The Next Crisis: Food

“Oh crap! Bermuda grass? In my garden space? The kind with underground runners that's nearly impossible to eliminate except by digging up every single root and rhizome?”
For reasons I cannot fully explain I became absolutely inspired to “find a place” starting last September.

Today, my partner Evie and I are settling in to our new home. We closed on it on January 28th and it took a solid month to move things over from our former residence.

First things first, we set about correcting a decade’s worth of deferred maintenance. The furnace relay switch was quite dodgy, the gravel on the driveway was way past due for replenishment, the gutters leaked, and the apple trees were in desperate need of pruning.

Now that it’s April, I find myself every day – after my research and writing is done of course – out in the old garden space, digging new beds and turning over every square inch of the soil. Not because I want to, but because some misguided former owner thought planting Bermuda grass in the garden was a good idea.

This is the sort of grass that spreads to new horizons with meaty underground rhizomes that can spread ridiculously far from the parent plant. Arggh!

Oh, and the new chicken house, predator-proofed with hardware cloth on every possible entry point, had to be set up, too.

The list of needed improvements seem to stretch as far as the eye can see. An insurmountable pile of tasks that will be required to raise it to our high standards of creating a place of lasting beauty and abundance.

Right now? It’s a barely-dented tapestry of a thousand projects. You might be unimpressed if you took stock of all that we haven’t tackled yet.

But in a year? Or two? You’ll be mighty impressed.

And if you ask me then the how this place got to be so beautiful, I’ll tell you our secret.


By simply doing the next thing, by doing something constructive every day, by being thoughtful and forward thinking, everything eventually gets done somehow.

Simple persistence is the secret. Well, it’s my secret. I tend to just keep chugging along rather than trying to get massive things done in huge bursts.

Turning over twenty-five shovels of dirt every day is vastly easier than setting aside a half a Saturday to turn over 175 shovels full.

Here we all are in a pandemic, that is going to require lots and lots of persistence. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Things will never be ‘the same’ again. In some respects, good riddance. In other cases, we can mourn what we lost. Both are valid.

One battle we must all wage is staying on point, focused on the many new things that need doing, without growing weary of the tasks, wishing for a return to the past.

My job, my commitment to you and to my subscribers, is to stay focused on the bigger world, digging through the science and the news to bring you actionable information weeks if not months before the media and other cultural gatekeeper have caught on to it.

For whatever reason, I am built for that task and I have an enormous capacity for it, and a persistence to match. Just as I can assure you every single blade and rhizome of the Bermuda grass in our garden space will be gone at some point in the future, I’ll keep reading and scouring the news that might help you navigate this brand new, and very tricky period of time.

A Coming Food Crisis?

I’ve been telling people to “plant a garden” in my daily videos. There’s a specific sound reason for this.

You may have heard about the lack of workers to plant and harvest veggies, and we’ve read about the shuttering of meat packing plants.

But are you also aware of the ominous rumblings of an increasing number of nations making preparations for the possible loss of food imports? National ‘food hoarding’ is popping up on my radar screen.

This is why I released a warning to’s premium subscribers last night, in my report The Next Brewing Crisis.

As I look around my new property and its good bones for food production, I’m stunned that we managed to make it here in the nick of time, driven and guided by some force I can’t quite explain.

I encourage you to use the time we have now to similarly work on increasing your own food supply resilience. Plant a garden. Join a CSA. Deepen your pantry. Even relocate if you must.

Sometimes, I find information that is best kept behind a paywall, and out of wider public view. Sometimes it’s not quite ready for prime time but might still be useful. Sometimes it’s an incendiary subject that our detractors would be only too happy to take out of context and use against us. Sometimes it might spawn a conversation also best left out of the reach of internet trolls and other unhelpful eyes.

This is such a time. Read The Next Brewing Crisis if you haven’t already

~ Chris Martenson

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Yeah that is that invasive kind of stuff that you cant even pull out. However, i’d take that in a heart beat for a piece of land that I could grow something on. I have a small lot, that has way too much shade and too sloped but that is easier to correct. Lighting I cannot. Also, wildlife would be a challenge as well. I am all indoor with hydroponics and lights. Someone would think I am dealing Pot… if they saw all the hydroponic equipment I have purchased in the last couple mos. I still don’t have enough - or enough space. Its time to build a greenhouse.

That was wonderful to read Chris. Also inspiring! We have been in our own home for 3 years now and are only just deciding to redo a long lost vege patch that nature took over. We have Kikuyu grass (in Australia) which sounds similar to Bermuda grass. Thank you for talking about persistance. Sometimes I stand at the mess of a garden and it just overwhelms me. But I certainly can do a corner, and then another corner and just do it bit by bit, day by day. Thanks for all you do. My husband, who is too smart for his own good usually, admires your approach to everything you do. Best wishes to Evie and your new home. Thanks again.

Hi from Aussie nordicjack … there are many things you can still plant in shade including herbs. Good luck with everything and stay well.

My wife is quite the edible forest and permaculturist. I am in awe of what she does. People are now touring our farm and the local college extension Master gardener program brings students to our place. She thinks turning or tilling is not the best approach. From what I understand, she would have had the chickens eat the grass while they fertilize it, then place cardboard over the area and put wood chips on top. She builds amazing soil that rich and organic. Abundance is a result. Research what Geoff Lowton has done in Jordan - Palestine and Australia; Daniel Halsey Integrated Food Forest and Paul Gaulchy Back To Eden/the original film. All the best.

I empathize with your plight, Chris. I battled Bermuda grass 30 yrs ago on a property I had in NC. For your sake, I hope it’s limited enough that you can totally eradicate it (with a huge amount of work, no doubt). Otherwise it will haunt you forever. And as to getting rid of it by deep mulch and the like? Ha! It will laugh at you as it builds its rhizomes under all that and comes out stronger than ever. It is truly hell to deal with.

This post was needed. We have our homestead in Vermont and we are about to tackle our garden that is overgrown with weeds today. It all feels so overwhelming. And the chickens arrive on Tuesday. I simultaneously feel like we have come so far on one hand and on the other there is still so much we don’t know. And there are days when it’s too much and I do nothing. But yes doing at least a little everyday should help us focus without getting overwhelmed.

@nordicjack Hi there! We have a lot of shade in our yard as well, but I just watched a great video by this guy out in San Diego about getting food out of shady garden. He lives on a small city lot with some shade himself. He had some great ideas. Also had a great micro greens video as well. His channel is Epic Gardening on You Tube. Take care and good luck!

After farming organically, teaching/professionally consulting on Permaculture for over 20 yrs., in my experience, the simplest, MOST effective (and very low tech) means of removing rhizomes like Bermuda grass is use of a silage tarp. Place it over the area you want to eradicate the stuff from (my issue has always been creeping Charlie —ground ivy). Depending on the season you place the tarp, in the absence of light, the rhizomes will burn themselves out trying to grow in the dark —sometimes in just a matter of weeks.
Good luck!

My story is similar to yours Chris as I too felt “compelled” and a little obsessed with buying a farm with a 1000 endless projects!! But 15 Years later I am still here, I am still digging, I am still growing and it’s a stunningly beautiful place I’ve created, one shovel at a time! There have been times I’ve wanted to sell I felt so overwhelmed and there are times like today there’s no way in hell I would ever sell no matter what the price was! What a beautiful journey you’ve embraced!! And I look forward to your evolving story!

It’s always a good idea to have your spice cabinet stocked full of the things you like to use. Do you have a good supply of black pepper, cinnamon, etc.? The prices might go up or the products might become less available as workers are unable to harvest or trade becomes more difficult.

loved the post on food security. We have a rural property just north of Kingston , Ontario and started developing the property from a permaculture perspective over ten years ago. One very successful crop we planted is haskap, a very hardy super berry that has a higher orac value than blueberries. The unknown advantages include fro your perspective Chris is that deer are not interested in them and they are almost maintenance free. They also begin to produce berries in their second year. I encourage you to look into them as it sounds like your property would be perfect for them.

I have been attempting to highlight the susceptibility of my home province, Ontario, to food supply chain interruptions and lack of ‘control’ for a number of years. We so long ago overshot the natural carrying capacity of our region that we now rely almost exclusively on food imports (about 90%) to feed our population. What food is grown on our limited and quickly disappearing arable lands (thanks to chasing the infinite growth chalice and paving over farmlands for more and more suburban housing) is primarily for industrial production of corn and soybean for animal feed and the ethanol industry, that, of course, depletes the soil of very important fertility.
Early on in this crisis our provincial premier assured the populace that our grocery stores would remain well stocked and that our food supply chains were strong and assured–of course, I put little to no stock in such promises being primarily for political narrative creation rather than a reflection of reality. I have already witnessed relatively significant stock shortfalls in every grocery store I have frequented over the past month (and even some before this pandemic).
I have a few neighbours that have taken it upon themselves to begin their first forays into food gardening and have sought some advice since I’ve been on this path for almost a decade, but the vast majority of people have perhaps been in denial and done little to nothing in this regard. They’ve bought a few more groceries than usual and put most faith/hope into life returning to ‘normal’.
The political ‘leaders’ I have discussed our food security needs and associated concerns with over the years have mostly been deflective (pointing the finger and responsibility at ‘higher’ authorities) and continue with their primary concerns of economic and population growth—probably one of the primary reasons I have lost complete faith in the sociopolitical system to rectify the issues. I’m hopeful, but not holding my breath, that a paradigm shift of a productive type (especially of food production) will occur with the Covid-19 pandemic and we will recognise that complex systems, especially long-distance supply chains (particularly with regard to food), are prone to disruptive fragilities that are often outside of our worldview/schema/perspective/paradigm and arrive as Black Swan events. We are always better to be prepared for an unknowable future and hope for the best than to put hope before preparation as so many do.
Good luck to everyone in this time of upheaval. And thank you Peak Prosperity for keeping us informed and focused on those things that are important to our families.

It makes them thrive. When we moved onto a new property in 2016, we could not wait to take out the weeds and grasses that were in the backyard and go 100% fruit and vegetable garden. I quickly rototilled the 5000 s.f. or so. (We attempted to rake out all the rhizomes but obviously missed a few) The quack grass (couch grass) came back with a vengeance this year – and its entwined with things like raspberries and asparagus. So much so that I’m now thinking that I should have gotten rid of it with a non-organic solution at the start. Other invasive plants – such as bugloss and thistle – have been fairly easy to control. We have spent days this spring digging out the quack grass.
Last spring I attended a Backyard Conservation program at the local conservation district. The instructor on invasive plants indicated that one should use glyphosate – maybe twice – on quack grass before rototilling. Each chopped up piece of rhizome quickly grows into an entirely new rhizome system. He was right.

Great to hear about how the gardens are going, Chris and all.
Chris, we were inspired as you were, 32 years ago. Persistence never loses its value, but at least you eventually beat back the Bermuda grass. Just think what a great start all that digging will give your new plantings. I know that isn’t the permaculture way, but if you want a garden this year, I doubt there’s any way around it. At least for the first garden. You can try killing it off with tarps or whatever in an area designated for a future growing area. If you succeed, please let us all know! That stuff has staying power.
Nordicjack, it’ll be interesting to hear how your hydroponics project develops. It’s not something we hear so much about here, but it will be an important part of future growing, I suspect.
I’m having to find homes for some flowers which will have to give way to veg this year. Can’t just plant them anywhere, or they’re as good as dead from the deer. Most of my neighbors are in the same boat. So I’ll try intermingling any i can’t give away, in the veg rows and see what happens.
Gardens are the happiest places in the world - even a basement “grow-op” - just growing things is fantastically good for the spirit. So really looking forward to hearing how everyone is doing over this pivotal year.

We buy inexpensive trailer loads of horse manure with sawdust shavings. Some of it sits to compost and some goes right on the pathways next to the raised bed gardens, raspberries and blueberries. This helps to suppress the weeds. We also add fresh cow manure/hay, grass clippings, and straw. Whatever we have available at the time. This produces great soil that then will get scooped into the raised beds. It’s a win/win for us.

Hi Chris, Adam and community, if you have not yet watched this film, it is a gem, entertaining, and informative and filled with humanity : The Biggest Little Farm. It’s a documentary that is shot beautifully about a couple that leaves the city to start a farm. Available on youtube, hulu, amazon prime and other outlets. It is going to inspire anyone to go out and grow things.

Thanks Stephanie for telling us about the film, The Biggest Little Farm. I found the preview here and am eager to watch it tonight.
My husband and I are way beyond the age where we could consider farming, but thanks to Chris and Adam, we began seriously upgrading our ability to do suburban gardening. We’re doing quite a bit with 3.5, 5 and 30 gallon container gardening for the first time because that’s more manageable for us. Have also converted more areas for tomatoes and beans, and currently are doing a lot of indoor window containers for lettuce and starter plants (zone 6).
Before my computer crashed a few years ago, I was a member here and followed lots of the posts. Then I lost my password and didn’t pick up on participating in discussions until recently. Thanks to Chris, we were able to begin preparing for the pandemic back in January 2020. We watch his Youtube videos daily. What a gift of knowledge he shares with all of us – very much appreciated!

Fifteen years ago I bought my rural parcel of land to become more resilient, and I’ve come a long way toward that goal. The consideration that made me decide for this neighborhood over another is that out of a dozen neighbors, ten of them are enthusiastic about local food production. Of the two who aren’t, one of them will soon be moving to the city to be closer to health care facilities and will be replaced by a professional hide tanner. If one of them dies or moves away, they are replaced by others who also have enthusiasm for the land. Almost all of us have gardens for vegetables and berries, about half have mature fruit trees, three have chickens, three often have livestock for milk or meat, several have kept bees, some regularly go fishing for food, and one poaches deer. Several of them (I won’t include myself) have prickly personalities, so I don’t expect to be able to trade with all of them. They’re out here to get away from people and their rules. But if there were a hard quarantine of just our neighborhood with the surrounding forest, we’d probably be just fine for several months until some critical irrigation parts failed or the power went out to our freezers.

For creeping grass in an in-the-ground garden, run a 2X6 buried vertically all around the perimeter of your garden with its top at ground level. This will prevent most grass from creeping in around the edges. Overlap the ends of the individual boards a few inches, put a bead of silicon-seal between, and put a few 3 in. deck screws in the joint. Also, put silicon seal over any knots or cracks. They work much better than the plastic edging. Best is treated lumber, but if you do not like that, use rot resistant lumber like cedar or redwood.