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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Leduc Catlin

Food, Farmers, & Freedom -- Part 3: What You Can Do

“In two generations, we’ve lost the ability to feed ourselves.”

Stephanie Taylor

What do you eat?

How do you prepare it?

How much do you consume?

This isn’t a weight loss quiz.

These are the questions asked by “business major turned homesteader,” Steph Taylor, in her eye-opening introductory course called the Family Food Security Plan Workshop, offered this past weekend by the Canadian social media platform, Librti.

For $38US, it was too timely to pass up.

Answering these basic questions and doing the math is the first step to preparing for up to 12 months of food supply.

You don’t have to be politically savvy to see that food prices are going up.

Way up.

And even a cursory understanding of farmer protests around the world should have you raising an eyebrow at how this might impact you and your food sources.

And then there’s the possibility of lockdowns returning that might further prohibit access to basic necessities — especially if you don’t comply with the government’s Covid coercion plan.

If you’re interested in heading down the rabbit hole of food security and why this is happening, start with my last 2 blogs, HERE and HERE.

Today, I’m focusing simply on solutions.

Whether you’re concerned about the cost of food and the breakdown of supply chains, the creation of a divided society based on C-19 vax status, or the economic crash predicted for next month, this information should be a high priority in your household.

We don’t know what’s coming next, but we do know that much of the uncertainty we’re living inside of seems beyond our individual control.

So there’s never been a better time to do what we can to empower ourselves and our communities.

As Stephanie said at the start of her 2-hour online course, the intention was to leave people, “feeling confident, secure, and able to pivot with whatever happens in the world.”

As it happens, preparing for armageddon is actually healthy, saves you money, and can be fun.

Since it’s August already, it’s too late to plant a vegetable garden if you haven’t done so already.

But most of us can access farmers’ markets, and if we can’t, we can connect with others who can access them — and connecting with others is an essential part of food security.

Stephanie also suggests looking for local U-picks, food co-ops, and even fruit shares, and doing this with a buddy or group of friends or neighbours.

One idea is to buy in bulk for the best prices, and learn to preserve.

As a previously urban girl with a self-proclaimed black thumb, she promises that anyone can learn simple food prep and storage skills that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers had.

Yes, it can be intimidating at first, but preserving is already something we do with our fridge, freezer, and pantry.

Canning and dehydrating are just the next steps to ensure that our families have enough real food to eat this winter — and I don’t just mean pickles and salsa.

It turns out, you can can raw and cooked vegetables, and even meats and water!

As a mother of 2 young children, Steph loves the speed and convenience of opening a jar of homemade soup or stew that’s ready to eat any time of year.

And when we bulk buy directly from our local farmers and mills, we can also save a lot of money.

She recommends buying any leftovers at the market and making a deal with farmers to do this every week.

We can also go to a local mill and buy a palette of grain or flour to share with our group.

Getting to know our local farmers is key.

Like everywhere in life, building trust is the foundation of any good relationship.

“Farmers are…the gateway to creating your own store.”

While I’ve dabbled with water bath canning for vegetables, serious canners use pressure canning for safe and effective canning of just about everything.

This too can be a bit daunting, but Stephanie assures us that this, too, will pass.

She also recommends picking up real cast iron for cooking on open fires, and offers other useful tips like picking up glass lids at yard sales.

My biggest surprise came in her pitch for her e-book on foraging.

Stephanie gets all her smoothie ingredients from the great outdoors!

(Of course I ordered the book.)

As an urban only child, the biggest shift for me isn’t the meal planning, canning, dehydrating, or even foraging — I’ve been doing most of these for several years.

The biggest change is moving to a community mindset.

It may seem like a sizeable shift for those of us who’ve build an independent existence in the urban jungle.

But the times, they are a-changing.

We will need new paradigms to meet the demands of what’s ahead, and making authentic new connections is never a waste of time.

My friends and I have bemoaned the state of the world with its Walmarts, Costcos, and Amazon global dominance.

And while we may not single-handedly be able to take down these giants and reignite the small, family-run business, we can and do vote with our dollars.

As a bonus to a nutritious, inexpensive, and secure food source, creating your own store can actually change the world — if we do it together.

Like Stephanie said in her info-packed workshop, “Vote for the world you want.”

LibrtiLearn will be repeating this workshop on August 28th.

You can register HERE.

And then you can grab Steph's aforementioned e-book, Foraging Edibles Outside Your Door, and if you want, sign up for the next workshop, Preserving the Harvest.

I’ll be gathering my new neighbours for that one.

It seems like a good step to secure my sovereignty — with food and within myself.

We may not have say over what may come, but we always have agency in how we respond.


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