When The Food Is Gone

When The Food Is Gone Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, Oklahoma tornadoes in April 2013, the Colorado floods in September 2013; all caused shortages of food and everyday supplies. For those of us in regions where snowfalls can drop 4-12 inches at a time, we have seen how spastic people get for bread, milk and toilet paper. Can you imagine how they would react if all food deliveries, to stores, were interrupted for an extended period of time? An EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) can stop trucks, cars, aircraft and watercraft engines from running, delivery truck hijackings can occur and disasters and riots can close travel routes. If any of these happened, and people panicked (guaranteed), how long do you think it would take for stores to be void of food and the streets unsafe to travel? Have you been to a grocery store after an announcement of potential inclement weather? Estimates are 3 days for stores to be empty of food and a week for people taking to the streets to get food from other sources (including those who have prepared for the event).

Stockpiling -vs- Hoarding:


How Big Is My Stockpile?:

Depending on the resource, the suggested amount of food and water to stockpile for an emergency is several days to several months. A "predictable duration of an emergency" was mentioned in the previous section. How is it possible to predict an emergency and how long it will last to determine how much supplies I should stockpile? The accuracy of such a prediciton is near impossible but there are ways to come close. The Natural Hazard Science web site and International Journal of Disaster Risk Science go to a lot of effort in attempting to make detailed predictions. A simpler, less accurate, method can help with our level of preparations; it's called a Risk Analysis. It can be as simple or elaborate as you want to make it. Consider the following:

No refrigeration: Most likely, in the event of an environmental emergency, electricity may be sporatic or gone completely and so goes electrical refrigeration methods. Ice (dry or water) may also be at a premium in such circumstances. While there are generators and 12 volt (battery operated) refrigeration products available, the emergency food plan should not rely on such things. Naturally, if such an event occurred during cold environmental temperatures, storing perishables outside (and out of sight) is an option. Root cellars or areas deeper underground could also keep foods cool but the kind of cool that keeps refrigerated items at the right temperature or frozen ?; not likely unless way deep underground. Bottom line; plan with foods that do not need refrigeration.

Enemies of food are Heat, Air, Moisture and Light. Emergency, long-term food items should (ideally) be vacuum-packed and stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Reducing or eliminating these enemies, helps maintain, or increases, the shelf life of the food.

Unlike some of my acquaintances who live to eat, I eat to live. I don't care so much about WHAT I eat as THAT I eat. So, I stock up on long-term storage, freeze-dried foods and water storage to re-hydrate them.

Starting my stash on a shoestring: I buy the bulk "emergency foods" when the money is available but I started out, and continue to increase, my stash with non-perishables (dried pasta, rice, beans, peas, oatmeal, dry breakfast cereals, powdered milk, etc.) a little bit with each visit to the grocery store. Because of my living quarters, it helps that these kinds of foods weigh less and compact easily to use very little storage space.

Hunting, Fishing, Trapping, Farming and Planting: Meat Eater or Vegetarian, by far, the road to self-sufficiency begins with hunting, gathering, raising and preparing your own food. With these skills, you will provide food sources for as long as you live. Indoor and outdoor options are available for growing fruits and vegetables, livestock and fish. If you have never participated in these activities, cultivating a friendship with someone who has, and learning from them, could be a life saving relationship. Growing vegetables and fruits that produce their own seeds (open-pollinated or heirloom) insures seeds for subsequent plantings.
Simple Animal Traps and Snares for Outdoor Survival
Homesteading for Independent Food
A Pellet Rifle is a great training tool and nearly silent and powerful enough to take down small game or severly injure, and slow down, large game for dispatching at close range. But, carefully consider "air-powered guns" as self-defense tools; not recommended.

Food Alternatives:
Bugs/Insects: Insects are the best food source - Yeah, it may sound unappetizing but pound for pound, insects are more valuable and nutritious than any meat. They are always available and full of protein. Sometimes it pays to think small . . . especially when it comes to eating in a survival situation. Anything under 1 inch is game. Roast them to make more palatable. What bugs are edible? As a general rule, DON'T eat insects that are brightly-colored, hairy or have a potent smell (except stinkbugs). If in doubt about its edibility, cut off a tiny, cooked piece of it, swallow it, and wait a few hours. If you don't develop any symptoms, eat a larger piece and wait again. If nothing happens, it's probably fine. Knowing how to identify edible insects and stay away from the ones that could kill is a skill worth learning. Here's a basic list of Edible Insects.

Wild Edible Plants

Canning and Dehydration of surplus foods are excellent options for preparing for a food shortage event. Both options require research for proper food preparation and storage and it's important to know and record/label the shelf life of the foods prepared using these techniques. For those of us who do not have a farm nor the back yard to plant a garden, joining a Farm Share (CSA) or Garden Sharing arrangement are good alternatives if you truly want to learn the canning process of fruits, vegetables and meats. If the farm/garden scene is not for you, purchasing a food dehydrator may be more appealing with foods from the grocery store. If electricity is not available, dehydrating, using the sun, is an option and "canning" can still be accomplished as long as there is sanitation, a source of high heat and proper containers.

Determining the number of portions needed is a bit perplexing when calculating the amount of food available divided by the number of people who will be relying on the emergency food supply. There are many things to consider including the age, size and weight of the individuals and the weight and calories of the food. As a general rule, "portions" are calculated by the number of calories needed per average person per the type of "food group". 2500 calories per day (+/-), per person is an overall average. To research this further, please google.

Also Consider:
TIPS:
With all food preparation activities, cultivate safe food handling practices and research further before trying.

Check this out: 37 Foods To Hoard Before A Crisis

When the food runs out, those who have not prepared will be searching for those who have. So, preparing for a food shortage not only means stockpiling an emergency supply of food but, also, protecting what you have stockpiled with a personal defense strategy.

Don't forget to consider that, if a public emergency lingers, your own food stores may be depleted so you should always be prepared for the basic survival techniques to kick in.

SEE ALSO:
Produce Drinking Water from the Air, Ground and Undrinkable Water
Replenishable Water and Food Sources