Food Production is a critical occupation in the world of Twilight:2000.
Distilling ethanol for consumptionEdit
Making moonshine or homemade sprits requires grain, fruit, or vegatables, and at times all of those were in extremely short supply after the collapse. However, communities that could spare the foodstuffs or use smaller portions of cut up food, would sometimes build a dedicated still for making alcohol for getting drunk as opposed to use as a fuel. These stills were used to produce for trade materials, or for personal use.
In any case, stills took more importance as communities began to cooperate again, and the knowledge spread on how to distill. Spirits became a valuable trade good as some people who ran stills could make far better quality spirits than others. In many communities experiencing famine conditions, the practice was outlawed altogether, and in cases where the community or group was filled with extermists of any stripe, was a capital crime.
Growing crops for trade and foodEdit
(Cotton, Tabbaco, Wheat, Corn, etc...)
With the collapse of the transportation network after the nuclear strikes starting with the November Massacre of 1997 and continuing through late 1998, it became a very serious problem to get foodstuffs to major population centers. Relocation, which was a program to move population closer to food sources was a major failure, and simply contributed to the breakdown of civil authority. By 1999, a major die-off of the population had occured, and food production entered a major shift.
Military and Civilian groups began to farm where ever they were, and this included urban farming (use of city parks and upper floors of buildings). Composting of organic material was a major part of these efforts and it was common to see community rules in place for the disposal of all organic, human and animal waste. Crops that were grown were typically the easiest and most productive that could work for the area; in the Northern Hemisphere temperate regions these included corn, potatoes, wheat, and lettuce. Farm plots were much smaller as production was limited to what smaller groups of people could cultivate by hand, and the importance of being able to defend the crop against attack from opposing forces.
Many small farms also used fodder and crop waste to help support small animals such as goats and rabbits, with goats being a source of milk as well as meat. most of the animal stocks that small farms kept were housed inside or in well protected areas for defense against natural predators and raiders. Poultry was another favorite, and swine could eat nearly anything could be supported on larger farms. Medium to larger farms and ranches, possible in more secure areas could support cattle.
As it would take the transportation system years to recover, most of the food produced had to be either consumed close to the area where it was raised or preserved for more primitive transport. Methods of moving food supplies started out with the old standby of horse, mule, and for most small farms, human transport on the back. Where rail lines were placed, communities could make transport easier by building improvised rail carts and pulling them by animal power or by hand. Alcohol production provided fuel that was most often used by the military for combat use, and civilian fuel reserved for running local farm equipment (if possible at all) and emergencies.
Trade was a major source of motivation for growing crops as well, as small farms could trade surplus food for nearly anything. Medicine, technology, spare parts, additional labor (help grow the crop and you get a share), but above all, security. Farms needed some kind of defense group to keep raiders and marauders from taking what they could and destroying the rest, so farms attracted people who were military, former military, and some survivalist groups. Many military units set up cantonments nearby farms or even incorporated them into their cantonments in order to guarantee a source of food. In some places, food became the primary currency for trade, since conventional money had little value by that time.
Farming and preparing herbs and spices.Edit
Salting and smoking are a pair of ways to preserve meat that became critical skills once widespread refridgeration fell apart with the collapse of the power grid. While both methods were used widely, salting was prefered as fuel for smoking took away from other productive activities.
Salting meat is done by washing, drying, then covering the meat portions with a curing salt, table salt, or crushed salt from a local source, the last option being the most common in the first months of post-collaspe recovery. it also helped to inject a brine solution into the thicker parts of the meat to assist in the curing process. the meat is then set aside to cure for around three weeks. During that time the meat needs to be checked periodically for evidence of parts going rancid, which were then cut off and removed. Cured meat then was stored dry in whatever containers were available that would not contaminate the food.
Smoking was more popular in areas where there was a shortage of salt, and in such areas salt was well protected and rationed as it is a critical component for keeping people alive. Smoking meat preserves it by dehydration and the antibacterial properties of the smoke absorbed into the meat. Smoking was typically done by building or improvising a smoking box which enclosed the meat and the fuel for smoking. A small fire is lit in the bottom of the box with the meat hanging over the top, and in between is placed a pan or plate of water soaked wood chips which put off smoke as they heat up. The wood chips themselves worked best when soaked for 24 hours, and lasted about a half hour.
Smoke cured meat took some time to preserve meat, it depends on what kind of meat was being smoked, the temperature that the smoker could reach, how much and how thick the meat was being smoked. Many accidental illness and deaths were caused by making mistakes in the process, and eventually the knowledge was passed on as widely as possible as communities began to re-contact each other.
(ideal for long term storage/reserve)