Panic-buying on the one hand and rationing on the other only multiply a crisis. Yet there’s a practical solution that meets a primal need in one classic, simple pattern. Yes. The pantry.
The ills of a pandemic are exacerbated by overbuying and by repeatedly returning for trickles of supplies, causing multiple exposures. Like takeout deliveries half-eaten, tossed, more packaging than nourishment, at once too much and too little, our goods circulate in wasteful, clotted bursts. Yet we have traditional models that could stabilise this crisis and mitigate the next as climate emergency redoubles every hazard.
Just as kitchen skills liberate us from costly reliance on the prepackaged, just as gardening skills open a world of flavour, nourishment, resilience, the skills of food storage are deceptively simple, revolutionary in their potential. Tried-and-true and transformative.
Not everyone has a built-in pantry, yet a cool, dry closet or cupboard can host a store of dried goods. A sack of dried beans, whole grains bought in good times can keep for years, sustaining us.
Not everyone has a root cellar, yet a bin buried in the garden up to its lip and covered can be filled with root veg in season. No refrigerated trucks, no last-minute car-trips, efficiency at its best.
Not everyone has a deep freeze but many could revive basic skills of preserving fruit in jars, fermenting veg in brines, dehydrating, curing, immersing in oil or alcohol. Transforming the fresh into the stable, a reliable store of deep nutrition to draw on when times are tough.
A few folk still practice this basic, liberating knowledge. Most of us can access, even in isolation, books, sites, videos teaching these traditions.
It’s a fine time to sow seeds, forage, support local farmers. We can stock up in at once a noble yet humble fashion. Generosity springs from self-reliance, met needs and community hardiness. A virtuous cycle of sufficiency. With foresight, drawing on the local, we’re reviving a long heritage of adaptability. The circulation of what’s needed smooths into a steadying, nourishing flow.
Then we can stay home, because home is a source of strength and resilience.