Try to imagine an entirely self-sufficient group of neighbourhoods and communities -- our city -- and what experts will be required and in which fields, to consult and guide to assure our survival. Without the ability to import medicines from across the country or our borders, for example, we will need all natural medical help available, coming from herbalists, botanists, homeopaths, acupuncturists and midwives. In raising our own livestock, we'll need to enlist the help of carpenters, veterinarians and butchers.
Looking at all aspects of living locally, and sustainably, the list of expert support needed would include:
~ MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS ranging from first aid attendants and surgeons to herbalists and midwives
~ EDUCATORS for schooling of children and adults
~ SPIRITUAL & EMOTIONAL ADVISORS to help individuals cope with volatility, hardship and an uncertain future
~ MECHANICS & ENGINEERS in areas ranging from bicycle repair, carpentry and large-scale water systems
~ AGRICULTURAL EXPERTS in organic farming, botany and permaculture
~ LIVESTOCK SPECIALISTS including veterinarians, butchers and cheesemakers
An indispensable source of information is always found in community public libraries, the Toronto Reference Library and those in colleges and universities. While electricity is still available, as much information as possible should be researched online. For a more comprehensive list of experts and skills needed, as well as books and links to useful websites, see the Community Resources section at the end.
Another thing to consider is safety, including the protection of food from thieves and looting. During times where community and planning are indispensable for survival, there will be groups or individuals lacking these necessities that will raid homes, farms and storage facilities; in converting public spaces and private yards into micro-farms, large areas of food production are out in the open day and night. As well, outdoor food preservation like above-ground cold storage sheds and shacks are suceptible to break-ins if unprotected. To deter thieves from taking precious food supplies, a schedule of shift guards should be applied to all major open areas, with an alarm system (such as bells or whistles) to sound and get more help as needed. Also, guard dogs are indispensable in detecting intruders and also scaring them off.
There is still a place for household pets in our homes and communities. Dogs are an asset for guarding food and supplies, but also for assisting in transportation using sleds and wagons (see the Transportation chapter for more details). Cats are essential in controling mouse populations which might otherwise infest stored food, especially grains and flours.