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Planning Your Survival Garden

Planning Your Survival Garden

A survival garden isn’t a doom’s day garden. It’s a garden built around a mix of permanent agriculture, or permaculture, and annual vegetable and fruit plants. It’s designed to help you avoid supply chain issues, and provide nutritious food for yourself, and your family. It is a garden of abundance.

There are many concerns about supply chain issues, especially after the floods, disasters, and challenges of the past few years. A survival garden is a garden designed to be low maintenance, and high yield. It is a garden built on sustainable principles, with a healthy mix of annual plants and perennial plants. While many survivalist gardeners focus on calories and food yield, calorie dense food can be bland without the addition of herbs for flavor and vegetables for variety and nutrition. Victory gardens are a type of survival garden, with an emphasis on vegetables, but not necessarily calories. (You can read more about victory gardens here). Calories offer energy that is necessary in a survival situation.

Your survival garden should focus on the plants and fruits you enjoy. Maybe the ones that are expensive to procure where you are. Maybe you want to focus on the “dirty dozen” to have the cleanest strawberries, carrots, onions, and garlic possible. This garden can be a vegetable garden, or it can be a permaculture garden, or it can have hybrid elements of both.

I started my garden as an annual vegetable garden with perennial fruit along with culinary and medicinal herbs, but I am slowly adding more and more perennials: Perennial vegetablesfruit trees, nuts, and berries. Every year I add a few more perennial fruit and nuts.

harvesting from the garden. All gardens can be a survival garden.…click on the above link to read the rest…

Researchers: We’ve Underestimated The Risk of Simultaneous Crop Failures Worldwide

Researchers: We’ve Underestimated The Risk of Simultaneous Crop Failures Worldwide

The risks of harvest failures in multiple global breadbaskets have been underestimated, according to a study Tuesday that researchers said should be a “wake up call” about the threat climate change poses to our food systems.

Food production is both a key source of planet-warming emissions and highly exposed to the effects of climate change, with climate and crop models used to figure out just what the impacts could be as the world warms.

In the new research published in Nature Communications, researchers in the United States and Germany looked at the likelihood that several major food producing regions could simultaneously suffer low yields.

These events can lead to price spikes, food insecurity and even civil unrest, said lead author Kai Kornhuber, a researcher at Columbia University and the German Council on Foreign Relations.

By “increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases, we are entering this uncharted water where we are struggling to really have an accurate idea of what type of extremes we’re going to face,” he told AFP.

“We show that these types of concurring events are really largely underestimated.”

The study looked at observational and climate model data between 1960 and 2014, and then at projections for 2045 to 2099.

Researchers first looked at the impact of the jet stream – the air currents that drive weather patterns in many of the world’s most important crop producing regions.

They found that a “strong meandering” of the jet stream, flowing in big wave shapes, has particularly significant impacts on key agricultural regions in North America, Eastern Europe and East Asia, with a reduction in harvests of up to seven percent.

The researchers also found that this had been linked to simultaneous crop failures in the past.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Wheat Spread Hits Record As Drought Plagues Midwest

Wheat Spread Hits Record As Drought Plagues Midwest

The spread between hard-red winter wheat and soft-red winter wheat has blown out to a record high as drought threatens crop yields across the Midwest and other major farming regions.

Hard-red winter wheat’s premium over soft-red winter wheat is $1.72 a bushel in Chicago on Tuesday morning, surpassing the 2011 record.

James Bolesworth, managing director at CRM AgriCommodities, told Bloomberg the widening spread is “a factor of the drought in the US Plains which is detrimentally impacting crop conditions.”

The latest report from the US Department of Agriculture found Kansas (top producer) had only 19% of the acreage in good or excellent condition. Agritel analysts pointed out droughts are hitting crops in other states:

“A deterioration of the crop ratings is also visible in Texas and Colorado.”

Simultaneously, drought conditions plague the Canadian Prairies. Farmers in the region are planting in some of the driest conditions in half a century. They need adequate moisture to plant wheat and canola crops, or this might lead to poor crop yields later in the growing season, which could impact global supplies.

“If there isn’t good moisture, those tiny plants are quite susceptible to adverse conditions,” said Bill Prybylski, a farmer and vice president at the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan. 

The possibility of lower US and Canadian wheat production because of persistent drought conditions could exacerbate global food supplies. Already, droughts in Argentina have reduced crop yields, and wartorn Ukraine has forced farmers to reduce plantings.

All of this means that global food inflation will likely remain elevated for the foreseeable future. How to hedge higher costs at the supermarket? Plant a garden.


Indigenous knowledge is key to sustainable food systems

Indigenous knowledge is key to sustainable food systems

Angelina Monday works on her plot of land, planted with beans, corn and other vegetables, in the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement.

Farmer Angelina Monday works on her plot of land in Uganda, where she grows beans and vegetables for her family. Credit: Mads Nissen/Politiken/Panos Pictures

I grew up in Campinas, a city in southeast Brazil. The apples there, cultivated from European varieties since the 1960s, tasted sweet. But, given the choice, I would always pick papayas grown in our garden. My father, who knew that growing a temperate fruit tree in a tropical country seldom worked, instead filled our garden with tropical ones, including two varieties of papaya. Meanwhile, drawing on knowledge from her Indigenous roots, my mother grew all sorts of herbs in pots around the house, which she used to treat ailments such as diarrhoea and indigestion.

Indigenous peoples and other local communities, who might have lived in a region for thousands or hundreds of years, respectively, have long acted as foragers, growers and shapers of nature1. In many parts of the world, the food production systems developed by such communities — from irrigated crops to agroforestry systems — have been the dominant food systems supporting regional economies, and feeding rural and urban areas alike2.

For the past three decades, various efforts involving academic and industrial partners have explored how biodiversity in low- and middle-income countries could be exploited commercially — bioprospected — for new pharmaceuticals and crop varieties, and how benefits could be shared equitably. Yet there are huge power imbalances between the wealthy countries and large corporations seeking the products, and the biodiversity-rich but economically and technologically deprived countries and communities providing them. In practice, the benefits rarely reach the people who are the knowledge holders and guardians of biodiversity and agrobiodiversity3.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Insects are vanishing worldwide – now it’s making it harder to grow food

Insects are vanishing worldwide – now it’s making it harder to grow food

Over the past 20 years a steady trickle of scientific papers has reported that there are fewer insects than there used to be. Both the combined weight (what scientists call biomass) and diversity of insect species have declined. Some studies were based on sightings by amateur entomologists, while others involved scientists counting the number of bugs splattered on car windshields. Some collected flying insects in traps annually for years and weighed them.

In the past six years, this trickle has become a flood, with more and more sophisticated studies confirming that although not all insect species are declining, many are in serious trouble. A 2020 compilation of 166 studies estimated that insect populations were on average declining globally at a rate of 0.9% per year. But the declines are uneven. Even within the same environments, populations of some insect species have waned, while others have remained stable and still some others increased. The reasons for these differences between insects are unknown, though evidently some are more resilient than others.

Until recently, much of the evidence has been drawn from protected areas in Europe and to a lesser extent North America. So what is the picture like elsewhere? A new study offers fresh data on the seasonal migrations of insects in east Asia. These insects, many of them pest species, fly north in spring every year to take advantage of the new growing season, and fly south in autumn to escape the cold.

A sky filled with monarch butterflies.
Insects can travel thousands of miles in seasonal migrations. Javarman/Shutterstock

A progressive fall in the enormous numbers of these migrants indicates that insect declines are indeed a global problem.

Millions of migrating insects

Between 2003 and 2020, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing caught almost 3 million migrating insects from high-altitude searchlight traps on Beihuang Island off the coast of northeast China….

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Farm Convoy Of Tractors Hit Paris Streets To Protest Pesticide Ban

Farm Convoy Of Tractors Hit Paris Streets To Protest Pesticide Ban

Adding to the days of strikes and mass street demonstrations about French President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular plan to raise the retirement age, farmers have flooded the streets of Paris for an entirely different reason.

French farmers drove hundreds of tractors, if not more, into Paris on Wednesday to protest against a ban on pesticide use.

Ag website Agriland said the protest comes after a recent EU court ruling overturned a French rule that allowed sugar beet growers to use neonicotinoids, an insecticide. Farmers were livid by the EU courts because neonicotinoids are critical for sugar beet production. Agriland said at least 800 large farm tractors flooded Paris streets around Les Invalides.

“The protest has the backing of the country’s leading farm organization, the FNSEA, as well as organizations representing the sugar beet producing sector,” Agriland said.

Well before the EU court ruling, French sugar-beet yields were expected to slide by 5-7% for the next growing season, according to Bloomberg, citing Francois Thaury, an analyst at Paris-based adviser Agritel. Thaury said losses could not top 10%.

Meanwhile, in separate mass protests, hundreds of thousands of people nationwide took to the streets against Macron’s plans to raise the retirement age.

Protests come as Macron’s popularity has hit its lowest level. Spring is ahead, and that could mean additional protests as temperatures rise.

After Civilization’s Collapse: Dr. Shane Simonsen, Zero Input Agriculture

After Civilization’s Collapse: Dr. Shane Simonsen, Zero Input Agriculture

The Mainstream Media Admits That We Are Facing “The Worst Food Crisis In Modern History”

The Mainstream Media Admits That We Are Facing “The Worst Food Crisis In Modern History”

People on the other side of the planet are dropping dead from starvation right now, but most people don’t even realize that this is happening.  Unfortunately, most people just assume that everything is fine and dandy.  If you are one of those people that believe that everything is just wonderful, I would encourage you to pay close attention to the details that I am about to share with you.  Global hunger is rapidly spreading, and that is because global food supplies have been getting tighter and tighter.  If current trends continue, we could potentially be facing a nightmare scenario before this calendar year is over.

Pakistan is not one of the poorest nations in the world, but the lack of affordable food is starting to cause panic inside that country.  The following comes from Time Magazine

Last Saturday in Mirpur Khas, a city in Pakistan’s Sindh province, hundreds of people lined up for hours outside a park to buy subsidized wheat flour, offered for 65 rupees a kilogram instead of the current, inflated rate of about 140 to 160 rupees.

When a few trucks arrived, the crowd surged forward, leaving several injured. One man, Harsingh Kolhi, who was there to bring a five kg bag of flour home for his wife and children, was crushed and killed in the chaos.

We are seeing similar things happen all over the planet.

Just because you still may have enough food to eat doesn’t mean that everybody else is okay.

In fact, things have already gotten so bad that even CNN is admitting that we are facing “the worst food crisis in modern history”

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Agriculture In A Post-Oil Economy

Agriculture In A Post-Oil Economy

The decline in the world’s oil supply offers no sudden dramatic event that would appeal to the writer of “apocalyptic” science fiction: no mushroom clouds, no flying saucers, no giant meteorites. The future will be just like today, only tougher. Oil depletion is basically just a matter of overpopulation — too many people and not enough resources. The most serious consequence will be a lack of food. The problem of oil therefore leads, in an apparently mundane fashion, to the problem of farming.

To what extent could food be produced in a world without fossil fuels? In the year 2000, humanity consumed about 30 billion barrels of oil, but the supply is starting to run out; without oil and natural gas, there will be no fuel, no asphalt, no plastics, no chemical fertilizer. Most people in modern industrial civilization live on food that was bought from a local supermarket, but such food will not always be available. Agriculture in the future will be largely a “family affair”: without motorized vehicles, food will have to be produced not far from where it was consumed. But what crops should be grown? How much land would be needed? Where could people be supported by such methods of agriculture?


The most practical diet would be largely vegetarian, for several reasons. In the first place, vegetable production requires far less land than animal production. Even the pasture land for a cow is about one hectare, and more land is needed to produce hay, grain, and other foods for that animal. One could supply the same amount of useable protein from vegetable sources on a fraction of a hectare, as Frances Moore Lappé pointed out in 1971 in Diet for a Small Planet [12]. Secondly, vegetable production is less complicated…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

3 Ways to Grow Lettuce Even if You Don’t Have a Garden

3 Ways to Grow Lettuce Even if You Don’t Have a Garden

Fresh salad is a recommended mainstay of healthy eating. But, salad can get expensive. Lettuce seeds, however, are cheap. You can grow lettuce, throughout the year, even if you don’t have a garden with one of these three indoor techniques.

If you’re new to indoor gardening, lettuce or herbs are great plants to start with. Herbs, because a small amount is all you need for a meal and there are lots of potted herbs for sale. Lettuce, because you can start it from seed and it’ll keep coming back for many month’s of salad harvests. Even better, there are a ton of different lettuce varieties, in different colors, available too. So salads don’t have to be green and bland when you grow lettuce yourself.

In this article, we are covering three different, indoor growing methods to grow lettuce. Each technique has a discussion of the tools and materials needed, and it’s benefits and ease or difficulty of set-up. If these methods seem difficult, there are always microgreens, and sprouts, that can also help keep your salad bowl full throughout the year. Whether you grow lettuce, or sprouts, or microgreens, all can add tasty nutrition to salads, sandwiches, and all your meals throughout the year.

First off, make sure you have some lettuce seeds. A quick look at Richter’s herbs, reveals 12 different lettuce varieties from speckled to red, and from smooth leaved to oak-leaf varieties. Other seed companies, especially those specializing in heirloom varieties, will have similar ranges of lettuces. Even a 1$ package of green lettuce from the dollar store, or hardware store, can work to get started with.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

USDA Reveals US Corn-Harvested Acres At 2008 Levels Amid Megadrought

USDA Reveals US Corn-Harvested Acres At 2008 Levels Amid Megadrought

Last year was a bad year for corn — the latest US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report shows drought conditions and extreme weather wreaked havoc on croplands.

USDA unexpectedly slashed its outlook for domestic corn production amid a severe drought across the western farm belt. Farmers in Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas were forced to abandon drought-plagued fields.

The agency estimated farmers harvested 79.2 million acres, a decline of 1.6 million acres versus the previous estimate — the smallest acres harvest since 2008.

The unexpected cut to US harvested corn acres means grain supplies are a lot tighter than realized. A report Thursday showed the corn area in the world’s largest producer is at the smallest since 2008 with crops failing in states such as Texas and Nebraska. That’s due to persistent drought conditions in the western part of the country that could also hit harvests for wheat plants that are currently dormant for the winter. — Bloomberg

The crop-failed lands reduced total harvest corn acreage to levels not seen since 2008.

Less acreage tightens supply and might continue to put a bid under corn prices.

Global food prices remain at crisis levels.

Here’s the current drought situation across the farm belt.

Corn production woes from the US don’t bode well in the fight to crush food inflation. It seems as if the prices for our food will remain high well through 2023.

The Lost Forest Gardens of Europe

The Lost Forest Gardens of Europe

europe hazelnut orchard mossy shade forest garden filbert farm


  • People of the Hazel: Europe’s indigenous cultures return after the glaciers retreat, bringing their most cherished tree with them

  • The Continent-Wide Orchard: Mesolithic people create Europe’s post-glacial ecosystems as vast forest gardens

  • A Changing Climate: millennia of drastic fluctuations in the climate lead to the creation and spread of grain-based agriculture

  • Strength in Diversity: early farmers innovate resilient crop mixes and companion planting to guard against climate change

  • Hybrid Cultures: Europe’s new creolized societies mix the best of hunter-gatherer and farmer cultures, practices, livestock, and crops to create entirely new ways to grow food

  • The Domesticated Forest Garden: farmers in the Mediterranean adapt their region’s hunter-gatherer forest gardens into diverse multi-story farms, creating resilient agricultural forests of domesticated crops that exist to this day

  • Towards a New Culture: imperialist monoculture farming systems take precedence in Europe, but the indigenous forest garden methods survive in the margins. These ancient methods are nearly forgotten, but they can provide a framework for rethinking the way we live and grow food in a changing climate.


In the hills above the Po river in northern Italy, there are a handful of farms that look almost the same today as they would have three thousand years ago.

There are rows of short pruned trees, with fruit-laden grape vines festooned between them. The trees are common natives in the area that produce fruit, firewood, basketmaking materials, and fodder for farm animals. The grapes are ancient cultivars that have been grown here for millennia. Between these rows of grapes and trees are diverse plots of cereals, hayfields, vegetables, and herbs. In a single field, one can find all of the staples needed to live and support the farmstead, and more to sell at a high premium…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

How agriculture hastens species extinction

How agriculture hastens species extinction

This week on 60 Minutes, correspondent Scott Pelley reports on something scientists are calling the sixth mass extinction. There have been five great die-offs in the history of our planet, when at least 75 percent of the known species disappear. The last mass extinction was 66 million years ago, when an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. Now scientists think humans are hastening another mass annihilation of plants and animals. Among the causes this time are pollution, habitat destruction, over-exploitation of resources, and climate change.

Mexican ecologist Gerardo Ceballos is among the world’s leading scientists on extinction. He laid out for us how dire the situation has become over the last century.

Gerardo Ceballos: There is only 2 percent of the big fishes that were in the oceans 50 years ago. Only 2 percent are living. We have lost around 70 percent of all the animals that were in the– in the planet. All the big animals, all the mammals, bird, 70 percent are gone since 1918. In Southeast Asia, you know, we have lost 90 percent of the tropical forest of Southeast Asia since 2000. So, our impact is so massive that we are becoming this meteorite that is impact the planet. The difference with the previous mass extinction is that they took tens of thousands, hundreds of thousand, even millions of years to happen. In this particular case, this is happening so fast, now in just two, three decades — even the species that are not affected directly by the extinction crisis won’t have enough time to evolve and survive this impact that we’re doing.

Every two years, the World Wildlife Fund produces a document called the “living planet report.” It’s a biennial report card that details the health of planet earth’s wildlife, showing the average decline of species populations since they were first monitored in 1970.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

UK Warned by Farmers That It Is Facing a Food Supply Crisis

UK Warned by Farmers That It Is Facing a Food Supply Crisis

In an emergency press conference, the National Farmers Union (NFU) said the government needed to step in to assist farmers who are under severe strain.

The British farming industry is facing major issues across almost all sectors, with the price of animal feed and nitrogen fertiliser, and fuel skyrocketing. The union warned that yields of crops will likely slump to record lows this year with farmers also considering reducing the size of their herds.

Under Threat

In the emergency press conference, NFU president Minette Batters said that “shoppers up and down the country have for decades had a guaranteed supply of high-quality affordable food produced to some of the highest animal welfare, environmental, and food safety standards in the world.”

“That food, produced with care by British farmers, is critical to our nation’s security and success. But British food is under threat,” she added.

“We have already seen the egg supply chain crippled under the pressure caused by these issues and I fear the country is sleepwalking into further food supply crises, with the future of British fruit and vegetable supplies in trouble. We need government and the wider supply chain to act now—tomorrow could well be too late.”

According to the NFU, since 2019 the price of wholesale gas has increased by 650 percent, with nitrogen fertiliser up by 240 percent and agricultural diesel up 73 percent. Furthermore, animal feed raw material has increased by 75 percent.

Nearly 1 in 10 NFU members who produce beef said they were considering reducing the size of their herd in the next 12 months.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Finite Feeding Frenzy

Finite Feeding Frenzy

Image by ariesjay castillo from Pixabay

You may be aware that our food industry is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, to the point that it takes about 10 kcal of energy input to deliver 1 kcal of consumed food. The enormous energy multiplier is due to extensively mechanized plowing, harvesting, processing, and delivery of food; fossil-fueled fertilization (via methane feedstock); refrigeration and preparation; then of course food waste. In olden times, when all agricultural energy came from muscle power that needed to be fed, the system would collapse (i.e., starve and fail) if energy inputs exceeded energy ingested.

Some have phrased our current practice as “eating fossil fuels,” and in fact a 2006 book by Dale Allen Pfeiffer had this title. So what? More power to us—literally.

The problem, people, is that fossil fuels are finite. We have already consumed a fair fraction (roughly half?) of the accessible allotment. And before concluding that we therefore have a century or so before needing to worry about the consequences, realize that the inflection point happens around the halfway mark, wherein decreasing ease of access tends to result in ever-decreasing output rates in the second-half of the resource. We see this behavior in individual oil fields and in regional (country-scale) aggregations. The low-hanging fruit is taken first, sensibly, so that what’s left is more stubborn.

Because human population has been substantially boosted by fossil fuel input, we have put ourselves into a vulnerable position. What happens when fossil fuels begin to give out on us?

It’s been a while since I did any, you know, math for this blog, as I seem to be living my own worst nightmare and turning into an armchair philosopher (oh the shame). In this post, I return to something closer to math..

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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