|Small Flock Poultry Farming can add strength and resiliency|
to our domestic food system, provided that oppressive and
constricting government regulations are rationalized and relaxed
The GFC (Global Financial Crisis, 2007 - 2009) was said to be the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression in 1929. While the recession ended officially in June 2009, the weakness has continued.
Some feel that we are now in the eye of the tornado, but we'll soon be exiting the relatively calm eye to the full fury of the economic storm that has not yet fully passed. Others say we fully weathered the worst of the economic storm, and it's smooth sailing from here on.
I have lived through many economic recessions in my 60 years. I became aware something different was brewing as early as 2001. We sold our house in a major metropolitan area in 2006, in preparation for the GFC in 2007. We went to 100% cash in May 2007. Luckily, somehow I had fallen into listening to a few individuals who subsequently proved that they knew what they were talking about. I stood on the shoulders of giants, and was saved from the economic flood that drowned many. These same people tell me now that the second economic shock will soon be here around Oct. 2015, and then it will be a slow melting into an economic swamp for the next 30 years.
In 1929, my grandparents were lucky to have a strong family unit, excellent neighbours, a strong and closely knit community, strong churches who had a clear role as the pillars of the community with outreach and charity, and some service groups such as Lion's Club, Rotary, etc. There were few government programs back then (eg. free health care, welfare, disability pensions, Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan, etc.; none of these existed in 1929). As the Great Depression lingered on, the government became more and more involved with soup kitchens, work farms, infrastructure projects, and many other solutions to help see people through the worst of it.
What do we have today to help all of us through hard times?
- Government Programs It is true that we now have social assistance (welfare), pensions, Minimum Wage rates, Food Banks, and many other government programs. Unfortunately, all of these programs require you to be working in a paying job, or that only a small fraction collect the benefit while the majority work to fund the few who collect. Canada measures "Core Inflation" (excluding food, energy, and the effects of changes in indirect taxes), then uses this myopic viewpoint to control the economy. Those limitations and constraints fly apart when there is massive unemployment, and when the benefits don't keep up with the true inflating cost of living that includes food, energy and indirect taxes.
- Churches While there are some vibrant, well funded churches with rapidly growing congregations, most churches have poor, declining congregations who are graying more and more each year. Many churches have to go to part-time ministers, and/or sell their church building and move in with a different congregation, as they can no longer afford their church. It is difficult for many congregations to donate to outreach and charity projects when they have insufficient funds to pay their own expenses.
- Family Some families remain tight knit, loving and supporting groups. However, divorce and separation is at an all-time high. More and more people live alone. Fewer children are being born. Couples are starting their families far later on average. Families used to have all generations geographically located in the same neighbourhood, but today they are often spread throughout the country, if not the world. More and more, blended families are the norm. Some Moms have had 3 spouses, with one child from each spouse. The simple question "Tell me about your family." invokes complicated answers. If the grandparents have failing health and/or finances, but the children have relocated 3 Provinces away, and the grandchildren are on the other side of the planet, who can the grandparents call for help?
- Neighbours In the 1920's, most people lived in a rural setting. Of those who lived in metropolitan areas, the vast majority lived on top of each other in high density tenement housing. Only a very few lived in Single Family Homes. Neighbours knew each other, and cared about each other. Today, there is huge isolation in metropolitan areas, where neighbours may go months without seeing each other, let alone speaking. Witness the power of automatic garage door openers, private attached garages, and 6 ft. high privacy fences for backyards to maximize urban isolation from our neighbours.
- Distractions Similar to the bread and circuses of Roman times, today we have television, smart phones, professional sports, Hollywood movie stars, and Internet porn. What more could we ask for? Unfortunately, none of these are socially filling, so our souls hunger for purpose and meaning in life. You can never get enough of what you don't really need. Both our body and soul share the misery of starvation.
- Predatory Corporations Cigarette companies were bad enough when they hooked adults, and each subsequent generation of children. Next, they diversified their investment portfolio by buying Big Food in the 1970's. That launched Bliss Point Optimization, using sugar, fat, salt, and carbohydrates to make all commercially processed food addictive. Banks, Realtors (TM), credit card companies, and all other rent seekers financed us to the maximum, making us debt slaves with no possible mechanism of paying it all back. Like fools, we are enticed to buy bigger and bigger homes, so that Canadians simultaneously have one of the highest rates of home ownership, the most expensive real estate, and the biggest personal debt. Today, many of us have to choose between paying their monthly housing & energy bills, or buy food. for their families. Savers are punished by interest rates below inflation, and borrowers are gouged by predatory interest rates on HELOC's, lines or credit, pay-day loans, and credit card debt. Freedom of choice (and our personal responsibility for our choices made) are a mirage and cruel hoax when you have only one feasible option from which to choose; it's a Hobsons Choice at best.
Summary While it seems we have a very strong social fabric today, we may soon be shocked at how quickly that fabric rips along latent, hidden fault lines from untested systems that strain then burst under severe economic pressures that may soon be here.
If I am wrong to listen to these Chicken Little false prophets, the worst that can happen is that we are over-prepared for a economic crisis that never appears. We are all told to keep 72 hrs of food, water, flashlight batteries, and fuel on hand to tide us over in an emergency; self-sufficient until government relief and formal systems can adequately respond. Is that wrong, or prudent?
Should we therefore be taking steps today to ensure every Canadian can be self-sufficient for food in each and every neighbourhood and community all across Canada. Is that wrong, or prudent?
Small Flockers are standing by, awaiting the call to action.
Will you lend your voice and support to adequately preparing for what may soon arrive?