Yesterwisdom: Poultry and Freedom

This picture has been circulating the internet. What an amazing and simple glimpse into the mindset of our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ generations.

“Even the smallest back yard has room for a flock large enough to supply the house with eggs. The cost of maintaining such a flock is small. Table and kitchen waste provide much of the feed for the hens. They require little attention – only a few minutes a day. An interested child, old enough to take a little responsibility, can care for a few fowls as well as a grown person. Every back yard in the United States should contribute its share to a bumper crop of poultry and eggs in 1918. In Time of Peace a Profitable Recreation; In Time of War a Patriotic Duty.”

What a contrast to today. But 80 to 100 years ago, freedom and a free people were really desired, victory over enemies and national flourishing weren’t viewed as ills, and the people in government at least had a better understanding that a free nation is made up of free people who have a level of self sufficiency and aren’t reliant on the government. And just look where we are now.

Food production has become centralized and so many of our foods are imported. Just look at the recent “egg crisis.” When the bulk of the nation’s eggs are produced by a few huge producers, what happens when those producers go under or are struggling with diseased flocks? Or when flock management becomes an issue of governmental concern (i.e. tyranny)? On top of those issues, people have been stripped of their self sufficiency due at least in part to increased urbanized living, and we’ve bred a culture that values cheap plenty (ironically now not so cheap) over quality. But then there is the weird dichotomy where people are willing to pay $5 multiple times per week for a fancy coffee at Starbucks that is consumed in ten minutes, but $5 per dozen for eggs seems like a lot to pay. Or people go to Walmart expecting and willing to pay a given amount for cheap Chinese junk and mass produced food, but go to the farmer’s market and expect to pay less for goods produced by the small grower or local business. Clearly we as a culture need a change in mindset.

So go get your chickens or buy eggs from a small farmer. Grow your garden. Go to the farmer’s market. Make food from scratch. Pick a few things you consume a lot of and figure out how make them yourself. Learn to reuse and repurpose and become less reliant on stores and big businesses. Enjoy the satisfaction of capability. Enjoy the fruit of engaging with your community. Bring industry back to the local sphere.

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