Archive for July, 2011

Ancient refrigerators (Zeer)

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Ancient refrigerators

As I am reading about the heat wave, I think about cooling, not only for people but for food in a preparatory environment.  Outside of refrigerators, there really are few options.  Everyone knows about the ice box of the old days, but there is another option that I think many may not know about.  I read some time ago about how the Indians in Mexico I believe it was, kept water cool.  It is a simple and novel idea, and I would like to share it with you.  Mind you I am doing this from memory, so here is the basic idea;

You take a big pot, place a little sand in the bottom, and place a smaller pot inside it.  Then fill the remaining space with sand as well.  Now put water in the sand area.  As the water evaporates, it cools the contents.  No it won’t freeze anything, and is not a refrigerator by any means, but it will make your vegetables last longer, and also cool down water on a hot day.

Here is a wiki link

I also stumbled across this EcoFridge, but not sure about it, I will have to read some more.

Also,  With all the doom and gloom out there, I ran across this article, and thought, boy this fits my opinion just right, and wanted to give you all some encouragement.

http://suburbansurvivalblog.com/

Garden Update

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

I have said a lot about our garden, so I thought I would drop an update.  It is going CRAZY!  Very green, and so much growth it is near impossible to get between the boxes without hurting the plants.  But I am hesitant to say it is a victory, because green does NOT equal food.  So the final verdict will have to come in the fall.  we have already started to harvest some squash, beans, peas, and the heritage cauliflower and broccoli, but nothing to write home about.  Of note, the onions were a complete failure.  It was one of two things, or maybe both;The wife thinks there was to much water, which is very possible with all the rain, while I think they were planted to shallow, and the leaves broke by tipping over and killing them.  We may never know, but she says that will not do them again.  I will see if I can post a picture later of the garden.

Sanitation

Friday, July 15th, 2011

It will happen in the end that people are prepared to the max, but didn’t want to think about the disgusting things in life, like sanitation, and will pay for it with their lives.  I for one forgot about it when writing my first article, and since have payed special attention to it.  I encourage you all to as well.  There is an excellent professional post over at the survivalist blog, I hope you will take the time to read.

http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/dealing-with-human-waste-and-hygiene/

The Organic Food Argument (Farming)

Thursday, July 14th, 2011
Pre Note:

     Most all that I have researched here and wrote about seemed obvious to me from the start.  In the article I tried to present the facts as best as they could be supported.  I found this very easy to do, and Google scholar was a great help.  The facts were strong, and I hope this helps others with a a source for “Who said that is true?” as well as giving a personal experienced note.

Organic food has become a large part of our lives.  It came about in our lives in a funny way, as no one ever ‘sold’ it to us.  One day we were in the supermarket, and decided to try some organic milk, as I love ice cold milk.  What we found from that experience was a bit of a shock, because we had always believed until that time that it was probably better for you, but wasn’t such a big deal.  After we had the organic milk for a couple of weeks, we saw dramatic changes in our digestion, and in fact, we also found that organic milk lasted much longer then our regular milk.  After this, we started paying much more attention to organic and natural foods, and have seen other great effects from it.  But there are still many attacks on it, I can imagine the giant food corporations aren’t too thrilled about it, as it threatens their massive machine, but the fact is even if it is more expensive, I have seen good positive impacts in my life from turning to Organic food.  So, let’s take look at some of the attacks on organic food, and see what others are saying about it.  The attacks on organic food seem to come in the forms of environmental, production, nutritional value, and cleanliness and all of these can be addressed.

 

Firstly, opponents of organic food say that organic food is no more environmentally friendly then regular food production (1)(3)(Source).  I must say, that I have never heard that said, and I have never heard anyone claim that organic food is produced any ‘greener’ then regular food.  I guess this could all be argued until we decide on a definition of what ‘green’ really means.  To me, green means that whatever it is, pesticides or otherwise, it works with the environment, and does not force change upon it.  Where you take another separate issue as an example, hydro power is green if it does not permanently affect its surroundings, but as soon as it starts to affect the fish, and water flow, it is agreed that it is not green any more.  It can be made green again by accounting for these factors by making fish step ladders, and accounting for the rivers flow.  With Organic food, the appeal is in its taste, purity, and nutritional value, not the green value.  Still, I would say that it is produced ‘greener’.  The simple fact that pesticides are not used, or if they are, they are natural pesticides, and by definition mean they will not permanently effect the environment (4).  Other pesticides, industrial ones can last in the soils and run off for years, and have been show to so (5).  The fact that organic food is product more traditionally and this is more often greener is a mere side effect of trying to work the world the way the Lord meant it to be done, rather then man force the world to work the way man thinks best.   Recently I ran across this 6 article about how the Amish do farming, and it reminds me that “Scientists” and the “Experts” are often wrong, and that practical knowledge and reliance on the Lord has been and always will be the best option.

 

This transitions nicely into the production of organic food.  This is another point that I have not heard as a benefit for organic food, but again I would argue that it is produced in a better fashion.  But, there is the note that when you get anything from the big box mart, there is no telling where it came from or if it is even really organic.  But when you look at the farmers markets, marked organic food is most certainly produced in a more traditional fashion, and this I would argue is a better way to produce food as it is easier on the land (7), more sustainable (7), and also better for the economy as it keeps money local, (8)(9).

 

Finally the real issue comes to light in the question of nutrition.  This is the real question about organic food, and the studies that have been done to address this issue seem to be split (1)(2)(10).  I question the motivation behind some of the studies, as it is too easy to manipulate statistics to say whatever you want.  So I will step back from all the ‘science’ and say what I have seen.  I have seen in my personal life where milk makes me and my family feel better.  The Apples we eat are taster, and last longer.  The vegetables that we eat do not have the bitter after taste that I can find in the regular section.  So when you go to get a new product or service you haven’t experienced before, what do you consider more important?  A stranger’s numbers, or a friend’s opinion who has actually used it.  Just yesterday I had the opportunity to have a non-organic apple, and I haven’t eaten one in years.  The impact was large, and obvious to me, as it was waxy and bitter, and the taste was bland. I have used and continue to use it, and have never been disappointed.  But don’t take my, or anyone else’s, word for it, go try it yourself!

 

Any fair and balanced argument should be complete though, and organic food is not the answer to the world’s problems.  There remain two serious issues to be considered.  One is that organic food is not easily mass produced, and for good reason.  Still, as the world’s population grows, and food prices rise, it is a serious issue.  This issue applied to us though, the prepper, can be set aside, as we are not trying to solve the world’s problems, only trying to make a better future for our families.  This will still be a question that will demand an answer though, and until it is answered, mass produced food will always be a necessity.

 

Another issue that may carry some merit is the cleanliness of organic food.  It has been shown that you may be more likely to get infections and other things from organic food (11).  But this is not due to the food or pesticides in and of themselves, but more for the perception that they are clean.  Like all food, it still needs to be cleaned before consumption.

 

On a final note, did you know that America’s milk is banned in Europe? (12)  Why would we continue to drink something that provides such a little benefit?  This is indicative of our entire food economy, and should be considered when making your organic food decisions.  I will say that as for me and my family, the taste is better, it lasts longer, makes us feel better, and affects our local community the best.  To me, organic food is the best option whenever possible.

 

 

 

References

1  http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4019

2  http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/headline_health/organic_food_myths/2010/07/09/329963.html

3  http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/the-great-organic-myths-why-organic-foods-are-an-indulgence-the-world-cant-afford-818585.html

4  http://directory.umm.ac.id/Data%20Elmu/jurnal/A/Agriculture,%20Ecosystems%20and%20Environment/Vol83.Issue1-2.Jan2001/1682.pdf

5  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=MiamiImageURL&_imagekey=B6V78-3VCHH50-42-1&_cdi=5836&_user=9323433&_pii=S0048969798001557&_check=y&_origin=&_coverDate=05%2F27%2F1998&view=c&wchp=dGLbVzW-zSkWW&md5=2d367f8d653d1a85508cbd91d55296b4&ie=/sdarticle.pdf

6  http://www.openforum.com/articles/3-unexpected-marketing-lessons-from-amish-farmers?extlink=rs-gambd-2011Booming-Outbrain

7  http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/magazine/16-06/ff_heresies_03organics

8  http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/dairy/docs/appendix/appendix_L.pdf#page=147

9  http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/eatlocal/#fn6

10  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/organic-food/NU00255/NSECTIONGROUP=2

11 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/0272-4332.212114/abstract

12  http://www.preventcancer.com/consumers/general/milk.htm