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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone. This is something I wrote about a year ago when I was way off grid, and had no internet besides my phone. I felt it is still relevant.

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything of merit. Browsing the forums, as I do, with a phone, limits the discussion of any sort of complex or lengthy thoughts. But something has been troubling me with the majority of posts I have seen here. It seems that not only do a majority of you neglect one of the most important things you can do to assure survival; a good number of you actively disdain it.

I’m talking about community. There seem to be a lot of vicious illusions about what will happen if SHTF, from the “gonna run to the woods, eat fiddle heads and shoot federal agents with my slingshot” to “The neighbors will become bloodthirsty zombies I will have to shoot as they charge down my driveway.” The most dangerous misconception is the viability of the “lone wolf” in a long term scenario. You cannot survive long term without community.

If, as many on here repeatedly say, we are heading into a decade of depression, or possibly even the complete dissolution of civil society, it is imperative that we have a community to work with. This community can be made up of neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family. It can be your after-work rock band, your softball team, it can come from anywhere. The best communities draw from every corner of your life, meshing into a complex network of resources and mutual support.

I have a number of communities which I feel an obligation to support. First are my family and friends. A wide network across the country with a dozen who are prepared and invited onto our land if things get insurmountable. Most have been putting away food, others have worked on tools and materials, many lending a hand in the difficult process of building our homestead. Two of the oldest friends, six hundred miles away check up on my mom for me, alternately fixing her house or computer. Other family members are working out housing up here, from yurts to straw bales.

Next are my neighbors. We have already started figuring out how to close the gate and start providing for everyone who lives up here if things get too “expensive”. Between fifty people and 3000 acres, I think we’ll be alright. All of us have gardens, some have livestock, and we have a good supply of teenagers upcoming. Morning talks have wandered into the territory of end-of-the-road swap meets and dealing with the 8-12 mile commute off the mountain if fuel gets too expensive.

Next are you guys. Not just SB, but those who read me on a variety of sites across the internet and in the pages of magazines. You don’t know my name, you wouldn’t recognize me if I kicked you in the shins. For the most part, we’ve never met face to face. So, why do I care about you? Because if the world gets all pear shaped, it benefits me if more people work to keep their communities and localities intact. I like New England lobster, Alaskan salmon, and Milwaukee beer, and if those of you who live there can hold it together, I’ll send over California oranges, abalone and matsutake.

I’m not one of those guys looking forward to the end of civilization because suddenly I will be free to forego the restraints of society and become a tribal warlord because I have an AK-47 and a year worth of Chef Boyardee. Hell, I don’t even consider myself a survivalist, I’m a homesteader who found this site through Kev’s hilarious video of feeding tomato worms to fire ants. I’m a guy who doesn’t fear a shakeup of civilization because I have worked to become independent of it. I’m a guy who now has the time to work to assure the survival of those around me, knowing that as the odds of my neighbor making-it go up, MY odds of making-it go up as well.

When I lived in the city, my “crew” was composed of a “cadre” of twenty and an ever changing ensemble of 200-300 people who kind of orbited around a nightclub I helped run, and a 3000 sq foot warehouse with a fabrication shop and multimedia studio I owned. We pulled together; when a project from the shop required a promo video, someone was there to work on it. When we needed a sound booth, twelve guys showed up to help build it. At certain points, I would need to bring people together for a different focus.

The winter of 2003 was hard on a lot of us, and money was a bit more rare than usual, as the dot com bubble finally settled back into the sea of common commerce. Many of my friends were not getting as many shows, shifts or contracts and we were all feeling the pinch. It was then that I started organizing the BAF-b-ques. BAF = Broke as Funk. What began as a potluck with a movie, quickly turned into a cooking circle, where single city kids would gather four or five times a week to cook community meals to save money. That circle of friends rapidly grew the most complete pantries in the city, all just to save a few bucks on grocery bills.

Now, I know the nay-sayers are screaming, “but they’ll come to your house and eat your beans!” Yes, and I will go to their house and eat their beans. Like we work together to grow beans now, we will work together to grow beans then. We are civilization and our relationships are the glue that holds it together, and it will only collapse if we allow ourselves and our bonds to one another to decay.
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