Learn to “put up” food – canning, food dehydrating and other methods are easier than ever with modern gadgets designed to preserve food.
It takes a little effort ...
1. Learn to garden and use whatever space you have available. From a back yard area, raised beds, container gardens on a deck or small herb pots in the kitchen window, people can grow more than they think with a little creativity and effort. Use edible landscaping for plants that are decorative as well as that provide food. Need a couple shade trees? Why not use fruit or nut trees – they will supply shade as well as food.
2. Learn to “put up” food – canning, food dehydrating and other methods are easier than ever with modern gadgets designed to preserve food. It takes a little effort – but on a kitchen counter you can dry enough herbs for a year; you can make real powdered and flaked pepper, garlic and onion.
3. If you freeze food, be sure you have a means to keep it going in a crisis. If the electricity goes off you don’t want to lose a year’s supply of food! Have a generator and fuel, get a propane freezer, have some means of keeping that food cold. Putting food aside is only part of insuring your food supply – storing it safely is the other issue.
4. Be discreet. Don’t brag about your food supply and don’t spread the word you have six months of food in your basement. If you do, and there’s a crisis, you may be overrun with people who know you have plenty stocked away. Are you then prepared to defend your food supply?
5. Storage a problem? Use areas most don’t think of. The pantry is good for many things but if you’re putting up dozens of jars of spaghetti sauce, preserves, soups and other sauces you’re going to need room. Have a protected corner of the basement up off the ground (enough that a wet floor won’t damage the food!).
6. Along with your food supply have a means to prepare food including water, grill and gas/wood/charcoal, etc. If a storm knocks an area down for 2-3 weeks be able to rely on your own resources for those 2-3 weeks. Have on hand not only necessity items but a few luxury items as well. These could include a little candy, or cookies or something that just makes things a little more like home.
7. Don’t forget storing personal hygiene items – you can make a ‘composting toilet’ from free plans online…having this available with sawdust or shavings, toilet paper and other items can greatly increase the comfort in an emergency.
8. Don’t rely on the government helping – or on people being friendly. A catastrophic situation such as New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina showed the government cannot handle it – people have got to be able to rely on themselves. Prepare and have plans in place for tornado, fire, emergency evacuation and sheltering in place (being confined to home). Remember a train derailment or other issues can change things in a hurry! Practice that evacuation. You have 10 minutes- what do you grab? Hesitating can be deadly…having a plan can mean survival.
9. Be able to cook from scratch, make bread and do other skills to get through if you had to. If you have the food stocked up it doesn’t do any good if you can’t use it. If you rely on mixes make your own mixes in Ziploc ™ bags that seal tightly – label with a marker right on the bag with how much liquid, egg and oil to add. In a pinch, that bag can be the bowl – simply put wet ingredients in and mix, then pour into a baking pan. Experiment with your grill to make things before you have to.
10. Being able to hunt and fish can mean having an ongoing food supply. Having fishing gear and hunting supplies can mean the difference between eating or not. In the depression some spoke of having a small dog that would go through culverts and flush out rabbits while the large dog at the other end dispatched the rabbit as it ran out. Sporting? Perhaps not…but if it comes to eating or not, how ethical will you be after not eating for 4 days?
Get prepared now. Work on getting things growing, on learning the skills you have to in order to survive. When the public food supply is interrupted it will be too late.