Self-sufficiency: update

February 28, 2007

With Ontario in the crushing grip of a fuel shortage, the impact of which is already being felt in the trucking industry, Torontonians should prepare for a possible increase in produce prices. In my case the situation is all the more dire following a drought in my apartment over the Christmas holidays which killed one third of my existing lemon orchard.

To help cope with the situation I have decided to redouble my efforts to become self-sufficient and am pushing forward with in-apartment apple production. Given that the apple trees are currently about 1cm Apple treehigh, it remains to be seen whether the first harvest will come in time for the current crisis. Nonetheless the long-term benefits of self-sufficiency are substantial. Readers unassociated with the economics of production may wonder if it is possible to grow enough crops in a one bedroom apartment to sustain oneself. However, it should be noted that the ultimate outcome depends on the elasticity of substitution between arable land and other inputs such as capital, technology, sunlight, and enthusiasm. Strangely, there appears to be a gap in the empirical literature on this topic making it impossible to draw any substantive conclusions at this point. The experiment continues!


Self Sufficiency Part II

January 18, 2007

Nuclear war. Rise of fascism. Cylon attack. A sudden realization that the hermit life is the better way.

Preparation is the key to survival. During times of trouble supermarkets will be stocking canned tuna, guns, and bibles. Hardly the ammunition for the recreational vegan. The recreational vegan warrior needs a rich, fatty, buttery fruit in her fight against evil to calm her senses and keep her mind on the goals. So next to your lemon tree, plant an avocado tree. Ideally the plants will be left near your nuclear-attack-proof cellar so that when you run downstairs you can grab the life-saving fruits on your way.

I chose to seed my avocado in water, following these directions.


A lesson in taxonomy

December 12, 2006

Many animal eaters have an instinctual need to criticize the vegan diet. The reasons for this are not known, but are likely rooted in jealousy. No matter what the cause one can expect to encounter anti-vegan rhetoric on a regular basis. To survive, the recreational vegan must be trained in the art of self-defense.

Let’s take the following anecdote as an exercise. Today I was accosted by two meat eaters who asserted that bacteria are animals and therefore non-vegan. If true, this would present a serious problem for vegans as avoiding inadvertently harming bacteria would be most difficult.

First, it should be noted that %100 veganism is impossible. The production of consumer goods often causes harm to the environment and its inhabitants in ways that even the most assiduous vegan would not suspect. However, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t reduce our impact. (A derivation of the optimal amount of veganism, that is %95, will be covered in a future post.)

That being said, what can you do if you are confronted by two such assailants wielding weapons of illogic? Think quickly and ask yourself this: Scientifically speaking, can bacteria be considered to be animals in any meaningful sense?

A certified biologist retained by the recreational vegan was able to supply us with this answer:

no, bacteria are most definitely not animals. They are not even eukaryotes which comprises animals, plants, fungi & protists. Bacteria are prokaryotes and their cells don’t have nuclei or other cellular organelles. so the vegetables you eat are much more closely related to animals than bacteria are.

Conclusion: with this little gem you can quickly disarm your opponent. I recommend memorizing it and storing it in your arsenal of anti-anti-vegan rhetoric for future use.

Self-sufficiency: Part I

November 22, 2006

Bird flu, SARS, terrorist attack, aggressive campaign by the eggplant industry to destroy its competition – there are any number of possible scenarios which could result in a temporary vegan food shortage in Toronto. Chaos would likely ensue, leaving herbivores everywhere to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, in a dog eat dog world, the recreational vegan will not fare well.

That is why in this two part series the authors discuss how they are preparing. Today we discuss the lemon orchard being grown in Vegetable95’s apartment.

Lemon trees are a good choice as they are easy to grow (just put the seeds of a lemon in some dirt, keep the dirt moist, and give them plenty of light) and willLemon trees allow you to avoid the ravages of scurvy in a famine. Depending on the average age of the trees in your orchard, you should have enough lemons for yourself, or a large portion of Toronto (citrus limon can reach 10 to 20 feet in height according to this). QSB estimates suggest that vegetable95’s orchard should produce an average annual yield sufficient to feed himself and a few others in 8 to 22 years, if current trends continue. (note: estimates are not based on fact) And they look nice in the apartment too.

Rural Ontario: a vegan’s survival guide

November 14, 2006

The best way to survive in rural Ontario is to bring your own food. However, should you find yourself in dire need of a vegan meal, there are some survival tips you should keep in mind. There are a lot of restaurants in small towns and along major roads, but few of them can provide a suitable meal. Consequently, you will need to be efficient in your search. Sometimes the name of the town is a dead giveaway. A recent foray into Neil’s Home Style Restaurant in Flesherton had predictably dismal results. Burger joints, such as this charming street car themed eatery in Shelburne,

Street car diner

are good places to find veggie burgers, although the burger is likely to be contaminated with substantial quantities of meat particulates, as all burgers are cooked on the same grill. For the %95 vegan this may be OK, however for the strict vegan the only recourse may be the vegan equivalent of road kill.