Thinking Outside the Box Locating Potential Food and Water Sources before the SHTF
For the sake of this article, some assumptions will have to be made. First, assume that normal supply chains would collapse once the SHTF. This means that semi-trucks, railcars, private vehicles and aircraft cannot be used to transport goods. Grocery stores would be shuttered and food-processing plants are no longer operational.
Also, assume society has collapsed, the federal and local governments are in shambles and protection from other humans is solely your responsibility. Essentially, everyone is left to fend for him or herself. This scenario is not likely to happen, but that does not mean it is not impossible.
Assume the worst and then work back from there. If you do not need the plans you have made then great, but what happens if you do need a plan and do not have one.
The following plans or methods would be, for the time being an academic or creative endeavor that instills a planning mindset that will be necessary for your survival. Being prepared means being prepared for anything, so this means thinking outside the box sometimes.
What would happen if you awoke one day and the above statement was reality? You have 90 days worth of supplies providing none of it spoils, is stolen, eaten by rodents and other pests, passed out to friends and neighbors or burned up in a fire. Supply chains may take months or years to get operational again and food-processing plants would of course depend on the production and transportation of food. A disruption of this magnitude would prove to be catastrophic.
Identify Sources Before You Need Them
Most of you realize that your stockpiles are a temporary fix and under normal circumstances, you would have enough to get through most power outages, certain natural disasters and so on, but for an extended crisis, you would need to seek necessary resources elsewhere.
Gather up a current map along with some pencil and paper and begin looking for and noting potential sources.
1.) Locate and Note On Your Map Commercial and Private Farming Operations in the Area
Remember a catastrophic event can reduce the human population, and it may cause some survivors to flee the area, so homes, farms and businesses may be abandoned. Livestock could be penned up and the animals would starve if not released to forage on their own so time would be of the essence.
Additionally, others would have the same idea, so another reason to move quickly. If you were to have the space available, livestock could be moved to your property so you could begin developing a renewable source of your own that could be better protected.
2.) Commercial Greenhouses/Plant Nurseries
Edible plants in any stage of development would be a resource that you could use. You could conceivably take seedlings/seeds, develop them yourself, and of course take advantage of any vegetables already matured.
Note: Another thing to consider is preservation of any food sources you may find. You simply cannot afford to waste food so preserving food to gain a surplus must be in your plans.
3.) Private Gardens in Your Neighborhood
This goes to situational awareness, do you know your neighbors and what resources they could provide. They may perish or flee once disaster strikes and they may have resources that you can use. Of course no one condones pilfering, looting or other criminal acts, but keep in mind you are assuming for the sake of planning that the world as you know it is gone, new rules apply and you have to get up to speed quickly or you will not survive.
Backyard gardens are popular, so it is reasonable to assume that even in heavily populated urban areas you would find patio gardens and even some substantially sized gardens in some backyards. The plants can be transported back to your home if in pots, or if you feel they would be safe from marauders where they are then they could be left in place as long as you had the ability to make sure they received water and other care. Obviously, harvest any mature vegetables or herbs.
4.) Abandoned Semi-Trailers and Other Vehicles That Transport Goods
Semi-trailers can be found in parking lots of commercial businesses and in grocery and other retail store parking lots. In some cases, the stores or businesses are using them to warehouse goods. This would be particularly true during the holidays where extra inventory needs to be on hand. The most obvious places to find trailers of course would be shipping yards and truck stops but they will be the first places looted. The stores themselves would be looted, as well, but criminals being simple minded might overlook the trailers at first.
Some of the trailers you see sitting in the corners of parking lots could also be full of goods that were to be delivered somewhere and the driver dropped the trailer off for whatever reason and now cannot get back to it.
If a grocery or other retail store were using trailers for storage, there may very well be non-perishable food items inside, as well as bottled water, not to mention there may be other materials and supplies that you could use.
Look around as you drive through your city or town and see how many trailers you can spot sitting off in relatively out of the way places that may contain goods that can be used during a crisis.
Keep in mind most trailers will have locks on them so come prepared with bolt cutters and pry bars. Look for abandoned box trucks and other vehicles that could be used for transporting of goods, as well.
5.) Public Parks and Other Public Areas That Have Ponds and Lakes
These areas would provide a water source for a limited time and could be a source for food for a limited time as well. Waterfowl may very well be present along with fish in the ponds or lakes. It would not take long however, before the authorities or criminal elements seized control of public resources, so again time is not your friend in this type situation.
Some apartment complexes may also have manmade ponds or other water features that could be used. Some may even have stocked ponds on the property and of course, this is a water source for the short-term. Filter and purify any open water source before consuming or using. Locate the apartment complexes that have water features for possible use in the future.