How to survive any economic downturn or climate shift by becoming self-sufficient and living off the land

Self-sufficiency is becoming more and more important with time, particularly as the world’s crop production takes strain due to shifting climate patterns. Self-sufficiency implies becoming able to survive by yourself, or without depending on shops, markets or the government to supply your survival needs, like water, sanitation and food. Now is the time to prepare as the multiple challenges to the system arise.

With water becoming a rare commodity around the world, crops are taking strain. Either there is too much water, like the flooded plains of America and farmers are unable to benefit from “wet planting” other than gaining the insurance money or government grant, or there is too little water, as in India, for example, where the monsoons are late and diminished, thus lowering the water table and forcing the government to send tankers around to supply drinking water.

As wheat and grain prices increase due to poor crops globally, the price of staple foods will rise. We all live on some form of grains, in Africa it’s maize, in India and China it’s rice and in the European west it’s wheat. Soy is used to feed cattle, and that in itself is a singly destructive and devastating industry to the forests and the cows who have to eat the GMO product. All of these commodities are suffering from decreased production this year and a price increase, so the knock on effect will cause things like bread and all grain-based foods to increase in price.

Zimbabwe is experiencing a 50% shortfall in its grain production, in a country that used to be the bread basket of the world. As a result individuals there and throughout the world may need to look at investing more time and effort into growing their own. Not only do we all need to grow some sort of food for ourselves, but we also need to look at becoming energy self-sufficient too. Solar panels and batteries are one solution. In South Africa where I live there is a culture of corruption and ineptitude which has crippled the national energy provider to such a degree that every few months we go through scheduled power cuts for two hours at a time, twice a day. As a result I have bought a solar system comprising of a battery, panel, inverter, controller and some cable with lights.

Besides that rain tanks are crucial to collect your own rain water. In the past two years, my old home tow of Cape Town became the first city in the world to run out of water for all 4 million residents. Tankers had to deliver water during the summer back then, two years ago, and things remain on the brink of drought. This was predicted to occur years ago already, as the south coast of Africa begins to dry out with shifting climate patterns. I left the city some years ago already due to the increased pollution and crowding, and live a few hundred miles further down the coast, but the drought hit my area just as badly, as the entire coastline is affected.

My friends in the neighbourhood have been building green houses for increased food production. Actually they specifically need the greenhouses more to protect the green produce from baboons that roam around here in troops, and have no respect for boundaries or ownership. If they see your crops, they will invade and rip it up, destroying most and eating the rest. They are destructive by nature and so wire cages are the only solution.

Cage production has done wonders in protecting the green produce and with the help of an expert farmer from Malawi, they have been able to grow what they need to eat, as well as many beautiful flowers, including sunflowers, with their healthy seeds. The first step was to dig a long narrow trench or “swale”, as its called, which catches rain and run-off very well, holding it for longer and channeling it into a small pond. Then the cage is built nearby and the green veg is then fed by the collected water.

The permaculture system is very popular and highly recommended for food production, where the goal is to have “food forests” all over, growing abundantly and continually without being mono-crop but rather a diverse mixture of plants. Legumes like beans and others are planted first to help add nitrogen to the soil. Thereafter other plants are added, including shade-bearing small trees. Besides that fire wood is another fundamental commodity, so fast growing pine or the many alien invader trees are used. They were brought in from overseas in previous generations for one reason or the other, but became invasive and too prolific, pushing out the other local indigenous plants. They are now considered a weed, like Wattle, Blackwood and even Eucalyptus or Bluegum as it’s called. One is required to remove them but even they make great firewood, as long as their growth is kept in check and not allowed to grow rife.

Here in the pictures you can see the growing cage coming on very nicely in its construction, a simple job, but secure enough to last the onslaughts of the mischievous baboons. In this way the farm lives off the grid, and has been collecting all its own rain water and solar energy for over a decade, growing produce and collecting its own firewood. One still needs to supplement with grains from the shops, like rice or flour, but if there was to be any sort of crisis, then the farm would survive on its own resources indefinitely.

This is something everyone should look into in the long run, namely moving out of the busy urban areas, setting up a place in the countryside, with rain tanks and solar systems, while planting forests for wood and gardens for food. In this way one can be assured survival if and when the next global financial recession appears, or the shifting climate ruins mono crop production globally.

#homesteading #self-sufficiency #permaculture