When the supermarket is empty…

…how do we survive?

This is a question quite a few people seem to be asking at present here in Queensland, at least based on the myriad of comments on news articles about panic buying.

I can place myself in with the group that (smugly?) points out that they have sufficient food in their pantry and freezer to keep them going for at least a week.  Truth be told, I think I could last longer than that, but some of the meals might get a bit weird and wonderful.

I have been amazed though, by stories of people stripping the supermarket shelves of bread and milk.  I guess if you have a big enough freezer, you can store ten loaves of bread (according to one anecdotal account) but I am still wondering what the woman who bought sixty litres of milk intended to do with it all.  I suppose you could freeze it and make it last that way…but long before you used the frozen milk, supermarket supply lines would be re-established.  And anyone who has ever seen thawed milk knows that it is really only fit for cooking purposes afterwards.

But the real point here is that for many people, survival is not an option without everything being handed to them.  And all levels of government seem to be happy for our society to evolve into a bloated, dependent, helpless society.  I really don’t know what is Australian about that.

I am not suggesting everyone turn their garden into a permaculture paradise (well, ok, I am suggesting it, but not suggesting that it be compulsory!).  But why can’t the powers-that-be encourage people to plant a couple of district appropriate fruit trees (i.e. ones that do not require major maintenance) and maintain a small vegie bed for salad greens and a few tomatoes?  We don’t all have the time or energy or interest in keeping goats, but I rather like the idea of places being set aside for community goat herds, and enable those interested to buy shares in the herd, and in return obtain a local source of fresh milk (the really keen people can turn the milk into yoghurt and cheese if they like).  And properly managed and supervised, they could be very beneficial in reducing weeds in community spaces.

We need to manage our food supply and distribution at a local, community level, rather than at a highly commercialised, nation-wide level.  Look where that gets us in times of crisis.  I am not advocating an extreme approach either…only that it is beneficial to all individuals in our societies (don’t care about big business) to have some of our food sources and production in our local communities.

Perhaps it is time we all dug up our lawns and planted potatoes.

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