Food is about to get a lot more expensive.

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Photo by Devi Puspita Amartha Yahya on Unsplash

While the world awaits the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines with the hope for a brave new year, food shortages are looming as the next major crisis waiting to strike in early 2021.

The expected global food shortage has many causes, with the high death rate from Covid-19 being among them. As the virus claims 70,000 people per week around the world, the impacts to food production and distribution systems continue to grow. ( UN-4-Dec-2020)

From finding enough people to work safely in the fields, to issues in the packing and distribution systems, to limitations on grocery store capacity, the hits start rolling. Then add in the economic strain felt by all businesses exhausted by the restrictions and running out of government supports. As job losses mount, personal insecurity and homelessness continue to loom large over many families. And top it all off with climate change chaos from droughts and fire to monsoons and floods, depending on your region. …


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When people (and our animals) get seriously ill from a pathogen such as bacteria, we want to believe that the doctor (and veterinarian) has an antibiotic available to help them fight the disease and recover. However, antibiotic resistant diseases that no longer respond to standard treatments are developing rapidly and threatening our health care systems world wide. Many of these resistant diseases first appear in livestock operations, and then spread to humans.

In the global hotspots where antimicrobial resistance is rapidly increasing, researchers found that the number of compounds with resistant strains tripled among chickens and pigs from 2000 to 2018 (1). The most used animal antibiotics (tetracyclines, sulfonamides, and penicillins) had the highest resistance rates. Much of the time these drugs are not being used to treat sick animals, but are used as growth promoters and as preventive measures in overcrowded industrial animal production units. …


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(photo: Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash)

Around the world there are increasing concerns over antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria and the generation of super-bugs resulting from the overuse of antibiotics both medically for people and in the production of livestock. The mathematics of the situation for livestock are pretty simple. The more animals you crowd into close quarters, under stress, and kept on minimized inputs for maximized profits, the more likely you are to face disease and health issues with the animals.

That’s why a lot of people, myself included, turn to keeping their own chickens as a way to ensure high quality eggs and/or meat, and better well being for the livestock involved. But small scale production does not eliminate the inherent risks of raising poultry, which include exposure to pathogens like E. …


The Act of Feeding Yourself Has Never Been More Important

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It’s an interesting right of passage that we go through as children — the BIG STEP of feeding ourselves.

As babies, our parents coo and cajole, “Here comes the airplane . .. . zoooom” as they fly the spoon to an open (or stubbornly closed) mouth.

And then at some point, we take hold of that spoon. We shakily lift the food to our own mouth and oh how proud we are!

Oh how proud our parents are: “Look at how she feeds herself!” The room is full of smiles. It is a BIG DAY!

Of course, we don’t have a memory of this event. But it is told and retold through pictures and video, and later through our own experiences with our children: “Mom how did you ever get me to eat as a baby, little Cindy Lou won’t open her mouth for the spoon!” …


Saving seed from these plants can give you fresh sprouts all winter long!

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Although the world feels pretty crazy right now, with the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic re-shaping our world at break-neck speed while we stay at home, gardening can provide both a comforting activity and fresh food for the table. It’s a great way to beat the self-isolation blues and do something that will boost your immune system!

Anyone with even a little bit of space can start a food garden and benefit from fresh greens through the summer and into the fall.

But with a just little bit of extra planning, you can stretch the supply of fresh greens right through the winter! …


Viral Lessons on . . .

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Cows — Fueled by Grass (Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash)

A viral lesson on air pollution

The coronavirus (Covid-19) has caused widespread disruption to the status quo and the economic engines of all major developed countries.

The shut down of planes, trains, and automobiles, businesses big and small, on an epic scale is something we never imagined would happen in modern times.

Many claims of the environmental benefits of these shut-downs being shared on social media are wildly inaccurate. And yet, it is hard to ignore the ongoing “experimental” reductions in air pollution and CO2 emissions we are seeing by reducing some of the driving causes (pun intended!) of climate change.

In cities where traffic has been stopped, there has been a marked drop in air pollution. The radical reduction in fossil-fuel fed vehicles and the toxic chemicals spewed by vehicles and industry has, surprise, surprise, resulted in cleaner air! …


Here are 7 Tips for Hatching Success

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Day old Silkie chick (photo: Rose Hill Farm)

Hatching eggs from your own chickens can be a fun and cost-saving activity for any chicken keeper. While you can order eggs from various hatcheries and breeders, hatching your own eggs is a further step towards building resilience and self-sufficiency. It makes you independent of availability and price fluctuations, and gives you complete control over the quality of your birds.

You need to have a rooster with your hens in order to have fertilized eggs that will hatch into chicks. …


Challenging times call for creative solutions

The Coronavirus is a powerful example of why local food and local resilience is so very important. In a crisis such as this, when lock-down can happen suddenly and when supply chains may be disrupted, having locally available food is a safety net that every community should have.

If you have a flock of chickens, you have a ready-made source of food for yourself. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and critical amino acids that can help keep your body strong and your immune system humming through the crisis.

But what happens if you are afraid to go out and pick up feed for your chickens? …


Why are we afraid to walk into the light of a circular economy?

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(Photo by Chris Buckwald on Unsplash; Chart by Mediamodifier from Pixabay)

When something is broken, we throw it out. It’s what we do. Usually without thinking.

We are remarkably good at throwing things out — consequences be dammed.

We also throw out broken theories. We once believed the world was flat, now we don’t.

But when it comes to the economic theory of GDP, we seem hell bent on saving an outdated theory that is killing us and taking the planet with it.

Why?

Do we have Stockholm syndrome on a planetary scale?

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological condition where hostages or victims of severe abuse cling to, or even defend, their abductor or potential killer. Although the syndrome is extremely rare, the idea that we have been “brainwashed” into loving our killer fits loosely as a metaphor here. …


Food for tomorrow comes from seeds we save today

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Photo by Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash

Fundamentally Human

Food. Water. Air. Shelter. These are the fundamental things each of us needs to survive. And we had better add in “Company” to that list as well. We need each other and our animal companions to really thrive in this world and live healthy lives.

It’s easy to minimize these things, spend as little time thinking about them as possible, unless we personally face a shortage of one of them. For most of us, our high-tech information-age lifestyles mean much of what we need comes at the touch of a button. …

About

Sue Senger

PhD (Biology), MSc (Plant Science), Landscape ecologist, Freelance Writer, visit: https://writer.me/sue-senger/; Small-scale farmer, visit: www.rosehillfarm.ca

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