Seems to me that a very valuable way to be prepared and achieve self-sufficiency would be in a small cooperative community. The closer that community got to 100% self-sufficiency, the less painful a national economic depression or collapse would be to them.
Remember the old saying, "United we stand, divided we fall"? As people who value preparedness and self-sufficiency, we might want to consider uniting for our mutual benefit
and take advantage of the principle of power in numbers.Newsflash:
Brigham City, Utah, in the 1800s, achieved 100% employment (around 1,000 workers) and sailed through a great recession, having their best expansion year during that recession. We can do the same, or better.
Brigham City achieved "85 percent" self-sufficiency, in other words, 85% of goods were produced locally. They worked into that by doing three things:
1. They built a central co-op store, and invited all the local farmers and tradesmen to sell their goods there.
2. The profits were used to set up cooperatives to produce goods that had been being imported.
3. The cooperatives then sold all their goods through the co-op store.
Brigham Young was so impressed with their system, that he encouraged cooperatives to be built throughout the Mormon settlements -- and they were. In fact, he saw the cooperative movement as a steppingstone to building Zion.I'm proposing we do the same thing as Brigham City
, but start it out virtually, then gradually build the community in reality. Here's one approach:
1. Establish a virtual co-op store online.
2. Sell goods produced (or purchased wholesale) by co-op members, retaining a fixed percent of the profits.
3. Use those profits to:
- Establish worker-owned cooperatives to provide jobs and produce goods to be sold in the co-op store.
- Buy land (say 40 to 250 acres),
- Develop water resources: wells, solar water stills, etc.
- Plan and plant a large "forest garden" to eventually provide most of the community’s food.
- Build the community’s first (multi-family?) home.
- Build a central warehouse for the co-op store and move its operations there.
- Start building physical facilities for the various manufacturing co-ops.
- Build more homes for those whose jobs we’ve moved on-site.
- Continue tweaking until the community is as close to 100% self-sufficiency as possible.
And that community could slowly ween itself off the grid by:
- building energy-generating equipment (windmills, solar power generators, water wheels with generators, etc.)
- building super energy-efficient homes that require only $100 of electricity a YEAR (yes, they exist),
- finding alternative means to accomplish what we typically use electricity for. One example would be the old ice house concept to store ice for ice box refrigerators. Another would be solar water heaters.The Gentiles Are Doing it Already, Why Can't We?
"Intentional Communities" are [Gentile] settlements set up on purpose -- "places where people have chosen to share land and resources in all kinds of creative ways". There are over 200 such self-sufficiency-oriented communities in the US and more abroad. See IC.org
The most successful Intentional communities have one or two businesses (cooperatives) where the residents work. They grow and store all their own food, and find great fulfillment in living in a small, tight-knit community. I think if we Mormons set up such a community, using Brigham City's pattern, we could make them thrive much better.
Here's a video of a person who toured several intentional communities
. You'll see the residents tend to be a tad... odd, but as you watch, ask yourself, "How could a group of self-sufficency/preparedness-minded Mormons make this better?