Saturday, August 4, 2012

Surviving in the next age: Ancient skills for a modern world.

So much has been written, in recent years, about the end of the Mayan calendar and a possible apocalyptic end to life as we know it.  We are certainly living through some of most turbulent, globally calamitous, times in recent memory.  War, famine, economic insecurity on a global scale - the list goes on.

Times like these usually create a variety of reactions from people. Some turn to religion, some turn to escapism through drugs and/or alcohol, some give in to despair and take their own lives, or the lives of others.  In the midst of this type of highly-publicized and sensationalized media fodder, there are the intrepid pioneers of the modern world. By adapting ancient traditions to fit a contemporary world, we see hope for the future.

Bartering, and barter economies, are springing up everywhere in response to our continuing skepticism over the stability of our financial institutions.  Think that bartering is some random process among a few New Agers?  Guess again.  It is prevalent enough for the IRS to have established tax guidelines for it.

Survival courses and camps are springing up all over, teaching folks the skills of our pioneering ancestors.  A plethora of books have been written on the subject, and honestly, there are some things everyone should know.  Skills like sewing, building a shelter from natural materials, basic first aid, starting a fire from scratch, finding food in the wild, growing your own food, food storage processes, and making herbal remedies are just some basics if you ever find yourself in a primitive environment.

When I was growing up I learned some of these things while I was a Girl Scout.  Camping was an excellent way of teaching some of the skills mentioned above. And the s'mores - mmmmm...but I digress.  So let's talk about food, and the future of growing, and eating food in the next age.

Frequent readers know that I am an avid fan of the Slow Food movement, sustainable agriculture and a fervent supporter of local farmers and CSAs.  Much is being written about a resurgence in "victory gardens", such as the ones grown by families during World War II. Backyard farms, and urban gardens make sense in this age of questionable food safety and nutrition.  Food produced without hormones, antibiotics, and chemical fertilizers and pesticides are often too expensive for the average family. Growing your own food just makes sense, or purchase it from a local farmer who uses sustainable, organic processes. 

If you live in the United States, you need to be aware of the Farm Bill.  It comes up for renewal on September 30, 2012 and what your lawmakers vote on is going to affect trade, health, agribusiness, the environment, and so much more!  Here's some information:

The Farm Bill: Better Food Starts Here

Whatever your philosophy, educating yourself in practical survival skills can be fun, and economically advantageous!  The future isn't something to be feared. It is something to be prepared for.

Until next time...become the change you imagine.