Previously, we’ve briefed you on investment opportunities found in food inflation and possible food panics. Now, we’re going talk to you about the tenuous food supply chain and why you need to be prepared to survive a food crisis.
To be sure, there are some simple steps you can take now to avoid the worst of the worst.
A common-sense solution to deal with a food panic is securing an emergency food supply beforehand.
One basic step is to stockpile some food reserves – enough to last at least a few weeks to months. Canned foods, packaged foods, and whole grains should be bought in bulk quantities, as should bottled water.
Make sure to rotate through your supply by periodically consuming or donating the foods near their expiration dates and replacing them with newer foods into your inventory.
Pro Tip: Unprocessed grains and beans are high in nutrition, and if kept cool, dry, and sealed, they can last decades!
Canned and other long-lasting packaged foods can help you stabilize your situation in an emergency, but they may not provide a wholesome nutritional solution in a longer-running food panic.
Here are other hands-on and hands-off methods YOU can use to enjoy greater food security, higher nutrient density, and less dependence on Big Ag and our fragile distribution system –
Ideally, you’ll be able to grow your own food on your own land, in the tradition of Victory Gardens grown by millions during World War II. That’s one of the most independent and self-reliant practices you can follow. (Stay with us here… even if you don’t think this is practical in real life or you don’t have enough land to make a difference, you may be surprised…)
CUBA: “Half the produce consumed in Havana is grown inside the city; 60% of vegetables consumed in all of Cuba are grown in urban gardens…”
Politics aside, let’s take a look at how common-sense preparedness and self-reliance as to food actually works to support an entire country, and therefore can work for you and your family.
Big Ag depends on “Intensive Agriculture,” which is “…the extraction of food from petroleum,”
says Dr. John Gray in the Financial Times of London
. “The more modern farming becomes, the more heavily it relies on hydrocarbons in the form of fertilizer, as well as fuel for tractors and transport.”
Consider this excerpt from a report by Friends of the Earth Australia:
In the early 1990s, Cuba lost the Soviet Union as its largest trading partner. Food and oil imports were suddenly cut in half. Because of the oil shortage, Cuba could not afford to follow farming practices heavily dependent on fossil fuel for transportation, machinery, chemical pesticides, and chemical fertilizers.
Desperation being the mother of invention, the country flipped its food production and distribution methods into a low-input, self-sustaining process that takes advantage of organic, locally grown, urban agriculture. “Farmers began to use manure, compost, and worm farms to regenerate the mineral depleted soil… biopesticides and natural microbes… to fight pests and replaced tractors with oxen.
“Along with the small organic farms, urban gardens also began to appear throughout Cuba… in cities all over Cuba people began to make the most of all arable land ad hoc, planting gardens on roofs, patios, footpaths, and in vacant lots. These gardens allowed families to not only produce enough food to sufficiently feed their families but also subsidize their income through selling their excess…”
Under half a century of Communist oppression, the average man and woman has had no choice but to learn to take charge of providing for themselves and their families. Even if a crisis like “that” never happens to us, it’s good knowing if we take similar steps, we’re better prepared if it does happen. And as a bonus, we can enjoy higher-quality, better-tasting, and nutrient-dense food.
Homesteading for the Busy Executive:
Four Hands-On Methods to Food Security
Develop a new preparedness skill through small-scale urban farming or task a family member to do it.
Learn About Permaculture: One of the goals of permaculture is a garden that is efficient and self-reliant; needing little input from you, while producing maximum output. It takes its lead from natural ecology. Seriously. When was the last time you had to prune or water the trees in the forest? Healthy forests take care of themselves. Permaculture enthusiasts attempt to create edible gardens that are self-sufficient and “grow on their own.”
Container Gardening: You don’t need much space to start weaning yourself off the Big Ag distribution chain. There are a number of ready-made herb growing kits for your kitchen counter you can buy at garden centers or online. If you have access to a patio, sunny window, rooftop, or yard, your options open up even further.
Anything you grow and consume yourself adds to your self-reliance. Plus, you can use your excess production (or your knowledge) to trade with others. However, be cautious about selling your self-grown produce, because many city bureaucracies have ordinances that regulate, or even forbid, this kind of entrepreneurship! Make sure to check your town’s regulations.
Community Gardening: In many communities, urban and otherwise, municipalities and community service organizations offer small garden plots for nominal rent. This is a great way to meet like-minded individuals and pick up many insider tips on food security.
Edible Landscaping and Guerilla Landscaping: In their book, The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City, authors Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen describe these two methods, which I’ll summarize:
Every inch of land is a potential location for growing food: Vacant lots, the center meridian on a road, or even a dirt path between apartment buildings.
If you don’t have land, work out a creative deal with a neighbor who has a yard.
Get a good return on your landscaping dollar. Many edible plants, trees, and shrubs are very attractive and should be used in landscaping.
What’s nice about developing any or all of these hands-on food security methods is you build a valuable skill that can last a lifetime and you can pass on the knowledge to the next generation. Equally important, you build a network of like-minded individuals you can call upon.
Three Hands-Off Food Security Methods
Okay, so if you aren’t quite ready to get your hands dirty and start growing your own food or raising chickens, we’ll offer some ‘hands-off’ methods that will allow you to buy direct from self-sufficient local farmers and cultivate a food source outside of Big Ag’s vulnerable food-distribution network. Today, the variety of services available to accomplish this is only limited by the entrepreneurial spirit of the agricultural producer or savvy businessperson.
A few terms to try online to find local vendors: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Vegetable & Fruit CSA, Community Supported Fisheries (CSF), Farmer Based Club, Buying Clubs, or Co-ops… The bottom line with these arrangements is that consumers connect directly to the farmers who provide the agricultural products (completely bypassing the corporate food-distribution channels). The fastest way to find a club near you is online or by speaking with like-minded people who have done the legwork – or the bulletin board at your local farm and garden supply store.
What makes these arrangements different from farmers’ markets is that they are typically membership programs. To secure your supply of food, you must join as a member. One example is AbundantHarvestOrganics.com in California.
Very similar to the above are “rental” schemes. The idea here is that you pay a fee to “rent” the production of an agricultural product such as nuts from a nut tree or milk from a cow. Take a look at RentMotherNature.com or RealMilk.com for examples.
Farmers’ Markets. These are very popular today and growing. They are easy to find because many communities sponsor their own weekly market, and they’re also fun to visit since they tend to have a carnival-like atmosphere. And since there’s typically no middle man, you get to speak directly with the grower or producer.
Here’s our suggestion: start building your food security plans now. Especially, access to a ready supply of nutrient dense food and a network of like-minded people you can lean on during an increasingly likely food crisis.