CITY DWELLERS INCREASINGLY TURN TO FARMING TO SURVIVE ECONOMIC CRISIS|
Posted On: July 11th, 2012
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When millions lose their jobs and have no hope of finding gainful employment, what options do they have for keeping food on the table?
The obvious answer for those who have become dependent on government safety nets is nutritional food assistance, and to date, more than 48 million Americans have come to rely on the program to stay alive.
But what if your country reaches its breaking point? What if the price of essential food gets so high due to inflation or supply issues that not even food stamps provide enough help to maintain a healthy diet? What if the very safety net established by government begins to tear? Then what?
The majority will have no other option but to scrounge for food in the streets… or starve. We’re already seeing this across America and Europe as tens of millions of people struggle to adjust to a dead or dying consumptive paradigm. These people have not yet realized what has happened and they hold on to the hope that their political leaders will somehow change the inevitability of a disastrous outcome brought on by a system that has been overloaded with debt, overspending, irresponsibility and moral hazard.
Those, however, who have come to the realization that the economy is not rebounding, that jobs have either been vaporized or permanently outsourced, that things are going to get much worse before they have any chance of getting better, have begun taking steps to ensure that they’ll not only have larder for their families, but a source of income, however paltry.
As easy money made it possible for mass urbanization (and suburbanization) during the widespread global build-outs of the last two decades, the collapse of the lending system and credit in general over the last few years has forced many individuals in Europe and the United States to look at other options. In a scenario such as that in which we find ourselves today, where jobs are scarce, prices are high, and socialization becomes economically impossible to maintain, enlightened individuals are doing exactly the opposite of what they’ve been taught to do. They’re no longer heading to cities for high paying tech or finance jobs. They’re headed back to their ancestral roots – back to the rural countryside to try their hand at a different lifestyle.
As has been the case for the last few years, we can turn to Greece for an understanding of what’s to come, as they are a country that has taken the worst of the collapse so far, but one that is certainly not alone in the troubles being wrought on its people.
As he digs and gathers, he tells me his story.
“I worked as a sales representative for many years,” he explains.
“So many hours in the office, so many hours in my car. Many hours lost from my life.”
But those hours, those years of work did not end with happy retirement and a pension.
Instead, while still in his mid-40s, Aristotelis Loukas was made redundant.
Like so many others in Greece nowadays, perhaps 25% of the population, he found himself jobless, unable to find new work, and with a family to support.
But what Mr Loukas did have was an idea.
“I always wondered how it would be to be a farmer,” he says.
“Whatever happens with the economic crisis, the sky will still be blue.”
“We have had applications triple in just the past year,” says Dr Panos Kanellis, the Farm School’s president.
Many of those showing up have good degrees, even MBAs, but still cannot find a job in the Greece of today.
“I was shocked,” Dr Kanellis says.
“They wanted to know how they can use a piece of land that their grandfather owned in a village.
“They were trying to find an alternative.”
Certainly, he is aware of the changes demanded of him.
He laughs as he tells me how he used to be an athlete, but then got old and unfit: “Now in my forties, I have to re-make my body.”
He looks down at his somewhat rotund figure, and laughs again, a little nervously.
But in that laugh, there is mirth and optimism, as well as apprehension.
“When I look back at my life in the office, I think ‘that’s the past, now I have better things to do,’” he says.
“At least I don’t have thoughts on my mind about banks, about debts. I am okay with my family, and yes, I am happy.”
Source: BBC News Europe
Very few of those living in the old paradigm of consumption, debt, and 40-hour work weeks will be able to maintain this lifestyle over the coming decade.
Nearly four years after the financial collapse of 2008 the majority of global economic indicators in America, Europe and China are suggesting that the situation has worsened, not moved into a recovery phase. What we’ve seen so far in terms of the vaporization of wealth, the destruction of jobs and the impoverishment of millions of once middle-class families is but the opening salvo in a world-wide depression that is sure to change the presumptions we have about global economic and geo-political stability.
This is only the beginning.
As such, we urge those who have yet to take steps to protect themselves, to prepare now for a massive paradigm shift that promises to be like nothing we’ve even seen in our lifetimes. It has been suggested that the next decade of human history will be plagued with riots, violence and bloodshed.
There is, of course, the chance that we’re totally off base and that world leaders and top banking financiers will figure a way out of this mess. But given what has transpired thus far, it would behoove us to look at the alternative as a real possibility.
That being said, we can take a hint from the Greeks to learn about trends that will be developing here in America. As the economy continues its tailspin we can assume that more people will lose their jobs (permanently), prices for essential goods in terms of real income value will continue to rise, already strained government social safety nets will unravel (and eventually collapse), and the people will be left to fend for themselves.
This means we need to start focusing on how to preserve our well being now. And that starts with ensuring you will have a roof over your head, food on the table, and skills that will allow you to maintain some level of income or units of exchange to acquire essential goods.
For those who have the means to do so, consider acquiring rural property at which you can build a shelter, micro farm and raise livestock. For those without such means, there are creative ways to produce your own food and create urban backyard sustainability.
At the very least, create a preparedness pantry that includes core food groups that can last a lifetime. In a scenario where you experience a job loss or extreme swings in food prices you’ll at least be able to fallback on your reserve supplies, or use them to supplement your diet if money and food supplies get tight.
One key takeaway from the experience of nouveau Greek farmers is that being skilled in land management, gardening, micro-farming, irrigation, raising livestock, and sustainability are fields of expertise that can be worth more than gold. Experts in these fields, or entrepreneurs that can manufacture tools and equipment, or operate (or rent) farm machinery (or beasts of burden), will find that they can build successful businesses from this rapidly developing trend.
Now is the time to prepare for the exodus from urbanized metropolitan areas and a return to the rural lifestyle of Green Acres