The 575 bunkers for lease are owned by a ranching company that grazes cattle on the land around them. Vicino is leasing the bunkers from that company, and then sub-leasing the bunkers to his customers. The rest of the bunkers on the massive site — there are said to be 802 in all — are under the control of other owners and are not being offered for lease by Vicino.

The Subterra Castle covers 34 acres of estate, including an airstrip, and other facilities. The silo which was bought by Ed Peden for only $40,000 transformed this former junk heap to a modern day castle. The complex tunnels of the site stays 10-15 feet underground. The family just needs to make sure they stock up with emergency food and other basic needs, then they can sleep well knowing that they are safe from almost everything.
Mountain House, Wise Food, My Patriot Supply, and Ready Store need to get better in this regard. In some cases, we had to call a company and dig deeper than reasonable in order to find out calorie content — or we had to look at individual nutritional labels to reverse engineer the math. In other cases they called something a “1-month bucket” but that was based on silly calorie numbers.

For Erica Nygaard, an Iowa-based mother of four who started storing and growing her own food after a divorce 11 years ago, the desire to prepare for the future stems directly from the vulnerability one can feel as a single mom. “When you become a single parent, that weight really hits you: I am completely responsible [for my children,] no matter what. No matter what happens, these four people have to be taken care of.”


Though its light weight and long shelf life are ideal for navigating harsh conditions, freeze-dried food is probably most famous as a cultural curiosity: Like many Americans, I discovered it in a museum gift shop, gawking at the styrofoam-like ice cream that astronauts used to have for dessert. More recently, I encountered it at a disaster preparedness convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, where smiling, gray-haired preppers manned tables piled with plastic bags full of vegetables, meats, and stews.
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