Alternatives to wheat and potatoes?

Not to harp on this climate change thing too much, but it just does not seem to go away. Of course along with the extreme weather events predicted by climate scientists are equally dire warnings of drought. That seem to be widespread at the moment.
Well, 2011 seems to be shaping up as a poster child for climate change. Combine the extreme weather with the ongoing global financial crisis and elevated yet still volatile oil prices and you have what some call the “Toxic Trilogy”; Environment, Economy, Energy. Each of these systems is highly unsustainable at the moment with little indication of change in the near term. As permaculturists, we design to protect ourselves from these powerful outside factors beyond our control.
We have written extensively on energy savings on this blog and warned about the dangers of debt and how to hedge against energy inflation. But we have not written much about hedging against food inflation, which goes hand in hand with energy inflation and is made worse by weather extremes such a drought and floods. Of course we have a large and growing vegetable garden and burgeoning food forest, but what about starch? Like most people of European descent, we eat too much bread and pasta. As indicated in the story above, the price of wheat is near record levels with no indication of coming down. My long time strategy has been to grow potatoes as a staple crop, but here in NZ we are having trouble with an aphid that is compromising all nightshades. Both our potato and tomato crops this year were poor. So last week I planted Jerusalem artichoke.
And in the spring we’ll plant kumara.
Any other suggestions?
Peace, Estwing

One thought on “Alternatives to wheat and potatoes?”

  1. Yams. There is still time to plant yams. And by yams I don't mean the sweet potato that is called a yam in the US, I mean the member of the oxalis family, Oxalis tuberosa. Some varieties are a noxious weed – this relation is about as easy to grow and tastes delish roasted with herbs and a drizzle of local honey.

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