A Small Medium @ Large

By Galen Chadwick

 

Feb. 6 – Waves of red and gold confetti! Okay, SuperBowl 54 had everything you could ask for – a complete  victory for KC and some really funny ads. Hail to the Chiefs!

Today, I must interrupt this regularly scheduled column for an update on the coronavirus coming from China. As governments race to control this ‘devil virus’ countless voices are sounding the alarm. The number of people on total lock-down may soon include all of us.

What are the contingency plans for your household? For Douglas County? For America? We hear  about frantic attempts to develop a vaccine but not a word about the state of our overall preparedness. If death rates are similar to the 1917-1918 global pandemic then all expectations of normalcy could be out the window within days.

How virulent? Doctor Anthony Fauci, director for the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases, says, “estimated are 2-3% mortality versus 0.1% for regular flu. This could turn out to be a mild event, or very serious, but no one knows for sure.”

Health is the measure of what counts in our personal, community, and species relationships. Health, as wholeness, is the basis for our 20 Year Plan to restore a “permaculture nation in one generation.” 

Decentralization, as a survival mechanism for the Constitutional rule of law, is what prompted me to begin this column in the first place. The Farm Resettlement Congress’ (FRC) slogan “Food Freedom is Freedom” is about restoring balance to the relationships that unites us all- no exceptions.

A key plank of the Plan is the “First 50” program, a volunteer-led relationship with any farm or group that aims to sustain 50 people, come what may. One participant group down by Bull Shoals Lake, to give one example, has a primary goal of feeding/housing 35 family members and neighbors for one year plus resources for another 15 who may show up at the last minute. Otherwise, any extra resources will go to institutionalized persons, elder care, police and first responders, etc.

Outside the FRC, no one appears to have taken a rudimentary inventory of the food resources currently being produced, in Douglas, Ozark, Wright, Howell and Taney Counties. Much less has anyone else calculated by crop and acreage, what it will take to keep our county residents fed, healthy and pulling in the same direction.

Church leaders and community activists, in particular, are personally invited to discuss the aim of ensuring our “daily bread” for all comers. My contact through this paper is below.  

FRC volunteers are pioneering the introduction of high value survival crops for the Ozarks such as sesame, hardy squash, and a number of nut tree varieties that can provide protein, carbohydrates and oils to carry us through a rough patch. To the larger point, these  things can provide multiple incomes during normal times. Our “Grandkids groves” project, just getting under way through the FRC’s Women of the Watershed, is an example.

The agriculture that saw Ozark families through the last pandemic is long gone. This global health scare provides a golden opportunity to revision our future through regenerative agriculture. To make the most of this opportunity we must rethink our future from the ground up.  

For instance, we have natural pesticides growing all along the roadsides- such as the invasive goat’s rue- and wild garlic, mints, sweet potato vines, and pawpaw bark. From these we can make quick and efficient water-soluble biocides for sustainable broad acre and home garden crops.

It will take a couple of thousand acres, or so, of restored grains, fruit crops, meat and dairy products needed to feed the 12,000 souls now living in Douglas County. 

 There is a long term economic rational to the 20 Year Plan. The watershed basis of the Plan is the most logical and flexible approach for communication and community preparedness in times of severely restricted mobility.  

That’s why this movement is volunteer, self-led and self-funded. An idea good enough to be copied must be trusted to spread on its own. The time factor is telescoped by the growing pandemic. So, you may ask“What if we don’t have 20 years?” 

As things now stand, a compulsory quarantine, like the one in China, will find us physically, psychologically and spiritually unprepared. It’s time to expect more from those whom we elect to govern. I ask the Honorable Congressman Jason Smith, and likewise the Honorable Senator Mike Cunningham, to speak to  citizen preparedness in their own districts.  

If any one knows these gentlemen personally, consider forwarding my request to host a town hall meeting in Ava. They have the bully pulpit and its time to use it. Top priority topic: Restoring local Food Freedom to their constituents. Keep an eye on this space for details. 

What if this virus mutates yet again and turns into a real black plague? It won’t be pretty. For too long we have let others do our thinking. Voices of leadership at every level  can show they are ahead of the curve. It’s time to demonstrate the qualities required to turn from the status quo mentality  and to rally the spirits of this community.

In these uncertain times, the capacity to love our neighbors as ourselves may go from theory to reality in the space of a single hour. The Ozarks are filled with veterans and leaders of high capability and training. We’ll need them.

The fact remains that we can’t, at present, feed ourselves independently of the Administrative State. Should we just give up? I, for one, refuse to believe it. 

We can get through hard times together. But if so, it’s only because enough people put the need to unite – in advance –  above their need to be different. Love can indeed conquer all in any community that works towards that end. Whatever befalls us, let us not fall out with each other.

This is the heart of the 20 Year Plan: See the unity within the diversity. Shall one person in this county go hungry for the sake of our excuses? No! Preparedness based upon a unifying economic plan must lead and the politics will follow. 

Are the Ozarks ready for a crippling pandemic? If yes, it’s because our leaders have already taken a coordinated, step-by-step approach to increase our personal, community and national resiliency. 

If no, then consider today’s episode an open invitation to meet with us to put a preparedness plan in action for who are ready to discuss the situation. Civic and church groups should lead this discussion, along with rural fire units looking to boost emergency services to their districts. 

This is also a good time to lay out my rules for reprinting Letters  and comments to the SM@L. I follow Will Rogers’ dictum: Be kind.  Whether your frame of reference be political, religious, scientific or humor, let us feel the love behind your message. The suggested length can be from 300 to 500 words, or so.

Important: Sign correspondence with first name or initial only – no one’s taking attendance – but using the letter “x” is not funny. Please include your watershed. Where does the rain falling on your roof end up? Interconnected thinking is the beginning to planing local community resilience. 

Address comments or inquiries  to the SM@L c/o Douglas County Herald, P.O. Box 577, Ava Missouri 65608. 

 Stay in touch!