In an unsustainable world it’s good to be able to provide for yourself

Trevor thinks being self-sustainable is a skill everyone should have

(File photo)

(File photo)

I don’t know why more people don’t have their own gardens.

There’s nothing more satisfying than a salad made entirely of greens and veggies you grew yourself. I swear the food tastes better knowing that you watered, fed and nurtured it from seed to plate.

Unfortunately for me, I still need to up my whole homesteading game.

As we see the economic repercussions of both COVID-19 across the world and the CN rail shutdowns internally within Canada, I have found myself thinking more and more about what I would do in the case of a situation where food supplies were scarce due to a partial or total supply chain collapse.

At this point I don’t think we will experience a total supply chain collapse from China’s economic woes, but I am confident it will cause, at the very least, a temporary worldwide shortage of China’s main exports and a minor global recession.

MORE TREV THOUGHTS: The RCMP need to let journalists do their job

Every day that China can’t get its factories up to regular capacity (as I’m writing this Bloomberg has reported some 90 per cent of 109 U.S. manufacturers in the Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone are back to production, yet 78 per cent are severely understaffed) raises the chance this could have devastating effects for the world economy.

How did we get here? It’s simple, really. We have become so dependent on our “just-in-time” economy — where companies rely on regular shipments from overseas, mostly within Southeast Asia — that even a slight disruption of this chain has the potential to devastate just about every sector of our economy.

Take grocery stores. China ranks first in worldwide farm output. From rice to wheat to potatoes to soybeans (you’d be surprised how much stuff contains soybean oil), if you are buying it in bulk there is a good chance it is coming from China.

Many will point to Canada’s own agricultural production as a natural defense against a food shortage. While it’s true our country is also one of the largest agricultural producers on the planet the suggestion that we could weather the storm by simply just producing our own food fails to consider two main things.

The first is that Canada typically exports some $50-odd billion a year in agriculture, accounting for around 1.6 per cent of our approximate $1.77 trillion GDP. If we were to just turn around and stop exporting all of our food to other countries, that’s a 1.6 per cent instant decrease in our GDP, not to mention all the jobs related to the exports of food which would be made irrelevant until we could ramp up exporting again.

Perhaps the bigger issue is that much of what we grow are genetically modified organism (GMO) crops meant to be big, grow quickly and be resistant to widely-used glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup. Great for yields and our bottom line, right? The only problem is that China accounts for around 60 per cent of the global supply of Roundup. What happens when our GMO crops don’t get their yearly pesticide fix or any other of the fertilizers and other products used in farming? The short answer is we don’t know.

This is all without mentioning the repercussions of CN rail shutdowns across East and Western Canada, as well as the recent announcement that VIA Rail would be cancelling most of its trains across the country in response to numerous blockades in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

It really is the perfect storm: economic crisis meets infrastructure breakdown.

And that’s why I want to learn how to grow my own food, because this whole situation has made me realize being self-sustainable isn’t just easy on the wallet, it gives you the peace of mind of knowing that if something bad happens you can sustain yourself and your loved ones through a hard time. Hope for the best, but expect the worst.

I’m glad many around here seem to take a sustainable approach to living. There are at least two dozen properties I see on my 20-minute drive home which are clearly being used for agricultural purposes. Many have livestock. Some even have some pretty decent looking solar systems.

As for me, I still have a long way to go. About to order a 1.2 kWh solar system for my house and a pressure cooker so I can begin learning about canning. Also have to pick up some corn and seed potatoes to save for the spring. Fingers crossed it’s an early one.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Farming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Houston physician Dr. Stefanie Steel receives her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Jan. 19 from RN nurse manager Cindy Cockle. (Northern Health photo)
COVID-19 vaccinations get underway in Smithers

First doses are being administered to long-term care residents and priority health care staff

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Fentanyl was among the drugs seized by New Hazelton RCMP in a big bust in early January. (File photo)
New Hazelton RCMP arrest five, seize drugs and large amount of cash

Police find suspected heroin, fentanyl and crystal meth during early January drug bust

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Most Read