Do What You Have To Dogreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Well folks, I've done it. I am a software engineer by trade, living in a major metropolitan area. Yesterday I quit the best job I've ever had to take a less-than-career-enhancing position in a more rural part of the country. We sold our house; we're out of debt. We're out of the stock market and into at least slightly more crash-proof investments (if there is such a thing). Now, to find a country spot to develop into a mini-farm in the time remaining.
I am not posting this to alarm anybody further. It's just a word to encourage those who are concerned to do what you feel is right, regardless of the pressure. I am the last person on earth many would have expected this from; I'm your classic "trustworthy guy". I have no doubt that many of my colleagues think I have flipped. But I have taken the action I believe is necessary in the face of a threat to my family. I can live with the consequences of my actions. I sleep much, much better these nights.
-- Franklin Journier (email@example.com), June 17, 1998
-- Morgan Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 17, 1998.
Way to go, Franklin. When some of my co-workers (fed govt) found out I'm planning to do something similar, they couldn't believe it. But my first responsibility is to take care of my family. I can't guarantee being able to do that in a large metropolitan area. So we'll be heading out soon to a safer location. May God give us all the strength to do what we know has to be done before it's too late.
-- Nabi Davidson (email@example.com), June 17, 1998.
We live in a small West Texas town. My family and I will stay here with a few neighbors. I wish you both well, I think you're doing the right thing.
-- zerad (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 19, 1998.
Your family is fortunate to have you looking out for their safety and best interests. I am getting ready to do what I have to do, but it may mean sedating my teen aged daughter who is declaring that she isn't going to live on any !!??%%$$ farm. She is used to living in a big city. My husband of 22 years???Well, he doesn't want the responsibilities of family anymore and just wants to get ahead in his career. What are they gonna do when it all comes falling down?. Then they will see what is really important in life and that I wasn't some crazy lunatic. But they didn't believe Noah either.
-- Catherine Sayle (email@example.com), June 20, 1998.
I think you've done yourself and those you care about a great service. In the 1940's there was 1 person in 11 involved directly in some sort of farm-related food production in the USA. Today, the ratio's often 1:170 or even less.
Farming successfully - sustainably - without a lot of cash-bought inputs - is an art. It takes incredible ingenuity, and engineering ability, and complex systems analysis, and keen powers of observation to farm without harm. I've often thought that we had a great brain drain in this country, when the brilliance of our best agriculturalists was tapped by the defense industry, and we needlessly lost so many land-based engineers into the industrial/war machinery.
Working with the land is one of the most creative endeavors a person can engage in, and never allows you to let your creativity fall into the trap of "ivory tower speculation"; if you aren't dirty, tired, sore, and pushed to the edge, you're not being creative!
Two-couples + children past toddler age seems to be the minimum unit size to run a small producing operation comfortably (still hard) nowadays, with current modern conveniences of infrastructure. I'd add at least one more couple, or a couple of single mature people, to the y2k human energy farm equation, since a compromised infrastructure of interrupted water, power, communication and fuel is going to create more time-consuming work to just maintain home and personal routines, important for maintaining health.
Processes for decision making are very important to establish beforehand. In successful group farming ventures I've seen, the groups met regularly - new groups at least once a week for a good while, mature groups at least once a month - but often still once a week. Rural endeavors are different, and protocols to maintain hygeine and personal space, and minimize waste, seem to cause the most friction among people.
The East Wind Intentional Community (one of the older, more successful groups) has a web document called The East Wind Community Handbook. A review of this (kitchen, hygiene, outhouse, work responsibility), plus some of the other related guides and handbooks can be used to organize your group in a way that's more likely to be acceptable to a larger number of Americans, used to a relatively individual and urban life, thrust into a new environment in which they're relative new-comers, a bit uncertain of how to behave and what to do, with a valid need to be heard.
end of part 1...
-- cynthia (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 21, 1998.
Part 2 - response to Franklin Journier:
Resources abound in the sustainable agriculture movement. Investing half the hours you've used to track y2k in research about sustainable agriculture and low-tech farming will net a lot of useful information, as long as you focus tightly on specifics that give you the results of resiliency you need.
From where I sit, I think it is going to be difficult for "new farmers" to resist prematurely considering the "market" of farming, looking for the cash crop that will make you enough bucks to go to the store and buy food (the current farming dilemma). My advice would be to remain doggedly attached to creating sustenance for yourselves that you can live on, and only sell your excess for profit. If your intuitions are correct, you'll have plenty of market for your excess, and plenty of need for the sustenance you produce. If your intuitions are incorrect, you'll eat, get healthy, learn something new and exciting, and open brand new sets of options for your family.
A useful publication I've found is Acres, USA - email@example.com. I've been trying to alert them to y2k impacts on the food chain, because their editor is extremely interested in the economics of Asia & the USA, and the workings of the marketplace. In fact, one last thing I'll add - working with selling food is the best way there is to understand the real impacts of economics and trade policy on people.
A very useful book to read is "Family Farming" by Marty Strange. It examines the farming economy post-Depression, discusses the actions our government and banking system took to rebuild & remonetarize the country, and is replete with "do not do this again" lessons that new farmers will do well to heed - if social order reconfigures significantly in the following decade, you will want to participate in governmental driven "reforms", especially when they may look good up-front, but will bite you badly later.
Don't forget your grange, your local county government, your new township government, your new school district, your closest land-grant college and extension office, and other useful established rural institutions. IMO, to arrange a meeting between the county commissioner who represents you, the city manager of your current town, and the local chamber of commerce president or BOD member in which you say "Hi, I'm Franklin Journier and I want to tell you why I've moved to your area...How can I help you with y2k?" will go a LONG WAY to mitigating problems in your area.
If you wish to communicate further on Community Preparedness, and you take these steps, please consider subscribing to the moderated Year 2000 Community Preparedness Forum - email me for specifics; we are discussing our current action strategies for working with local government, and are creating a forum that officials, community leaders, active concerned citizens, and public staff can work within. We are focused on the Pacific Northwest, but the list is open to all for reading, and criteria for submissions is fairly clear.
Cynthia Beal http://skymind.org/y2k
-- cynthia (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 21, 1998.