Hard Times Aren T Just Coming, They Are Here Already The Recent Economic Collapse Has Seen Millions Of North Americans Move From The Middle Class To Being Poor, And From Poor To Hungry At The Same Time, The Idea Of Eating Locally Is Shifting From Being A Fringe Activity For Those Who Can Afford It To An Essential Element Of Getting By But Aside From The Locavores And Slow Foodies, Who Really Knows How To Eat Outside Of The Supermarket And Out Of Season And Who Knows How To Eat A Diet Based On Easily Stored And Home Preserved Foods Independence Days Tackles Both The Nuts And Bolts Of Food Preservation, As Well As The Host Of Broader Issues Tied To The Creation Of Local Diets It Includes How To Buy In Bulk And Store Food On The Cheap Techniques, From Canning To Dehydrating Tools What You Need And What You Don T In Addition, It Focuses On How To Live On A Pantry Diet Year Round, How To Preserve Food On A Community Scale, And How To Reduce Reliance On Industrial Agriculture By Creating Vibrant Local EconomiesBetter Food, Plentiful Food, At A Lower Cost And With Less Energy Expended Independence Days Is For All Who Want To Build A Sustainable Food System And Keep Eating Even In Hard TimesSharon Astyk Is A Former Academic Who Farms In Upstate New York With Her Family She Is The Author Of Depletion And Abundance, The Co Author Of A Nation Of Farmers, And She Blogs At Sharonastyk Overall, I found this book to be too preachy and not enough practical The author encourages us to store fifty pound bags of rice and tomatoes in our guest room closets Really For this woman not living on a farm or in a large house, I think there is better, practical advice out there I wanted a book on food preservation techniques This book was not it. I read this for the first time in 2014 when I was just getting into gardening and canning To be honest, I found it quite overwhelming, and only rated the book 3 5 While none of the information in the book is particularly advanced, it can be a LOT to absorb, like all of the best whole systems approaches.Coming back to it in 2015 with a lot direct experience, reading, and my own original thoughts about sustainability and stewardship was a really good idea I have been able to appreciate the book in a whole new light, and there s such a wealth of recipes and practical guides that I ll be ordering a copy for permanent reference soon It s well worth a read, but keep in mind it s worth RE reading every couple of years, because even the author notes that it s so easy to forget things you ve done well in the past, make new mistakes, etc. This book really goes into the politics of food how we are all dependent on huge corporations for feeding ourselves, and are pretty much helpless to help ourselves All the aspects of being able to provide food for your family be it to save money or to be prepared should you not be able to get to a grocery store for some amount of time, or just not rely on outside sources for the health of your family It really inspired me to look hard at what I buy at the store, and how it got to the store, who grew it, where was it packaged, why am I spending money on it, is it good for me, is it good for the earth Hard core advice for serious minded folks. Do I think there will be an apocalypse in which I need 3 6 months of food stored.not really Do I love the idea of it anyway Sure do Excited to try lots of new preservation ideas from this book and it was surprisingly funny Independence Days is a book about food security Like Sharon Astyk s two previous books Depletion and Abundance Life on the New Home Front A Nation of Farmers Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil , this one focuses on the need to assume personal responsibility for food self sufficiency and for shortening the supply chain from farm garden to table Unlike Asktyk s previous books, this one is also a how to, as well as a why we should, complete with helpful instructions for creating and managing a food storage pantry, preserving fresh foods, and cultivating a frugal and self reliant life style.Astyk s arguments for the importance of personal food security one of the central issues of our time are compelling A looming energy crisis, soil and water depletion, and the threat of global warming these are all reasons to be concerned about the reliability of our food supply and the need to take personal control, as far as possible, over the food we put on our family s table Independence days a concept Astyk borrows from Carla Emery are days when we re eating food we grow ourselves or obtain locally For Astyk, true independence is freedom from the industrial food system that feeds most Americans.Hence this book, which recommends various methods for food preservation canning, pickling, dehydrating, fermenting for purchasing, stocking, and storing food in pantry, root cellar, and freezer for acquiring tools and equipment, in addition to adequate supplies of water, medicine, and other necessities and for creating and using community resources All of this advice is sound, helpful, and inspiring It is also very credible, for Astyk practices what she preaches, and it s good to know that she has tried the methods that she advocates The various sections are also illustrated with recipes, or less effectively Some of the recipes contain foods that are non local for most Americans coconut milk, quinoa, salmon which I found distracting in a book about shortening the supply chain And not all of them illustrate the principle she d like to teach baked apples and cranberries are good comfort food but the recipe doesn t fit very comfortably in a section on medicines Recipes formulas for home grown herbal remedies would have been a better choice.But these are minor quibbles I like Sharon Astyk because she always tells me why I should do something, before she tells me how, and this book continues that practice This isn t just about the rice or the garden or the canning jars, she says This is a small but important step in making a better way of life Yes, truly I learned from Independence Days, and it strengthened my desire to be as independent as possible If you re concerned about food security, this is a good book to read and use If you re not, read it anyway You ll learn why the American food supply should be at the top of your list of things to think about Originally published at At first I thought this was going to be another book about how to can, and it turned out not to be, and for that I am glad Independence Days is a book that, instead of telling you how to can or giving you tons of recipes, outlines why you should preserve food, how you can do it, and gives other tips for emergency preparedness Astyk argues that it s not about preparing for the end days or the rapture unless that s what you re worried about, in which case go for it Stocking up on food, water, emergency supplies and the like is important for all types of occasions long term power outages I still remember that ice storm in NY in 87 that left my family out of power for at least a week , job layoffs, medical emergencies, natural disasters, and the like Moreover, the self sufficiency can be a morale booster as well as money saver There s practically no downside other than the time it takes Astyk brings out the bigger picture, which is community awareness and preparedness, and I like that she doesn t confine food storage to an individual s actions We, ideally, should look out for everyone in our communities She gives some bigger picture ideas of what a self sufficient community would look like community kitchens for canning, water pumps at the local park, food banks, and co ops.I like this book because it really made me think that if I save money for emergencies, why wouldn t I also want to save food which I can eat, unlike money I ve already been interested in gardening and preserving the fruits of my labor, and now I m even interested in making it happen Astyk is realistic and understands that we all have to start small and make mistakes, so hopefully this is something that I can continue to learn and build on, and I think others would do well to learn to store food in bulk, preserve fruits, etc. I bought this book thinking that it was going to be of a how to manual for preserving than a guide to survivng the end of days I realized halfway through the book that the Sharon is crazy and no rational human being calculates how much tomatoes and water they would need in their home to survive for a month With that being said, the book was entertaining and if you have a fear of not being prepared for a natural disaster without access to food or water and stranded in your home, this book is going to help you out I liked it, just not what I expected And I am now very conscious of only having a reserve of about 3 days worth of water in my house every time I open the refrigerator Sharon doesnt have a refrigerator though because what good is a refridgerator when the power goes out Inspiring and contagious is the message contained within this book Living sustainably is essential to our ecology I have known this fact for many years I am elated that this book, written from a mother s perspective, reminds one of how important living sustainable is.The author lists many reasons why one should keep a store of food She supports this idea by pointing out that most of our grandparents did not live 80 years without some experience of hunger and that with the potential of crisis, for example Hurricane Katrina, the need for food storage is still relevant even today She writes that storing food is the heritage and tradition of human historyhuman food culture grew up around food storage She reminds us that many food traditions are born from the practice of storing food for the cold dry winter when there is less harvest.She also reminds one that in isolation the actions of the individual are insignificant but taken collectively a movement of ordinary people shifting their ordinary activities can have an effect on the economic life of corporations and their influence.I was impressed by the verve of this writer When faced with the potential for possible future food shortage she took action and made a plan and life changes that then improved her life, her community and gave her family food security She reminds us that in a world where food is seen as wealth instead of money one can create security by the acts of growing a garden and storing food.She points out that by doing so it saves one both time and money as well as providing a diet of nourishment.