Transitions Post Script

A few posts ago I wrote through an anecdote of my family and I picking our way through our raspberry patch.  It was a bucolic scene in the midst of the Suburban Desert and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  But there is a deeper story there too that I would like to draw out a bit more.  

A important lesson in the berry patch that I did not expound upon is that even though we picked as much as we wanted, and made 3 pints of jam, plus enough for a dozen muffins, and several rounds of smoothies… THERE WAS STILL 3 GALLONS LEFT on the canes. We use more than 3 pints of jam a year, but we also have strawberries, pears, gooseberries, apples, paw paw and peaches coming in to pack into the larder. Our little berry patch (60 sq ft) could supply 3 families with some of their jam. In fact, next year we may host a Jam Party. Have 2 other families come over and we all make jam together since we have the pressure cooker.

Without a community none of us are sustainable, despite what the Compound Types say. One of the families we would likely invite makes beer and grows their own hops, another makes maple syrup from trees in the neighborhood. I do neither of these things, but it is likely the other families would then share their harvests with us, and perhaps even host gatherings of their own to share the workload.  Even if none of the families had anything to give, the added help and fellowship would be worth it, and Eco Evangelism is a Good Thing in itself.  Emily over at Eat Close to Home is working hard on all kinds of community building projects like this. Sound hokey? This is how communities have been sustained for millennia, and it is a lesson we must relearn. 

Be The Change


6 Responses

  1. Rob – I totally agree with this and I think it can be extended further still. The average suburban home (in the UK at least) really only has space for one large tree but the average suburban street or boulevard has space for an orchard worth of different varieties.

  2. Most lots from the 1950’s in the US share the same constraints, but in the heady days from Reagan on, lots sizes have continued to climb. Our lot is a solid .5 acres (.2 Hectare) and has room for rather a bit more. My mini orchard will have 6 trees, and there will be another 6 fruiting trees in the landscape. By adding vines to the fences (kiwi and grape) and substituting fruiting shrubs like nanking cherry and gooseberry for the usual landscape shrubbery one can add an impressive amount of utility without even adding a “garden”.

    I have read several articles on American cities using their boulevard trees as managed woodlands Post Peak to provide district heating, etc. Taking it to the next level and planting for fruit is a great step!


  3. I don’t think it sounds hokey at all. We’re having a jam making party here this month. These kinds of things bring people together, raise awareness and interest, and are just plain fun. I’m all for the social green movement. Bring it on!

  4. Excellent point. Community will be key in the future we are facing. I read many preparedness blogs and forums and am surprised by the negative responses that I read when folks post articles about preparedness/self-sufficiency going more mainstream. What? This is a great trend. We are doing similar activities here – processing food together in bulk, buying meat from local farmer in bulk, sharing freezer space, picking at the “u-pick” berry farm as families (we just established the backyard berry patch last year …)

  5. Re: Tim’s comment — Obviously these people are in a martyr mentality, or even a disguised victim mentality. Oh, poor me, the world is coming to an end and I have to put up ALL my food by myself because I can’t trust anyone else to help me out…or look at me! See all this stuff I do ALL BY MYSELF because nobody cares to help?

    Meh. I try to organize canning parties with my friends and get no takers. That’s OK though, I’m feeding two families partly at least through my efforts. Give it another year or two, lots more will be interested. Then we can take over the world with jelly and a canner!

  6. Linked from Future House Farm, and just couldn’t resist – you HAVE to call it a Jam Session.

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