February 11, 2014
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile
I’ve recently read about a program in California whereby inmates at San Quentin state prison plant organic gardens within the prison’s walls:
It’s an incredible irony that, in doing so, these convicted felons are achieving a level of resilience and security that many ‘free’ people on the outside have never realized.
Right now most people are totally reliant on the big system for basic necessities. Just ask any child where our food comes from– the grocery store, of course.
Little thought is given to the often thousand mile journey from field to fork. We simply show up and expect shelves fully stocked with food (or more appropriately, ‘food-like substances’).
We fuel our vehicles by going to the gas station. Again, very little thought is given to the rigor involved in extracting oil off the coast of some tinpot dictatorship, shipping it to a faraway refinery, and ultimately bringing it to the gas pump.
We flip the switch and the lights come on without regard for the complexities of power generation and transmission that start with pulling coal or uranium out of the ground.
We don’t give much thought to any of this because the system has been carefully refined over the decades. And for the most part it works.
Because of this success, we’ve grown to completely depend on it. Few people even know how to change their oil anymore.
On one hand, this is a remarkable achievement. Freed from the burden of growing our own food and fetching our own water, we have more time to specialize in what we do best.
On the other hand, there are serious vulnerabilities in this giant, complex system. We see this every time there is a natural disaster, weather anomaly, or spike in oil prices.
We can also see the cracks forming with the surge in pesticide-resistant ‘superbugs’, instances of major food contamination, and infrastructure failures (anyone remember last year’s Superbowl?)
But perhaps the greatest vulnerability is that this entire system– food, energy, the money supply, etc.– is ultimately controlled by a handful of people. As George Carlin said, “It’s a big club. And you ain’t in it… You and I are NOT in the big club.”
They decide everything– the quality and composition of the food we put in our bodies; the value of paper money; what chemicals go in the water supply… everything.
This effectively makes most people serfs, dependent and beholden to those who control the necessities.
It doesn’t have to be this way. And declaring your independence, or at least reducing your dependence on this system is one of the easiest things to do. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist. You don’t need a fancy degree.
You can make huge strides with something as simple as a tabletop garden… even just a handful of dirt in a styrofoam cup.
You don’t even need to spend money on seeds. Nearly every vegetable you’ve likely ever eaten already had seeds inside. You probably have a few hundred right now.
More advanced readers may want to consider purchasing a small plot of land and developing their resilience there. In parts of the world (like here in Chile), this can be done on the cheap.
In an inflationary environment where the central bankers who control the money supply are printing with reckless abandon, trading some of their paper currency for land makes a world of sense.