"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Getting the people back to working the land...

... wherever that is.

I've had a rant or two over the past couple of months. My apologies - I just get dejected now and then, and have to vent some steam.

Now for some good news :)

Worldwide there is an evident trend of people moving from rural areas to towns in search of a "better" life on the "streets of gold".  This is resulting in vast swathes of underfed, unemployed, restless and discontented people living in squalid conditions on the fringes of society, feeling hard done by and resentful.  Given the conditions they are living in, who can blame them?

And this situation is further exacerbated not only by the lack of home grown produce being put on their respective tables, but also by the loss of knowledge of the land which used to be shared within families - being passed down generation to generation - and visibly demonstrated on their homelands.

I have been extremely concerned that once this knowledge is no longer freely and widely circulated, what hope is there for mankind?  The loss of traditions, the loss of know-how and the loss of satisfaction in growing their own crops / tending their herds of animals would be devastating to man.

Thankfully, someone has seen a bigger picture.  Someone has had the energy. And someone has had the impetus.

He is Reverend John Thomas.

And his story can be found here or here.
Growing hydroponic vegetables outside Cape Town
I have heard people say, "Oh yes, I'd love to grow my produce hydroponically, but I can't afford the system / the water situation isn't right / or a thousand and one one reasons why they can't.  I can almost guarantee that the system they are using on the link above is a simple system - it may not be automatic, and it wont have all the bells and whistles, and it may mean that they manually have to turn on a switch / tap 2 or 3 times a day.  But who said that hydroponically grown vegetables can only be watered automatically????

What these people - the mentors and the students - are doing is inspirational.

Given that I heard the other night that if some major world-wide catastrophe hit this planet, we would only have food reserves for 1 Billion people for 1 month.  Therefore, getting young able bodied people away from the falsely bright city lights, the streets which can be incredibly uncomfortable, cold and unfriendly, and the fruitless search for work which is in short supply world-wide, and back onto the land producing their own food would certainly assist them in fending for themselves, if, and when, the need should arise.


  1. Personally, I love your rants. This is stuff that NEEDS to be said.....and read.
    I was just talking the other day to the local CSA gal about that very fact of no one being able to feed themselves anymore. And those of us who do grow our own, and work hard to ensure our food security will be the targets of those who have never done one thing to provide for themselves. These are scary times. And education for the masses on this very subject are ignored by the very people that NEED to listen. There is a lot of whining and excuses out there......
    Sue can rant too!
    Sorry about the novel. You struck a chord on this one.........

    1. Sue - LOL a woman after my own heart ;) Never apologise for a "novel" - it does everyone good to get things off their chests. Yes, scary times indeed. But, I fear that the masses are so used to getting whatever they want, that they won't consider anyone else when THEY are in need.

      That is why it was so refreshing to read about someone who is trying his best to help others - a definite inspiration for me.

  2. I mourn the loss of the family farms here in America, where huge corporations have taken over so much of the land. So many of the children of farmers who once upon a time learned from their parents and carried on the family farming traditions, now rush to the cities with thoughts of riches and showplace homes, expensive cars and every electronic gadget known to man. That leaves no one to carry on and the family farm is sold when the parents are too old to work the land by themselves any more.

    The only bright spot is a slowly growing trend toward homesteading. There are some who have realized the importance of becoming as self-sustaining as possible. And there are some of us of a "certain age" who, even though we must be apartment dwellers due to circumstances, still retain the knowledge of the old tried and true ways that will be needed in our uncertain future. It makes my heart glad when my son, who lives in suburbia, tells me that his cucumbers are ready to pickle and that his tomatoes ar nearly ripe. I love it that my six-year old grandson was excited about planting sunflowers this year and that those grandchildren learned how to make bread.

    Just a couple of days ago I received a thank you card from my 10 year old granddaughter, for her birthday gift. In it she wrote, "Maybe someday we could hang out and bake together."

    There is still hope.

    And thus ends my novel!!

    1. Vicki - And a very entertaining novel it was too :) Thank you.

      I know - I am also scared by the "value" that people place in modern fandangled items. Not basic knowledge. No tradition. Not continuance.

      But, as you say, there is some comfort to be gained by those who, even if they are like us - old fogies - who are returning to "old" ways. To more wholesome, self-gratifiying and uplifting lifestyles. It sounds like you gave your children a very good grounding if your son is able to tell when pickles should happen, and love the thought that your grandson wants to "hang out and bake" with you.

      What treasures :)

  3. All we can do is spread the word and lead by our own actions. I too worry about the loss of essential skills, but I think the tide is turning in my neck of the woods.

    Jean x

    1. S&P - You're quite right. Leading through actions is exactly how we have to reach out and assist those caught in the traps of their "modern" making. If, through what I write about on my blog, I "click" with only one other person, and inspire them to find their roots, then I have set out to achieve exactly what I wanted. The fact that I have an instant record of everything we've done / achieved is an added bonus :)

  4. Part of the problem is that urban environments offer so much more for young people to do. There are more diversions, more entertainments. My own kids left the mountains just as soon as they could, and there is no doubt they are much happier in the city. It would be a bad place to be in the event of some sort of disruption, but younger people don't tend to think of that, or if they do, they plan to deal with it when it happens. There's a perception that the county is all about work, and nothing else

    1. Harry - That is exactly what the problem is - youngsters these days have to constantly be entertained. Taking the time to plant something that they can eventually eat - to feed their bodies - and watching / waiting for it to grow - to nourish their souls - is too much hassle and takes too long. That is another reason why rural gardeners are becoming fewer and further apart. Youngster need to be encouraged to not lose their roots. And to feed more than their "must have" requirements...


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