Green Wizardries: The Unthinkable

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Canada is changing very quickly.  I don’t recognize the place anymore.  Women in their 60’s,  and older, are forced to live on the streets in leaky, wet, inadequate tents or in overflowing women’s shelters.  The Government’s solution to almost every social problem is to offer MAiD instead of care to anyone who is poor, ill, disabled, mentally confused or otherwise inconvenient. 

I was still a little surprised to find a local charity, Farm to Family, offering free meals to young families.  I know some of the people who volunteer for the charity and I asked one why they were providing meals for young families?  I asked if things were really that bad out there and she wrote back to me to say things are really bad and the suppers are absolutely necessary.   

She went on to say that most of the families they serve are two income families with kids and they are really struggling.  She said that at the end of a long work day, most of these people do not have the energy to grow a garden.  Of course, she knew that my first reaction would be to say they needed to grow a garden with the price of food being so high.  She added that most of the families donate money for the meals which helps the program and allows the families who cannot donate to enjoy the community meals.  

I talked to another volunteer who helps to produce the meals and she said they are joyful events.  The mothers with young children really appreciate having a meal cooked for them.  The kids are all playing together and this is a good way for young families to meet.  I would go farther and say these meals form community because there are two ways to create a community; one is working together and the second is eating together.  

Now, I have to add that I think a lot of people are missing the point.  If two income families are struggling now perhaps it is time to change strategies before things become even more expensive as I am sure they will.  I am going to suggest the unthinkable.  I am going to suggest that people think of having one partner leave the commercial workforce and join the home economy.  

“But, they would have less money,” I hear you gasp.  Yes, but soon we will be taking $500 down to the cafe for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie.  Inflation is going up so fast your paycheck will never be able to keep up.  The partner in the home economy will be able to save the whole show by growing a big garden, keeping some laying hens, keeping rabbits for their meat and manure and even by keeping a dairy goat or dairy sheep for milk and meat.

I do know something about being poor.  My husband and I live below Canada’s poverty line.  How does the high cost of groceries affect us?  It doesn’t.  We did not even need to shop for groceries this month.  We have heaps of frozen and dried vegetables from last year’s garden and heaps of frozen fruit that makes a delightful fruit salad.  We always buy large quantities of basic items such as beans, rice, split peas and similar.  We cook every meal from scratch. This is vastly more nourishing and pleasant than relying on convenience food.  

A stay at home partner need not be female.  It is very useful to have a good strong person on the home front to cut and split the wood that will keep the house warm in the winter as BC Hydro’s prices are on a one-way climb to the skies.  A strong person can dig the garden, build fences, prune trees, make jam, smoke meat and fish, dry fruit and vegetables, can everything for the winter, bake bread and make pizza, look after the kids, actually go fishing, hunt mushrooms, mend clothes and knit socks and a hundred other money-saving tasks to keep the family afloat and comfortable. 

This is the way of the future.  When a family goes to one income, they will pay a lot less in taxes, childcare, groceries, heating plus halving the cost of keeping two vehicles plus not paying for two lots of insurance, work clothes, convenience food and the cost of commuting.  There is still the possibility of earning cash or goods on the informal market.  The quality of life will go up for the family.

The person in the commercial economy earns money to pay rent or mortgage and the unavoidable expenses.  The job of the person in the home economy is to make sure no money leaves the family unless it is essential.  Druids call this collapsing now and avoiding the rush.