Preparedness Is Local:
7 Simple Ways to Get Ready
A famous politician once said, “All politics is local.” The same is essentially true for prepping. Let me show you how to get started on sizing up, and making arrangements for, your possible needs in an emergency.
In any social disruption or national crisis, you can expect diminished access to vital resources that come from national or large regional distribution systems – food, water, fuel, medicine. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a terror attack, or social chaos, your access to key resources will become severely limited or cut off completely.
When that happens, you end up totally reliant on local resources.
Savvy preppers know it’s important to get a feel for what’s available locally before there’s a disruption. Where does local food come from? What do you know about your local water supply? What resources exist nearby that you can use now to make you more prepared later?
You Should Take Advantage Of
SUGGESTION ONE: Your local Red Cross offers a number of low-fee workshops – some are even free. One of the classes many Red Cross branches offer is an Individual Preparedness Skills Workshop.
This workshop teaches basic skills intended to help you be self-reliant for an extended period of time. You’ll learn basic preparedness, emergency response, and recovery skills that you can share with your family, neighbors, and colleagues and that you can fall back on in any number of difficult situations. While the workshop is truly basic, it gives you a framework you can build on for more advanced and personalized prepping. I would highly advise you get friends, neighbors, and family members to attend with you so you aren’t shouldering the load alone.
SUGGESTION TWO: Your local outdoor stores are another good place to look for training classes. You may find affordable classes covering how to use a map and compass, hiking safety, hunting and fishing, recognizing and using edible plants, and basic first aid. A corollary to this is hunter safety courses, where you’ll learn safety and survival skills and more than likely meet like-minded individuals.
SUGGESTION THREE: Community colleges are a solid option for preparedness training. You can expect more in-depth classes that could run the gambit from emergency response training to how to be a better gardener.
Get to Know Your Local Farms
SUGGESTION FOUR: Even if you live in the city, you probably don’t have to drive more than an hour to reach a nearby farming community.
These communities can be lifesavers during difficult times. While grocery store shelves may be picked clean, local farmers may have fresh eggs and milk, fresh vegetables, and fresh meat that they’re willing to sell or barter for.
Even in the off-season, these farmers may have stored food that they didn’t sell during the previous season.
Getting to know what’s available through your local farms can serve you in two ways. First, you can get on friendly terms with a few local farmers, which will make it much easier to approach them to buy or barter for food during a crisis. Second, buying food now straight from your local farmers gets you more nutritious food at a better price. That means you can buy in bulk and preserve more food to increase your own food reserves.
A great way to get started is to shop at farmers’ markets and local produce stands. At many of these markets, Saturday is the biggest day of the week, so you can make a fun weekend excursion out of it.
Community Canning Centers
SUGGESTION FIVE: In many communities, during the height of the growing season, you can take your homegrown produce or produce that you picked and purchased from a local farm to a county or community canning center.
These centers have the equipment you need to can your food and many have canning experts on hand to help make sure you preserve the food safely. Even if you’re not set up to can in your own kitchen, these facilities make it easy for you to preserve a variety of foods without having to invest in new equipment.
Most canning centers have everything you need to prepare your foods for canning. You bring the ingredients and the jars, prepare your recipes, and then an on-hand expert will assist with the actual preserving process.
I know of one gentleman who owns a tract of hunting land not far from a community of Amish farmers. He collects sap from the maple trees on his land and has the farmers boil it down for him. The farmers get a share of the syrup for their efforts, and the landowner has a great source of natural sugar for his own household – plus a cash crop to sell in his community.
The Church of Latter Day Saints has canneries in cities across the nation that are open to non-members, as well. You can volunteer your time and labor to help with the canning and then get to take some of the food home with you at a much lower cost than you’d find at the store. And I know of a convent where volunteers help the nuns pick the grapes in exchange for a share of the highly nutritious grape juice.
The Most Important Local Resource
SUGGESTION SIX: Perhaps the most important local resource is your community. Take the time to get to know your neighbors. The more you can pull together with the people who live closest to you, the more secure and comfortable you will all be during an emergency. Imagine the peace of mind that comes with knowing you and your neighbors are looking out for each other rather than trying to take advantage of each other.
Don’t Forget Your Personal Space
: The most local of local resources is your personal space. Your yard or balcony can double as a garden. Your laundry room and pantry can double as a storage space for your extended food reserve
. Your bathroom closet can double as a first-aid and pharmaceutical supply closet.
The resources you have immediately on hand will make the biggest difference during any kind of breakdown. If you haven’t started yet, make this the day where you actually make significant strides toward readying your family for the growing likelihood of widespread social and economic disruption.