The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › How Might New England Feed Itself?

How Might New England Feed Itself?

Wendy
user 9298467
Old Orchard Beach, ME
Post #: 79
By the way, my avatar is me picking high bush wild blueberries. There were dozens and dozens of these "bushes" (many of which were taller than I am at 5'7"-ish) that were heavy with marble-sized blueberries, and no one was picking them - at least as evidenced by the fact that there were so many berries, and by the time we found them, some of them were nearing the too-ripe stage. We picked several pounds of blueberries, most of which we dehydrated. We're still using them in our homemade trail mix, which means that we're still eating food we foraged and dehydrated LAST summer ;).

We also picked 12 quarts or so of wild blackberries, and there were enough left for the deer and other people to pick.

The food's there, and a lot of it isn't exotic or weird (like milkweed pods ;)). It's things we pay big $$ for in the grocery store, but if we took just a little bit of time, we could find for free (albeit not always as pretty) in the wild.
Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 2,315
I guess my real question is: What is the total estimated capacity for home/community food production from gardens and foraging in Maine? What is a methodology for even estimating that? Might need some research to come up with reasonable numbers. From that, I think it might make sense to create some goals and awareness. My experience is that, otherwise, home production and foraging are not being taken very seriously as an important part of our "food system."
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 941
It certainly depends on what you grow, what people will eat, and your storage capacity. People tend to want to grow certain things because that's what they want to eat. The question of how much food you can produce is actually a different issue. On a relatively small patch of ground people raise giant pumpkins that can weigh over 1000 lb. These pumpkins are seldom eaten as far as I can see but they are healthy and just like any other winter squash. I like winter squash, pumpkin pie, etc. but you can see that is more than you can eat or store. It would need to be distributed. Creating 1000 lb. of food any other way would be difficult. Is the question really about feeding people or having the food we want? I don't think the survival problem is serious enough for most people to make the distinction. Almost anyone could grow more food than they are.

David
Dennis
user 87611852
New Gloucester, ME
Post #: 10
Foraging is all well and good, especially when one is in good health, in fairly good shape, the weather is favorable, and you know what you are looking for during that time of year. Just a small order of pragmatism. Other than that, think of foraging as "sprinkling herbs on pressure-cooked boiled dinner".

Remember: "One person is smart, but most people are like dumb, panicky animals." An algorithm should be designed that takes all lands into consideration for a sustainable food and fuel system -- in harmony with nature. Can't have 5000 deer hunters in the woods, now can we? ;)
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 942
Foraging is a learning curve just like gardening. Your "sprinking herbs" comment is something I don't understand as a forager. You must know something I don't know? We were talking about expanding the food paradigm here. How does this fit? I have harvested a few of hundred pounds this year when farmers have little fresh food to sell. I can fill my salad bowl most every night right out of my yard. No, everyone will not forage but obviously everyone doesn't garden either. The dumb, panicky animals" comment is just cynical. Before humans were farmers they were foragers for millions of years. Foraging is built into the DNA of every living human.

David

Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 2,319
I think every person who wants to grow some food or forage healthy food and medicine should be supported in that pursuit. We should aspire to "lift all boats" rather than spiral down to our basest potential instincts in this regard.

As I look more closely at the "food vision" draft, I'm interested to see that they're basically doing scenario planning: "Business as Usual," "Omnivore's Delight," and "Regional Resilience." The last one has us producing about 80% of the calories we consume in New England. Now we all now calories does not necessarily equal nutrients but.... That's where wild food really shines, no?
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 944
Wild foods:

nutrient dense

greater genetic diversity - greater survivability

Co-evolved with the environment

Require no soil inputs or human intervention

Available when other food is not.

It's everywhere! It's good! (often better)

David
A former member
Post #: 117
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