This section is from the book "Save It For Winter.", by Frederick Fry Rockwell. Also available from Amazon: Save It For Winter; Modern Methods Of Canning, Dehydrating, Preserving And Storing Vegetables And Fruit For Winter Use, With Comments On The Best ... For Saving, And When And How To Grow Them.
What is the most important thing in the world?
Did you ever stop to think that it is nothing more nor less than saving food for winter?
Upon our ability to keep food for future use is built the whole fabric of civilization. With the science, or the art-for it partakes of both-of food preservation wiped out of existence, that civilization would have to fall, and the races of mankind revert to nomadic tribes scouring the earth's surface for such food as Nature provided, and starving when they could not find it.
All industry is based upon saved food. Only when one man can produce and keep food enough for himself and for some one else whose labor is devoted to the making of other things, can there be any beginning of commerce and industry, even in crude forms; and our tremendously complicated industry and social system of the present day depends wholly upon one man's being able to grow and save the food for many men.
Even with our improved machinery and improved agricultural methods, however, there is a limit to the number of men whom one man can possibly support, when enough persons have been removed from food production, and enough of the stored food of the world has been consumed and destroyed, we must inevitably reach a point where the world will face starvation. How far off that point is no one can say with certainty; but now, in the third year of the Great war, it is nearer than it has been at any time in modern history-so near that a large part of the world already faces chronic hunger. And at various local points many thousands will die of actual starvation during the coming year; it is already a physical impossibility to get food to them all in time to prevent that. And starvation for the world is certainly so near that a year of poor crops may precipitate it among us, even here in our own land where, although we have not produced very good average yields per acre, our farmers have been producing more per capita than those of any other country.
Hunger is Emperor!
After all is said and done, despite the purple and ermine trappings of royalty, the clattering scabbards of stalking generals, and the subversive glitter of banker's gold, He, half-shod and in rags and tatters, is revealed as the autocrat supreme, unmaking autocracies -as the Great Dictator, directing, from garret and gutter, the destinies of empires!
Hunger is Emperor, and his kingdom is anarchy. His purposes are accomplished not by evolution but by revolutions. His real entry into the war will bring the tides of battle rolling back from the far-flung fronts to the capitals from which they started. Then order must fall before chaos. The world will stand on the brink of the chasm of the past, facing the possibility of slipping generations backward.
Thus there are indeed pregnant possibilities that the Great war may be succeeded by a greater war, a war of Humanity against Famine.
The saving of food therefore becomes of more importance than ever before, from every point of view: as a personal necessity; as the most common sense kind of patriotism; and as a social obligation. The individual may feel that the few quarts of beans or of tomatoes saved for winter use that would ordinarily be allowed to go to waste, or the few square feet of ground which he may plant especially for winter use, make but a very trivial effort toward stemming this tide of starvation. But it is only by the continued efforts of thousands of individuals that the menace of hunger can be averted, and each one who does his or her part is contributing to the common cause.
Every jar of canned goods or preserves put up, every pound of dehydrated vegetables or fruit, will be not only a help to the home budget, but mean an extra portion for some hungry family across the seas.
F. F. R.
Fordhood Farms, May, 1918.