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Predict the future — The Grow Network Community
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

- Haruki Murakami

Predict the future

ParadoxParadox Posts: 139 ✭✭✭

I was talking to a farmer today as I was picking up eggs. He said he usually brings over 120 dozen eggs to the farmers market, but this week, demand at the farm has been so high that he had less than 90 dozen to bring.

I've noticed similar issues at local strawberry farms--extremely high demand. My milk farm has seem it as well. Any of you that have tried to order seeds or supplies have likely run into it, too. People suddenly care where their food is coming from! And that is great..... If it continues.

Do you think this demand for local/organic/grow your own will continue? Or is this just the latest fad in US dieting? What can we as preppers/gardeners/locavores/etc do to help local farms? I'm honestly not envious of their position. The demand is super high, but they have no way to know if it will still be there next year. It takes so long for some to ramp up production--and usually some financial investment--but will America go back to McDonald's in two months? Or is this enlightenment here to stay?

What say you, and why? (Not looking to start arguments, of course, so be ... Nice, I guess)



  • jodienancarrowjodienancarrow Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 655 admin

    @Christa Maloy I sure hope it's not a fad and this phenomenon is worldwide. I live in Australia and same thing has happened here. An organic farm just up the road from me, has quadrupled their business in the last 3 months. Business' that stock vegetable seed and seedlings, could not keep up. Basically fresh food became extremely popular, especially anything organic. Maybe people finally get that growing your own has huge health advantages and can save $$$. They had time due to lock down and children also got involved. Let's hope they don't lose interest when things become normal again.

    When you think about it, a lot of the population are sitting ducks re this pandemic. A lot of people have poor health, due to poor diet, underlying disease, sedentary lifestyle, stress, pollution, over population, changing land uses, climate change, factory farming, poor agricultural practices. Most of these factors have a negative effect on the food chain and ultimately people's health. Some people are lazy and uneducated, whatever's easy, that will do! A healthy diet, decrease in stress levels, becoming educated on how to achieve this, will lead to better health outcomes and a more robust population, able to deal with whatever is thrown at us! That is why forums like TGN are important for all to access, to help educate and support.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,076 admin

    My thoughts? It is temporary.

    Most people will take the easy way. Once the crisis is over, some will continue to grow their foods & such, but most will forget & take the easy way. That will happen more with each coming year as people no longer see an urgency. Even now, as one farmer we know said, once they find out chickens are work, they won't continue to have them past fall, certainly not into winter when things get real. I think gardening will be similar if they are battling weeds & grass in new beds.

    Obviously this has happened in the past with the great depression, victory gardens, and through many crises previous.

    @jodienancarrow As far as stress, this is a highly stressful time for most people of all viewpoints. Losing or being worried about jobs, food, missing products in the store, quarantines & self isolation, unnatural distrust & judgement of others due to "social distancing", travel restrictions, etc., it all plays into the stress. Again, for some this might change, but for many, they will return to their own stressful lifestyles once this is over.

  • teachercarynteachercaryn Cook at Wahlburgers The Frozen Tundra in the Northern MidwestPosts: 218 ✭✭✭

    Contribute to a farms CSA to support the farm. I do with an organic farm for the last three years. It’s sixteen weeks of fresh produce, and the relationship with the farmers are blessings. I believe the trend will continue, also the rise in costs at the grocery stores.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,076 admin

    @torey I do agree with the homeschooling thought, however, it is easier to send your kids away if that is what you're used to. Staying at home with them is a lot of work and a different stress that people haven't grown into by keeping their kids home from toddlerhood. Some newbies are talking about homeschooling, but many can't wait to get rid of their kids again...and public schooling at home isn't homeschooling, so nobody got the full experience.

    When homeschooling, families learn to be together better and usually learn to socialize in a positive way with all age groups. They are allowed to think independently. Parents are more knowledgeable about what their kids are into as well and hopefully can guide their children about making good decisions.

    You are right about the expenses. We have heard so much about the expense of shoes, clothing, very specific and often expensive supplies including laptops for each child. You don't have the stress of back to school shopping either. It is a calm time for homeschoolers, who don't require new & specialized products every year.

    Living on one income can be difficult too. But, that's where a budget & considering necessities & fluff comes into play. You can be really creative if you need to be.

  • chimboodle04chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    I hope this continues! I believe the current climate has opened many eyes about where their food is sourced and how local farms can supply when the big companies run into trouble. We have bought locally whenever possible for years now, so it is a bit hard for us now that the rest of the population seems to have caught on - it has been more difficult to find some local products (especially meat from our local grass fed farmer) recently since they are now trying to meet the demand that has come on. Personally, I am thrilled for those farmers - success in their business means that they will continue to be around and supply their goods :) We are just trying to plan more ahead now than we usually did to make sure we do not run short...

  • Melissa SwartzMelissa Swartz Posts: 227 ✭✭✭

    I just saw a story on the news about how pet adoptions had increased at the beginning of the lock down and now many adopted pets are being returned. The news story said that many returns were due to financial difficulties; people just couldn't afford the pets as they remained unemployed. Sadly, I think this trend is indicative of what will happen with the home grown food trend. Some people will change and stick with it but most won't.

    I hope I'm wrong!

  • vickeymvickeym Posts: 485 ✭✭✭✭

    Unfortunately, most people as others have said, will take the easy way and go back to just buying whatever they can at the grocery and other stores. It has been amazing, even here in Alaska where self reliance is common, to see how many people don't know how to cook, or just won't cook for themselves.

    We learned a long time ago, that we wanted to be more in control of our own food supply. My husband had never been around much "home grown" foods. The first year I wanted a garden he was kinda like, "yeak, ok, whatever." after he tasted the first home grown tomato, he started the seeds the next year. Took many years to convince him to let me have chickens, now we sell eggs to others in our community. So much that we have to turn folks away every year. We had pigs one year. The first time I cooked our home raised pork...he was hooked.

    I think, most people like the fact that it tastes better, but not as many are willing to give up the convenience of store bought. We have friends that do cow shares. Every week and every year they have issues with folks who won't bring back the jars. They have to buy hundreds of half gallon mason jars every year. People don't show up on the day they are supposed to get the milk causing milk to get old or have no jars to put it in so it has to get dumped. Then show up on days they are not supposed to and take someone else's milk. Our friends finally spent a fortune to buy a huge vat type of system they are trying to get set up so folks brink their jars and fill them from the spigot on it. Then they have to hope folks will shut it off tight and only take the amount they are supposed to.

    It's a lot of work for everyone to farm and garden. I hope it continues as I see things in our country at least getting much worse before it gets better and not just about the virus. I pray I am wrong about that, but have seen this coming for awhile.

  • ParadoxParadox Posts: 139 ✭✭✭

    "A lot of people have poor health, due to poor diet, underlying disease, sedentary lifestyle, stress, pollution, over population, changing land uses, climate change, factory farming, poor agricultural practices. Most of these factors have a negative effect on the food chain and ultimately people's health."


  • stephanie447stephanie447 Ayurvedic Practitioner Annapolis, MDPosts: 177 ✭✭✭

    I think things will get a lot worse before they get better. In the US we will have massive civil unrest if not a full out civil war no matter who wins the election - which will be contested, probably. We have a ghoulish game at dinner where we try to predict the next big disaster. Some of us are gunning for a grid failure/major blackouts. Hurricanes this year and probably earthquakes too. Buckle up!

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 393 ✭✭✭

    I agree @stephanie447 , worse before better. The election outcome will not be the end-all that some are predicting. Doesn't matter who gets in, we are in over our heads one way or another. Earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, wildfires, floods, droughts, mudslides - you name it, they're coming. Grid failure is not low on my list of expectations either.

    A cashless society is coming around the corner as we speak. Hubby and I were visiting about that just this morning. An acquaintance told me that the reason we are having a "coin shortage" is because the federal reserve dumped a bunch of old coins just as the c-virus situation started and they haven't been able to replace them. I'm pretty much sure that isn't the reason but can't prove it one way or another.

    For sure, at least in our area, about two weeks before stimulus checks came out, I saw at least one armored truck, the money hauling ones that go to banks, each time I was on the road. My job was essential, still is, so I was out and about when so many other's weren't. What do you do when your income is no longer there? Dig in the bottom of your purse for change, clean out the car looking for change, crack open the piggy bank, etc. Our little town is having the annual city wide garage sales in a week or two. Wonder how that's going to go without coins?

  • moreyshadypinesmoreyshadypines Posts: 72 ✭✭✭

    @Paradox, fantastic question. Sometimes random thoughts come and go, but I think many people have pondered this question without putting it into words. Thank you.

    @torey & @LaurieLovesLearning , I think you are right, a lot of the current trends towards self reliance is a knee jerk reaction. Homesteading takes practice, hard work, trial and error, planning - that is all "too much like work" for most people I know. On the bright side, some people will learn from this and having been introduced to the benefits, and will continue.

    I sell eggs, people love them. I hear it all the time "oh, I'd love to have chickens!" Hmmmmmm, no you don't or you wouldn't live in a gated community - you love to have have eggs, and let someone else raise them. Farmers don't get paid holidays, accumulated time off, animals aren't a "sometime" thing - there is no doggy day care for: pigs, cows and chickens.

    People say, "how do you do all that (homesteading)?", (garden, can, animals, etc.) - I don't bother to tell them, I don't golf, play tennis or watch tv. It takes: desire, discipline, and you have to love it. If you love what "we" are doing, it's not work. There is great reward in knowing you and your family are taken care of. Confidence in the "system", no, I'm not seeing that.

    Homeschooling: I home schooled my son from kindergarten to college - it was hard, it took work - we gathered with other home school families and had a blast, classes, field trips, dances, bowling. No one was "hampered" for lack of social interaction. If anything it was very enriching.

    I agree, that people have no idea what is around the corner (myself included). I keep hearing people say, "when things get back to normal". I'm not seeing that, the new normal will be - well . . . not normal! I prefer to have some input into my own destiny. Whatever we think it will be like, it won't be what we think. Hmmmm.

    This forum and the educational opportunities through TheGrowNetwork are terrific. I'm glad to be here. :)

  • stephanie447stephanie447 Ayurvedic Practitioner Annapolis, MDPosts: 177 ✭✭✭

    That is very interesting about the coin shortage. I've been staying home for the most part so hadn't been aware it was going on. And thanks for bringing up mudslides. I forgot about those. 😛

  • RustBeltCowgirlRustBeltCowgirl North Coast OhioPosts: 388 ✭✭✭✭

    I think that it will go away. Once things return to a semi normal status, people will slide back into their habitual "comfort" zone. Maybe the children will pick up and run with it.

  • Gail HGail H Posts: 297 ✭✭✭

    @Paradox If things stay the way they are or even improve, I think people will abandon farmers for the convenience of the grocery store. If restaurants reopen, people will give up cooking again.

    I say this because a local farm near me couldn't keep up with demand. The last cow they processed they reserved for people in their own county, which seemed like a nice idea. They sent out an email in April that they would be taking beeves to the butcher in May and to sign up for a share. By the time I cleared everything with the "Minister of Finance" (my husband) , I was wait-listed for September. The beeves for May, June, July and August were all spoken for. I got an email today that I can pick up my share this weekend. Since they didn't take deposits, people are just walking away. I hope they don't get stuck with a lot of food that no one wants. They are young farmers just starting out and it might be a blow they can't withstand.

  • maimovermaimover Posts: 303 ✭✭✭

    @Gail H that would be tragic for them...here’s hoping folks are actually able and do pick up their shares.

  • Ethereal EarthEthereal Earth NevadaPosts: 142 ✭✭✭

    @Melissa Swartz I was talking to my mom the first month of lock down and she straight predicted that and said to wait to adopt a new pet as many of the ones I liked would probably be returned, especially when people have to go back into work and they have no one to watch the animal/care for it.

    We had not considered the financial impact as a reason to return a pet as lockdown continues. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home through this.

    I think the increase in gardening, sourcing products locally will increase, but will probably not be the huge surge we see right now. Time will tell when next spring growing season starts if the same shortages on seeds, plants, soil, etc are prevalent.

  • ParadoxParadox Posts: 139 ✭✭✭

    I'm seriously tempted to adopt a kitten.. but we have 4 cats already, so... probably not a good idea. I, too, have been blessed to be able to work from home.

  • stephanie447stephanie447 Ayurvedic Practitioner Annapolis, MDPosts: 177 ✭✭✭

    OK this is a horrible prediction but I had a thought this evening - what if we get ANOTHER bad virus on top of coronavirus, at the same time? I hope not!

  • nicksamanda11nicksamanda11 Posts: 124 ✭✭✭

    Country Living just reported gay Zombie Cicadas- how bout that for another bad virus!?!😳

  • Suburban PioneerSuburban Pioneer Posts: 167 ✭✭✭

    YOU SPEAK THE TRUTH!!! The road in front of our home is populated by cyclists s well as vehicles, all day, every day. They must think I'm nuts out slaving away in the yard every time they go merrily past. I envy their carefree time, and all the days that my friends get to go hiking, boating, fishing (tho I don't fish), etc. Doing a homestead, especially building one up from raw land in a difficult area, is a crazy amount of work and sometimes downright discouraging when the weeds/gophers/deer/drought/pests/predators/whatever get the upper hand. Ma nature seems to battle you on every front, jumping in at warp speed to undo everything you're trying to do and making it HER way even though the plan is to meet her more than half way if she would just let you implement! But when you taste that rich, creamy egg, or harvest the red currants that can't be purchased at the store, or finally crack open the delicious winter squash that you carefully nurtured all summer and tenderly protected all winter, the results are so worth it, aren't they? But you're right, only those tolerant of hard labor, discipline, delayed gratification, risk and disappointment will keep at it and succeed. The rest will come swarming like indignant grasshoppers to "redistribute" the fruits of your labors for themselves (and disparage you in the process) when they discover that the system can no longer provide for all of their needs and wants.

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,339 ✭✭✭✭
  • ltwickeyltwickey Posts: 176 ✭✭✭

    I think this is a fad for very bored people looking to kill time while stuck at home. Even if half of the "new" gardeners continue, they truly couldn't live fully off the land (think hunting and fishing).

    We too believe there will be a worsening of the world (particularly in the US) civil unrest before it gets better. We are at a point where our resources cannot further sustain the demand. This will only lead to worse ways to try feed the masses than what we have already!

    Scary times!

  • VermontCathyVermontCathy Posts: 317 ✭✭✭

    I believe that people were sufficiently surprised and disturbed by all this that won't simply return to 2019 norms. Between COVID and civil unrest, people are realizing that the world is not always the safe and happy place that First World middle-class people expect it to be.

    On the other hand, I don't expect a huge influx of serious homesteaders, self-sufficient gardeners, or a big increase in people keeping their own chickens. Most people won't even attempt those things, or will try them briefly, realize they are very difficult, and quit.

    However, I do think you will see long-term changes at the margin. When people less secure, they will save a little more money, keep a little more food at home, and cook at home a little more often.

    After the 2008 Great Recession ended, consumers did not simply return to their 2007 habits.

    I think the big rise in home baking will be an example of something that partially sticks. Yes, the frequency of home baking will have to drop somewhat when everyone is back at working for pay again, but it's easy and fun, and it tastes better.

    I also believe that most of the spike in demand for seed was not new gardeners, but existing gardeners expanding the size of their gardens as much as possible. And most of that additional gardening will stick, though affected by the time people have to give up when working for pay again.

    (I'm concerned enough about this to save as much seed as possible this year, even though my small garden is not set up for it.)

    So some things will return to normal, while some changes will remain.

  • karenjanickikarenjanicki Posts: 334 ✭✭✭

    I agree with you. I honestly believe things will only get even worse. Where I live we have seen shortages of all kinds over the last year. Meat, canned goods, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, canning supplies, sewing machines, seeds, bottled water. Whole shelves were entirely barren. It was creepy. I do forsee mass civil unrest even beyond what we have seen already. In prepper groups there is talk of massive food shortages on the horizon. I think people will need to learn these skills both in theory and practice for necessities sake. Sadly most don't have even a basic knowledge of how to produce their own food, or be self sufficient at all. We live in a society that's totally dependent on big corporations for food, medicine, clothing, power. They don't learn self sufficiency because they feel there is no need. Many are beginning to understand our concerns. That's clearly coming out in the types of shortages we're seeing however most won't likely go beyond learning how to bake or make a roast chicken. From research I've read most people do not cook at home and it seems many don't even know how. I think groups like this one are so important to learning these skills and putting them into practice. Many are still out of work and that's probably a contributing factor in the increase of learning new skills. But once they go back to work, I think they will likely forget, go back to old patterns and once again rely on the system.

  • karenjanickikarenjanicki Posts: 334 ✭✭✭

    I have been hearing rumours of a potential swine flu outbreak. That'll be something to keep an eye on.

  • marcy_northlightsfarmmarcy_northlightsfarm Posts: 86 ✭✭✭

    I'm trying to figure out what the next shortages will be. Currently there is a canning lid and jar shortage. Ammo shortage, (did you know all the materials need to make ammo come from China?) There's a lumber shortgae I've head mills are shut down for making pulp into paper and lumber, think toilet paper.

  • happy-trailshappy-trails Posts: 71 ✭✭✭

    I think Americans generally value convenience over quality and true health. We are steeped in a culture of constant stimulation, movement, sensory input, super busy (with things that do & done matter)... we "don't have time to be healthy," therefore health is put on the back burner and convenience is king! The fast food lines are winding around the block again here. The initial scare may have been enough to stir up people to ponder their health and safety and to question what they are consuming, but now that sentiment has faded... we have fostered an environment of such carelessness and a serious lack of patience. I don't mean to be cynical about most of my fellow Americans, but I believe convenience, fast food, and big box groceries will always win! And why spend 5 minutes heating up dinner on the stove, when the microwave gets it done in two minutes!? haha =) It concerns me. I'm thankful for the knowledge I have around healthy diet and my experience working an organic farm... I just try to make connections where I can and inform people in the most loving and gentle way possible!

  • annebeloncikannebeloncik Posts: 60 ✭✭✭

    Cashless society meets grid failure... Yikes! My husband has always felt like the movie Red Dawn was a likely scenario in our lifetime.

  • ParadoxParadox Posts: 139 ✭✭✭

    This is, honestly, a big part of the reason that I started studying Ayurveda. And it's interesting to see how many people want you to give them a 'magic bullet', but Ayurveda starts with Diet & Lifestyle.

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