Nov 282010

Some people label me as pessimistic, some see me as cynical and other more rational people see me as a realist. Well, the current economic climate of the U.S. warrants discussing changes in our American way of life.

The short version: we need to take our lifestyle back to pre-industrialization wherever possible. In essence, urban migration caused a number of significant changes to the way families fed themselves and –– in addition to various changes in other areas of Americana –– we are now more dependent as a people than we were then.

Eggs, for instance, are a food item virtually all homeowners in Fort Collins have the capacity to provide themselves, yet very few are doing so.

In late 2008, the city council –– the same city council that sees the presence of students in neighborhoods as a problem –– voted 5-to-1 to allow hens in Fort Collins homes. There are restrictions and other requirements in order to do so, but this is a step every capable household should take.

The president of Be Local Northern Colorado, Gailmarie Kimmel, came to my Global Sustainability class a few weeks ago. She told us only 3 percent of the eggs consumed in northern Colorado come from northern Colorado sources. Why not provide our own and decrease the imports?

Not only does any family raising urban hens get the opportunity to participate in the Slow Food movement –– wherein consumers show increased concern with the source of their diet –– but they also have a source of food in case of emergency.

I do not know how many of you are aware of the state of grocery stores, but the amount of food on the shelves in a King Soopers, Whole Foods and other groceries is actually very limited.

Some estimates put it at three days or fewer. If you have chickens, you won’t starve.

This is why I say we need to change things. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on lawn care every year, commit the same effort to a garden from April to September and instead of lawn clippings going into the trash or compost heap, you will put vegetables in the refrigerator.

We have become far too dependent on business and government for products and services we can provide ourselves. Try not to get this twisted; I am not saying all government and all businesses are inherently evil. However, if you can provide either a product or a service yourself, do it.

I know this won’t be a popular statement in certain colleges of our university, but instead of taking astronomy or biology for your required science with a lab, take horticulture instead.

You may not understand things as easily right away, but you will sure as hell have useful knowledge beyond fulfilling the academic requirement at the end of class you otherwise would not take.

CSU has a great horticulture program and produces fruits and vegetables the horticulture club sells for fundraising purposes.

So many indicators have and continue to emerge indicating our economy is in a very dangerous place. The mainstream media has taken an attitude of compliance with the federal government and as of late –– for the last 10 years or so –– have adopted federal talking points as its own.

The nation made it through the Great Depression depending very much on the 30 percent of the population employed in food production and agriculture. Today that number is closer to 2 percent.

We have nothing going on in the world that would indicate a massive employment event is looming, such as World War II and the virtual overnight 100 percent employment that resulted from it.

An oil shortage could occur at any moment thanks to our dependence on the least stable region of the planet to produce ours. China could declare tomorrow they will no longer purchase U.S. Treasuries and are no longer using the dollar as one of their reserve currencies. Either of these incidents would clear the shelves of our stores of all food within hours.

The price of liberty is responsibility folks. Get out there and do it yourself if you can. The more you provide yourself, the less dependent you are on the world.

Seth Stern is a senior journalism major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

 Posted by at 2:29 pm

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