People around the world are awakening from the falsehood that we are “happier” when we acquiesce to the role of “the consumer” and allow global manufacturers to do everything for us. As it turns out, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Take a step back to see the bigger picture.
Since man has been on the earth he had one goal: survival. This goal brought families into unity as they worked together all summer long to prepare for long, harsh winter. Each family member had an important job and the more people in your family, the more your family could accomplish. “Many hands make light work.”
If a family was able to produce more than they needed for survival, they had a surplus with which to trade for things they wanted. One example is the story that our grandmother often told about the day that the she and her sisters gathered two quarts of strawberries to trade for some new shoes for her oldest sister. Or the story of how she and her sisters milked the cows before school to purchase the flour and sugar their mother needed to make three loaves of bread in the wood-burning oven, every other day, come rain or shine. The older boys of the family brought in the hay for the animals and worked on other local farms to help bring in their hay.
In times past, the hard-working self-sustaining land-owner knew how to repair anything from the engine of his truck to the roof of his barn to the fence around his land. He was known for being tough and stubborn, a decision-maker that was not easily intimidated.
Today, we are so far removed from the production of products that we don’t have the most basic survival skills. With our so-called education we lost the power to “produce,” which has become the one thing that separates the “have’s” from the “have nots” and makes the difference between the company owner and the company employee. Big companies have driven the small farms out of business. By usurping our power to produce we have lost our power to sustain ourselves with our own two hands.
With the advent of “the manufacturer” came the sudden need for “money,” a newly conceived invisible barrier between us and the things we need for survival. The new normal has become the powerful drive to “make money” rather than products. The new up-standing citizen is not the self-sustaining land owner who gets what he needs straight from the earth, but the reliable, obedient, dependent employee who receives a steady paycheck with good health benefits. He is not a decision-maker, but a follower of directions provided by a “superior.”
Did “the manufacturer” make life easier or harder? True, we don’t have to dig, or plow, or milk, or knead, or fix things, or make stuff or engage in hard labor. With life so much easier than ever before we should hear reports from every man, woman and child that all stress has been lifted from our shoulders and life on earth is nothing but harmony and bliss, but this isn’t the case. People of all walks of life report more stress than ever before. It turns out that the hard life of the self-sustaining land owner may have been more fulfilling than the new and improved lifestyle of the paid employee. The sense of well-being, it turns out, might even be attached to the degree of skill and power one has to “produce.”
With this perspective in mind, Part 2 of this cookbook takes a deeper commitment towards reclaiming the role of “the producer” and refusing the role of “the consumer.” With electricity, small appliances, gas and electric ovens, refrigerators and freezers, dehydrators, wheat grinders and dough kneaders, we should find that being self-sustaining is much easier than grandmother’s mother ever imagined.