As we face PG&E shutdowns for wildfire safety in California, I am feeling the intensity of being on the front lines of climate change. And as part of that I am pondering what can we do to be less fearful and more empowered? Well we know that for several hundred years before us, people ate food but they had little to no refrigeration.
Some of the things they did: collect and harvest food at the height of the season and then preserve and/or store it. Canning, pickling, salting, smoking and root cellars or cold storage of root vegetables and onions. Fresh dairy meant you had a cow, goat or sheep and milked them daily or you traded with someone who had a cow, goat or sheep. I know a modern day mom who is part of a milk share - one cow, many families. And to make that dairy last even longer, make cheese.
Fermented foods are trendy right now, because we are realizing we need the beneficial bacteria that are present when we preserve food in this traditional way. What I am fascinated by is that they also do not require refrigeration.
If you have chickens or buy eggs from someone you know, you don't have to wash them. Unwashed eggs have a coating that keeps them fresh without refrigeration. The list goes on and on. It's worth considering how much food security we have handed over to big agriculture or even the local grocery store. When the power went out for most of Marin County (the county next to where I now live and where I grew up) the stores were closed, you could not get food, gas or money and by day four, panic set in, what would we do if this lasted weeks? years? I think the best thing we can do is start now, learn how to do things the way we used to do them, take the best of old and new technology and move forward stronger and happier into a brave new future.
Sometimes I wonder if I was born in the right time... I long for a bygone era and yet I dream of a future that holds the best of technology mixed with the “old ways” that are so much gentler on us and the earth.