Thursday, September 19, 2013

How much food storage?

I've been "Preparing" for an uncertain future for a pretty long time, and over the years it's always been a puzzle to me why some people spend a whole lot of time carefully packing their beans and rice away in Mylar bags.  They dutifully add oxygen absorbers and seal everything away in buckets ready and waiting for the SHTF (S&^t to hit the fan).  Whenever I see someone who's just starting out... Asking on Facebook or somewhere for advice on what to do, the first thing people tell them is to start stockpiling food.

There seems to be a prevailing theory among "Preppers" that this is the thing to do.  The National Geographic TV show (Doomsday Preppers) tells us that we MUST have at least a years supply of freeze dried rice cakes hidden away, in a buried shipping container somewhere!  At the end of each segment on the TV show, they do an "Evaluation" of the people's "Preps".  While there is some mention of a "Re supply plan", these people (And the public) are told that without this mountain of beans, rice, and  "MRE's" that they only have a few months to live.

What strikes me as so odd.... Is that folks will go to great lengths to make sure that these supplies have the "Shelf life" of a Twinkie soaking in formaldehyde.  The last time I looked, the grocery stores were still open, and seed companies were still shipping packets of Mother Nature's little miracles, so why go to so much trouble with "Shelf life"?

Like most folks, my Wife and I started out quite some time ago, buying a few extra canned goods here and there.  We made a list of what we normally eat, emptied out the spare bedroom, built shelves, and filled them with a six months supply of stuff to shove down our Pie Holes.  Now We're not independently wealthy, and I actually had to sell my prized motorcycle to be able to get six months worth of food put away (Yes I cried).  Since then, we simply have been keeping track of how many cans of green beans we ate, and replacing (attempting to rotate) them as we went along.

If you go to the online website of a very popular food storage company, you'll find that they are selling a package with enough of their freeze dried food to feed a family of four, for a year.  The price of this epicurean bounty is $7000.00........ Holy Dollar signs Batman!!!!  Most of us are just trying to get by until our next Payday, and can't usually rub two Nickles together.   This bothered me quite a bit.  Here the so called "TV Experts" are telling us that if we don't have all this food hidden away like a Squirrel in a hollow tree, that we are DOOMED!  If we could find a way to squeeze thousands of Dollars out of the budget, we'd only have enough food to last us a year anyway.  What if the end of the World as we know it lasts longer than a couple of years?  The rest of our natural lives?  Forever????

Well, I started burning up brain cells over this problem faster than a Wino that suddenly got his hands on a case of Tequila.  I started to develop my own strategy.  I realized that the only way to provide for my family over the long term, ten, twenty years, was to place my emphasis on food production, rather than storage.  Sure it's a good idea, to have some food put away especially if there's a Natural Disaster, or say you get "Laid off" from your job for a while.  I'm not really putting down the food storage companies either, I've purchased some of their products as I could afford them, and will continue to do so.  I've developed a different strategy for my family though, that concentrates on self sustainability.  If we spend more of our time, figuring out how to be self sustaining, we'll be a lot better off fifteen years down the road.... Long after our stored food is consumed.  Unless you own a warehouse, you couldn't store up twenty years worth of food anyway.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is don't put "All your eggs in the food storage basket".  Don't put your long term survival in the hands of "TV Experts" either.  If you could come up with seven grand to spend on "Preps", would it be wise to put away six months worth of food (Not coincidentally enough to get you through a Winter), and spend your other $3500 on long term production???

I've spent an awful lot of my time, as a result thinking about how I can achieve self sustainability as a result of my deranged musings.  I've studied alternative methods of gardening, trying to reduce the amount of time food production would consume (SHTF seems like Sun up to Sun down drudgery just to stay alive and warm to me).  How to store the foods that I produce as well.  Here's a short list of concepts that you could start with. Google up (Or whatever search engine you use), some of these topics, and decide if any of them make sense in your long term future planning.
  1. Square Foot Gardening.
  2. Back to Eden Gardening.
  3. Permaculture techniques.
  4. Food Forest Gardening.
  5. Home Canning.
  6. Solar Dehydrators.
  7. Root Cellar.
  8. A Greenhouse.
  9. Cold Frames.
  10. Rain Gutter Grow Systems.
  11. Polycultures.
  12. Ovo - Lacto Vegetarianism.
  13. Reusable canning lids.
  14. An Ice House.
  15. Building a Smoker.
  16. Salt Curing.
  17. Hydroponics.
  18. Aquaponics.
  19. No till gardening.
  20. Lasagna Gardening.
  21. Hugelculture.
  22. Mittleider garden.
  23. Raising Chickens, Goats, a Milk Cow.
  24. Composting.
  25. Vermiculture.
  26. Black Soldier Flies.
  27. Heirloom Seeds.
That should be enough to get you started.  If our world goes to heck on us, twenty years down the road, you might be pretty happy that you had considered some of these food production topics, and even experimented with them.  They might just be the ticket, to keep your family fed in troubling times even long after your stored food is long gone.  As always keep your chin up and remember.... We'll get through this!

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