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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had recently read an interesting book called Sapiens (good book, highly recommend) and it got me re-evaluating some of my prepping plans, specifically around how much effort I might spend between learning to farm vs foraging.

There are some very good reasons to choose one over the other, I think I'm more suited to forage given my area and just my personality. Maybe take a middle of the road approach, keeping a small garden, planting fruit and nut trees, but make sure I study up on edible plants and animals in my area and start seeing if I can do camping trips only eating what I can forage/hunt.

I'm still doing research to determine how much of either I would focus on, but was curious on responses here.
 

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there are just so many variables with both its hard to say what one is better ,location ,,,setting ect change the game all over the country,,i believe farming is a better chance,but do not discount what can be foraged ,,,but also keep in mind that mother nature has had crops fail as well as farmers
the advantage of farming is its usually close to your home ,,,so easier to care for and harvest ,,to live off foraged crops means moving around a lot ,,,so less control over where your going to be ,,,and no control over what /who is also harvesting
my concern is is everything going to be hauled home to live on ? and how far it might be away from home base,,as with farming its close to home ,,,so getting say several hundred pounds of crops into storage would not require as much as say hauling home several hundred pounds from miles away
 

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Live Secret, Live Happy
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Many natural food sources are seasonal, and relatively hard to store, Hardwood nuts and certain Pine cone seeds are the exception.

The native Americans in my area raised the majority of their calories from raising corn, beans, and squash in their food plots. They supplemented these with seasonal greens, fresh fruits, and berries. They knew where the best hardwood trees were and gathered and stored the nuts.

They fished and trapped small game year round, but they hunted large game during the cooler fall and winter month, when it would keep.

I recommend you develop your ability to do both, Learn the natural food sources in your area, Learn to grow several farm crops well suited to your area. Some crops like wheat, corn, barley, pinto beans, acorn squash, pumpkins, onions, and potatoes can be stored easily long term.
 

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for the most part its a question of net calorie benefit from a given action

hunter gatherers were unable to produce and store a surplus anywhere except their gut, and not much at that. in hard times they had to be prepared to move on to greener regions. they didn't have permanent dwellings. permanent dwellings are for agriculture. if you are a hunter-gatherer prepare to have your body-weight fluctuate by season much in the same way animals do. this is not to say that in a very remote region a man could not survive solely on hunting and gathering in a permanent location, it's true. but the land couldn't carry a lot of people doing that. that's why they had to keep moving.
 

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I'm in Texas. It would be absolutely impossible to survive via foraging. The land just can't support my family without farming.

I suspect that's the case in most of the country, if not all of it. You'd have to have access to tens of thousands of acres of untapped land, full of edible vegetation, fish, and wildlife. It couldn't have much of a winter either, or you'd starve. A small garden would hardly supplement that.
 

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for the most part its a question of net calorie benefit from a given action
I took a local class on wild edibles and the Instructor stressed THAT IT IS ALL ABOUT THE CALORIES and can you get enough to make it worth your while; i.e. can you replace the calories burned foraging and have a surplus to stay healthy.

He was pointed out local plants like Greenbriar Root and Canna Lilly Roots as being calorie dense while you might spend more calories gathering than you can consume on something like Pig Weed.

The Instructor's webpage:
http://www.foragingtexas.com/

My take away, eat your stores, forage, but get that garden in and include in the garden calorie dense foods like sweet potatoes, potatoes, squash, etc.
 

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And always remember:

Either the time of year or the nature of the event itself may force you to be totally reliant on your storage.

Neither foraging nor farming will help you if the event you are prepping for occurs in the dead of winter.
 

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It depends a lot on where you are.

Oh, absolutely. I am making a general, applies to most, statement in this.

Where we settled after I retired is an area with ample forage.

Where I am here, same sort of thing. Year round there is something growing to eat.

A primary starch source is beech which is available year round. Though there is a wide selection of things that can be eaten in these woods.
Thing I was trying to point out though was it is not just about weather. Weather is just the most relatable and directly understandable example. Different events (chemical release, radiological contamination, massive flooding, etc) can also compromise or limit access to forage.
 

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Both foraging & gardening have their trade offs.

Foraging means wandering around hunting/gathering.
(which may have opsec & security risks)

Gardens may require defenses.

Both have their place.

This is my favorite foraging.

ELK
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There is a reason people started farming. Think of going to your garden as foraging just without the 30 miles in between the eatables.
Understood, but you also need to factor in the work necessary to farm. I'm not going to pretend I have the answer as I've never farmed, but there are studies and theories out there that farming was more labor intensive compared to foraging.

I don't doubt that for the workload you probably get more yield on average (especially if you have modern day equipment), farming vs foraging. But is it worth the effort needed to store and defend it? Do you have the manpower to manage those tasks?
 

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yall need to read this book.. native american gardening by wilson

https://www.amazon.com/Native-Ameri...505&sr=8-1&keywords=NATIVE+AMERICAN+GARDENING

buffalobird woman was a hidasta native born 1830ish...going on memory..this guy wilson recorded her ways about 1910 before this knowledge was lost to time.theres lots of little nuggets in there about survival and what it took and what people done 'back in the day'

also an interesting thought i heard/read was corn was developed as a solely human powered grain as there were no beasts of burden in americas until brought here.
 

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Unless you live in the tropics where food is avalable year round....
You have to store and defend no matter how you acquire it.
 

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a flock of chickens...a flock of say 25 hens averaging 18 eggs a day would give you 18eggs x 77 calories for boiled egg =1386 calories a day to build on. this has variations going up and down with season and during times when all are producing an egg. these birds can forage for items i cant eat or wont eat or unable to eat from green leaf matter to bugs.chickens can forage alot..not to mention if you plant a forage area for them with something like hancock happy hen seed mixture to forage in.

https://hancockseed.com/hancocks-happy-hen-forage-seed-mix-5-lb-bag-976.html


not to mention hatching out eggs for meat...some might say theres no power for incubator...well theres old incubators that dont run on electric.

lots of solutions to 'problems' of you want to search and learn and do them.
 

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how many acres of wild 'roots' you need to dig and cover to gather this amount of tubers i grew in 5-40ft long rows in my yard?



going to be alot of diggin and huntin to get this much garlic i grow in a 8 x 20ish bed.i grow wild ramps in my forest and i love foraging for wild edibles or at least ones i know and have available..but i aint fooling myself my garlic way out produces my ramp patch.my ramps are only 4 years old and spreading and one day they will probably be high producer but till them ya need garlic in garden.

heres one of this years garlic patches..the only thing i done was plant last fall..might have an hours labor in it so far...







whitetail that come to eat my mature forest acorn production and food plots.



simple grain production..till and broadcast method.





 

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I live in one of the more forging friendly parts of the nation. Can drop a boat from my backyard into the bayou and be in the Atchafalaya Basin(largest swampland in North America) in about 10 minutes. I've hunted, and trapped all over since I was a kid, and even with the modern tech we have it would still be loads of work to provide all the food we need for a decent size group of people. Factor in the thousands of other Cajuns who would hit the water ways in a SHTF situation, and you'll be over hunting, over trapping, and over fishing in no time.

Agriculture is the only thing that can sustain a large population long-term in fixed locations. Modern society is industrialized, and tech advanced as a result of advances in agriculture which minimizes the amount of people needed to produce food, while at the same time maximizing the amount food produced per unit of land worked. In a SHTF situation in which we lose access to oil supplies, and can't run tractors, and other farming equipment, not to mention ready supply of seeds, even farming will demand loads more people doing it just to get by.
 

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Understood, but you also need to factor in the work necessary to farm. I'm not going to pretend I have the answer as I've never farmed, but there are studies and theories out there that farming was more labor intensive compared to foraging.

I don't doubt that for the workload you probably get more yield on average (especially if you have modern day equipment), farming vs foraging. But is it worth the effort needed to store and defend it? Do you have the manpower to manage those tasks?
By all means, take the time to learn about natural food sources, and take advantage of the ones available to you. But I would not bet the farm on wild roots and berries. Not when I can raise livestock, chickens, and a big garden.
 

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Either way, your going to work. Allot of people have a misconception about wild edibles, fish, and game. It's not always easy. Sometimes yes, it's as simple as plucking a few apples from a tree or having a deer just walk right in front of you. These are exceptions, not the rule.

I was raised to harvest wild fish and game as local laws allowed. It wasn't sport for us, it was the difference between having venison or rabbit stew or just potatoe soup. That's a pretty good motivator and where I was raised you better stock what you can when you can because hunting anything when it's -20 below and snow is three feet deep is a non starter.

Something else you should consider is it doesn't take that many people to clear out a pretty good size chunk of wilderness if that's all they do to sustain themselves is hunt. When hunting seasons and regulations no longer apply or are enforced....areas with lots of people will decimate game populations. Wild edibles too. Large bodies of water will hold out provided they aren't exploited too badly, but even these will suffer if too many people are depending on it and harvesting daily.

If you plan to sustain yourself primarily by living off the land, you need a pretty good size area with few if any people, and your still going to eventually have to move around to find what you need when you need it. If you have a family.........don't chance that life dude seriously. Your really rolling the dice and your playing in mother natures casino. Her rules, her chips and she's never heard of credit.

When it comes to food a layered defense is the best strategy. You don't need to go nuts and start a full scale farm. Especially if your supplementing what you grow and raise with wild fish, game, and edibles. But you should have something to rely on if the critters get scarce or just won't cooperate. Likewise it's good sense to take advantage of natural resources when they are available.

I've been hunting and trapping for over 30 years and I can tell you there's been times I've run miles of traplines and gotten nothing for my effort. Same with hunting. If I didn't have anything to eat at home it would be a disaster to just hit a few days of bad luck and bring little or nothing back. And if your on foot.......big trouble. How many miles can you put in day after day like that? In good conditions? Throw in bad weather and not to be crude but you might find yourself royally ****ed.

Not to say you couldn't survive by foraging and such. It's doable. But I guarantee you it's going to be work. At times it could make a day of labor on a farm seem like a trip to Disneyland. You should understand that the people that live that way, the ones that thrive anyway, are experts in the art of finding fish and game. Be honest in your assessment of your skills before you commit to a lifestyle or emergency plan that relys on methods and skills you aren't exactly an expert with.
 
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