The difference between me and someone else? Imagine if we both lost our jobs at the same time. Realistically, I haven’t got to spend any money. I’ve got a back-up of food supplies to last six months. I haven’t got to buy wood. I haven’t got to turn the taps on, because I’ve stored rain water and filtered it for drinking. I haven’t got to put the heating on, because I have other means of keeping warm at home. I could be unemployed for a while without it impacting me financially. Whereas someone else, they’re thinking: “Shit, I’ve got a month’s wages. I don’t know how long this can go on for.” That’s a kind of prepping in itself.
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During this crisis, I have followed the local electric company’s FaceBook page and it is very disconcerting how unprepared people seem to have been. People wrote, “the electric company knew days in advance the ice was coming and THEY did not prepare.”……and, “I pay THEM to handle problems like this”…..and, “This is not the Stone Age, this should not happen”. All I could think of was Katrina and the New Orleans’ Superdome.
Label everything with the date of purchase. Sharpie pens were created for this purpose. However you choose to keep track, rotate your stored food items the best you can without getting paranoid about it. Many of the “use by” and “best by” dates on canned and packaged goods are put there by the manufacturer but relate more to taste and texture than actual spoilage. See the next item.
Any prepper plan has to take into consideration what food options will be best in various situations. Usually we recommend different types of food for different scenarios. If the power goes out you look for food that doesn’t need to be cooked. Canned tuna, MRE’s and snack bars fall into this category of course so do a lot of other foods. You want to store foods that your family will eat but there is also a need to have long-term storable food that you can take with you in a bug out bag. Frequently I will recommend freeze-dried foods for bug out bags, but those do require some preparation. For starters they need hot water or else you are eating rocks. MREs do not need water (except the pudding) and you don’t even need to heat them up.
And I have bought various pantry sized cans of sauces to increase flavor and nutrition. Alfredo sauce, tomato sauce, mild hot sauce, and Italian seasoning mix come to mind immediately. Since those cans are so well sealed, I don’t bother putting them in the buckets. I also have some #10 cans of cheese sauce powder (think boxed Mac and cheese) since I couldn’t find it in a pantry can, but I store lots of ziplock freezer bags (both quart and gallon sizes) and can use my silica packs to keep it fresher – hopefully long enough to use it up. Cheese sauce over pasta, rice or broccoli will be a nice change of taste when things get boring.
Much of what has been said I agree with. What I do take exception is that many think that an EMP Pulse at this point in time would be somehow less devastating then a nuclear attack. A Nuclear attack kills rapidly initially and then other problems would cause a die off. An EMP Blast would not kill masses but it would be equally devastating as all infrastructure fails and mass starvation, lack of resources would have the same effect. Read the Book 1 Second After and it illustrates how bad things could really be. I am not minimizing the devastation of a Nuclear Bomb. I am pointing out that the impact woult probably be close to the same.
This is a partial list of many things that disappear fast in an emergency. Look for things you should stock pile before the crisis. Many of these items can be used to barter for items that you or your family might want or need. For example: During the gold rush of 1849 the people who had shovels became wealthy from the miners who needed them. Remember: A wise man purchases his insurance before the fire starts. Create a scheduled plan to get any of these things.
Things may not go the same way as your favorite prime time series. Although you can take advantage of the tiniest opportunity to run, find an ally, and make a barricade, your chances of survival above the ground remains at a slim ten to twenty percent. An underground shelter provides a better hiding place, increasing your chances to live through war, pestilence, and famine.
Although peanut butter can get expensive if stockpiled alongside your other survival foods, it is a tasty source of protein and much-needed fat. If you are forced to do some last minute shopping, make sure you get some peanut butter as well. You’ll be glad to have this quick snack on hand during an emergency. You could survive only on hardtacks and peanut butter if you are required to do so. Peanut butter can last for years past its expiration date if stored properly.
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For global catastrophic risks the costs of food storage become impractical for most of the population  and for some such catastrophes conventional agriculture would not function due to the loss of a large fraction of sunlight (e.g. during nuclear winter or a supervolcano). In such situations, alternative food is necessary, which is converting natural gas and wood fiber to human edible food.
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.