What started out as a fun hobby changed my entire perception on how I, and my family, can survive the next four years. I first tried kombucha last year during the spring. I was not a fan of traditional kombucha, but did thoroughly enjoy the lemon ginger “sparkling probiotic drink” made by Kevita. Kombucha takes some getting used to; it can be bitter and sour but eventually you adjust to the taste and, hopefully, notice some health improvements. I have been taking probiotics since 2011 when I got food poisoning and my digestive health was subpar for months; they were the only thing that helped long-term. Because I knew how great kombucha was for intestinal and liver health, I slowly decided to give it another try. I’m not sure which flavor I selected, but it was the GTs brand and most likely something like berry or pomegranate. After that, I was hooked.
I’d go to Walmart or Aldi and buy 4-6 bottles of GTs and Kevita each time I went. After a while, that spending starts to add up and I wanted a cheaper option. Eventually, I came across a group on Facebook called Kombucha Life & Ferments where I discovered you can easily and cheaply brew kombucha at home. I went on Amazon, bought an $8 scoby (a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), and started my first brew. I didn’t do anything by the book, and I still don’t follow proper measurements, but my brewing skills have consistently improved. The process is very simple; you brew black or green tea, add sugar, let it cool, add the scoby, and let it ferment for 10-16 days. Of course, it can get much more complicated, but that’s what I started out doing and I was fairly happy with the results.
There was something different about this process than my other hobbies. I enjoy the process of creation through cooking and growing house plants, but a deep desire to become self-sufficient emerged in a way it never had before. I have a background in Economics and I am becoming more and more concerned about food production and distribution in the future. When an economy destabilizes, necessities can be harder to afford or maintain access to. How could I become less reliant on economic markets to satisfy my basic needs? I can’t pretend that this is a revelation I have had on my own: there is a growing movement for off-the-grid and homestead living displayed in shows like Alaska: The Last Frontier, Alaskan Bush People, Naked and Afraid, and Pioneer Quest. My own father has taken an interest in survival living after watching Alaska: The Last Frontier over the past several years and I made him a comprehensive survival kit in the event he wants to move somewhere remote.
We, as a western society, have lost the skills that would enable us to survive another depression; and with things going the way they are, a depression in the next several years is a real possibility. I want to slowly make the shift from relying on markets to provide me with goods and services to making products myself or being able to barter for goods. It can be a difficult shift, especially while living in an apartment: It’s not feasible to have a large garden to source food from. But, I can do one thing that gets me started; make kombucha. It’s very low cost to get started: I use a pitcher and small vases to brew my “booch”. It makes me feel like I’m making progress towards the goal that I will someday be able to provide for a family without needing to use money. My hope is that all affected by the current presidency take heed and slowly start the transition to a more self-sustaining lifestyle, one that can provide nourishment and pride even in the darkest of times.