Barbara H. Peterson
There is a movement afoot to get off the grid, out of the system, and as far away from government control and intervention as possible. Some think that going it alone is the way and that we must learn to do everything ourselves. I’ve got a message for those that think like this…. Good luck with that. I’ve tried it, and quite frankly, I’m not smart enough, strong enough, or versatile enough, not to mention don’t have enough hours in the day to do it all myself. It is simply not possible to do it all unless you decide to live like the hardiest of survivalists, are trained to care for yourself at any juncture, used to a solitary existence, and never look back.
However, coming from those of us who actually live in harsh terrain year-round with winters that freeze your very bones and hard-packed summer ground that takes the best of the best to get anything to grow at all, it’s not very practical. You see, we are a species that needs each other. We need the skills that others have because quite frankly, unless you are the above-mentioned Rambo-type character, you are just like the rest of us. We need friends and we like a little bit of comfort. Eating tree bark every morning along with an occasional acorn while waiting for the skinned rabbit to cook over the fire pit is simply not going to cut it for any length of time. So, we network to survive.
What does networking to survive mean? It simply means that people with divergent skills trade goods and services amongst themselves. Your network might consist of the farmer down the road who will trade you fresh eggs for your homemade bread, the lady in the back forty that raises milking goats and will let you in on a herd share so that you can have fresh goat’s milk and not have to raise the animals yourself, the mechanic working at the local store who can fix just about anything just as long as it is not one of those fancy computer-driven models, the organic produce grower who sells at the local farmers’ market, and the hay grower a few miles away who will store your winter’s hay in his barn.
Get to know the people in your neck of the woods. Talk with them, shake their hands, and become an integral part of a living network. This is real survival training. I don’t care if you can jump a creek while shooting a bear before landing on the other side. If you don’t have the skills to simply live without the stress of scraping for existence every single minute of every day, or know others who have skills and are willing to share them then you are not really surviving at all.
So, how do you start networking? It’s easy. Talk to people…
The Town Trip
The other day I started walking to town. Yes, the ground was covered in snow. Yes, it is a forty five mile hike. Why? It was something I needed to do. I didn’t walk the whole way, as a wonderful person whom I had not met before pulled over and asked me if I would like a ride. And so it began. My new acquaintance just happens to raises goats! Milk goats to be precise, and she loves them. She also works with Green Way EcoMart.
Green Way is a small, hole in the wall store packed full of healthy goodies. It is a mixture of locally produced soaps, essential oils, organic products and foods, as well as a parking lot goat milk/veggie market every Tuesday from 3-6 p.m. Organic veggies are grown year-round in geo-thermal greenhouses, providing fresh produce for the Klamath Basin. This is where my new-found friend was going, so, off we went to the EcoMart! I wasn’t going to miss this for anything!
In this tiny little postage stamp of a parking lot, people who have signed up for a goat’s milk herd share or Community Supported Agricultural program (CSA) in order to receive fresh veggies every week, line up to receive the best food on the planet – fresh, raw milk and veggies straight from the greenhouse. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Here is a list of some of the fresh produce available in the parking lot:
Herd share owners also pick up milk in glass containers.
In between customers we chatted about goats, veggies, politics, and Scripture. We shared common experiences, and found that we are very similar in a lot of ways. And we have both learned one very important lesson… In order to survive in this country without succumbing to Big Pharma, Big Ag, and the elements of nature, you have to network.
Another link in the chain
So, there we sat, talking and networking with the city folk, who were absolutely thrilled to have an alternative to big box poison dispensers otherwise known as supermarkets. And do you know something interesting? The people who came for food at the EcoMart looked so much healthier than the majority of people that I see shopping at the supermarket filling their baskets with GMOs and pesticide-ridden tasteless garbage passing for food-like substances. They know. That’s why they are lining up in the parking lot for real food. We will not survive on the filth provided for us by Big Ag. These people know their farmer. They look in his eyes every week as they collect their share of the greenhouse bounty.
On the way home, I counted my blessings that a critical element of my network was found that day. This is truly survival training. So, Mr. Rambo, there is a place for you in the scheme of things, and I wish you well. However, in this neck of the woods, I prefer networking. It’s so much more fun and not quite so lonely.
©2013 Barbara H. Peterson