Could You Be Prepared to Go Off Grid in These (Very) Uncertain Times?

in Natural Medicine17 days ago (edited)

I had a hilarious conversation with a friend who works at the local Wholefoods cafe the other day. She was utterly convinced that New Zealand outlawed home gardening. I was puzzled. Was that a recent law? Because I remember seeing incredible food forests in New Zealand, and a friend who lived in Raglan also had a huge vegetable garden. Yet the internet seemed to confirm this. Now, I'm not a gullible person by any means, but for a tiny moment, I was like - what the actual flying cabbage? Because the very first article that came up was about friders (fried spiders) and a gardening ban in New Zealand, which was hilariously deadpan to read, asserting that unless you are a licensed commercial producer, you weren't allowed to plant a garden, because it threatened the economic stability of the agricultural sector. The 'dark green' movement in New Zealand with renegade law breakers, it continued, who planted under the cover of sheds to avoid drones:

These covered gardens have in some cases resulted in the remarkable evolution of vegetables bred to grow in low light. For example, Broccoli turns totally white and begins to taste like banana,while cauliflower turns bright purple and somewhat surprisingly begins to taste like beef. So, if you’re ever invited into the home of someone above the age of 65 in more rural areas, you may be surreptitiously treated to a cauliflower roast!

Before you rage like my friend against the injustice of this, it's all a giant meme - an internet joke that went far enough for people to start believing it. When my friend told me, I actually wasn't suprised - my cynical brain thought: 'well, of course they'd do that, because it's privatisation at all costs - be part of the system or suffer'. The less independence people have, the more the state profits.

It's this idea that makes my blood boil, and makes me more determined than ever to be as off grid as I can. And if I'm not off grid, which I can't wholly be right now, I sure as hell want to be prepared to be in case the system crashes, as it did when we all went into lockdown in March and everyone started to grow toilet paper as you couldn't get it in the shops.

You Can Grow Your Own Toilet Paper by Starting it In a Jar of Water

Having lived in buses and trucks without any power apart from solar, and needing to source our own water from places like petrol stations and churches where you could fill up 50 litres of containers for free, I'm used to hardship. I don't care if the internet goes down or the power goes out - we have lived like that before and could survive without skipping a beat. Whilst we have the luxury of grid life now, if the grid goes down, we'll be okay. We even have a fire bath in the garden to heat up water and have the skills to make a heated shower system in a jiffy should we need it. We don't even need to rely on gas or electricity to cook - we have a few alternative cooking systems such as rocket fuel and spirit stoves. We know how to dig a bore hole if we need to for water, and we have a small lake at the bottom of our property should things get that desperate - we can always filter the water and know how to build a home filtration system.

For us, preparation is the key.

We aren't die hard preppers, but we have the skills to survive off grid, and that's more important in today's day and age than you think. People have short memories. Life is going back to normal in Victoria, Australia with zero cases for over a week now - but what's to say it won't happen again? Yes, I have boxes and boxes of rice, pasta, flour and preserves under the bed in the spare room. I grow tons of vegetables to supplement our diet, and currently am researching grains and other protein sources. I have reluctantly tended the jerusalam artichoke patch for carbohydrates (though I wouldn't eat them unless we were that desperate - I can't stand them). I know how to preserve, pickle and dry my own food. We have solar panels and Jamie knows how to build a windmill to generate power too. We could live in an off grid community no problem, bringing skills needed to make that kind of community prosper. I'm proud of that, and I admire people who've been able to manage it completely - they are totally my heros.

Ideally, I wouldn't be connected to the system at all. I want the current state of government and politics to complete topple, because it doesn't nurture and nourish our souls and is designed to make us work our fingers to the bone for pittance, and then die as the rich remain rich. We lack the freedom that is our birthright, and we're destroying the only planet that can support us. I weep every day for the state of the climate and wish we were all forced to go off grid, because we'd be so much more conscious of what we consume - how much, and how hard it is to come by. Scarcity would make us far more appreciative of times of abundance - the summer and autumn harvest, the things the earth offers us if only we tend her right.

I've always believed gardening is the most punk thing you can do to start going off the systems that bind us so. Even if you're in a city you can think hard about where in the city you live that might enable you to be at least a little resilient - community roof top gardens, for example, or keeping bees. The future is so uncertain we need to consider to what degree we can be as off grid as we can.

How off grid are you prepared to be? To what degree are you dependent on supply chains for survival? Could you survive off grid if everything collapsed?

This post was written in response to Ecotrain's QOTW about living off grid. You can respond yourself - read this post to find out conditions of entry.


This is my focus too, on skills rather than stuff. I mean, I don't have a way to acquire the stuff and no property to build stuff on, anyway - but I can sure learn things. I'd love to have a little house with some land I could garden and keep goats and chickens and solar panels ...but I don't. So I learn. If sh*t really goes south, not only will it make me personally more resilient and able to find workarounds, but also I can teach others and be an asset that way.
I mean, I am smack in the middle of a huge metro area. If we really get to zombie apocalypse levels of collapse, the stores will be picked bare and then ...? Again, I don't have property to raise animals or whatever but I have skills I can trade, so, hopefully I'd be OK.
My biggest worry honestly is how many allergies I have - I eat a very limited diet, so not only sourcing sustenance but sustenance that won't swell my throat shut, makes it harder.

 15 days ago 


Yeah so long as you have the know how, you'd do okay I reckon with your skills. I'd let you in to my barricaded commune, that's for sure!!! It's pretty scary even thinking of what would happen in metro areas - grateful for living outside of Melbourne, especially in this last lockdown where they couldn't go fruther than 5 kms from their home and we had a whole 5 acres, beaches and forests to go in. Still, I think I'd never be able to defend this property when it came to it - being ready to bug out is probably a better plan.

I think in metro areas even more than other places, it's more important to build community, then you can pool together and support each other in different ways. That's true any time, but especially in a crisis. I mean, how many natural disasters do we see people coming together and supporting their neighbors even when they didn't know their names prior to the disaster? A lot. It's really a strength, and something I am trying to work on.

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Wow! What a write up.

I went through loads of different emotions, while reading this, but it mainly made me smile :<)

I am getting closer and closer to living off grid myself. Am about to put my house for sale, plan to buy a caravan and put it on the land of friends (the olive tree people, who have 6 acres of land ).

In the not too distant future I will probably buy my own little piece of land but first it will be downsizing and working on those green fingers while I keep stacking cryptos.

Big hug

 17 days ago 

That sounds amazing!!! Now I'm going to want to visit you even more! So proud of you - you have just BLOSSOMED since I've know you and I'm sure your life is going to get even more awesome!!!!! xxx

It would be really hard for us, especially at this time. Water would be the problem, if the town water system failed... Our ground water is probably contaminated, as the neighbor uses roundup on his corn...

 17 days ago 

You guys have a much worse water issue than us I think - more problems with polluted groundwater. That really sucks!!!!!

Ugh, you wanna hear something that set me to boil? The city of Denver had a temporary well up two blocks from me for a while - at first I was like IS THAT A FRACKING WELL IN BETWEEN THREE HOSPITALS ARE YOU KIDDING ME - but then I inspected and there was a sign saying it was from Denver Water.
Turns out they were doing some tests because the city wants to INJECT CITY TREATED WATER INTO THE AQUIFER.
Our aquifer here is good ...and they want to contaminate it. They call city treated water "clean" but water treatments don't remove everything, like pharmaceuticals. So they'd be contaminating the whole aquifer with all the tons of meds everybody pees out every day, millions of people all over the metro??
I just about blew my top. I still don't know where the "idea" stands as far as if they're going for it or not.

Ugh, I can relate.

Our local water is far cleaner than average, and until about two years before we moved here they never added fluoride, but then some brainiac dentist told them they "needed" to, although he of ALL people should have known that fluoride ONLY helps prevent cavities when applied to your teeth by a dentist.

Drinking fluoridated water not only does NOT prevent cavities, but leads to fluorosis, which results in little white spots on your teeth, which is a sign of FLUORIDE TOXICITY.

I've contacted our water utility NUMEROUS times in the past, to ask them to STOP adding fluoride, using the logic that when they see the skull and crossbones on the side of the fluoride container, that is excellent PROOF that it should not be added to our water supply.

Naturally it has fallen on deaf ears, hence why I am more determined than ever to drill a well, and ultimately, perhaps even leave the area. Sigh.

Yeah, I think Oregon is the only state where it's not mandated on a state level? We have fluoride treated water here, too. I wish we didn't, but that's REALLY hard to get away from in the US. And I don't know if they allow for residential wells in the city itself - they might, but I'm an apartment dweller so it's moot anyway - but in the mountains, where you might be more likely to do that, the ground is often contaminated if there was a mine nearby (which is a lot of places in Colorado, from the 19th century). I mean hell, a couple years back we had a river turn ORANGE because some contracted-out inspector for the EPA was supposed to be checking an old mine to be sure the contaminants weren't leaking out and instead LET THEM ALL OUT INTO THE RIVER. Sigh.

Ugh, sorry to hear that. Wishing you all the best.

So right now I am growing my own mushrooms (a couple different kinds). I also forage for them on hikes (though if there is any amount of uncertainty I won't eat them). Maybe not the exact same as being able to live off of the grid but it is definitely a start. I also have a book that covers the plants that naturally grow in the area where I live and what they can be used for (along with which ones to avoid). Therefore I would say my answer to the question of whether I could survive if things collapsed, yes I think I could survive.

However I am still really reliant on supply chains for a number of things so if everything collapsed tomorrow things would be rough but I do truly think I have what it would take to survive the adjustment period.

 17 days ago 

that is awesome!!!! And a start is EXCELLENT. Being able to forage and find your own food is a MUST, absolutely!!!!

I have watched enough zombie films to THINK I should be able to survive haha - but it's different in Australia for wild food that's for sure. where do you live?

My mum was circulating something on Facebook that claimed a new law was being passed in NZ that would basically make it illegal to grow your own food, save seeds and even swap food and seeds. Someone linked the food bill, which is probably the size of an encyclopedia set of you had it printed. No way I'm going to be able to find the time to get through that, but it seems to me to be more about food safety than restricting agriculture and home gardening.

There was a joke article circulating a few years back from The Onion, or Betoota Advocate saying it was illegal to garden in NZ.

 16 days ago 

I love the Betoota Advocate - wouldn't be the first time someone thought it was real!

I totally relate, as usual, and when we bought our acreage in Middle Tennessee, it was with the goal of ultimately disconnecting from the grid entirely.

Nine years later, we're still connected to the grid, but we keep making small steps, and we have managed to seriously reduce our electric bills, especially in the summer.

We still seriously need a greenhouse, which I've amassed nearly all the needed materials for, so that is our goal over the Thanksgiving weekend, to finally put it together, and get it ready for plants this winter.

Then we'll be putting in a ductless air conditioning system, which is far more energy efficient AND HEALTHIER than a traditional HVAC unit, and a necessity since our central heating and A/C system gave up the ghost last spring. We're still working on funding it, but it will cost roughly a third of what a traditional system will cost, so hopefully we'll get there quickly.

We'll also be drilling a well, and we had a well driller out a few months back, who told us that we have two springs crossing beneath our land about thirty or forty feet from the southwest corner of our house, which is coincidentally right where our orchard begins.

We are really fortunate, in that we do have so many springs in our area, and at least three that go under our land, so our well water should be uncontaminated, which is obviously all-important. Even our river is relatively uncontaminated, as it is wild along most of its length, and upriver of us, the city of Sparta actually gets our city water from the river, which requires relatively little treatment, by comparison with most areas of the country.

The first thing I checked out upon finding this place, since we have 700' of river frontage, is that we had full water rights, which indeed we do. I was born and raised in the desert Southwest, so I am well aware of the water wars throughout our history, and wanted to ensure that, wherever we purchased, we would ALWAYS have a source of clean, potable water.

Finally, we'll be adding solar panels, configured along a couple of different designs, as an experiment to see which works best. Our roof faces east and west, which is far from ideal, so the panels will be configured in an array facing south which will NOT be on the roof, and we'll just have to see which works best.

Wish us luck! We certainly wish you the same. ;-)

Having the skills is the most important for sure and I have no doubt that you both would thrive if things got worst. Living onsite really helps prepare you for lots in life and makes you tough as hell. Wish I was in a community with ya my friend xxxx You sure made me laugh with the growing bog roll like avocados lol xxx

This is a very interesting proposition that I should have read a few weeks ago. Preparing for off grid life is not up there in my list of priorities, but it should have been as we were recently 'attacked' by a very strong typhoon. We were literally off grid for 3 days: no electricity, no internet, no cell tower signal. Some places in my city still have no power until now. It was an experience I needed to go through to wake up the lazy slumber and comfortable

luxury of on grid life

Hindsight is always 20/20. And we have experienced this now - in 2020. I'm now looking forward to 2021; hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

Keep safe and healthy @riverflows. Love this article. :)