Stab Magazine | The New Normal: Mark Healey On Why Being Self-Sufficient Is The Only Solution

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The New Normal: Mark Healey On Why Being Self-Sufficient Is The Only Solution

A strong case for growing your own food.

news // May 6, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Hunkered down in the Pupukea hills on the North Shore, Mark Healey has settled into a surprisingly more domesticated life. With a 10-month old daughter at home, he’s fully leaning into his passion for hunting, fishing and growing his own food. He’s not necessarily prepping for the apocalypse, and he’s not a food nut, he’s just of a mind that if you can catch and grow your own food you’re going to be healthier, and ultimately, happier. And while a lot of people in Hawaii have become reliant of what’s on the shelves at Foodland, Healey’s only runs to the store are for beer and basic supplies, otherwise he’s largely self-sufficient—which has its benefits when a pandemic is raging around the world. 

We recently caught up with Mark for a New Normal interview. Here’s a glimpse of his life right now:

Stab: Where are you locking down and who you are with?
Mark Healey: Yep, I’m here on the North Shore and with the family. I got the missus and the little one.

What’s your daily routine been? 
I got a little routine where I get up early and get my caffeine in my system, hopefully before my daughter wakes up. Hopefully I have some time to get some correspondences done and feed the goats and water the garden. There’s plenty to do over here in the gardens. I’ve been spearfishing a bit and when there’s waves I’ve been surfing. And if I only have a little window, I’ll head down to the beach at sunset and try and catch a fish with a reel. Just making sure I get somewhat near the ocean, even if it’s for 20 minutes in a day, has been important. 

Tell me a little bit about your property?
I got an acre up here at Pupukea. I have a lot of old-growth fruit trees, so they produce. I got maybe six different avocado trees, lemon, lime, orange, macadamia nut, peach, bananas and all kinds of other tropic fruits—a ton of different stuff up here. And then I got my salad and vegetable and herb gardens. 

And you’re supplementing that with the fish you catch, so you’re not spending much time at Foodland?
No, never really. Between the fishing and the bowhunting and having a lot of good red meat in the freezer, yeah, I’ve got no complaints. We’re eating good. 

That must give you peace of mind with all the weirdness going on?
Oh yeah, absolutely, one-hundred percent. I’ve kind of always been on this program, even when people has said, “You’re one of those guys.” Like I’m such and over-the-top, independent person. But a lot of people have this veil on, this fantasy. All it takes is one thing to change the whole game. It’s kind of like being out on the ocean. You’re like a hundred miles out and you’ve got one outboard engine, right? You think everything’s fine and everybody’s having a good time just shooting shit until that thing sputters out. Then all of a sudden you realize you could be in a lot of trouble really quickly. There’s always that fine line. So, it’s nice to have the knowledge base and kind of setup for the life we’re already living. Nothing has really changed for us, honestly. 

Yeah, your patterns of behavior and your lifestyle are already in place, so it’s not like this huge disruptive thing, right?
Yeah. And I have so many friends that may have a farm, or you know, they all have these different resources. So, it’s all just a phone call away. It’s like, “Hey, you need some fish? I got some.” So we can provide each other with the things we need.

How about your screen time, are you spending any time on the device? 
You mean like melting my brain with too much information? Yeah, it’s easy to do. I’ve been trying to stay up to date on things. I also think there are going to be a lot of long-term repercussions to this that if you don’t make good decisions now. You’re just going to constantly be in a state of shock, whether it’s the virus, or the economic side of things, or making sure we don’t lose our civil liberties in general. There are lot of big things changing now and it’s a good time to pay attention. 

Hunker down and get all your ducks in a row kind of, right? 
Yeah. And refocus. I think if there’s a positive aspect people are realizing what really matters. A bunch of actors and celebrities aren’t that important. Who’s banging who in Hollywood, it’s irrelevant. Instead it’s the people that actually make our world go round that are the heroes…the guys that come and pick up your trash. It’s the farmers, it’s the first responders and things like that. So, I hope these lessons are remembered. 

And also health. I see so many people working out and a lot of people that you can tell haven’t worked out in a really long time, which is awesome to see. Hopefully that value system that people are realizing right now is a lesson that stays. I realize not everybody can have the resources or the access necessarily. But when it comes down to it, it’s all your own personal decisions. Like, this didn’t happen quickly, took a lifetime to figure out and everybody can do it in different variations at different levels, but it really comes down to personal decision. 

I think committing to a new path is hard for a lot of people, but it all starts with that commitment.
For sure. I could have died or been crippled any number of times doing what I do. I put my life on the line countless times to earn the money for my place, you know.

Yeah, this is a lifestyle you’ve been committed to for years, so now it’s almost second nature, like there’s no other way to live. 
Yeah, and I think it gets easier. I mean, I feel completely crappy when I eat processed foods. It’s a night-and-day difference. I don’t know how much of that is psychological, like food guilt, and how much of it is real, but I definitely feel the difference. And I think once you get to the point where you can really calibrate your body to where you can feel those differences, as opposed to always being in a state where your body is always trying to keep up and separate toxins that have get filtered through the kidneys and liver and figure out what it can digest and what it can’t, you know, that takes a lot of energy.

You’re right. The more you adhere to clean eating and living you do notice that the McDonald’s cheeseburger is gnarly and all you notice it right away when you eat it.
I’ll go somewhere, usually this happens on hunts, where I’ll meet up with friends and do a bow hunt somewhere in the continental U.S. and there are literally no healthy food options anywhere. I’ll end up eating that stuff for like two or three days and feel like crap. But then I’m strangely addicted and crave it. It’s bizarre. 

It’s all the fats and sugars, your body is programmed to want that stuff because it’s quick energy. 
I’m no health guru. I’m just trying to eat stuff that’s natural. But you know, I smash ice cream whenever it’s in front of me. And I’ll drink some beers, for sure. Healthy living is like playing the long game—if you want to keep surfing and keep diving and keep active, at some point you have to commit to it.  

Yeah, and for me, because I have like an ultra high metabolism, I can’t put on weight even if I tried. But what it is for me is the inflammation. I can tell if I tweak myself or if I do some physical activity I’ll be much more sore. I just don’t bounce back as fast, like my body just doesn’t flush that lactic acid out. It’s a huge difference.

And it’s going to help the immune system and keep the body strong and fit so it can battle diseases more effectively.
Exactly, your body can focus on fighting an illness instead of having battles on three different fronts. It’s like, well, this guy hasn’t pushed this turd out of his lower intestine for the last five days and those toxins are all in your body. So how are you supposed to fight the coronavirus? 

It’s sad, but the thing is, our entire society is based on consumption. The whole concept of the American dream is tied to having material things or equating convenience with happiness. But if you look at just about every indicator it says that convenience is almost the opposite of happiness. The people who have things too convenient are the ones who are unhappy or they find other things to be unhappy about. 

One thing that’s been interesting to see is how people have responded with sports being canceled. The celebrity people are all so irrelevant right now, while it’s the people working in the hospitals, the people at the gas station and the grocery people, and the garbage people that are keeping our world running. These are the people that are massively underpaid yet are kind of the bedrock of our society. 
Exactly. And they’re getting squeezed the hardest.

And then there’s, you know, the star athletes and the Hollywood celebrities and stuff…they don’t seem to be bringing much value to the world right now.
And the professional surfers. It’s true. It’s totally true. 

To a lesser extent, yeah. You’re obviously very self-sufficient, and people see that and can learn from that. I guess the more people can be self-sufficient that leaves opportunities for people that really need it?
Exactly. There are so many people that are so stressed out and so worried about this moment now that there’s not the bandwidth to make decisions and moves and see what’s coming down the pipeline out of this. That has a snowball effect. Like, if you don’t start in a strong point you’re always on your heels. What happens when the second wave of this comes? I’m looking at this in terms of the powers that be and what decisions they’re making—like how people stand up and make sure that those powers are not abused and your freedoms are not taken away from you in these states of emergency and lockdowns.

There is a bit of an element of Darwinism in play here, don’t you think?
I mean, that’s how pandemics started. Look at fossil records and DNA and all of that. It’s right around when agriculture started popping up because then humans started living closer together and that’s when big die-offs happened. That remains unchanged. Of course, if you’re in a city the virus is going to be able to move around easier. It’s a population density issue. 

Versus being out in nature, there’s more room to move and more room for your own personal sanity.
Right, you find an equilibrium somehow. But if you think of a city, a dense city, all those resources that are going into that city do not come from that land there. Right? Like it’s completely brought in from outside. It’s a highly unnatural human zoo kind of environment. So, of course, there are going to be some ill effects. If you start getting that feeling that you’re divorced from nature and you’re in a big city, the snowball’s already heading downhill.  

It feels like people are starting to get antsy.
The vibes are getting a little eggy. There’s a void in leadership on a lot of levels. The bottom line about this whole thing is you need herd to immunity. We need 80-percent of the population to build up a defense against this. People aren’t going to be sitting in their homes for two years waiting for a questionable vaccine, which they’ve never had any success in creating vaccines for the current virus family because it’s a weird one. So, I mean, the herd is going to have to get sick and kick it. I’m a fucking surfer, but this is my theory. We’re not going to avoid this. 

You can’t have everybody locked up in their house till 2022, there’s going to be a fucking revolution. 
I say a month before people really start snapping. That’s my guess. I’m guessing that most people’s financial situations, even if we went back online tomorrow, most people will be playing catch up for a good year. And I’m saying, if it ends up lasting three months, there are a lot of folks who will never catch up. When that realization sinks in about how long the catch-up process is going to be, and the honeymoon phase of the stimulus passes and that money has come and gone, I think that’s when it’s going to get really serious.


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