You can create better food security with a few basic strategies. Create a stockpile of food in your home. Grow some of your own food. Forage for plants, berries and fruit in your yard and immediate area. Create a relationship with your local farmers and shift to a more locally sourced food supply.
Until the COVID pandemic, most Americans had not considered that they may not have access to their normal food supply. Your grocery store stocks enough food for 3 to 4 days. The average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. This makes our supply chain vulnerable to shortages due to regional or world events. This makes you and your family vulnerable to a shortage of food.
Store extras of nutrient dense foods that benefit you. Every single day, your nutrition is paramount. With the stress of an event, proper nutrition is critical. In general, your body runs best on a nutrient dense diet of low or no carbohydrate foods, with moderate fat and protein. The first things people stockpile in an event is bread and pasta. These spike blood sugar, provide little nutrition, and, because your body burns through sugar quickly, you are hungry again.
Your stockpile should be foods that have a long shelf life. This includes canned foods, including canned fish and meats. Dried foods could include jerky, pemmican, or dried lentils and beans. Remember to store quality fats, like olive oil and ghee. Frozen foods are a great addition to your stockpile. Realize, however, that these are dependent upon access to electricity. Fresh or thawed meat can be preserved using salt. Big box stores sell salt in 25 lb. bags. Print out instructions for how to salt meat and store it with the big salt bag. You may want to include emergency food bars. There are plenty of choices, even for those of us with special dietary requirements.
Here are some helpful hints for managing your stockpile. Storing your stockpile under a bed, behind a couch, or in a spare closet may work better for you than storing it in your kitchen, a garage or shed. Write the expiration date in a wide tipped marker on the face of the container. Store items with similar expiration dates together. As foods reach their expiration, you can cycle them into your regular diet or donate them to a local food bank.
Gardening can be as simple as a plant in a pot that provides you with sustenance or as complicated as raised garden beds with numerous crops. It is up to you. Start small.
Having food fresh from the garden (or pot) is good for the body and, commonly believed, good for the soul. Merely providing your own nutrient dense fresh herbs is beneficial.
You can forage for plants, berries and possibly fruit to augment your diet...unless you live in the downtown of a large city. Foraged foods from nature are often tangy, even bitter, but they are nutrient dense. You may not want to make a main course of dandelion greens, but they can be added into your regular dishes. To take the bitterness out of dark greens, add a tiny pinch of nutmeg.
Get ready to forage. Before an emergency or disaster, purchase a book or two on foraging in your particular area. Find a mentor or a class. There are aps to help in plant identification, but they are only available when you have internet access. Practice locating the plants, berries or fruit and then practice incorporating them into your diet.
Raising Backyard Animals
You can raise your own protein in your backyard. Grow what you like to eat and what you can manage on your property.
One of the most popular animals to grow in your backyard is the chicken. They provide eggs, as a bonus. Beware, many say that chickens are the gateway animal to goats. Click the link below to watch our interview on raising backyard chickens.
A popular food animal to raise in the backyard is the rabbit. They do not broadcast their presence to your neighbors like chickens do and they can live in much closer quarters.
Whichever animal you chose to raise, start small. Find a mentor. Check your city ordinances and HOA restrictions.
Hunting and Fishing
Practice this prior to the disaster. Hone your skills and the use of your tools. Stay within state and local regulations while you develop your skills.
Hunting methods vary. Yes, firearms are a popular option, including air rifle. Sometimes you want something quieter, like a crossbow. Using snares and traps is a valuable skill.
Fishing and actually CATCHING takes patience, skill and knowledge. Find a mentor to teach you how to be successful.
Get ready. Start small. Store extras. Grow you own. Learn to forage, hunt, and fish. Learn more. Find your tribe, your like-minded community, locally and online.
For over 20 years Nancy Carpenter was a CERT (FEMA's Community Emergency Response Team) and disaster preparedness instructor.