Hard times aren’t just coming, they are here already. The recent economic collapse has seen millions of North Americans move from the middle class to being poor, and from poor to hungry. At the same time, the idea of eating locally is shifting from being a fringe activity for those who can afford it to an essential element of getting by. But aside from the locavores and slow foodies, who really knows how to eat outside of the supermarket and out of season? And who knows how to eat a diet based on easily stored and home preserved foods?
Independence Days tackles both the nuts and bolts of food preservation, as well as the host of broader issues tied to the creation of local diets. It includes:
- How to buy in bulk and store food on the cheap
- Techniques, from canning to dehydrating
- Tools—what you need and what you don’t
In addition, it focuses on how to live on a pantry diet year-round, how to preserve food on a community scale, and how to reduce reliance on industrial agriculture by creating vibrant local economies.
Better food, plentiful food, at a lower cost and with less energy expended: Independence Days is for all who want to build a sustainable food system and keep eating—even in hard times.
Sharon Astyk is a former academic who farms in upstate New York with her family. She is the author of Depletion and Abundance, the co-author of A Nation of Farmers, and she blogs at www.sharonastyk.com.
Hard times aren’t just coming, they are here already. The recent economic collapse has seen millions of North Americans move from the middle class to being poor, and from poor to hungry. At the same time, the idea of eating locally is shifting from being a fringe activity for those who can afford it to an essential element of getting by. But, aside from the locavores and slow foodies, who really knows how to eat outside of the supermarket and out of season? And who knows how to eat a diet based on easily stored and home preserved foods?Independence Days tackles both the nuts and bolts of food preservation, as well as the host of broader issues tied to the creation of local diets. It includes:how to bulk buy and store food on the cheaptechniques from canning to dehydratingtools: what you need and what you don’t.In addition, it focuses on how to live on a pantry diet year-round, how to preserve food on a community scale, and how to reduce reliance on industrial agriculture by creating vibrant local economies.Better food, plentiful food, at a lower cost, and with less energy expended, Independence Days is for all who want to build a sustainable food system and keep eating-even in hard times.
About the Author
Sharon Astyk is a former academic who is a writer, subsistence farmer, parent, activist and prolific blogger (www.sharonastyk.com and http://henandharvest.com/). She farms in upstate New York with her husband and four children, raises livestock, and grows and preserves vegetables. She is the author of Depletion and Abundance, and co-author of A Nation of Farmers.
I recently planted a more extensive vegetable garden than usual because of my family’s current economic uncertainty. Because I’ll (hopefully) have more produce than in the past, I wanted guidance on how to preserve any excess. The extent of my experience preserving is drying tomatoes in the oven, packing them in olive oil, and keeping them in the fridge. That is why I bought this book. The book was not exactly what I expected, but I loved it. After reading it, I did something I’m pretty sure I have never done in my adult life: cooked and ate all the fresh food I had on hand before I went to the store and bought more. The author does not prompt the reader to do that, but I found that the book so changed the context in which I think about food, I just naturally did it. Previously, the system I used for feeding my family was to graze through cookbooks to come up with a week or two of menus, put together a shopping list, and go buy it. The problems with that are: the leftover ingredients that are frequently wasted, the changes in plans, people dropping over and I don’t have enough food to feed them, the necessity of having to sometimes visit more than one store, and having to reinvent the wheel so often. Even worse is when I don’t have the planning time and just walk into a grocery store looking for something to fix for dinner. After reading this book, I will be buying staples in bulk, investigating how to get what I need locally or straight from a farmer, using my own produce (fingers crossed), and fixing meals from what I have on hand. I can never be one of those people who fixes the same dish every day of the week (meatloaf on Monday, etc.) because I get bored cooking and eating the same thing, but I have come up with a loose, menu-like plan that I can see will save me a ton of money, keep me out of the grocery store on a weekly or more basis, and–so it turns out–increase my family’s food security. I appreciate that this author does not intend to frighten or alarm the reader, but to inform her. I am more informed about any food crises I might need to face, but not fearful, even though some of the scenarios in this book are full-out unpleasant to contemplate. I appreciate that, although the author might in fact be a survivalist, she is thinking about how all of us are going to survive, not just herself and her family. She is not the Martha Stewart of food preservation and homesteading. She is a real person I can relate to who willingly admits she does not do what she does perfectly, but she does it thoughtfully enough that she can teach others how. Some buyer bewares: This book does have recipes, but is not a recipe book. One needs to be able to cook from scratch to use this book: it really is about becoming free from the corporate food model, so “value added” prepared convenience foods are not too compatible with it. (A huge bonus is that the author gives many ideas for making convenient food.) Two trepidations I have about starting down the independence path are the time it takes, and making space for food storage. One very refreshing thing about this author is she works to minimize the reader’s expenses by helping her prioritize what is really needed. For instance, I will probably build a solar dehydrator rather than buy an electric one because I live in a sunny climate, but I am thinking about buying a manual grain grinder, which is something I had never considered before. One more observation: I guess publishers are cutting back on copy editors these days.
I’m working my way through all of Astyk’s publications. She’s the only person who is at least moderately upbeat about how to face the coming fossil fuel decline coupled with climate change. Not that the picture is rosy (not at all) but she suggests concrete steps that every average person can make to both mitigate the crisis, and protect one’s own family and community. And she is a great writer; her style is witty and compelling.
I bought this book based on these same reviews, and oh my goodness am I glad I did it. This book is a valuable resource. It is an excellent starting point for all things self-preparedness, but it is more than that. I would go so far as to say that anyone who gives a darn about someone in this world should read it. Sharon doesn’t just tell you how to make pickles (or kimchi). She teaches you about the kind of person we all should strive to be. How to take care of your own, but also to be kind and generous and think about MORE than just who’s in your corner. I also very much appreciate the why’s tossed in with the how-to’s. It is so much easier to wade through the oodles of products, websites, and cookbooks out there when someone with a sense of humor tells you how they approach it. It always helps to learn from someone else’s mistakes if possible. I am so very glad she took the time to write this book.
- Title: Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation
- Autor: Sharon Astyk
- Publisher (Publication Date): New Society Publishers (November 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: | 0865716528
- ISBN-13: | 978-0865716520
- Download File Format: EPUB, PDF