Food Security and Other Fairy Tales

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Lately, the nation’s food security is looking more like a fairytale than a sure thing, and the reasons are numerous.

As we’ve seen, time and time again, when a disaster threatens food supplies, store shelves get stripped in hours.

The whole “stores have 3 days of food” fairy tale may have been true at some point, but today stores don’t have big racks full of food “in back” and get restocked 1-3 times per day in high population density areas. 

Now, more than ever, we should not leave the ability to feed ourselves and our loved ones to chance.  Luckily, there is a solution.  Putting aside a one-year food supply AND heirloom garden seed will help take the worry quotient out of an uncertain time.  And, if you are prepared to hunt, gather, snare and fish for a portion of your food, all the better.

The premise of a one-year food supply isn’t arbitrary.  It will provide the buffer you need from the start of a crisis until a garden can begin producing fruits and vegetables critical for survival during a long-term crisis.

It can also be a buffer to last you through a short to medium food availability situation.

Or to feed your family during a job loss or after a medical emergency when money is short, if not non-existent.

If you’re not familiar with gardening, now–even though it’s fall–is an excellent time to start.

It isn’t too late.  Try planting cool season vegetables that are fast growers like one or more of the following:

  • Beets
  • lettuce
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Kale

Gardening takes practice!  It’s important to get in there, get your hands dirty and see what a few seeds and water can bring to the table.  And don’t forget to test your soil. The pH of garden soil can make the difference between a bountiful garden and one that fails, and failure during a protracted crisis is not an option.

Know what lies in wait to eat your garden–insects, deer and rabbits, just to name a few, would all love the chance to help themselves to your hard work.  Protect against them by researching what your region’s biggest offenders are and be prepared to keep them away from the food security a garden represents.

Just in case that first season of gardening doesn’t produce all that you need, consider storing extra beans and rice, above and beyond a one-year storage.  Beans and rice are inexpensive when you buy them in bulk and they have a shelf life of between 20 and 30 years when stored properly.  Together, rice and beans form a complete protein, and considering the workload that’s going to land on our doorstep when a crisis hits, we’re going to need it!

If you’re comfortable with a few weeks or months of food storage, the following may clarify why increasing food storage in not necessarily an overblown approach.

Rise In Volcanic Activity Could Impact Food Production

We’ve all noticed a sharp increase in volcanic activity.  Michael Snyder’s September 16th The Economic Collapse article, The Number Of Volcanic Eruptions Is Increasing And That Could Lead To An Extremely Cold Winter brings up important facts about volcanic eruptions that Preppers should take note of.

The following are excerpts from the article:

The number of volcanoes that are erupting continues to rise, and scientists cannot seem to explain why this is happening.  In 2013, we witnessed the most volcanic eruptions worldwide that we have ever seen in a single year, and this increased activity has carried over into 2014.  In recent months, we have seen major volcanoes roar to life in Russia, Peru, Hawaii, Reunion Island, Indonesia, and all over Alaska.  It is highly unusual for so many volcanoes to all be erupting at the same time.  According to Volcano Discovery, a whopping 34 volcanoes are erupting around the globe right now.  This is sending a massive amount of dust and ash into the upper atmosphere, and it may explain why many parts of the planet are experiencing strangely cold weather at the moment.  If this trend continues, we could potentially be facing years of crop failures and widespread famines all over the world.

And what we have witnessed already may just be the beginning.  There are several more very large volcanoes around the globe that scientists are extremely concerned about right now.

Later in the article. . .

In 1883, the explosion of Krakatoa (Krakatau) created volcanic winter-like conditions. The four years following the explosion were unusually cold, and the winter of 1887-1888 included powerful blizzards.  Record snowfalls were recorded worldwide.

(Sarcastic note:  It must have been the release of all of those greenhouse gasses that we KNOW cause global warming 🙂

The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, a stratovolcano in Indonesia, occasioned mid-summer frosts in New York State  and June snowfalls in New England and Newfoundland and Labrador in what came to be known as the “Year Without a Summer” of 1816. A paper written by Benjamin Franklin in 1783 blamed the unusually cool summer of 1783 on volcanic dust coming from Iceland, where the eruption of Laki volcano had released enormous amounts of sulfur dioxide, resulting in the death of much of the island’s livestock and a catastrophic famine which killed a quarter of the Icelandic population. Northern hemisphere temperatures dropped by about 1 °C in the year following the Laki eruption.

In 1600, the Huaynaputina in Peru erupted. Tree ring studies  show that 1601 was cold. Russia had its worst famine  in 1601-1603. From 1600 to 1602, Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia had exceptionally cold winters. The wine harvest was late in 1601 in France, and in Peru and Germany, wine production collapsed. Peach trees bloomed late in China, and Lake Suwa in Japan froze early.

Drought & Disease Equals Skyrocketing Food Prices

A National Geographic News article, Hefty Price Hikes for Fresh Food Amid Drought, Disease, written by Andrea Stone, June 27th, 2014  explains the sticker shock we’re experiencing at the checkout stand.  The following is an excerpt:

Consumers will likely see higher pork prices, which increased 3.2 percent for two months in a row [12.2 percent since a year ago]. One of the reasons is porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, which has increased the number of piglets that die.

Both potatoes and lettuce had the highest rates of inflation, which contributed to the overall category of fresh vegetables going up in May. [Up to] 85 percent of the lettuce grown in the U.S. comes from California, which is suffering from ongoing drought conditions. We also saw a slight increase in exports and a slight decrease in imports last month, so there’s a smaller supply of lettuce.

Fruit was really led by citrus [up 7.3 percent since May 2013] in Florida. That’s because of the cold winter in Florida and the widespread citrus greening, a disease on the trees that causes [oranges] to fall off the tree earlier.

Dairy prices are increasing [up to 4 percent in 2014] due to really strong domestic demand for milk and cheese. There also was a cold winter in the Midwest, which harmed the hay production, lowering output per cow.

(Another sarcastic remark:  I’m sure that using cow food (corn) for fuel (ethanol) had nothing to do with an increase in the price of beef and dairy products.)

In Fact, Wells Are Running Dry In The Town Of East Porterville, California

As reported on September 21st on My Fox, Tampa Bay, contributed by Scott Smith, Some California wells run dry amid drought, hundreds of East Porterville, California residents have had to resort to donated bottled water.

Here’s a quick excerpt:

But many East Porterville residents, like Serrato, say all they want  is to get a glass of water from the kitchen sink. Her well dried up nearly two months ago, she said, making life challenging for her husband and three children.

To bathe, they each have to fill a bucket from a 300-gallon tank in the front yard, carry it inside and pour water over their heads with a cup. They’ve lived in their home for 21 years, she said. “It’s not that easy to say, ‘Let’s go someplace else.’  “

What we can take from all sides is that preparedness is prudent, and as food prices continue to climb, and volcanoes and drought threaten the possibility of crop failures, putting food, garden seed and plenty of water aside should be at the top of everyone’s priority list.

October is the traditional month for canned good sales, usually refereed to as an annual or semi-annual “case good sale,”  where you can expect to save from between 25 to 50%.  Time-frames vary, so it’s best to make a few calls to your local grocers so you can plan ahead to fill those food storage shelves.

(David’s note:  If you’re ridiculously busy like me  and want a “fire and forget” premium solution for 1 year food storage, go >HERE< for a basic 3, 6, or 12 month package or >HERE< for “high end” 3, 6, and 12 month packages.

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Are they perfect?  No.  But an 80% solution that’s DONE beats a 100% solution that you never execute every single time.  Put another way, if ISIS attacks next month, are you better off with a 1 year food supply that’s not perfect that’s in your possession or a perfect 1 year food supply that you haven’t pulled the trigger on yet?  The answer is obvious…take action.  Get SOMETHING done NOW and perfect it later.

Also, this is a good time to re-mention how important it is to identify law enforcement and other first responders in your neighborhood and set aside food specifically for them.  Law enforcement personnel will make the best decisions in disaster situations if they know that they can obey their moral compass and still feed themselves and their families. 

Historically and globally, food insecurity is one of the biggest factors that causes law enforcement to take immoral and illegal action.  Tyrants often use food and other fundamental needs to co-opt law enforcement and get them to do what they want rather than what their moral compass tells them they should do.  Get to know your local law enforcement.  Take care of them.  And prepare to take care of their families after a disaster.)

Have the volcanoes, drought, and changing weather patterns brought you to the conclusion it’s time to increase food and water storage, or do you feel that a few weeks or months will get you by?  Please post your comments below.

God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva

Comments

  1. Unfortunately, looks like we get to add Japan to the list of countries with active volcanoes. Peace be with those who died on Mt Ontake this weekend.

    Maybe it is specific to this area (midwest) but I am noticing more places putting limits on the amounts of canned goods you can buy at sale prices this year. I’ve got my share though.

    My big task for October is making sure I have all the older supplies inspected and rotated to be used up. I do not have the luxury of having just one storage area for food and/or supplies so sometimes I run low on storge space and things wind up hidden and become a bit older than I would like before they get used. I also had an outbreak of pantry moths in some breakfast cereals I was storing. This is the time to find such problems and correct them for sure before new materials are added. The last thing you want is to have a lot less usable food on hand than you thought going into winter.

    Also, this month I was able to find some great buys (75% off) on some gardening materials, especially seed starting stuff to use early next spring. Don’t be afraid to pick up name brand discounted seeds packed for 2014–I would avoid certain seeds like spinach, onion, some corn, parsnip, or parsley which don’t last well but many seeds will last at least 4 years with just a little care to keep moisture away and temperatures moderate and steady. Some longer life seeds are tomato, lettuce, cucumber cantelope, cabbage, beets, radish, squash, eggplant, and turnip.

  2. You state to have heirloom seeds on hand. This is an excellent idea, of course, but heirloom seeds in and of themselves won’t do too much for you after you plant them unless you know how to save seeds. Saving seeds to grow for the next year is a great way to be prepared, but every type of seed is different and requires vastly different means to save them properly. Beets, broccoli, carrots, onions, and other vegetables take two years to produce seeds. Then there is the problem of keeping seeds pure from people with neighboring hybrid plants or just to maintain the type of plant you do have. It takes time to learn this skill. Start with tomatoes. Those are easiest to learn to save seeds from. I recommend “Seed to Seed” by Suzanne Ashworth to get started – or see the Seed Savers Exchange.

  3. If you miss the planting window for some crops it will be at least 18 months before you can get a harvest. So two years of food stockpile is not excessive.

  4. Getting back to the theme of this week’s blog, the increased volcanic eruptions, etc, have not prompted us to increase our food, etc, storage. We are doing what we can, when we can, to better hunker down in place. One alteration in our purchases/preparations is that we have increased our stock of disposable nitrile gloves, Tyvek suits and N-100 face masks in preparation for when (NOT if) Ebola hits this country. My wife and I might be able to make if for six months with the food we have on hand (which is stretching it), but adding that additional six months of freeze dried foods is now cost prohibitive now that we both are retired. Rather, we’re slowly increasing our supply of canned and dried foods, bit by bit.

    • Survival Diva says:

      Bob R,
      Check your local grocers. Flat sales are usually at the end of September/first of October. At the local store, they are selling cases of 24 fruit for $20.99, vegetables for $12.99 per case of 24, soup for $11.96 for a case of 24. Toilet paper, dish soap, pasta and tuna are on sale as well. Thanksgiving is when bakery goods go on sale: sugar, flour, canned milk, and there is usually a sale on canned vegetables and ham.

  5. the more i read the more screwed i think we all are and i don’t think a lot of us will make it through the hard time a head just not see it i have done what i can so far but i don’t think it will be any were near enough and i feel like i am do it buy myself others don’t under stand and it seem a cant make them see so alas i fear all i have done will be in vane

    • Survival Diva says:

      larry,
      It will be enough. We do all that we can and God will do the rest. I’ll use myself as an example. When I decided it was time to sell my place in town, everyone said I’d never get what I needed from its sale, and I would never find a cabin that had electricity and a well and running water and a phone. I sold the house in town for what I was asking AFTER the 2008 real estate crash. And though I had looked for a cabin for over a year that had what I needed to survive, and be able to write from (which meant electric, water, a drivable road, etc.), I didn’t find this cabin until the same week that I got an offer on the house.

      Every thing you’ve put aside, and all of your hard work will be enough. I honestly believe that. Just keep doing what you can. I believe we have time. It isn’t ever easy to read the current news. It’s filled with “the sky is falling”, but if you chose to see it in another way, as warnings to us to prepare, it is less of a negative, and becomes a catalyst to keep going. It IS frustrating to watch friends and family ignoring all the signs. But in the long run, it would be much more devastating to be the one who sees the signs and does nothing.

  6. Our ancestors who are long buried would have called for restructuring and the resignation of those who desire to take control and infringe upon the rights and welfare of others. They would have acted against those who put money and personal agendas or the welfare of other countries ahead of our own. But today we are burdened by enlightened thinking and a president who thinks he’s part of some class project and not in the real world.
    Unfortunately, those who seek to ruin us and take our most basic rights don’t even want us to exercise the right to prepare ourselves for possible emergencies and disasters. I wonder if those in the executive positions and highest levels of government have disaster plans, natural medicines and heirloom seed banks stored away. Do those who seek to make us slaves to the “machine” also enslave themselves to the same master?

    • Survival Diva says:

      Frank,
      . . . and once they have served their purpose, will they be returned to fend for themselves? It’s a question that’s likely to remain unanswered until the time comes.

  7. Esteban Cafe says:

    Seems like you (once again) should put in a plug to buy reloading equipment, powder, primers and lead, assuming of course you’ve already bought the necessary arms. And don’t tell anyone.

  8. I really didn’t know that we have that many volcanos blowing up. It makes sense though since the tectonic plates are still moving, that it would create a certain chain reaction.

    Great, up here in Northern Ca we sit smack between two large ones, both of which are overdue anyway.

    Keep on prepping!

    • Survival Diva says:

      Linda,
      That’s the one thing about prepping. . . we KNOW to be ready. The Yellowstone Caldera is the one I’m watching closely.

    • Jacquelyn L. Marsh says:

      Linda, I use to live between two N. CA. inactive volcano’s. Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta. I ended up living about 35 miles as the “crow flies” from Mt. St. Helen’s in southwest WA. Now I live closer to the Yellowstone Caldera in the SW corner of ID.
      What exciting lives we live! God is still in CONTROL, I just believe HE is trying to get the attention of ALL people, the believers and the non-believers!
      Jacquie

  9. Joseph-Lee Morehouse says:

    I have read your article and it has been a strange year , flooding it one part of the country forest firers in another part , drought , early snow very odd.
    The national AGRI report state there is a bumper crop of corn this year and prices will drop in part about 35 to 45 percent. Most people are asking OK prices on corn has drop why is sweet corn at the stores have nearly double , They don’t realize 85 percent of corn that grown is hard corn for ethanol and animal feed. Large percent of sweet corn is exported to other countries that command higher prices. I have seen prices have fluctuate in the last 3 years and always higher. I heard talk that our government has bought crop futures to increase there own stock piles of food in government warehouses. If anybody know anything about this I would like to know more about it.

  10. Ethanol was a foot in the door for GMO corn. It still takes more energy to make a gallon of ethanol than it produces when you burn it.

    • The use of ethanol in gasoline was not to reduce the amount of gasoline used, to make it cheaper at the pump for the consumer, or to increase the energy content per gallon. Ethanol supposedly makes the exhaust more “dilute” by oxidizing more of the combustion by-products before they come out the tail pipe.

      • Add to that the enormous political power of large agricultural companies and their reciprocal support of/from farming state politicians.

      • Hey Bob,

        I grew up in the grain industry in one of the first areas where ethanol was introduced at the pumps as part of the current fad. (grains have been fermented, distilled, and used as fuel since the first automobile) Even though my family has benefited tremendously from the ethanol fad, I’ve got a slightly different view on it.

        The current ethanol fad was created by farm lobbyists to prop up the price of grain. That was the objective and it worked.

        It was never introduced to reduce prices for the consumer. The only reason it’s cheaper at the pump is because of tax breaks at almost every point in the supply chain as well as other incentives. Even when it is cheaper at the pump, it takes 20-30% more E85 to go the same distance as the same amount of gasoline, so the price you see is an illusion.

        One of the true evils of ethanol is that everyone pays for the lower prices at the pump…we pay for it with decreased gas tax revenue that has to be made up in other areas and we pay for it with higher food prices.

        How insensitive, selfish, and downright stupid can we be as a country to live in a country where an estimated 17% of the population goes to bed hungry at night and we’re burning food for fuel in our cars.

        • David;

          Although I did not state it, I was referring to E-10 rather than E-85. E-10 is what is available at most gas stations. The use of E-85 goes way beyond just a reduction in emissions!

          Here is one statement regarding the use of 10% ethanol in gasoline. “Since ethanol is used to oxygenate the gasoline mixture, which in turn allows the fuel to burn more completely and therefore produce cleaner emissions, its use in fuel has obvious benefits for air quality.” This comes from green.autoblog.com/2009/08/13/greenlings-why-is-there-ethanol-in-gasoline/

          This is the CHEMICAL reason to add ethanol. I do not deny that there may well be other reasons, but the main justification was to reduce (oxidize) emissions. Prior to the use of ethanol, a compound called MTBE was used as an oxidizer, but its use was thought to possibly be a cause of ground water contamination. I’m old enough to remember when we used just plain old gasoline, then the use of MTBE, and then the addition of ethanol.

          I agree fully that it is close to immoral to use a food source to run our cars, especially when there are those who go to bed hungry.

          • Sorry but the corn used for ethanol is not the kind corn use for people food. But growing more people corn would be ok.

  11. Corn used for ethanol has very effect on the amount of feed for livestock. First more corn is grown. Second the leftovers from making ethanol is used for livestock feed. Third it’s the futures market being used by the money grubbers to keep prices higher than they should be by having unnecessary middle men (people who buy corn etc. that have nothing to do with getting food from the field to the table but, raise the price).

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