An Army Marches on Its Stomach
(Napoleon Bonaparte, 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821)
Food or lack thereof has caused numerous wars, mass migration of millions of people and civil unrest that has lead to riots and deadly violence all over the world. Governments have been toppled because the citizens did not have enough food.
Even if you, as a Prepper have enough food many will not, so the people that lack food may very well be the most dangerous people you will encounter during a crisis. The harsh reality is that many people will die from starvation and from diseases and sickness brought on by malnutrition in the weeks and months following a major crisis in this country.
Uttering the words “let them eat cake” (the quote as it appears in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions) lead to the loss of some heads among the French monarchy in the 1700’s. The citizens literally did not have enough bread to eat and the utterance of the phrase meant there was a total disregard by the ruling class as to the plight of the common folk.
Wrong answer as most would agree, because the peasants were starving and starving people are desperate and dangerous people as many found out. Food is important, and people are obsessed by it. This is reality and you as a Prepper must be able to deal with it.
The Internet is full of solutions, when it comes to food for when the SHTF. Seems easy enough as you read some of the articles. Buy some seeds, raise some chickens, grab up the shotgun, and head out to the woods, sounds easy enough right.
If you have never had a garden, and do not know what it takes today, under ideal conditions, to actually raise enough produce to feed your family, you will not have enough time when the SHTF to figure it out.
Hunting will be an option for the very short-term, as will fishing and trapping, but neither will likely be a long-term solution and hunting and even fishing for the most experienced is never a guarantee of a full larder.
Stockpiles of food are important and you need them, and the more the better, but stockpiles run out and so then what. There is not just one thing that you can do to ensure there is enough food but many things that must be done to ensure enough is available. Providing enough food for yourself and family will consume you from dusk until dawn.
The Answer is all of the above and Then Some
Some people are convinced that once the SHTF things will never get back to normal. Some things may not get back to the way they used to be, but the knowledge is there, and people will soon come together to rebuild communities, and like centuries ago the communities will become self-sufficient once again at some point.
The knowledge will always be there on how to raise vegetables and fruits on a massive scale, on how to raise animals, on how to process foods, how to package and ship foods and how to keep foods safe for eating.
It will take time but society will spring back. The objective then is to have enough, or have the ability to raise enough to survive until farms, food processing plants and mills are once again producing foods on a large scale.
Prepping Is Hard Work and It Is Not a Hobby
For those that truly believe that the country and the world are going to collapse into chaos and never recover then you will need enough food and other supplies to last your lifetime, enough food and supplies and the means to raise your own food for a lifetime.
Gardens alone are not enough to provide the needed calories every day. You will need proteins that only come from animals, you will need grains that can be made into flour, and you will need herbs and spices.
There will be some things that unless you have stockpiled, you will have to learn to live without. Coffee beans, tea leaves, and certain spices for example, cannot be grown in most people’s backyards, so if you have these items on the shelf then excellent, but if not, well then that morning cup of Joe will be just a fond memory.
For those that believe there will be upheaval, but it will not last forever then you need a plan that provides what you need until manufacturing is once again in full swing.
Stockpile foods and the means to raise your own food. Learn how to grow foods right now, so if the harvest is skimpy, it is not life threatening, and you can learn from your mistakes instead of having the mistakes kill you.
Producing large yields is not an accident. It requires skill, patience, land and cooperation from nature. You will need a reliable water supply because rains cannot be depended on to provide enough water for crops and livestock.
It is great to have hundreds of jars of canned tomatoes, okra, corn, green beans, peas and pickles on the shelf, but do you have the seeds and the skill to plant those seeds for another crop well before the pantry becomes empty, because if not you need to start now.
Keep in mind you cannot put seeds in the ground today and have a crop in 30 days. It will take months, and if you do not have gardening experience, your first crop will be a disappointment.
If you live in an urban environment, community gardens are an option. However, they will require the efforts of many, because the garden will feed many, but it can be done. This does not mean however that you do not need an adequate stockpile of food on hand to sustain you until the gardens begin producing.
Prepping Is About Steps
Step 1 is having enough supplies on hand until step 3 can be considered reliable.
Step 2 is about having enough skills, materials, tools and equipment to maintain the systems that provide you with food.
Step 3 is to start harvesting and preserving vegetables and fruits, and butchering and preserving meats long before your food stockpile is depleted.
Hunting and fishing should only be considered a supplementary means of providing food for the table during a crisis.
- Have a substantial stockpile of food and water. How much, is really up to you based on what you believe will happen. Those that claim to know what will happen and for how long it will last, are only speculating unless they have the means to see into the future. No one knows. Having a year’s supply of food and water on hand would not be going overboard, because it will take many months to see any yields from a garden, and it will take even longer for some livestock to mature enough for butchering.
- You will need livestock out in the barns now and this includes chickens for eggs and meat, because once something does happen livestock will be in short supply. You will need seeds and the knowledge to harvest seeds for the next season.
- Skills and knowledge will be needed. You cannot expect to learn on the job, so make sure you have the knowledge and practical skills now to garden and raise livestock.
- Tools, equipment and materials will be needed, to garden and farm with and if you do not have them now you will not be able to get them once the stores are shuttered.
- You will need a stockpile of feed for all of your livestock. You cannot count on pastures and vacant fields for grazing once the SHTF. Livestock during a crisis will have to be kept close. State and federal lands will be up for grabs. Animals will need feed once the pastures have been over grazed or taken over by others.
Food will be on your mind almost every hour during a crisis. What you calculated as a one-year supply will likely turn out to be a 9-month supply because of waste, spoilage, theft, charity and over eating. You will need more calories during a crisis so factor this in. In most cases, your activity level will increase and lack of proper nutrition will cause more sicknesses and chronic fatigue.
Feeding yourself let alone a family will consume all of your time unless you have prepared for the crisis and prepared sufficiently. It cannot be stressed enough that you need enough food and other supplies to sustain you until other means can be developed. How long it takes for other methods will depend on your level of preparedness, skill level, environment, and overall drive and determination.