I’ve been reading Dmitry Orlov’s book “Reinventing Collapse” and watching him online. He is an interesting guy, and manages to get scary ideas across with a fantastic sense of humour. His theory, which sounds pretty credible to me, is that much of the economic crisis in the States today is part of a social collapse similar to what happened to the former Soviet Union. So we’d have a (as Orlov puts it) an fUSA (former USA 😉
So, what does that have to do with The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm? Well, quite a lot, from my perspective. Here in the UK we may escape some of the worst excesses that make the USA so fine tuned as to be almost entirely lacking in resilience. For example, I live in a town that you can walk across in a few hours that is surrounded by fertile farmland. But Ipswich’s population is far higher than it was in the days before the mechanisation of farming. And we have all but lost the skills to feed and shelter ourselves without oil based technologies. Not only that, most of that soil is in pretty poor shape if we want to grow things without oil based fertilisers.
At The Oak Tree I still use a lot of technology that has been produced with some oil based technologies, even if I don’t use much oil on an ongoing basis. For example, many of my fabulously clever smallholding tools, such as my Earthway Seeders, are made of plastic, and imported from the USA. See what I mean? If we do find ourselves with oil based infrastructure severely compromised, how easy is it going to be for other people to procure tools like mine, to set up similar farms?
Years ago I attended a course at the Centre for Alternative Techology in Wales on home blacksmithing. At the time I wanted to make pole lathe tools that weren’t available commercially (they are now). Now I’m thinking this could be a very useful tool given charcoal (I have wood) and metal (there should be scrap metal to scavenge). It would take me some time to learn how to reproduce my tools, or make new ones, but I would have a chance. So I’ve just ordered The Complete Modern Blacksmith by Alexander Weygers. It may sit on my shelf for now, but it might just turn out to be useful in the future.