Dateline: 27 May 2014
The movie below was posted to YouTube in 2009, which was during the worst of the hyper-inflationary crisis in Zimbabwe. The paper money of the country was worthless. Poor people were starving. Able-bodied poor were panning through tons of earth for minuscule specks of gold, which could be traded for minimal amounts of food. Older people, unable to dig and find the specks of gold, were dying.
One of the lessons that can be taken from the movie is that in an economic collapse, when the government's paper money became worthless, gold became a medium of exchange. If you had gold, you had something of value with which to buy the necessities of life.
But the movie raises more questions than it answers. For example, why are people on the land starving? Zimbabwe (the former Rhodesia) has decent land and a good climate to grow food. Why aren't the rural villagers tending productive gardens? The film shows one man with a hoe hacking the soil in a sorry-looking patch of corn. What's wrong with this picture?
I've watched the film clip a few times and I've come to the conclusion that the people in the village were not growing food because they didn't know how to grow their own food. And they didn't know how to grow their own food because, prior to the economic collapse, they had been dependent on the government to keep them fed. When the government teat ran dry, they were pretty much helpless.
Without the tools and the experience needed to make the land productive, the people were unable to provide for their most basic needs. As the movie shows, it's not an experience that anyone would want to go through.
There is another aspect to the film that is painfully obvious to me. The village appears to consist of mostly women and children. Where are the fathers and grandfathers? What's wrong with this picture?
It is easy to look at a poor African nation and feel superior to them and their poor situation, but much of America resembles pre-collapse Zimbabwe in many ways. We are a nation of broken families, with large numbers of women and children totally dependent on the government for their sustenance. We are a nation of people who, for the most part, do not have the skills and the tools to grow our own food. And we have a paper money system that will eventually collapse.
In some ways, Zimbabwe was (is) in a better situation than America might be in a hyper-inflationary crisis. For example, the poor of Zimbabwe live in small villages on land that could be productive. And their soil is peppered with little specks of gold.
In stark contrast to the first film clip is the story of a Zimbabwe gold panner who learned about the Foundations For Farming Ministry in Zimbabwe. It changed his life. He brought the spiritual and agricultural principles taught in the Foundations For Farming program back to his village. The images of family, community, and productive farm land in the film clip above are an uplifting testament to the life-changing impact of this unique ministry.
After watching the movie about gold for currency in Zimbabwe, I happened upon the above film about a woman in Zimbabwe who has a business growing potatoes in sacks. The clip was posted to YouTube a couple of months ago. It's a downright interesting story.
It so happens that growing potatoes in sacks and pails is an idea that a lot of people are trying. YouTube has lots of movies on the subject. I'm not impressed with most of them, but This Guy's Yield is Impressive.
Personally, I'm resistant to the idea of growing potatoes in sacks. I once tried growing tomatoes in one of those upside-down bags, and they all died. I tend to think that potatoes grow best in the ground, with soil hilled up around them. But I may try growing a bag or two of potatoes next year.
Have any of you reading this grown potatoes in sacks. What was your experience?