desperate person or people decide to help themselves? How would we stop them?

If the most vulnerable in society are hungry, I guess we will all be. My heart goes out to all those who have empty cupboards and who can't get supplies. We donate money to a food bank every month anyway, but I really hope the government puts a scheme in place to get groceries to food banks before they hit supermarket shelves.

That said, if society manages to keep relatively 'together', a well-stocked veg patch could mean the difference between a few more nutrients and fiber and I suppose, a more enjoyable existence. I've kicked things off in the garden and I'm planning on making it my priority from now on.

Very long rambling post, sorry. Don't even know what my point is, other than thank goodness I have a distraction from the horror which also results in buckets of vegetables. Does anyone else feel like this?
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Re: Our time has come?

Post: # 293691Post Green Aura »

It's a tough time Bonnie, and one that will test the mettle of a lot of individuals and communities. Try not to get too down-hearted and despondent though. We are, as you pointed out, in a lot better situation than many. Don't forget that we're "ish" here, no one is trying to be wholly self-sufficient, just doing what we can.

Where I might disagree with you is that growing, cooking, fermenting, preserving etc is ever a waste of time - even if it is cheaper in the supermarket. To get anything even approaching the quality of stuff you do yourself means shopping in posh, high end stores that know how to charge for what they sell - and in truth it's often disappointing even then. Assuming they have anything in stock these days!

In terms of fresh veg, have you got any dried chickpeas or lentils or sunflower seeds etc. Soak them for 24 hours then put them in a sprouter, rinse and drain once or twice a day - 3-4 days will give you tons of sprouts and the kids can help you grow them if they're big enough yet? I haven't found a way or producing near instant fruit yet though, sorry :lol:

All this will calm down soon, with hopefully not too high a toll on the population. All you can do in the meantime is make sure you and yours are kept as safe and well as possible. Get baking, growing and it'll all be over. :grouphug:

The hardest bit for me is feeling like I can't help others who are struggling because of this flipping self-isolation business. Anyway I've taken the plunge and signed up to become a Red Cross volunteer. I'm not entirely sure what it entails - it may be something as simple as delivering shopping to folks who can't get out, and you only "work" in your locality. I may never be called to help but I'm here if needed. That makes me feel a bit better.

In the meantime I've just made 10 pots of carrot and ginger chutney. :lol:

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Our time has come?

Post: # 293692Post Flo »

Bonnie I come from the generation of war babies where our parents and grandparents were proud to be able to do all the things that you have done in your time. It was the accepted norm that you produced what you could and resorted to the shop afterwards. My toddler dressers were ones cut down from dresses that my mother wore as a teenager. The blankets and sheets in my doll's pram were cut down from those which had been used in my pram. Granny and mother were dab hands at making do and mending. I didn't feel deprived from not having shop bought stuff. Eventually mother married me step dad who was a tenant farmer. Seed saving was practised - he saved seed for the next years wheat, oats and barley crops. We had a "tool shed" which as the repository for every spare nut, bolt, screw and such like. There'd "be one in there somewhere".

When I had children, I knitted and he sewed (well his mother was a seamstress and his brother worked in Savil Row). They were often second hand roses though. Toys came new was the only rule there was. Not that there were a lot of toys. All of the kids (my two and the two step children) have some form of gardening ability. Only one has inherited the sewing gene and none of them can knit. But there was always the what can we do for ourselves theme - paper rounds, Saturday jobs.

Stepson and myself, we garden. Looks like one grandson may carry on the trade. But if push comes to shove, the family will be able to look after themselves in some ways without going to the shop first. There's one that won't like the change but will be able to do it. All in all, it's what you know that you can do which will help you through whatever is going to happen next.

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Re: Our time has come?

Post: # 293695Post ina »

I was back at work today, and on the way home I thought this is almost a situation as it was after the war, and then for decades in the GDR. You always had a bag with you when you were out; if you passed a shop, you went in just in case they'd got something in, and if you saw a queue you joined it, even if you didn't know what you were queuing for! So on the way home I popped into two Coops, and the health store. Got some of what I'd been looking for, but not all, so try again tomorrow. (Highly important - decaf coffee!!!)

And I think this year I really have to make an effort to produce more stuff in the garden. I never have a problem getting rid of surplus, but this surplus will be more important this year. Should my employer decide to close temporarily after all (at the moment we are "essential", i.e. we are bringing in money), I'll hopefully get round to doing a lot of mending etc. The only problem will be not being able to go and get the paint I need for the shed and bench, and the fence as welll while I'm at it... :mrgreen:
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Re: Our time has come?

Post: # 293696Post Weedo »

One of the things that I like about this forum is the innovation if ishers - following the lead I have begun rummaging through the pantry and freezer for materials, converting them into meals and then freezing the results - e.g the frozen tomatoes (originally destined for sauce), zuchini (corgette), frozen herbs, frozen mushrooms, dried grains etc. all in with frozen chook bits in the slow cooker = 6 meals.
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