I watched “Doomsday Preppers” once, they showed 3 or 4 different people who were preparing for 3 or 4 different “Doomsday Scenarios”. I understand that every week presents new scenarios with new people showing their solutions. Now, I have the privilege of talking to a dozen different “preppers” everyday and each of them has a different idea of what “Doomsday” will look like, consequently everyone has a different preparation priority list. While I can’t fit each person into some category of sorts, I can give some broad examples of expectations and offer advice on food solutions for each situation.
First, Weather Disasters: earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, floods, snow/ice storms, normally fairly short term. Some folks have been or know someone who has been affected by weather disasters OR live in an area where natural disasters are a distinct possibility.
In such circumstances, life is in absolute turmoil as public services are down, water is contaminated and rescue personnel are working overtime. I have to ask, “If your house has just been washed away, are you going to be sitting in a rubber raft with 200 pounds of rice and dry beans?” “If you are stranded in your car, buried under 6 feet of snow will you be boiling water to fix dinner?” “If you are on your way to the family retreat when your car breaks down, do you want to carry 40 quarts of home canned beets for the next 20 miles (possibly two days)?”
In these predicaments, Survival Food is optimal. Survival food is lightweight, compact, high in calories, vitamins and minerals, can be stored in just about any conditions and requires NOTHING to prepare.
In weather disasters or temporary situations of civil unrest where you are confined to the home, office or storm shelter, Emergency Food is also applicable. These would be prepackaged entrées that require water and heat to prepare. It should be noted that while these prepackaged entrées are extremely quick and easy to prepare, they generally provide less than 200 calories per serving and are intended to be served with other food, ie. Salad, bread, drink and a dessert. A food storage of easy to prepare items from the grocery store, that are used regularly makes eating at home no different than any other day providing you have the means to cook them.
Second, Personal Financial Setback instigated by job loss, unfavorable changes in the stock market, illness, or death in the family. As companies regularly conduct lay-offs or choose to close the doors of American facilities only to then open production facilities overseas, oft times people are witness to their formerly “professional” neighbor suddenly delivering pizza and they thus begin to brace themselves for a similar situation.
One customer told me about his car engine seizing and his personal circumstances snowballed downhill from there. An older couple lost a significant amount of money in stocks, reducing their monthly retirement income. Whatever the details, it’s a personal disaster.
These situations call for food storage which can be full cupboards of grocery store goods that are used normally, home canned or dehydrated food, emergency food, long term storable food or a combination thereof.
Third, Food Shortages caused by drought, floods, world demand or oil prices, economic depression without total collapse causing hyperinflation and/or an increase in crime causing food outlet closures. The possibility of food or other resource shortage is reported on fairly regularly even in the main stream media.
There has been a return to gardening and home canning over the past 10 years because this is the prediction made by most “preppers” I talk to. GMOs, pesticides, additives and preservatives have played their part in influencing these people as well, but the greatest influence has been the rising cost of food in conjunction with the fear of food shortages on a macro scale.
The potential for wide spread food shortages is also the best reason for having a long term food storage. The classical definition of Long Term Food Storage is: individual ingredients packaged in bulk in airtight containers to be stored for decades. I harbor intense concern for those who have never cooked “from scratch”, and anticipate using these products for the first time under duress. My most emphatic advice is to learn to use flour before you start grinding wheat.
Fourth, Paradigm Shifting Events such as wide spread economic collapse, an EMP type event, biological warfare or/and prolonged civil unrest even to the point of civil war. This is absolutely “Doomsday”, SHTF or TEOTWAWKI.
Every type of food would have its place in one of these scenarios. Ideally, the long term food supply would be used in conjunction with the garden and other ingredients from the cupboard providing the widest variety and greatest nutrition. When planning a Long Term Food Supply, one must consider the number of people to be fed and for what length of time, the ability to grow adequate fruits, vegetables and livestock, what additional ingredients are required to produce an end product, and how many calories are provided by each item being stored.
Emergency Food would be used in much the same way DiGiorno, Stouffers and Sara Lee are now, for variety, when things are hectic, time is short or the cook is exhausted. Survival Food would be a necessity for those on guard duty or a mission away from home.
In a nutshell, these are the definitions one must apply for their food supply planning:
- For a short term disastrous event: Pantry Food – requiring no preparation.
- For a relatively short term emergency: Emergency Food – requiring minimal resources and preparation.
- For all other scenarios including an extended personal crisis: Long Term Storable Food, a necessity as a stand alone supply or to balance other sources – requiring water, a method for cooking and time to prepare.
- For the longest term and ultimate sustainability, we have to rely on God and the garden. Home Canning has sustained many generations. With economic trends on a down turn, there is no time like the present to start gardening and learning to preserve food at home.
To be truly prepared you need a complete food storage system that will keep you nourished under any circumstances.