For the next three years, Patrick will be a student again, undertaking research for his doctoral thesis in the areas of ecology and poetics. Part of his research is to document our family's transition from being oil dependent to as self-sufficient as we can be in terms of water, energy and food.
We have solar panels, water tanks and bikes. But what about our food?
We have been spending a lot of time in the garden talking about what it will take for our family to become self-sustaining in terms of what we eat. So, to determine how far we have to go, we decided to mark the beginning of our journey by spending 24 hours eating the food we have growing here in our garden or provided by our chickens, and the public food we are able to forage locally. No salt and pepper, no butter, oil or any condiments. We only drank our own rain water. We didn't drive anywhere all day and we didn't spend any money.
As you can see, we by no means went hungry, though we all lacked energy throughout the day, had headaches at one time or another, and felt lackluster.
Patrick: I experienced a mild depression along with a headache. As the head gardener in the Artist as Family, I know how much work it takes to generate our own food, and this challenge - or experiment - really emphasised the enormous task we have of becoming self-sufficient.
Zephyr: Just before lunch I had a nap!! I haven't done that since I was three years old.
Meg: I had a meeting to attend in the afternoon. While I was sitting in it, I couldn't help but feel that the issues that were being discussed that I normally feel are vital and worth discussing, were completely irrelevant compared to the imperative issue of finding food for one's self and one's family.
40% of greenhouse gases come from industrial agriculture (supermarket food): pesticides, fertilisers, tractors, harvesters, packaging, transportation, refrigeration, lighting etc. Food prices are only going to rise courtesy of peak oil. Communities that start to plan for energy descent now will be better off in the long run. What the Artist as Family is learning, is that relocalisation is a several year transition.