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  1. As a child in Minnesota I lived on a farm and in the early 1940’s I remember binders cutting grain, shocking the grain, groups of 25 or so farmers using a massive fixed threshing machine going from one farm to the next and hauling the bundles of grain from the fields to the machine and pitching them into the machine, a complex interaction of ownership of resources and cooperation between the farmers. The grain was placed in massive bins and most was fed to the animals on the farm. Then the use of combine came into our area and 5 years later, by about 1950, there were no more threshing machines in our area and each farmer either worked alone or hired it done, and then often sold the grain rather then using it on the farm, and the interrelationship between the farmers disappeared. Grain harvesting interactions that helped define our community and went back generations collapsed in 5 years or so. It was indeed part of the collapse of the commons and the use of shared resources that transformed, and in the end, destroyed the culture of the small independent farmer in our area. In most of the USA, no fuel, no massive machinery, no concentration of ownership, no massive single crop production, no food. As this article points out, even under the best of conditions, ie, you don’t die if you make a mistake and have the resources, to get the seed, prepare the soil, seeding, weeding, harvesting, storage, milling, and cooking, it takes several years to develop the infrastructure and to get it all sorted out. The transformation from stored food to self reliance would be very difficult and I am afraid for most of us as preppers, it will be the step that will lead to failure.

    1. Thanks for the historical information and your perspective. Everything that you said and surmised rings of truth to me. Additionally, for some of us seniors, there is no younger generation interested in or available to carry on the techniques that SurvivalBlog members have recaptured to maintain a more independent lifestyle — for the US as a whole, there is no “going back”. Today’s food production and distribution system is complex, globally inter-connected, “just-in-time” availability, and highly vulnerable to breakdown. As others have pointed out, a lack of diversification means a lack of adaptability which can mean death to organisms or complex systems. I hope some of the younger preppers with families can instill and teach self-sufficiency to their children.

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