I am a green prepper. I am retired but consider myself semi-retired because what I am doing is more work than a status quo job. I want to say it is rewarding but I also want to say it is disappointing. The rewards for example are being out in the woods making fire wood and taking a break and looking around at how beautiful it is. I would not see this beauty in an office. Seeing my grazing system function is wonderful. Watching a garden come up and fruit start on my orchard is satisfying.
The disappointment is the realization of the incongruity of modern life with this small farmer reality. The costs of the comforts of life compared to the return to permaculture farming is dramatic. I could greatly expand my stocking rates. I could grow the size of the farm effort but then what happens is you drift into being a factory farm and let’s face it even big farms are struggling.
I try to find a balance. I am providing my greater family with recreation and a place to hide out if SHTF. I am a prepper so I do those things that increase resilience and sustainability to shocks. Green prepping is about combining permaculture and security. Localism is safer and it is also greener. The sad part is I am living off investments that are 30 years of fossil fuel drenched activity. My goats and cattle cover cost but do not reward my labor. It is much cheaper to go to the grocery store for vegetables but we still make an effort to garden. I heat with wood but electric is cheaper when all the labor and equipment is considered.
I am in my mid 50’s and feeling the pain of this constant work. I do think it is actually keeping me stronger but that only makes the pain a little less apparent. I go out in the cold, hot, and wet which is uncomfortable. Bugs in my face a ticks crawling up my legs make me think how nice a beach would be.
I am living a life of green prepping and telling people about it which is rewarding but then I also feel like I fool because it does not add up. I am telling people to live like I do when the reality is, I have the time and money to do it. If you don’t have the time and money how can you do it? I have come to the humble conclusion that I must respect those who make no effort to do what I do. I target a few chosen who have the time, money, and the awakening. I target those who want to green prep instead of winter in Florida or RV to the west. They care about the planet and seek to lower their footprint instead of growing it. They want to feel the rewards of producing things. They want to take the journey of a transformation of learning to live with less but find more meaning.
I did not find meaning in the status quo world. Maybe I am too intellectual so I saw through the narrative of a way of life that does not add up. Currently I am green prepping a monastery of all the knowledge and best equipment I can accumulate. I have small working farm that also serves as a hideout from bad times for myself and my family. I am living this and evaluating it as an alternative to the failed narrative of growth and affluence my status quo job was. I am downsizing relatively to my people and place.
I feel I am following the planet so in a sense I am embracing the way. I am like a shaman going to the fringes and reporting back to the tribe. I humbly report that I find this difficult life better and the primary reason is meaning not satisfaction. Satisfaction is there but equally there is pain, suffering, and let downs. Not enough time or money to do things right in my mentality of perfection. The disappointment with community that is not there but should be. I can’t find people to work so I do lots of low value work because I have no choice. The meaning comes from nature and the animals saying thank you for believing in us. Thank you for a home that is cared about. My family thanks me for a nice place to play and a refuge of sorts if things fall apart.
I find knowledge, experience, and the creation of something a hard-won meaning. I am not looking at how rich I am with a portfolio of wealth. My wealth is wisdom. The wisdom of learning what to use and what to leave is very special. So, concluding I would say do it as a road to meaning not comfort and affluence. Do it within your limitations and do not feel guilty if your effort is small because we are all trapped in something beyond our abilities. Embrace this way with humility and do it for the planet that is dying. Do it for your significant others because meaning is a beacon for them. Do it for yourself because meaning is golden.