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November 23, 2012

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That's fine for Greece where even most professionals are usually just one generation away from rural life, but how many young Americans really have the skills to live off the land? Ironically, Mexican immigrants would probably do much better than prole whites in a more agricultural economy. Inner city blacks would probably starve to death in short order.

This guy is going to harvest olives, a fruit from a tree. How many of us have access to an apple orchard? The great thing about trees is that they just keep producing. Even if they are neglected they still are somewhat productive. The big starches (wheat, rice, corn) require real farming skill and technology. Potatoes are sort of in-between.

My advice: try to get some land and put fruit trees in. Learn how to garden, especially potatoes and carrots. If you then need to scale up production you will have the skills and resources to do it.

I don't see a catastrophic collapse coming soon, but instead a transition. The orchard that you plant today might be needed to feed your great-grandson. Make sure to get land that isn't easy to farm industrially. You won't be able to hold onto that land. So forget about flat land in the midwest. That land will remain in production, farmed by Mexicans, with the food exported and/or eaten by government.

Dabbling in self-sufficiency is by and large the past time of the rich. Look into how much it would cost to buy a small farm. Then factor in basic machinery and other necessities. Add to this that most people have no agricultural skills whatsoever (buying a copy of "Square Foot Gardening" isn't going to cut it). How on earth is the average unemployed person supposed to flee back to nature? It's like some kind of sick joke.

Yeah, have to agree that Siggie is showing his city slicker colors here. This trend is not happening in large numbers and those that do it don't come near to being self-sufficient. It's nothing more than a personal interest story that plays to fantasies of those stuck in dull office jobs. A 'grass is always greener' type of thing.

"So forget about flat land in the midwest. That land will remain in production, farmed by Mexicans, with the food exported and/or eaten by government."

No, that land is, and I believe will, continue to be farmed by whites. It's extremely capital intensive, both land and implements, as well as requiring accumulated know-how and moderate intelligence. It's much more analogous to a small business owner than it is to day laborer/vegetable picker/yeoman farming.

As far as preparing to survive an Armageddon situation I believe the most practical angle for an urban dweller would be to escape to an area of low population density that borders a body of water while knowing how to fish. And by knowledge of fishing, I mean hundreds of hours actual experience/purposeful practice along with informed reading and some mentoring in the early stages.

Modern farming is capital intensive. This reflects the fact that historically labor in the US is expensive. Should labor costs fall, those $500,000 combines would become uncompetitive, and they would be replaced by men with scythes. Not only Mexicans, but also Americans displaced from their industrial and service sector jobs.

The balance of machines and people is determined by relative costs in all sectors, including the industrial and financial. In both these sectors, robots and computers replaced workers without any loss in production. Over the last 20-30 years, industrial output in the US has doubled while productivity has tripled. Hence loss of industrial jobs.

A native American peasantry is possible but not guaranteed. If Obama and the Dims let the shale gas/oil revolution proceed, and if the unions remain weak, an expansion of industrial jobs in the US is possible.

According to Paul Krugman, everything would be hunky-dory in Greece if the Greeks had their own currency and their own central bank, as we do in the U.S. They could then devalue their way to competitiveness, as the U.S. has been doing versus the euro and yen and soon the renminbi.

"Inner city blacks would probably starve to death in short order."

A real shame...

"It's extremely capital intensive, both land and implements"

Which is why it will be the target of nationalization efforts. Capital intensive industries are the first to be nationalized. I'm not talking now, I'm talking maybe 50 years from now. Government regulation and taxation will force the weaker players out of the market. Consolidation will continue.

At some point the midwest might have only a few hundred megafarms, each farmer owning a ridiculous amount of land, but barely scraping by due to high taxes. At this point the farm vote has basically disappeared, because there are so few farmers. At that point the farming community doesn't have enough people to really keep itself going socially. Either they assimilate or attrition from random murders finishes them off. So either they become hispanic by marrying or they die to Zimbabwe-style "land reform" murder mobs.

"Inner city blacks would probably starve to death in short order".

You also forgot to mention the SWPLs in the big cities who don't have any life survival skills other than swiping their debit/credit cards at Whole Foods.

I grow about 2,000 pounds of vegetables every year with about 50 hours of labor total, and time is my limiting factor. The ton of food is mostly in potatoes, tomatoes and cabbage, as well as a few hundred pounds of Asian pears and squash.

If I had nothing else to do but grow vegetables (and probably take care of chickens), I could grow enough for about 10 people, with seasonal help from those 10 people.

In my area (Northeast CT near MA and RI) there are a lot of unemployed whites, while the local dairy farms employ illegal Brazilians at 15 an hour plus overtime. I'm looking forward to the unemployed Whites becoming riotous. Also, the DSS is run by Hispanics who are very inefficient and consteantly deny claims (of whites, I don't honestly know if they do the same to their own kind). When you call you can't get a person, you get an answering machine with a Hispanic accent.

So there isn't even a fig leaf of white, honest government. Connecticut has become a Hispanic run state -- the scum politicians welcome their new brown overlords.

It's happening in the US too. Big sections of Detroit that have decayed and largely been abandoned are reverting to agricultural usage:

http://www.newgeography.com/content/001171-detroit-urban-laboratory-and-new-american-frontier

When you see what a modern Detroit farmer looks like, it won't be much of a surprise to the readesr of this blog:

http://www.metromodemedia.com/blogs/bloggers/patrickcrouch0143.aspx

"Inner city blacks would probably starve to death in short order".

But before that, predatory roving bands will wander the countryside (rural South Africa anyone??)

That was a great article, the only one who had any money was the Grandmother, who still gets a nice pension everyone is depending on.
The whole economy is crashing just so the state can still pay out the pensions. Meanwhile people of productive age have nothing to do but live with grandma.

Once again, I have to remind people here that agriculture, far from being "pre-industrial", is actually a very technical enterprise.

Earlier this year, I did a PLC-based control system for bio-fuels production facility for a farm in eastern Oregon. I stayed at a hotel in a nearby small town while I did integration and start-up. It was there I met other engineers who were doing start-up on similar projects, both on farms and for food process plants. It turns out that the little town of Boardman (and other places like it) are surprisingly high tech. All of Boardman's (and Eastern Oregon's) economy is agriculture and forestry. There is nothing "pre-industrial" about these industries any more.

"My advice: try to get some land and put fruit trees in."

T: what about planting ANY kind of tree for wood production. I've heard that one tree depending on genus can go for $100K to lumber yards. Of course this is not an overnight proposition. But it could be a source of alternative income.

Don't fruit trees require a lot of cultivation?

"In my area (Northeast CT near MA and RI) there are a lot of unemployed whites, while the local dairy farms employ illegal Brazilians at 15 an hour plus overtime. I'm looking forward to the unemployed Whites becoming riotous."

Rob: do the unemployed whites even try to get the jobs in the local dairy farms?

I'm not trying to pick an argument here. (It often sounds that way on the Internet.) Just asking a question.

Because if they are not trying to get these jobs then what basis do they have to be riotously angry? Again, just asking a question. I'm intrigued by your reportage.

Abelard, what about the Amish and Mennonite farms? Or are those subpar in terms of productivity?

I think the closest the US will see to the Greeks going back to the farm are the tent cities that have sprung up here and there. I.e., homeless and transient. Or something akin to the French documentary "The Gleaners and I" which showed the destitute scrounging through piles of potato rejects and relishing expired cheese won from dumpster diving.

"Learn how to garden, especially potatoes and carrots."

Don't try carrots on clay. With potatoes (and tomatoes) beware of blight.

Jay,

For 15 an hour I can assure they'd take those jobs. Those who are actually working are making like 8 or 9 an hour.

Also, those dairy farm jobs are just like factory shiftwork nowadays,8 hours, punch in, punch out. It's not terribly rigorous labor either.

Get a window from one of those "habitat restore" places (I know, I hate patronizing Habitat for Humanity but they took over the used construction materials market).

When you plant carrots if they dry out they won't sprout, so make a square the size of the window, throw the carrot seeds on top, water heavily, put window over it, and water every morning and night.

Also, with potatoes, dig a deep trench ahve have piles of dirt on either side, fertilize with bone meal, hill the potatoes as they come up but don't bury completely, fertilize every two weeks, and harvest when the potato plants die back.

Fertilizer is cheap. I use it without hesitation, anything as long as you follow directions Miracle Gro or Foxfire Farm. Also, Daconil to kill pests. I don't care about organic, as long as the pesticide breaks down in 3 days it's good.

To avoid tomato blight, grow them along a high fence/trellis, and prune the branches so the tomatoes only grow along the main stem and get maximum sunlight, minimum shade. Shade is what allows blight (fungus) to grow.


@ Rob

"For 15 an hour I can assure they'd take those jobs. Those who are actually working are making like 8 or 9 an hour.

Also, those dairy farm jobs are just like factory shiftwork nowadays,8 hours, punch in, punch out. It's not terribly rigorous labor either".

It could be that the White workers would be too expensive to maintain. They probably want unemployment benefits, health insurance, sick and vacation time as well, whereas the illegal Brazillians are hard workers who just want to earn as much money they can by working longer hours without any complaints, something that the White workers may not want to take up.

"I think the closest the US will see to the Greeks going back to the farm are the tent cities that have sprung up here and there. I.e., homeless and transient. Or something akin to the French documentary "The Gleaners and I" which showed the destitute scrounging through piles of potato rejects and relishing expired cheese won from dumpster diving."

There are already a ton of tent and RV cities in the area between Eureka, CA and Coos Bay, Oregon. It was mind boggling to see people living on these informal semi-nomadic communes like that. Some had small vegetable plots, some were growing weed. I assume to some extent they were all ex-hippies doing this voluntarily though. In any case, the poverty was disconcerting, and I say this as someone who comes from one of the poorest states.

@Anonymouse: were these white people?

@Rob: Then why aren't they GETTING those jobs? Are they being discriminated against?

HS: You are dead to rights about not assuming that there will be a job for you, no matter how hard you look. There's so much propaganda about for older workers, they should look harder, and they'll get a job. Not true.

"Inner city blacks would probably starve to death in short order".

-

You and others get embarrassingly stiff boners at the idea at eliminating "inner city blacks", but remember they were mostly country bumpkins 100 years ago. Farmers, sharecroppers, tradesmen, etcetera. It's not exactly impossible to believe American blacks could be self-sufficient if they were forced to.

Posted by: Htmzang | November 23, 2012 at 03:06 PM

So true. Blacks have never starved in Africa.

"Blacks have never starved in Africa." Wrong! One reason early white explorers were able to get 200-300 men to carry their equipment and numerous servants for their tents was because there was often famine.

But I agree that African-Americans would probably do better at subsistence farming than SWPLs.

A foot powered sewing machine?
That's a little bit on the dramatic side!

The average Chinese factory worker makes $300 per month.
You have to hit rock bottom before it becomes cheaper to sew your own clothes rather than buy it from the Chinese or Walmart.

"In my area (Northeast CT near MA and RI) there are a lot of unemployed whites, while the local dairy farms employ illegal Brazilians at 15 an hour plus overtime. I'm looking forward to the unemployed Whites becoming riotous."

I call complete B.S. on that. A couple years ago, when I was in the insurance industry, I had some dealings with a couple of the big plant nurseries on the East End of Long Island, and from what I recall they paid their mostly Hispanic workers maybe $9 to $10 an hour. Some experienced workers or crew chiefs might have made a little more, but not $15 an hour. And these plant nurseries seemed to be a lot more prosperous than the mostly marginal dairy farm operations still hanging on in Connecticut.


"Also, the DSS is run by Hispanics who are very inefficient and consteantly deny claims (of whites, I don't honestly know if they do the same to their own kind). When you call you can't get a person, you get an answering machine with a Hispanic accent.
So there isn't even a fig leaf of white, honest government. Connecticut has become a Hispanic run state -- the scum politicians welcome their new brown overlords."

That's even more absurd. If you ranked all 50 states by the relative socioeconomic status of the Hispanic population vs. the white population, Connecticut would be in 50th place or very close.

So true. Blacks have never starved in Africa.

-

Notice I said American blacks. They weren't as successful as whites, but they definitely have a history of rural self-sufficiency and self-help.

Mark Caplan, do you disagree with Krugman on this? I think he is stating the obvious. Sadly for the young greeks, the eurozone and their gov. have short term incentives to keep kicking the can. Long term, surely they will revert to the drachma.

HS sounds like he has been reading some of the doomer blogs.

Anyway, the "just return to the land and grow your own vegetables" idea has been kicked around alot on these blogs. Won't work, some of the reasons for this have been brought up by earlier commentators. But the big reason is that the population of the world was under one billion people before the industrial revolution, and under three billion before the green revolution, as opposed to seven billion today. There simply is no way to support the world's current population without industrialized agriculture, in fact you probably can't do it without lots of genetic engineering and petrochemicals.

Greece actually might turn out OK because it has a relatively small population (ten million last time I checked).

Greece is a traditionalist agricultural society and culture anyway. It was in recent memory that they went industrial, it is not a problem to return to their roots.

"But I agree that African-Americans would probably do better at subsistence farming than SWPLs."

LOL. Those people in Brooklyn microbrewing beer, or knitting organic hemp sweaters, or reclaiming barnyard wood to make a coffee table? SWPLs. They like making stuff and they'll do just fine growing carrots, too.

SWPL stuff is basically, broadly, what more aesthetically/sensually oriented white people are into. You nerds make fun of artisan cheese, but the impulses that make white people interested in such things are the same ones that have lead to all the other refined products of western civilization.

Some commenters here seem to confuse subsistance farming with commercial farming, which makes me doubt of their intelligence.

Commercial farming (the so-called "money crops") is indeed a very exhausting, time-consuming and high-tech work. In order to compete on a food market, even a small one, and make a living on it, you need to be the best --- not simply one among many.

Subsistance farming, i.e. the kind of activity Greeks seem to revert to, and the way humans lived for thousands of years before the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, is as easy as apple pie. You just need these little miracles of nature known as "staple foods": potatoes, carrots, beans, squashes. With potatoes as the prize-winner. Drop the seeds and sprouts in the ground. If you live in a humid area, just sit back on your rocking chair and enjoy the show. If not, you will need to arrange for an artificial water supply, meaning more work. Plant some hazelnut, apple or pear trees, and you will never, ever, starve.

The Greek guy is lucky. He had a plot of land to return to, plus he's married and has had his children. Maybe he's better off in terms of quality of life in the long run. The younger SWPL couple, where the wife is 39, are screwed. They are so IDIOCRACY. Why didn't she have kids in her 20s? What were these people thinking?

@Alex,

That sounds a little too easy to me. Nothing is easy or free.

About the doom stuff, I think HS is saying that for some people, in their 50s, who will never work again, should start thinking about how to support themselves until Social Security kicks in. That's not doomsday talk. It's practical. Develop some survival skills, move to an area that has some potential, not a real isolated backwoods place, and adapt. By survival skills I don't mean shooting guns and going all Unabomber, but just getting smart.

[HS: Actually, I just meant that people need to save more money so they can retire earlier, if they want to or if they are forced to. Although potato farming sounds intriguing.]

Posted by: ArtisteNextDoor | November 24, 2012 at 01:40 AM

Too bad none of those SWPLs(DWLs)have a clue about firearms.

"SWPL stuff is basically, broadly, what more aesthetically/sensually oriented white people are into...the impulses that make white people interested in such things are the same ones that have lead to all the other refined products of western civilization".

Yes, but the average SWPL is neither creative nor enterprising. He/She has a comfy job in a big liberal coastal city and consumes what is available to them. They would rather work to acquire some pricey apartment near Central Park than to build or make something from scratch in Detroit. Proles would have the ability, but they lack their intelligence and refined tastes.

"Some commenters here seem to confuse subsistance farming with commercial farming, which makes me doubt of their intelligence."

I still say your average person will achieve a total bust if they attempt to garden for self sufficiency with minimal gardening experience. There are two other issues though. Food isn't really the problem when a person loses their job. Food is cheap. The US throws away millions of tons of food a year. Food stamp requirements are lax. Food banks and soup kitchens are ubiquitous. Unemployed people in the US simply aren't at risk of starving to death. So some homegrown tomatoes aren't going to make much difference one way or another.

The other problem is the way Americans eat. The FDA published a list of the top 50 sources of calories for Americans. Fresh fruits and veggies don't even make the list. The top sources were sugary desserts, pizza, chicken (I assume fried) and soda. Having to subsist off of potatoes, carrots and homegrown greens would require such a paradigm shift that most people would simply crack.

I have always enjoyed gardening but my attempt to grow veggies was a failure. Gophers and rabbits ate the tomatoes and artichokes, berry vines produced almost nothing. The apple tree I planted lost its leaves in the summer and is probably dead.

Squash and watermelon have done fine but require a lot of space and watering, and also are about 30 cents a pound in stores. Not worth the effort.

Tomatoes are an excellent food crop if you can keep the varmints away. Little care is needed and a single cherry tomato plant will produce more than 500 each. And in SoCal they produce year round except the dead of winter. They aren't supposed to last more than a season but here they go for 4 or more years.

The only things that have saved me any money (on the assumption my labor is free) is my cherry tree, broccoli, and passion fruit. The latter sells for $3 a fruit here as a novelty but that is about five times the price Asian specialty stores in central LA charge. Anyone in SoCal, Florida, Hawaii, or other frost free areas should get passion fruit vines. They are resistant to pests, have nice flowers that attract bees and hummingbirds, and their fruits taste like a more refined version of kids sour candy.

I considerd planting an almond tree until the price of almonds crashed by 2/3. Now Costco sells a 3 pound bag for $8. Almost as cheap as peanuts.

"This could be the future of the United States."

Just imagine if Sigma had to grow his own Chinese takeout in his backyard. The humanity!

HS: why do you find potato farming intriguing?

Got about 1000 sq ft. under cultivation, on the north slope of a hill. The bottom half I rotate squash and potatoes; the latter got blight and only harvested 50 pounds, about half from last year.

Upslope I've got six raised beds. The French Intensive method, and learning crop sequencing achieves maximum yields with less effort than standard rows, and looks nicer, too.

Make a compost pile to fill the
beds.

@jay

"@Alex,

That sounds a little too easy to me. Nothing is easy or free."

The problem when attempting to apply a rigid principle on something as complex, evolutive and random as Nature is that it often fails.

For example, you could say to me "there is no way to get enough Vitamin D through food alone", and I could redirect you to shiitake mushrooms, an anomaly of Nature that shits vitamin D by the ton when growing.

You could say to me "you need to work in order to eat", and I could show you the African and Polynesian tribes who find so much coconut and banana in the forest that they don't know what to do with them.

There is no general rule in Nature, except perhaps that everything dies in the end, or that the weak encounters the constant risk of being devoured by the strong. Some plants and legumes are totally uninteresting and cannot be cultivated by man in a sustainable way, others are fucking miracles straight of the Garden of Eden. Some flowers and herbal concoctions cannot be eaten by humans, some can, in a totally random way.

Potatoes and beans are examples of these "miracles". They grow easily and without much help. They repel common pests through toxins that disappear when cooked. They are extremely calorific, and quite rich in minerals and vitamins. They are eternal, in the sense you don't need to buy seeds every year, you just need to replant some sprouted small potatoes or sprouted beans.

Subsistance farming used to be relatively hard in the Middle Ages and the Antiquity, because at this time our knowledge of genetics, botanic and foreign legumes was limited. Famines were frequent, because of climate variations or pests. It is for this reason that animal breeding was common, and complex social structures based on cereal production and access to cereals were manufactured.

It is no longer hard today, unless you choose to grow vulnerable crops like tomato, cabbage, lettuce, onion, etc.

PS: I simplified when I said that you just need to "dump the seeds in the ground and wait". You'll of course need to have a rich ground, which requires preparation. Dead tree leaves and other biomass usually suffice. As to your fruit trees, you'll of course have most of your fruit bitten by birds and eaten by worms. Oh, and farming land is of course far easier and healthier to do in the countryside than in your NYC garden.

"I still say your average person will achieve a total bust if they attempt to garden for self sufficiency with minimal gardening experience."

I do agree, because even subsistance farming requires:

- An IQ threshold
- A willingness to learn things on the crop you're going to grow, and to wait (farming requires a godly patience)

People who never read books will have trouble achieving good results. You really need to learn individual information on each crop, you can't rely on experience and instinct alone.

"Gophers and rabbits ate the tomatoes and artichokes"

There's nothing you can do about it, unfortunately. You have no choice but to rely on luck.

"The apple tree I planted lost its leaves in the summer and is probably dead."

Probably a climatic issue.

"Tomatoes are an excellent food crop if you can keep the varmints away. Little care is needed and a single cherry tomato plant will produce more than 500 each. And in SoCal they produce year round except the dead of winter. They aren't supposed to last more than a season but here they go for 4 or more years."

I recommend cultivating San Marzanos and beefsteaks, they are the best. The first for paste and sauce, the second for salads. They are very robust and sweeter than the other cultivars.

"HS: why do you find potato farming intriguing?"

My guess is that HalfSigma, like all urbanites, is fascinated by the ways of the countryside.

I'd love for HS to answer the question himself but everyone here seems to be in love w/potatoes, including you, Alex. I like 'em fine but I wouldn't want to live on them. And they don't sell for much. What would you do with the excess?

"I still say your average person will achieve a total bust if they attempt to garden for self sufficiency with minimal gardening experience."

Self-sufficiency, yes. But my family got into growing veggies when we moved to a heavily Italian area of NYC back in the 60s. We quickly learned to grown tomatoes, squash, corn, etc. We subscribed to the Rodale magazines and composted. We didn't really save a lot but it was absorbing and fun. We weren't really looking into saving money but with a bit more application (and more land?) we could have.

"There are two other issues though. Food isn't really the problem when a person loses their job. Food is cheap. The US throws away millions of tons of food a year. Food stamp requirements are lax."

Now, that's correct. But if a crisis comes - and it will - states will cut back. Ohio cut back its food stamp allowance, not as drastically as they said they would - but maybe this is just the beginning.

It is true that we throw away a lot. There is a mini-vogue in NYC of 'dumpster diving'. Normal people do this, not just creeps and homeless. It's amazing what you can find.

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