Food self sufficiency doesn't just happen

Achieving food self sufficiency, whether at an individual, community, or national level does not happen by accident. It comes about as a result of planning.

Unfortunately, so does the opposite. For decades North America in particular has focused on food production from the perspective of economic efficiency. Cheap food imports replace domestic production, and everybody wins.

Well, except for perhaps the family farms that lost market,  and the communities that depended on those farms for a robust local food supply.

And its from the family farm perspective that I want to address this topic.

Food self sufficiency vs. food security

Food self sufficiency means you can produce all the food stuffs you need for survival. Food security means you can acquire all the calories you need. At the national level, I think countries should strive for self sufficiency; that is, maximize production of the staples of life within their own borders.

At the individual farm and farm-community level, I think achieving food security (from dependable local sources) is a more realistic goal.

I know of a neighbouring farm (country definition of neighbour, anybody in the same county ;-) that markets a Whole Farm Year-Round food delivery program.  Funny Duck Farms has created a successful business delivering a very wide variety of veggies, meats, eggs, and fruit to customers within about 70 km (40 miles) of their farm

But Funny Duck still buys food stuffs in. For example, they don't grow grain. They DO buy from sustainable, organic local sources.

They probably produce about 80% of their own food. And if push came to shove, they could probably make a few sacrifices and/or substitutions and live exclusively on what they produce.

New Terra Farm also produces our own food and barters or buys other necessities from local growers. We have a couple greenhouses for season extension, and a cold room to store things like potatoes, onions, garlic and carrots.


Cold storage at New Terra Farm

We make a couple hundred jars of preserves every year. We grow and store winter squash and sweet potatoes as well.

We're not set up to grow beef, so we barter for that. We used to keep goats (mainly for the dairy), but now we barter for that as well.

The point is, neither Funny Duck nor us are dependent on that literal 'slow boat from China' to provide our families' basic food stuffs.

We helped launch a farmers' market in our local community because we wanted to encourage local food production. In the end, I think the only real security is what you (and your friends/neighbours) can make for yourself.

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