On a humid day in early August, I traveled to Wild Abundance, a homesteading and primitive-skills school in the rolling green hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Founded by Natalie Bogwalker in 2012, the facility in Weaverville, North Carolina, offers courses in gardening, foraging, herbalism, tiny house construction, hide tanning, and any number of practices that might come in handy when living alone in the wilderness. It’s also a functional homestead with a sprawling vegetable garden and a series of charming hobbit-like outbuildings fanned out across a wooded hillside.
I’ve just explained why EMP wouldn’t be as destructive as a full-scale nuclear war, but it would still be devastating – and it’s a lot more likely than a Cold War-style missile exchange. There are two reasons for that. Firstly, it’s a lot more survivable for the aggressor; our government might hesitate to launch a retaliatory strike on a country, killing millions of its people, because its leaders exploded a nuclear warhead in space. Secondly there are more countries who are capable of doing it right now or could be there in a matter of months.
Freeze dried food is the other specialty food option when it comes to prepping for survival. These are regular foods that are placed in a special unit in which the moisture is literally frozen out of the food, then it is heated slightly so that the water becomes a gas and can be removed from the food. The food is then vacuum sealed in a moisture- and oxygen-proof bag. These foods are easy to rehydrate, simply by adding water, and they can generally be eaten right out of the bag. There are many different brands of freeze dried foods available, such as:
I live about an hour outside Manchester. It’s not the back of beyond, but there are things that could happen, especially as we’re approaching winter: a delivery drivers’ strike, an oil strike, floods. I store a bit of extra food in case the food and petrol chains crumble. I travel with a blanket and thermals in case I break down in snow, lose a phone signal and am too far away from home to walk. My husband once got stuck in poor weather on a motorway. He was grateful for the self-heating food packages I’d packed.
58. N95 masks – if there is ever a pandemic, having a mask can be invaluable. Flu, sars, ebola, etc… when the crises hits these be will go fast, so stock up on some before they are needed. It is suggested to get the N95 quality valved respirators, although there is some debate on their effectiveness. A full face respirator will settle the question!
The answer for most of us is no, not really. We tend to think of disaster as something that happens to others. But a growing number of people around the UK – preppers or survivalists, in the parlance – are quietly gearing up for the worst. They’re filling pantries with supplies in case their local food chains disintegrate, storing thermals in their cars in the event that they break down in a snowstorm, packing “go-bags” with a collection of bare necessities – water, food, medicine, perhaps a portable stove – supposing they need to leave home in a hurry. If catastrophe were to strike, the thinking goes, a preparatory head-start might well be life-saving.
I started to store a tin a week – sweetcorn, beans, tinned tomatoes – and, over time, added cases of pasta, bags of rice, boxes of long-life meat and bottles of water. Most people keep a few tins in their cupboard – soup and beans, things like that. That’s what I’ve got in mine. It’s just that I’ve got 70 of each, stored in a brick outhouse that my husband converted.
Few people get beyond storing the four basic items, but it is extremely important that you do so. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze-dried foods as well as home canned and store-bought canned goods. Make sure you add cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast and powdered eggs. You can’t cook even the most basic recipes without these items. Because of limited space I won’t list all the items that should be included in a well-balanced storage program. They are all included in the The New Cookin’ With Home Storage cookbook, as well as information on how much to store, and where to purchase it.
Freeze-dried food is nothing new. As early as the 13th century, the ancient Quechua and Aymara people of Bolivia and Peru pioneered a form of the process by exposing potatoes to the freezing temperatures of the Andes overnight, then drying them in the sun. In 1937, Nestlé used industrial technology to create the world’s first freeze-dried coffee, and in the 60s and 70s, the US military shipped freeze-dried food rations to the troops in Vietnam.