When did it all begin to go wrong..?

Preserving was a skill most people used regularly throughout the war..

As a twenty something year old I had often thought very deeply about many things and when I turned 30 decided to do something about those thoughts having first devoured many books on self-sufficiency and self-reliance (The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency by John Seymour being my very favourite at the time) .. I began to grow a vegetable garden, keep poultry and goats, all in my back garden.

At that time I decided to reject artificial fertilizers and weed killers on my property and try to be as organic as possible. I taught myself about organic principles, animal husbandry, and studied the life cycles of different species of animals and vegetables. One of my biggest thrills was planting my very first courgette (zucchini) seeds and harvesting my first ever home grown vegetables.
After Emily was born the Hobbits and my ex-husband and I bought a farm in Wales… I kept chickens, ducks, pigs, cattle, sheep and hand milked two of my goats morning and night. At one time we were self sufficient in many vegetables (not as many as I would have liked- I’m not a great gardener!), eggs & milk and would have been in meat too except when it came to it I couldn’t kill the animals that I had nurtured and studied every day. They all trusted me and I had bonded with them all… I just couldn’t do it. I’d make a lousy farmer..

Wayback in 2001 at our farm in Wales

That seems like a lifetime ago now… its been years now since I’ve grown a garden and I really miss growing and providing food for my family. Earning an income and the time that involves has had to take priority.
But I am still so very interested in the ideal of a society where people begin to take responsibility for their health and well being and begin to reverse the health, social and economic problems we are plagued with. But as our liberties are eroded by our countries obsessions with control, many people are finding less freedom to address these problems by using their own ingenuity in supporting themselves. It concerns me when I read that flower beds are tolerated by town bylaws in urban gardens but some do not allow productive vegetable beds because they look unsightly…. people should not be struggling at this level they should be encouraged and applauded for taking such an initiative and being so responsible.

My old farmhouse kitchen back in Wales

I wonder frequently “when did it all begin to go wrong…?”. When did we decide that fresh, tasty wholefoods/vegetables harvested from healthy, worm filled soil was a bore and that a TV dinner out of a box, containing genetically modified ingredients and food that has been sprayed within an inch of it’s life was acceptable to use day in and day out?
With that in mind I hope you don’t mind me sharing a Facebook conversation on health and diet that some friends and I enjoyed.
I’d love to hear your thoughts- I really would
C xxxxxxxxxx


I was on a program at the local YMCA called at the time “The Biggest Loser” after the US television show. It was very regimented. 1500 calories and 2 hour workouts daily but Sunday. It involved running and I worked up to a 10k but It took a toll on my body so I took to long walks instead. Best thing about it was I had to keep a journal (such as your blog) which kept me focused and more aware of what I was doing. I made an important discovery, I was leading a mindless life, especially how much eating I was doing unconsciously. I mean it was being driven not by fundamental need for nourishment, but more sinister psychological things, such as rejection. So I discovered that eating and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Some drink. Some smoke. Some do drugs. Others eat. So mindfulness became a practice when eating. Being aware what I was eating and for nourishment sake. Wow, what a difference. You also mentioned processed foods. That is why I admire your program. Handmade nourishment out of necessity. Michael Pollan wrote in his book, Food Rules, eat only what your granny would recognize. Sound advice. Organic farming, when you think about it, is farming like grandpa use to do – no synthetic fertilizers, GMOs, and all the modern better life through better chemistry type of farming. Our land nowadays is all jacked up like a person on a dozen different meds. No wonder everybody is messed up – eat a lot of chemically processed foods that mess up body and mind, so instead of changing your diet you take a handful of meds meanwhile you live a highly stressed existence. Here in the good old USA, no wonder there is a health crisis. You are exactly, 100 percent right – food does taste better because you feel better detoxed from the modern hell we have created for ourselves and our kids. Also, those long walks in the outdoors is also terrific therapy. Thanks.
Yesterday at 08:05 · Unlike ·  1
  • Carolyn Ekins

    And what you are saying is exactly has been proven in books like the China Study (mindless consumption of animal proteins and junk/processed foods) and YES I am completely shocked just how many MEDS so many people in their 40s and 50s are on and a lot of it is purely diet related. Food can be our drug of choice and that leads to health problems just as drinking, smoking does too. Many people who have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction, etc have the ability to cure themselves by changing their diet (its been proven over and over again) but it’s kind of heard to make that radical change if food is your drug of choice. But WE DO have a choice…. we can try and fight our addiction or carry on as we are and keep buying those meds and continue to suffer. (I’m not dissing meds here- some of them are absolutely necessary but just really sad that today we have to take so many of them- where did our health go?)
    • 14 hours ago · Like ·  2
    • Karen

      Love LOVE all of this^. My thought? Our health went at the same time as the concept of personal responsibility. We bred a generation of people that were told, “science will fix everything. Do what you want!”, and now that’s come home to roost. My grandmother, now 100, always said, “everything in moderation”. Since she lived through two world wars, the Spanish flu *and* me as a child, I think that’s still pretty sound advice.
      13 hours ago · Unlike ·  2
    • Keith

      Bless your grandmother, her wisdom has served her well and it is a lesson passed on to others. Like you said, Take responsibility for your action includes what we nourish our bodies with. There are dire consequences to mindless eating. I have been down that road, though. Put stuff in my mouth without thinking. Grandmother is right, moderation and always leave the table a little hungry but satisfied with what you have ate.
      13 hours ago · Unlike ·  1
    • Carolyn Ekins Loving this thread too ♥

      13 hours ago · Like ·  1
    • Carolyn Ekins I’m also interested in WHY we have stopped taking personal responsibility for ourselves- do you think it is that and if so what caused it? Ideas….?

      13 hours ago · Like ·  1
      • Julie

        I have a thought that once rationing finished in 1954 and with the advent of better accessibility to food and scientific research we perhaps got ‘carried away’ with what we could ‘achieve’ to make lives easier. So many housewives of the time were so excited about frozen food and convenience foods that natural and wholesome foods were in some part forgotten about. That the natural progression of being taught how to cook properly and the advent of such things as the microwave made us forget that actually the best jacket potatoes are the ones that you prick all over with a fork and put in the oven for an hour… I had the fortune to work for a wonderfully inspiring lady called Helen Browning who is the Chairman of the Soil Association on her Organic Farm in Wiltshire – such an inspiring time – and as her PA I had a fabulous insight into what actually does go into our food and how it could be so much better for us if only we went back to basics and did do crop rotation and natural pest control.
        11 hours ago · Unlike ·  2
      • Carolyn Ekins I agree so much with that and wow! Helen Browning 🙂 I agree so much about getting back to basics.. before moving to Canada I had a small farm run on organic principles- this is the only way forward xxxxx How long were you her PA?

        2 hours ago · Like
      • Keith

        My dad and mom were children of the Great Depression in the 1930 and so learned by necessity. Make do what you have. It may not have been a lot, but it was nutritious and enough calories to sustain. But the advantage they had compared to nowadays was the tradition they came from. They were from the preindustrial food era. When organic was organic.There was process food, but not any thing like it is today. My parents’ folks didn’t have a lot of money, but they raised most of their food, butchered their own livestock, bartered and worked for what they didn’t have. Think about it, to a certain degree things didn’t change for country folk for thousands of years and in certain parts of the world today it is still the same way. For me, things started to change pretty fast for country folk when electricity came to the farm. Then it really accelerated after WWII. The world changed dramatically and old ways faded. Farms increasingly got mechanized and grew larger to be more efficient as production dramatically increased. It didn’t take a lot of people to grow a lot of food. Industrial methods invaded livestock production and slaughter houses grew large and fabricated all the meat products on the line eliminating the butcher at the corner store, which itself gave way to the supermarket. Efficient transportation methods were able bring food grown 1,500 miles away just days after it was harvested. To make sure that factory food stayed on the supermarket shelves for God knows how long, a new array of chemicals were added to the food not only to better preserve it, to make it look, smell, sound and taste better for sophisticated palettes. Old ways and traditions were forgotten when grandpa and grandma died. Now we are three or four generations off the farm and don’t have a clue about how what we eat is produced and processed as long as it is “fresh and yummy” when bitten into every where but at the family supper table. What the hell are the basics any more anyway? And can we get it at the supermarket? Oh, by the way kids, I don’t have time to cook any thing in the microwave, so why don’t we do it the way mom used to and i’ll go for a bucket of chicken and we will eat it in the mini-van as I drop you guy off for what ever you are going to do tonight. Or, do we even to have time for that? When are the going to invent a pill so we just pop it In our mouths and we won’t have to bother to eat at all.
        about an hour ago · Unlike ·  1
      • Carolyn Ekins I really don’t want this conversation to disappear….it has to be preserved and added too. Maybe I could post some snippets on my blog and see if there is anyone else who would like to join in…. its very important. Thank you for adding you thoughts Keith xx

        39 minutes ago · Like