This is a really comprehensive article on food prepping! I was very taken by your last item on “Edible Landscaping.” There is a natural antibacterial, antiviral product called “Sambucol,” that is a syrup (patented) made from black elderberries. There is another syrup similar called “Sambucus,” which is the botanical name for black elderberries. Not only do they taste delicious — like something to top your ice cream sundae with! — they are pretty amazing for coughs, colds, and flu. I am thinking that that might be a good thing to have growing in our yards when SHTF.
Still, as I sat at my desk one afternoon, eyeing the colorful salads my coworkers were having for lunch, I realized the absurdity of my experiment: I live in a city with 24/7 access to fresh food and work a job that affords me the privilege of eating healthfully most of the time. Even quibbling over the nutritional content of these freeze-dried meals was something of a luxury, because I wasn’t in a position where I actually needed to eat them. Then again, you never know what’s going to happen.
But this is a situation where we can achieve a lot through a simple ranking system. If we prepare for the far most likely disaster to strike us (for me it’s a tornado or extended power outage during winter time since I live in Alabama in the infamous “Dixie Alley”), we will find a pleasing truth…we will generally be prepared for many of the other types of disasters on our list by default, already.
You can figure 25-30 years storage life for hard red wheat, stored at 60 degrees in a 55 gallon drum, using 1 pound of dry ice to drive out the oxygen (wait 24hrs for the dry ice to “melt” before sealing the drum). 400 pounds of wheat per drum equals 400 man-days of calories, and costs you about $100. Fill 3-4 barrels. It’s Cheap insurance. Add a barrel of Winter Rye for variety. Add a barrel of oats. Then a couple barrels of WHITE rice, and 2-3 barrels of pinto beans. (You need the beans to balance what’s missing from the grains. The beans may be harder to rehydrate after 10-12 years without a pressure cooker, but then you just grind up the dried beans, and bake them in your bread.) For around $1000, you can be prepared to feed your family for close to a decade, if you also garden, keep chickens, and have fruit trees and bushes. Honey is way too expensive to store on a dollar/calorie basis, but consider bee keeping. A drum takes up LESS than 2’X2’. And they stack nicely, at 33” tall. In a 2’X10′ strip along a basement wall, you can have 10 barrels with 4000 pounds of food. Hang a peg board in front of it, and you’ve got very useful space. If you can’t spare that much space in your basement, to protect the lives of your family, think Venezuela .
Of course, one of the most rewarding things about learning to make something with your own hands is that you can pass that know-how to other people. As students put the finishing touches on their shelving units and sawhorses, I get to chatting with Kathleen Lokey, a flannel-clad farmer from Greenville, Tennessee, who works for a nonprofit called Rural Resources. Through a series of workshops and training programs, the organization equips low-income, food-insecure teens in her area with the skills they need to take care of their nutritional needs, including many of the old-timey ones Daisy Luther teaches: growing their own fresh fruit and produce, canning, pickling, and making jams.
Thanks, Viet Nam Vet. People keep calling us a democracy but that is not our form of government. Our founding fathers were reluctant to have a true democracy because they correctly feared mob rule. It doesn’t bother me that government moves slowly. That keeps it from swaying to and fro in shallow breezes. Congress was supposed to be a deliberative body. The Supreme Court was supposed to be an even more deliberative body. Rapid response is only acceptable in the troops coming to your rescue, not in governments.
Expert advice isn’t always as expert as we’d like to believe. There have been many times when I tried to follow how-to advice, only to get frustrated that I can’t seem to do what they did, or I sometimes figure out a more efficient method on my own anyway. This is especially true for the prepper lifestyle. When the internet started exploding with prepper advice a few years ago, most of the bloggers and self-proclaimed experts were learning as they go along with their readers.
115. Generator – Generators are great in emergency situations, especially if power is crucial for medical reasons. Long-term however there is debate at how viable generators can benefit as you will need a constant supply of fuel as well as fuel storage. Not to mention if the power has been down for months and would-be scavengers are rummaging the neighborhood when they hear the sound of a generator running?? If you do plan on getting one, look for tri-fuel generators.
That doesn’t mean that some companies aren’t marketing freeze-dried food as an innovation. After eating the Wise Company meals for three days, I switched to Thrive Life’s Simple Plate program, a Blue Apron–esque service that teaches you how to cook from the company’s store of freeze-dried ingredients, which customers can also get mailed to them in recurring shipments. Unlike Wise Company, Thrive Life’s website makes no mention of emergency preparedness, instead emphasizing the sorts of qualities, like saving money and avoiding waste, that might have appealed to Lydia Maria Child in her time: “These foods won’t spoil in a few days... You won’t be thawing, degreasing, or cutting raw meat. You won’t be chopping veggies or washing and peeling fruit.” I reached out to Thrive Life’s founders to hear more about their rationale for marketing freeze-dried food for everyday use, but didn’t hear back.
Include a few boxes of variously sized nails and screws and you are ready for impromptu construction, extrication or repair. Add tarps and plastic sheeting and you have the ability to create water proof enclosures or seal openings against movement of air. A multi-tool or Swiss Army knife is incredibly handy to keep on you or when you are traveling and do not want to pack the kitchen sink.
Has anyone considered that with out fuel or just cooking over a fire, that cooking them things like dried beans (they take a couple of hours to cook on a stove), or rice ( 20 minutes). Unless you do a lot of cooking with un even fire, you will either burn the food or under cook it. Wouldn’t processed foods or dehydrated foods be better. Less cooking . When listing what to stock up on, don’t list dried beans and rice as a staple or you will have a lot of people having to eat raw rice and beans. Thanks for listening. Ioma
In my tours in Afghanistan we used a lot of “connex”/shipping containers for bunkers. Keep in mind that this was AFTER we hardened them with additional steel “I” beams and a lot of extra welding and they were placed above ground surrounded by HESCO barriers and covered on top with about 3 feet of sand bags. The ceiling would bow inward from the weight even in spite of the reinforcement and the bunkers that had been there for several years would leak and the ceiling and walls were warped pretty badly. They worked great for incoming rocket fire and mortars… Read more »
An urban prepper and rural wannabe, Karen has been working as a freelance writer for a decade and prepping for about half that time. She has gathered a wealth of knowledge on preparing for SHTF, but there is always more to learn and she has a passion for gathering and sharing that knowledge with other like-minded folk. Karen lives in London, Canada with her two children and plethora of cats. In her spare time she is writing the next great apocalyptic novel of our time, full of government conspiracy and betrayal at every level.
Personal hygiene is even more important in emergency situations than during everyday life. We have so many conveniences at our disposal in our society. Yet many people don’t realize the challenges when those conveniences are no longer available. Personal hygiene is really about keeping clean and avoiding unsanitary conditions that can lead to illness.
A lot of prepping is common sense, but there’s very little of it around. The theory goes that it’s psychologically uncomfortable to think about death and dying, so people tend not to. And people often think that a disaster won’t happen to them, so they’re less likely to prepare. But it’s not very difficult, and it’s not expensive – I buy equipment from Amazon: a survival blanket, a sleeping hammock, one of those bottles that filters contaminants found in water. Most of the time you won’t need it. But it’s that one time when you really do, and you haven’t got it, or you haven’t taught yourself how to use it… that’s when it’s too late.
The Vivos Europa One shelter, located in Rothenstein, Germany boasts lavish amenities such as grand swimming pools, gyms, theaters, restaurants, customized apartment units, outdoor service, and even a helicopter service. It also features its own roadways, railways, tunnel chambers, top-notch security system, blast-proof doors, self-contained water system, and power generators.
I can sleep at night because I’m well on way to having a year’s worth of the highest quality food freeze dried with a 20 year shelf life. I also am a huge fan of Berkey Water filters. We live in an intense chicken, turkey, hog barn agribusiness area – lots of potential harm to our water supplies besides roundup. Berkey is king if you read the independent lab reports – it does the best job purifying the water while keeping the needed minerals in the water your body needs.
It is has been a couple of years since I wrote about some of the mistakes and goofs we all make while prepping. Since then, a lot of things have changed. For one, the mainstream media has caught on to “three-day kit” mania which means more and more families are now ready for short term disasters. On the other hand, threats from wacko foreign leaders have escalated to the point where terrorist-driven EMPs, pandemics, and outright wars have become more of a possibility, if not a probability. Talk about two very different sides of the same coin!
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.
I was surprised to read an MRE review here. I’ve had my fair share of them as well. And for the record, if I was the first to the box, my favorite was Menu 3 Beef Ravioli in meat sauce. Not half bad. I never considered them an option for disaster preparedness though because they were always too bulky for what you got in them. Most of the time in Iraq and Afghanistan, we’d open them up, and stow the spoon and the main meal and toss the rest back in the box for others to pick over later. We… Read more »
Interest in the movement picked up during the Clinton administration due in part to the debate surrounding the Federal Assault Weapons Ban and the ban's subsequent passage in 1994. The interest peaked again in 1999 triggered by fears of the Y2K computer bug. Before extensive efforts were made to rewrite computer programming code to mitigate the effects, some writers such as Gary North, Ed Yourdon, James Howard Kunstler, and investments' advisor Ed Yardeni anticipated widespread power outages, food and gasoline shortages, and other emergencies. North and others raised the alarm because they thought Y2K code fixes were not being made quickly enough. While a range of authors responded to this wave of concern, two of the most survival-focused texts to emerge were Boston on Y2K (1998) by Kenneth W. Royce, and Mike Oehler's The Hippy Survival Guide to Y2K. Oehler is an underground living advocate, who also authored The $50 and Up Underground House Book, which has long been popular in survivalist circles.
One major upside of freeze-dried food is its convenience. Since all its water content has been removed—via a process that involves exposing food to subzero temperatures, while removing the resulting water vapor with a vacuum—it’s easier than canned goods to transport on the fly. To “cook” Wise Company’s six-grain Apple Cinnamon Cereal, you just boil three and a half cups of water, dump in the powdery contents of the bag (minus the oxygen absorber), and cover the pot for 12 to 15 minutes.