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Thursday, June 27, 2024

Food Shortage: Why Shelves are Empty & What to Do

Food Shortage: Why Shelves are Empty & What to Do

The year 2020 was a year to remember. We had a global pandemic with looting, riots, and killer bees. Even now, we have to worry about food shortages of various products. The national lockdowns and social distancing measures dried up work and incomes and disrupted agricultural production and supply routes. This meant people were concerned about how they would get enough to eat when the shelves were empty. These issues still persist to a lesser extent, but now flooding is destroying farmland in our nation’s breadbasket states.

Of course, this is not a post to spread panic or worry because we are prepared! This is an informational post to help you understand why the shelves are empty and how to prepare better so you’re in a position where you don’t have to worry. Matt was kind enough to send me this link yesterday about Norway (my heritage) Norway Stockpiling Grain. Thank you, Matt; 30,000 tons is a lot of grain, my friends.

Food Shortage: Why Shelves are Empty & What to Do

Food Shortage: Why are Grocery Store Shelves Empty?

When it comes to being prepared, it is essential to know why something is happening so you can look for future trends like when things may get better. There are several reasons why we see empty grocery store shelves. 

Shifts in Eating Habits

Food Shortage: Why Shelves are Empty & What to Do

Before the pandemic, people went to restaurants as often as they pleased. When the lockdowns and social distancing took hold, more people bought food from the grocery stores instead of going out to eat. Now, food prices are so expensive people are eating out less.

Panic Shopping

Not only are people eating at home more, but there are many reports of price gouging, import restrictions, and more stay-at-home orders. This drives people to panic shop and stock up even more than before. This leads to empty shelves, which makes the cycle spin even faster. 

Meat Processing Plants were Closed

Food Shortage: Why Shelves are Empty & What to Do

You must be very careful when dealing with raw meat. There are plenty of hogs, chickens, and cows, but they all have to go through processing and packing plants. If workers get sick or the plant closes, a limited meat supply is sent to the stores. 

Importing Has Slowed

Global trade has fallen pretty significantly in the last few months. The United States imports about half of our fruit, such as grapes and bananas, from Mexico.

We also import about 20% of our vegetables from Mexico during this time of year, and, as many people know, we import a ton from China.

Imports from China have drastically slowed, and small business owners can’t get many of the products they sell. Therefore, we will see more empty shelves. 

You may see empty shelves for many reasons, but just because the shelves are empty doesn’t mean you can’t still prep. 

How to Prepare During a Food Shortage

If you are a prepper, you will already have at least a few months of food stocked up. But, if you aren’t restocking, your food supply will soon run out, and you will have a food shortage. Here are some things you can do:

Buy What’s Available During a Food Shortage

Empty Shelves

As shelves empty, you may not be able to get what you want, but there are still things on the shelves that you can buy. Grab what you can based on what you will eat. Obviously, if it comes down to it, you and your family will eat pretty much whatever you have, even if you don’t like it. If you can’t get white flour, be patient it may show up again on the shelves.

Make Frequent Shopping Trips

There may not be what you need on the shelves on Saturday, but you may be able to find it on Tuesday. If you are like me, you may only go to the store with a list once a month. When shelves are empty, it’s best to go more often.

You can also find out when each store has its various shipments. You will have more luck finding the supplies you need on the day the shipment is put on the shelves.

Always Buy the Limit

In many stores, there is a limit on what you can buy for particular items. If there is a limit of 5 cases of water, but you only need two, consider buying all 5. You don’t know when the shortage will improve, so to be on the safe side, buy the limit of anything you are buying if it will be used or eaten.

Can or Freeze Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

The produce section seems to have everything when I go to the store. Use this to your advantage. You can stock up on fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and veggies don’t last long, but if you can dehydrate or freeze them, you can keep them longer. And don’t forget, you can dehydrate most of it if you have a dehydrator. I highly recommend this canning book, which I received when I took the Utah State University’s USDA Master Canner Preserver Classes. USDA Complete Canning Guide

Related: Home Canning-Important Do’s and Don’ts

Keep in mind the capacity of your freezer, and that electricity can go out if you choose to freeze your fresh produce. Canning or dehydrating can be the best option. I still freeze a lot of stuff, we must live for today as well.

Related: 15 Items Perfect for Freezer Storage

Go to Multiple Stores During a Food Shortage

When shopping for things you need to restock, go to multiple stores, including off-the-wall stores you normally wouldn’t think of. For example, during the toilet paper shortage, I went to Costco three days ago, and they were out of Kirkland brand toilet paper and paper towels. There is no pandemic right now; I am just sharing what I saw.

You may not realize it, but many home improvement stores, gas stations, and places where you don’t normally buy food may have just what you need. 

Grow Your Food

Food Shortage: Why Shelves are Empty & What to Do

The best way to be prepared regarding food shortages is to have your supply. As preppers, we have to be self-reliant. This means we know how to grow and harvest food for survival. If you haven’t started a garden, now is the perfect time to do it.

Even if you live in an apartment, you can still have container gardens. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out my post on What to Plant in June: Zones. In my post, you will find what you can plant in each zone and a list of posts for what to plant each month of the year. 

Get Livestock if You Can

Not all of us can have livestock, but you most certainly can if you live in the country. Here’s the thing: even if you don’t know what you are doing, those animals can feed you in an emergency. So, consider doing it if you can get a pig, a cow, some chickens, or any other animal you can eat. 

If you live in the city, you can’t have all the livestock you can in the country, but there are still some you MAY be able to keep right on your city property. Here are 6 Farm Animals Perfect for City Living:

  • Chickens (not roosters)
  • Rabbits
  • Ducks
  • Quail
  • Pygmy Goats
  • Dexter Cattle

If you live in the city, check your local city guidelines on having farm animals in the city where you live and how you must keep them. 

Know Wild Edible Plants

One of the ways people stayed alive for generations was because they knew what they could and couldn’t eat in the wild. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, can’t grow a garden in your apartment, or don’t know where to start, there are food sources all around you. Check out our posts on edible weeds you can find in your backyard:

Final Word

As a prepper, I hope you were prepared before the shortage. If you are new and unprepared, start stocking up on non-perishable items such as canned goods, rice, beans, canned meats, soups, canned tomatoes, spices, pasta, and other items your family will eat.

Then, slowly stock up on long-term food. Dehydrated food is excellent, but freeze-dried food has a longer shelf life. One can a month works great. Just do it; you have a 3-month supply in no time. Then move onto a 6-month and then a 12-month supply.

Check out my post, How to Prepare for a Food Shortage. Stay calm, learn, and keep prepping! You can do this, one can at a time. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Shopper at Grocery Store Deposit photos_22948142_s-2019, White Plate With Blue Napkin Deposit photos_31145011_s-2019, Pork Processing Company Depositphotos_78184714_s-2019, Picking Vegetables Depositphotos_10828132_s-2019

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