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Tuesday, July 11, 2023

What Are You Preparing For?

“Do I have enough food?”

“Would you rate my food storage?”

“How long will this last?”

Of course, no one can answer those questions. That answer varies by each individual family. Only you can answer those questions for yourself. Here’s how to find your answers.

First, decide what you are preparing for. Is it:

· Job loss
· Unexpected financial crisis—need new appliance or car
· Medical crisis
· Natural disaster
· Riots
· Economic depression
· Hyperinflation
· Solar flare/electromagnetic pulse (EMP)
· Famine
· Civil war
· Global war
· Nuclear disaster

Approaches to preparing for job loss or medical crisis differ vastly from preparing for global famine, and yet at the same time there is a lot of overlap. With a job loss there is still the government safety net and family or perhaps a church to rely on. Government services may disappear with a solar flare or EMP. A famine or nuclear disaster could wipe out food supplies but industries might still be humming along.

How long do wish to prepare for? Regardless of your goal, the food should be what you are accustomed to eating. Don’t add the emotional and physical stress of unfamiliar foods to people already frazzled by a society descending into chaos. What length of time are you preparing for?Two weeks. This is simply a matter of storing cans, packages, and water to prepare, if necessary. Add a camp stove for heating water and soup. This may be all you need for most natural disasters and riots.
One month. With a bit longer period, it’s still important to focus on familiar foods that can be easily prepared without too much thought. Continue to emphasize canned and boxed foods with plenty of calories. Also add in vitamins and comfort foods. This storage will help get through a job loss or unexpected financial or medical crisis.
Six months, a year, or more. Natural disasters or riots might only be problematic for a couple of weeks before the government steps in restores order and utilities. It took nine months for my husband to find a good job when his small mining company was sold to Canadians. Famines and wars can last years, and the situation world-wide sure isn’t looking very good. Solar flare or EMP? That might be a couple of years before life returns to normal. Apparently all the transformers are made in China. Civil wars aren’t normally resolved too quickly. We’re already at a tipping point, and it isn’t going to be a simple matter of North vs. South next time. We’ve got Communists and socialists vs capitalists, black vs white, progressives vs conservatives, rich vs poor, and flyover country vs cities. It’s going to be a mess. Gardens supplement really well, but do you have seeds? Do you live in an area conducive to year-round gardening?

What do you want to eat? In the run-up to the pandemic, so many people focused on rice, pasta, beans, and canned goods, and they patted themselves on the back saying they’d be so happy to have this food and wouldn’t be picky about eating it. Of course, many had a rude awakening. The comfort foods ran out quickly, people were bored just sitting at home, and they ate a lot more than they thought they would.

What skills are you willing to learn?
Baking bread?
Making yogurt?
Pressure canning?
How much time will you have? 

 Preparing long-term storage foods from scratch takes a lot of time. That’s why throughout history most of a woman’s workday was focused on food preparation.

What are your options for cooking? The pandemic shut down didn’t affect our electricity, but natural disasters are known to knock out utilities. Riots and wars affect our supply as well. What if you don’t have electricity or gas? How much can you cook on a barbecue? What alternative cooking methods do you have?

Only when you have answered the above questions can you begin to determine the kinds of foods, quantities, and best food storage methods for your family to have in place before disaster strikes. Just buying food willy-nilly and throwing it on the garage floor (yeah, I read of some guy doing that, and he was actually surprised that mice got to it before he packaged it properly) smacks of running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Take a deep breath, determine what path you think this country is on, and how things will shape up (or shake down) in your area. Then decide on your course of action and first food storage goals.

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