It’s been nearly four months since I posted about one of my first designs for my permaculture diploma – the ‘the preserve-a-thon.’ Since then I have done a few more designs and I have also done Sharon Astyk’s Food Storage and Preservation course. I’ve learnt a lot and have refined my ideas a little bit, so it seems like a good idea to revisit the design.
The first thing I notice when I look at it again is that there is no clear finishing point to the project. My vision was to “be as self-sufficient in dairy and vegetables as possible within three years… Some of this produce will need to be preserved, which will require learning new skills and doing them regularly. I also see developing a pantry with a good stock of preserved food in it as part of this plan.”
Really, that’s a life plan, rather than a design for a specific project about preserving. There is a more specific vision in there, if you look carefully. I knew that I wanted to develop a ‘pantry’ (yep, I’m still banging on about the pantry – maybe I’ll start calling it a larder so it sounds less embarrassing) but I didn’t know how the hell to go about it. What this is telling me is that having taken the very grown up step in actually making plans for things, I now need to slow down, write down the questions I have and the things I don’t know and use these as a basis for the observation that will inform my design.
So here’s another go at defining what I want to do with this project…
I will set up a
pantry larder which will at all times have three months of food in it – and three months of food that I/we like to eat. It will be an ‘eat and replace’ working larder rather than an emergency food store.
Building an emergency food/water store is another project that I want to pursue but not one that I am including within the remit of this design. Part of my research for this project will be working out how much food three months of food actually is and also working out how many people I am storing it for. I will know that I am done with this project for the purposes of the diploma when I have a physical place with this much food in it set up.
So how does the design change in the light of this better defined goal? Well, it needs to get more strategic. So, here’s my strategy:
(1) Work out what I eat
(2) Of the list of things eat, work out what needs to be bought and stored and what I could feasibly produce myself.
(3) Work out how to store the bought in foodstuffs bearing in mind temperature, rodents, and how long things store for
(4) Learn the skills and build the infrastructure for producing the other items.