"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for one day.
Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." - ancient proverb
In this unsustainable and unjust corporate globalized economy "food" is something you purchase at a franchised restaurant or chain store. Besides just purchasing a particular "food" item you may also be inadvertently financing ecological devastation, destruction of local cultures, dispossession of traditional peoples, authoritarian regimes, energy waste, corruption, violence against women and children, political repression, war, and animal cruelty. Not to mention the quality of the "food" is compromised by a system that is concerned with making money and not providing you with nutrients.
In a sustainable society food is procured by various methods by the local population. These can include produce, eggs, meat and dairy products from personal gardens and livestock as well as fish and game from managed waters and woodlots. For those less adapt at the veterinary and botanical skills the community market would offer these products from local grassroots organic farms and ranches.
Imagine what it would be like if every household produced at least a portion of its own vegetables. Their objective would be to grow as much food as possible in a small space. Of course, not every household can turn its yard into a fecund vegetable factory instantly. But, by starting out small and learning the fundamentals and then applying proven principles and technics, it won't be long until everyone could have a low maintenance, high productivity garden.
Sustainable Organic Farms
Dismiss from your mind commercial agriculture practices and the mega farms that are dependent on energy, chemicals and expensive machinery. Instead envision small private or community farms that produce a variety of organic foods in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, making use of the available resources.
Organic farming has been given a variety of names over the years - biological farming, sustainable agriculture, to name a few. Definitions of what is and isn't 'organic' are also extremely varied. Some of the most important features of organic production, as recognized by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements
(IFOAM), include the following.
*Promoting existing biological cycles, from microorganisms in the soil to the plants and animals living on the soil.
*Maintaining the local environmental resources, using them carefully and efficiently and reusing materials when possible.
*Not relying heavily on external resources on a continuous basis.
*Minimising any pollution both on-site and leaving the site.
*Maintaining the genetic diversity of the area.
A community farm can be maintained by a teacher or teachers and the students of the Community Education Center. This would provide opportunity for the students to receive hands-on training in organic agriculture. The produce could then be used by the Center for meals or in teaching canning, etc. The produce could also be offered to needing families or at the local market.
Again you have to forget the industrial way and think simple. No penned up animals wallowing in their own waste, injected with chemicals and treated cruelly. Organic livestock production starts from the ground up. In order for animals and the fiber they produce to be certified organic, farmers and ranchers must commit to not using any chemical inputs such as fertilizers on their fields and feed crops, chemical based insecticides, and medicines which have become all to commonly relied upon in agriculture today. Several universal requirements in organic livestock production are:
*Livestock must be fed 100% organically grown feed (grains) and forage (pastures)
*Use of synthetic hormones, vaccinations, and genetic engineering is prohibited
*Use of synthetic pesticides (internal, external, and on pastures) is prohibited
*Producers must encourage livestock health through good cultural and management practices
Some homesteads my choose to have livestock for thier own consumption. A few cattle for milk and meat as well as some chickens for eggs and poultry. As with the gardening keeping things simple is beneficial. Remember the goal is to be self sufficient and sustainable. Homesteads with surplus could market the extra items at the community market.
The Community Education Center would likewise maintain a few small organic ranches. The harvest would be available to the school and community.
Fishing (also see fishing in the RECREATION section)
We aren't talking commercial or sport fishing here. Although fishing can be very relaxing and enjoyable mearly fishing for sport can be detrimental to an ecosystem. Fish should only be harvested from natural areas for personal consumption. A Department of Natural Resources (DNR) complete with enforcement officers and field biologist should be utilized to maintain balance.
Fish for the local market could be raised in organic fish farms. This provision would make it possible for people that don't fish to be able to enjoy them as part of their diet. These fish farms would practice applicable organic principles to insure the highest quality fish harvest as well as ecological protection.
Hunting (also see hunting in the RECREATION section)
A heritage from generations past, hunting can be an exciting way to supplement the diet of some in the sustainable community. Hunting for sport alone should be discouraged as it could prove to be counterproductive in many cases as well as create discord with non hunters. The community should work in cooperation with the DNR for successful wildlife management to ensure a healthy balanced herd. The methods of harvesting should carefully be considered to promote safety and peace within the community as well as for the humane harvest of animals. For example the community could choose to allow archery (including crossbows) but not firearms. High power air rifles might also be considered for small game. It should be remembered that keeping industy to a minimum is essential to sustainable living. A bow and arrows can be hand built but, a rifle requires numerous processes to build and use.