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 (if looking for a good starting place, check out this really thorough survival food list).
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.
Pam, this is probably one of, if not “THE”, most sensible and articulate descriptions of what food preps SHOULD be I have yet to see anywhere – and I do a lot of reading. Great wisdom and knowledge here. Thank you!
And, guys, don’t miss the link the below for her family’s business, where you can get almost anything you may need or want.
Pam, this is great. I like having ideas in organized partitions. I like your idea about Survival Food versus Emergency Food. Thanks for sharing
Hi Pam! In my food stash I keep a supply of MREs for what I call ‘fast food’, and I have #10 cans of freeze dried for long term sustenance. I do also have protein bars and such in a couple of BOBs too. I think too many people rely on one type only. Having a variety lets you cover different scenarios, as you mentioned, but also provides a variety for barter purposes too.
MRE’s are great. The newer ones are far more appealing than the surplus from Vietnam!
Speaking of barter … Or helping a brother in need (not feeding him for eternity), I know a man who saves a lot of small containers like cottage cheese tubs to put beans or wheat in for that very reason. His philosophy is: “I need to help them without revealing that I have a whole bucket.” By keeping his stores in various sized containers and keeping the large stash stashed, he will “show” he doesn’t have much but is willing to share what he has, promoting goodwill while not adopting dependents.
Huh! I knew there’s a reason I can never throw any container away. What a useful (and wise) idea.
John another reason for having several differet kinds of food is because this gives you different methods of food prep and water requirements. Those who only stock dehydrated foods underestimate their water requirements.
Where I fail is the “instant food”! Your article has convinced me to add a few MRE’s and protein bars to my stores!
Thank You Pam!
The thing is survival bars are the only type of food that can be used in any and all scenarios.
I found that the survival bars with nuts don’t store much beyond a year before the nuts taste old.
Yeah, they go stale. But you can still eat them if there’s no other choice. I’ve used them as treats for the goats.
A silly-sounding question for Pam: Do you know if there are any survival bar-type items that AREN’T super-sweet and candy-like? Homemade beef jerky/suet/dried cranberry/chili powder pemmican works mostly-OK, but most of what I have tried is like my other winter emergency supply – powdered gelatine dessert as a hot drink, I have to be really cold and hungry to choke ’em down. I’m one of those alien mutants who really just doesn’t like sugar and chocolate. (and, yes, I HAVE tried a lot of MRE’s – I’d rather fire up a butane stove :) They’re just a half-step above surplus c-rats an k-rats, and I have eaten all 3.)
We’re talking about survival food here…
O.K., I’m probably going to get in trouble here, but, why not just carry jerky (I found some made in the USA the other day, but, can’t recall the brand name; will have to get it later); and dried veggies and fruits? Just eat them as our ancestors did, like hardtack, on the move, when circumstances prevent boiling water and mixing them together? It’s still food, and it’s still nutritious. It will occupy your mind with the chewing required, if nothing else!
Or, even ready to rehydrate soups, stew mixes, INSTANT (pre-cooked) bean/rice combos, etc. These can all be carried in small, lightweight bags, which would have other uses in a survival situation, like gathering dew for drinking water, etc.
You are carrying water, aren’t you? Add water to your dried food, carry it close to the body to transfer body heat (assuming you are not traveling by vehicle and can’t heat it up on the engine block, while in motion); it will never get very hot by body heat transfer method, but it won’t be “cold”, either.
Sorry, guys; I’m just not big on food in “bars”, I reckon. I know, I know…when IHTF, it will be my new favorite food! ;)
Better yet, know what foods you can eat “in the wild” (“weeds”) and mix your greens with whatever you carry, which assumes you are not in the concrete jungle, but, even there, in the right places, “food” grows; you just have to know how and where to find it. I’m workin’ on that!
:) You’re not at all in trouble, servantheart :)
All you need to crank out “made in USA” jerky is beef, a box fan, some cellulose HVAC filters and a couple bungee cords so it doesn’t hit the ceiling :)
I’m just wondering if there is commercial “shove it down quick and get back to work” stuff that is less sweet than a Snickers bar and can fit into a small EDC kit :) Every time I have gotten “stuck” in the last 20 years, there has been at least a foot of snow on the ground, so I am a bit prejudiced. I have 2 2-burner propane stoves and 2 1-burner butane stoves in my vehicle, and fuel (small house), but sometimes a quick energy snack is handy too :)
Yeah, I see what you’re sayin’, Wyz. A foot of snow here would mean that the North Pole just kissed the South Pole, and “what to eat” would be an irrelevant question.
So, have you done a post here on making your own jerky? If not, will you be doing that? Just aksin’; you know how to aks, don’tcha?!
Personally, I’m more likely to go with the Snickers bar; ‘course, I’d then need to see if I could remember what to do when IHTF for blood sugar overload, but, if you gotta go, ya’ might as well enjoy the journey. (Just messin’ guys; don’t anybody attack this as actual advice – please~!)
More informative, and funnier than I could ever come up with:
jerky part 1
jerky part 2 :)
Jerky is great food to have it your pack. I does have a lot of sodium which is a plus for staying hydrated but it can make you thirsty. We make our own, too. If you are going to keep it in a go bag you are better off buying it because of packaging. If you want to seal it in a vac bag, use an oxy absorber.
We used the food bars while we were working in the Frank Church Wilderness. We had to pack everything in (one time 70 miles) for two to three weeks at a time. We did use stock for camp & work equipment. The bars and bags of trail mix were great for lunch and pre-made dehydrated meals for dinner. Each person required 2-3 servings of the entrees since nobody felt like baking bread after working all day. We had one guy who packed in a case of mandarin oranges and swore it was worth the extra weight. Keep in mind that water weighs 8.35 pounds per gallon. How big is your pack and is there anything else in it? If you are not near a water source for 4 days, you will need every ounce just for drinking. It all depends on the situation. I’m just saying prepare for any situation.
The Mayday bars are drier and not as sweet as the Mainstay. We’ve also used PowerBars, the Quaker Oats snack bars and Special K which are not packaged for long term. Special K is the least sweet and have nuts and dry fruit in them.
Sorry, my reply went in the wrong place. Seriously, it was a technological phenomenon.
MAJOR DISCOVERY, SCPEEPS!
I just used my FreshSaver Vac system (I have the smaller, older one that sits flat, rather than “standing up”) to seal a mylar potato chip bag, and it worked! I could not get the vacuum to work but the heat sealer did seal the bag! Glad I saved all those Frito and Potato Chip bags, now! Woo-hoo! Gonna seal some stuff up in ’em!
But don’t try ironing these closed, as you can with true mylar bags. They will only melt all over your iron. Cleaning the iron now….