Between lockdowns, loss of jobs and income, loss of freedoms, censorship and medical tyranny, prosperous, comfortable life as we knew it, is disappearing very quickly. We are heading into unknown waters. What will the future hold? Will we be ready for uncertainty? Will we survive?
Food scarcity is something the experts have been warning about for the past year as part of a larger global agenda. How do we stay afloat? How do we stay fed and still have enough energy to continue the fight, raise our children and have hope for the future? We must depend on our skills, on each other and even on our traditions. A returning to our roots. Traditional skills will be needed, but where do we start?
Food independence has never been more important. We hear the words "shortages, scarcity, uncertainty, overpopulation, burden on natural resources" etc. But if you have ever grown a garden, you would know there is so much to eat, you end up sharing your bounty with friends, family and neighbors. If everyone grew just some of their own food, there would be plenty for everyone.
War, hardship, financial collapse, these have been repeated throughout history. Each time, the importance of growing our own food has gotten us through. Planting our own vegetables has never been more important. In the past citizens in many parts of the world were required to grow small plots of local crops to ensure survival. During WW1-2, women got together to plant "victory gardens" to play their part in the war effort at home. These small gardens were planted on whatever small plots of land people owned or rented or shared such as a front yard, parks and schools . The local vegetable and herb gardens, orchards, and chicken coops were planted to ensure there wouldn't be a food shortage during hard times and they were meant to lift morale .
Here we are again, humanity is experiencing another evolution and governments are promising food scarcity. The difference this time around however is that governments are not promoting home gardens, in fact, in many instances they are hampering the movement. So it's up to us to make it a priority.
Things are moving so fast and changing daily that it's hard to keep up with all the developments. So much of it is out of our control, but there is much that can be done to ensure our survival through tough times. One of the most important things we can do is to save seeds.
It seems so simple and insignificant, but it is profound. Sometimes planting a garden or even the thought of growing food seems overwhelming. Where to begin? How to start? What kind of commitment does it take? How to fight off bugs? What if I don't have the time?
So instead of setting ourselves up for a project that seems too big or complicated, I suggest just start to collect seeds. This doesn't require more than cutting open vegetables you already buy and setting aside some seeds for your collection.
Every tomato you open has seeds. (Unless it's been bred out of them.) Every eggplant, avocado, zucchini, cucumber, apple, grapes, kiwi, pitaya, guyava, pumpkin, goji, pepper, watermelon, whole beans, grains, lentils, peas, berries, figs, and dates all have seeds or are seeds themselves. Some food can be cut and grown from a piece such as pineapple top, sprouting potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrot tops, celery and lettuce bottoms,, onions, garlic, berry vines, mushroom stems etc. Once these are started, the seeds can be collected from them as well.
Agro companies have been working for years on developing foods without seeds. They have already succeeded in many, such as seedless grapes, avocado, watermelon and bananas. So the sooner we start collecting the better ,before seeds disappear altogether and we are forced to depend on these companies to provide or ration our food.
When the community gets involved, there is sharing, trading and self sufficiency. When this happens there is no need to feel afraid , poor, or underfed.
If you don't have land, use a community garden or grow in pots on a balcony or rooftop. From courses, to videos, forums, intentional communities and more. People are out there and they are sharing information to benefit everyone. All you have to do is plant some seeds, provide the elements, watch them grow, then eat your produce.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Even if you don't plant the seeds , maybe your children or grandchildren will. So collect for them (or with them!) Seeds can stay viable for a long time if dried and stored properly.
You don't have to use an entire vegetable to get seeds. Cut off a small section or save some seeds from the middle such as the juicy part of a tomato or the seeds from the center of a red pepper or pumpkin. Tomato seeds can be rinsed in a strainer and set out to dry. One slice of a zucchini , eggplant, cucumber will provide many seeds. Each time you cut open another, just set a small slice to the side for seeds.
When you remove seeds from a food, clean them from their surrounding flesh and shade dry them. When they are thoroughly dried, store them in an airtight container , such as a glass jar. Label it with a name and date so you'll know in the future what it is and when you harvested it.
If a longtime goes by, such as a year, you can replace old seeds with new. If you don't replace , at least you know you've done the work and collected and some will come up.
New seeds retain more life than older seeds, but they are meant to go to sleep and awaken with water and good conditions. Some seeds have been found after hundreds or thousands of years and been successfully planted.
Once you feel comfortable with food seed collecting, you can try collecting herbal seeds as well. Seeds from herbs can be collected and stored in the same way. Flowers are pollinated by bees, the flowers dry up and then it's time to collect seeds, usually at the end of the summer. A little is all we need so that there will always be wild herbs for the future. We can collect, dry, label, and store herbal seeds such as Queen Anne's Lace, nettle, basil, thyme, hyssop (zatar) , chrysanthemum, ashwaganda, milk thistle, burdock etc.
Even if you want to keep it simple and save only tomato and pepper seeds, for example, another neighbor might save sprouting potatoes, another saves beans, someone else focuses only on herbs, and someone else raises chickens for eggs . Together, many meals are made and shared.
Collecting and storing seeds is a simple way of planning for the future by using what is around you before it disappears. It is a way of putting the power into your hands so that you will always be able to provide food and medicine for your family and your community even in scarce times.
In the end we leave the opportunity open for sharing and caring for one another, teaching our children to plan ahead, how to be self sufficient and food secure in any evolution we may face, be it on a local or global scale.
Inside the A Return To.... Festival, Shoshanna Harrari shares with us a video on gardening at home using many of these same methods showing how easy it is to get started. Talia Shneider melds traditions and gardening and I take you on an herb walk around my farm.
Please join us in the A Return To.... Hanukkah Festival Dec 10-18 to celebrate all that we are returning to............. self sufficiency, intuition, traditions, joy and empowerment.
If you haven't already, please sign up, share with loved ones and we'll see you there!!!