Ten Tips That Will Guarantee You Have Food if SHTF
Some of the most popular web articles on emergency preparedness have to do with food. This is also a widely discussed topic in print and on forums. And it is no wonder. In today’s society eating is no longer just for sustenance. It is a social form, a source of family bonding and togetherness and for many, a hobby. And, with rising costs, it is a significant part of almost everyone’s household budget.
Today I would like to share ten tips for securing your food supply so that in the event of a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or civil disobedience on a massive scale, you will be able to eat and to thrive – no matter what.
1. Grow your own food. This sounds so simple yet few actually do it. There are lots of excuses: not enough room, not enough sunlight, don’t know how and so on. Well I say get over it. Whether you have a backyard area, a raised garden, or a few pots on the deck, with a little bit of work you can grow something. Try using edible plants in your landscape or how about some fruit trees or an herb garden?
2. Learn to “put up” food by canning, freezing or dehydrating your bounty. With or without modern gadgets, putting up food as it is called, takes some effort but the results are worth it. You save money, control the use of salt and preservatives, and guarantee a source of food when the grocer’s shelves are empty. You can also ferment your homegrown veggies to make sure nothing goes to waste.
3. Plan for supplemental power sources when the electricity shuts down. If the power grid goes down, you will be out of luck if you only rely on a freezer for stored foods. One option is to get an emergency generator – just be sure that you also store an adequate amount of fuel. Or forget about freezing and either purchase canned foods or can and dehydrate your own.
4. Zip those lips. Be discreet. Don’t brag about how much food you have stored away or you will find yourself the hit of the cocktail set as your friends and neighbors take note of where to go to eat when the SHTF. Speaking of which, do you have a way to defend your food supply?
5. Get creative about storage. As with the garden, you may need to get creative when it comes to food storage. Walk around your home or apartment with a new set of eyes. What about under the beds or in a back corner of the closet? The crawl space under you house is good too – just remember to keep things elevated a bit so that a damp floor does not ruin your stored food.
6. Have alternative cooking sources. You are going to need some way to cook your stored food if the power is out. Pick up an inexpensive wood or charcoal burning grill such at the Volcano II Collapsible Stove. You can also – very very little money – get a rocket stove that will burn wood or biomass (twigs, pinecones and such). You will be amazed at how versatile these little stoves are. Also consider a solar oven. Whatever you choose, make sure you either have fuel or access to fuel.
7. Learn depression cooking. Cook from scratch, make your own bread, and learn to cook full meals from low-cost, easily stored staples such as beans and rice. One of the mistakes people make is to acquire food for emergency use yet continue to purchased pre-made, pre-packaged, or takeout food for daily consumption. They never learn to cook let alone learn to cook using the most basic of ingredients.
8. Take advantage of natures bounty. Depending on where you live, fishing or hunting or both may be an option for you. Learn fishing and hunting skills now and please, don’t forget to learn to clean and cook your bounty. There are some excellent videos on butchering and well as preserving your bounty. It is not as difficult as you think.
9. Store food properly. Read about the six enemies of food storage and plan accordingly. Moisture and bugs can be a more common problem in a SHTF situation. Purchase food in bulk then package and store dry goods for the long term in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Or shop at dependable vendors such as Emergency Essentials for foods that are already safely packaged for long term emergency use. You will be surprised at the many options available to you.
10. Depend on yourself, not the government, to take care of you. No list would be complete without reminding you that you need to rely upon yourself, and not others to tend to your needs if a disaster or other major catastrophic event occurs. Your neighbors, who have not prepared, may be downright hostile and the government, while well-intentioned, may take some time to get needed supplies to your area. Analyze the potential for disaster in your geographical area (earthquake, wild fires, floods, tornado, hurricane) and have a plan that you can implement should you need to shelter in place or evacuate.
A lot of foods that store well are very inexpensive compared to a lot of the mass produced convienence foods so many people consume. You can make a variety of meals by putting back some basics and then dressing them up.
Sometimes preppers get caught up on just stocking up on the cheapest calories for their dollar. While there is nothing wrong with doing this to some degree, you need to have a variety of foods so that you get enough protein, fat, and fiber. While adding multi vitamins to your preparedness stash is a good idea, even they can only go so far to bridge gaps in the diet during a SHTF situation.
There are tons of resources available to help you achieve food security by taking advantage of these ten tips. On excellent source to get you started are some of the articles here on Backdoor Survival (listed below). Another source is the DVD sets Food Production Systems for a Backyard or Small Farm and Food Storage Secrets.
However you choose to do it, work now on getting things growing and on learning the skills you will need in order to survive. And remember, when the public food supply is interrupted, it will be too late to start prepping.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Canning: If you are interested in learning how to can and want the basics, the bible is the USDA Home Canning Guide. I have compiled all of the various sections into a single document and made it available for download here or if you prefer, you can download the individual sections at the USDA site.
Solar Dehydrator: Want to learn more about how you go about dehydrating crops? Here is a free download on Solar Dehydrator technologies including how to dry fruits an vegetables.
Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner: If you are looking for just the right food preservation gear, check out this pressure canner and cooker. It is constructed of warp-resistant, heavy-gauge aluminum for fast, even heating and works on both regular and smooth-top ranges.
Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator: This food dehydrator is highly rated yet inexpensive. Be forewarned, though. One you are hooked on drying your home grown fruits and veggies, you just might want a dehydrator with a larger capacity.
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Updated Nov 14, 2019
I grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, I started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. Awhile back I abandoned city life and moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on on San Juan Island in NW Washington State. These days I call Arizona home and am actively pursuing the purchase of a mountain retreat along the Mogollon Rim. As you may have noticed, I am a bit of a glamourista but hope you do not hold that against. me. My bug out bag includes makeup and other items to make me look and feel good if SHTF.
Great tips. SW! Thanks for sharing them.
If you have a Cheese Cake Factory in your area they are a great source for buckets and lids. Generally they have an abundance of buckets and lids and have difficulty in getting rid of them. A lot of times when you ask them they say the price is like $2.25 for a bucket and lid, but if they have plenty I have asked if they would sell me a bakers dozen for a $1.00, and they did. That is a whole lot better than $5.00+ at Home Depot.
Another thing you can do if you have food processors (plants) in your area, they obtain food ingredients in food grade 55 gallon barrels. They come with lids. If they have a surplus on hand and have no way to get rid of them, they will sometimes sell them to the public for $10 – $20 per barrel with lid. They make great storage for food or water (if you wash them out) and are mouse and waterproof.
A lot of times the small mom and pop type restaurants will give them to you for free. As long as you don’t mind the pickle smell LOL. Seriously, if you are storing your food in mylar bags before putting them in the pickle bucket, you will be fine.
Craigs list is a good place to find food grade 55 gallon barrels for $15 or $25.
Pickle smell can often be removed by filling the bucket to the top with water, add a cup or so of baking soda, put the lid on it, leave it out in the sun for a week or so (or until you remember it again) rinse well. Not sure how much the sun helps, that’s where I had to put them, makes sense that it would open the plastic pores up a bit. Works for me 🙂
I also use plastic 1 gallon jars from sandwich shop trash (had mayonnaise or peppers in them)same place I get the pickle buckets… Occasionally they throw out glass jars, but the plastic ones are consistent, the small shop near me throws out 3 or 4 mayo jars a week, 2 or 3 pepper jars, occasional other jars.
If you dig in their trash, clean up after yourself! Making messes gets dumpsters locked, and that annoys the rest of us.
Pro tip: wear gloves, and have paper towels and hand sanitizer with you.
What a great idea – I know exactly what you mean about those plastics mayonnaise jars. I, too, am a scrounger and also, after dumpster diving, clean up after myself.
Anither great article SW. I’m working on
the buckets, can’t afford food grade, so will
vacuum pack everything before placing in
the buckets. I am also still collecting little
booklets for the different aspects prepping. I search
constantly and write notes, just in case the “I” kill switch
is activated. I recently found an older book
that may be of help “Back to basics” how to learn and enjoy traditional american skills,
by readers digest. many of the ideas won’t apply to
me personally, but is a good book to have.
I also ran across some easy plans for building
a solar dehydrater. “oofda much left to do. Another thing
I’m doing is using water/air proof snapware containers for smaller amounts
of things. sometimes Costco had them, and bed, bath and beyond has
a few sizes as well.
Be careful of those buckets you get at the water-works. Clean them out with lots of bleach! (They are always giving away free buckets.)
I might also add to point 3: learn to store foods in a root cellar or actually buried under ground. It’s not perfect but better than letting the surface heat destroy food in hours!
Also, there are many homes – especially in the northern climates – that have a well-insulated crawl space. Just be sure to secure all of the openings to the outside and of course, zip those lips!!
Good tips on the buckets, and ditto on the glass jars. Just remember to seal the lids if possible!
Sometimes we need reminders like this post, so thank you. We’re facing an upcoming move shortly that will result in us being able to do so many things on this list that we can’t do where we are now. Food security and water security is one of the most overlooked and/or ignored elements of a power failure or system breakdown. One that so many people don’t think about until the power is out and they’re hungry. Most of my friends would be screwed, with only one being pretty well set. And she’s not even a prepper! Irony…
I just read a book that suggested looting as a prepping tactic. That is a bit hard to stomach.
I’m FH running errands. the buckets I’m getting haven’t been used for anything yet.
I’m only getting a couple at a time. Most things I pre-pack anyway
This post is right on the money, its going to be a classic. It is 100% accurate, smart, and simple – and it doesn’t involve spend a couple grand on a pallet load of cans. All I can say is I wish I would have thought to post this myself. Great article, thanks for writing it.
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