An underlying concern with COVID-19

There is an underlying concern with the COVID-19 situation, and that is that toilet paper may not be the only thing that people go to purchase and find the store shelves empty.

What if the situation escalates and food shelves go empty?

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No one is suggesting that will happen, but it is an easy leap to make, at least in terms of what might happen.

In my youth, yes that is now several decades ago, the worry about finding food in a store would have been far less.

We lived on a farm, and in that era a farm was more than canola and wheat. Most producers still had mixed farms, meaning some livestock, and that meant the freezes filled with food.

Farms also meant huge gardens for most, ensuring vegetables in the freezer too.

The era was also one where making pickles, canning fruit in season, and similar preserving of food was common place.

Add in that flour was purchased in 50 pound bags because most made bread, and there was not the immediate need for food from the store we have today.

It was only slightly different for my grandparents living in town. They had a huge garden, canned preserves, and of course got meat from the farm.

Backyard gardens are increasingly rare, as are mixed farms. The result there is far less food self-sufficiency today than say 40 years ago.

In a mere four decades, not long in terms of history, we have given over the key aspect of life, our food supply, to others.

We in North America have gone through a long period of very limited direct upheaval in our lives, since the end of the Second World War when you think about it. That is 75-years without war on this continent, without a ‘dirty-30s- style stock crash, without major epidemic. In the passing of the decades we have grown safe, secure, and perhaps a little lax in terms of our self-care and preparedness.

Perhaps something positive that can come out of the COVID-19 could be a return to a greater control of our own food sources.

The first step in that can be as simple as connecting with area farmers to buy your beef, pork and chicken. In a crisis, those producers are still close at hand.

And step two is to get back to backyard gardens. Grass might look nice, and require less attention, but potatoes and carrots taste far better.

Urban municipalities can play a role here too, offering up vacant lots and even marginal park space as community garden spaces.

The process is about self-reliance and knowing our core food supply is always there.

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