Thursday, June 24, 2010
Is this "IT"?
"Post Collapse Food" apple pie, lentil, brown rice, summer squash dish, garden salad.... could be worse.
freeacre & ras
Ras has graciously put together a post for us regarding making food preparations for shortages that are affordable and do-able in a short amount of time. In fact, we may not have much time left to make preparations. Matt Savinar, in his comments today on LATOC, warns that this is, indeed, “IT”. Gather with your loved ones, turn away from your computer screen, go outside and enjoy the little time you have left. He thinks that the possibility of a huge methane explosion in the gulf may cascade into millions of lives being snuffed out by poisonous and flammable gasses that could blow at any minute. You probably have already traced the links that he provides. We have been talking amongst ourselves about this for weeks.
Additionally, there are the dire predictions of the sunspot cycle and the solar flares and coronal mass ejections that are speeding up. The cycle is anticipated to culminate in December of 2012, when the Earth and Hanab Ku (the Mayan term for the center of the galaxy and its transformative energy). At that point, an angry Sun could blow off the protective magnetosphere of the earth, and fry us. A shifting of the poles of the earth, the stop and then reversal of the rotation of the planet, and subsequent global tsunami, would destroy most living things. Or not. After all, pole shifts have happened regularly and things got rough. Ice Ages have happened. Weather changed dramatically. But, the human race survived. In fact, enough anomalous artifacts have been found that simply do not fit within our assorted histories that make it seem likely that destruction of Life As We Know It may have occurred repeatedly – maybe for millions of years.
Almost seeming tame in comparison is the possibility of the death of the dollar, the breakup of the European Union, war with Iran (less likely if oil shortages become acute soon), and hurricanes destroying property and spreading contamination that would lead to mass evacuations and the deaths of millions once again. Oh, yeah, then there is the bankruptcy of many of the states in the union and possible riots and revolution as people become more and more desperate and have less and less to lose. Let’s say a hurricane in the Gulf picks up mass quantities of oil and toxic chemicals from the sea and deposits them over thousands of homes, lakes, streams, cities, townships, and farms. How viable are those places going to be then? What about all those mortgages that are already upside down anyway? Would it surprise anyone if survivors just packed up, left their keys on the table and headed for Michigan or Ohio where the real estate is dirt cheap?
That would, of course, leave the banksters and the state and local governments holding the bag. The banks would fail, the derivatives would go up in flames, pensions and municipal bonds and just about every financial instrument you can think of would tank. Property taxes could not be collected to pay for municipal services. I mean, I am no financial wizard to be sure. But, it seems to me that alone would be enough to ascertain that we’d go from a “slow crash” scenario to a “fast crash.”
So, I don’t know. Prepare to survive or live each day as if it is your last? Good question. Lately, I find myself listening to favorite recording artists, re-watching my ten best movies, looking through my photo albums, remembering my best times, and being grateful for everything. But, maybe that’s because we’ve already been preparing for five years. I’d rather spend my last days visiting Crater Lake than trekking to Costco for additional gallons of olive oil.
On the other hand, I’d sure hate to check out like those delusional Hale Bot Comet numbskulls did in L.A. and maybe miss something amazing. Something wonderful might pop up like the three morel mushrooms that appeared in our backyard last week. So, let’s go with the preparation scenario. I’ll shut up now and let ras take over….
The Emergency Food Storage Plan That Could Save Your Ass If Things Go Really Wrong
Please note: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. I am NOT responsible for anything you do or do not do with it. Also please note that the elderly, the very young, and those with sensitive stomachs do not adjust well to a sudden, drastic change in diet. Also, this is not a substitute for a ‘store what you eat, eat what you store’ plan. This should be used in addition to that plan for a couple of reason. 1.) In a short-term situation, you should use those stores instead, and 2.) Even in a long term situation, you will want to shift your diet as gradually as possible.
Things are going wrong in a major way. All over the world, the excrement is hitting the fan. What happens if things get so bad that supply chains are interrupted and the grocery store shelves are bare? What if there’s a real famine? What will you do and will you and yours be okay? These once distant possibilities are becoming more real everyday and, if you’re like me, you’re increasingly worried. It’s grim out there, folks, and getting grimmer. The only way to insure your food security is by having enough food stored to get yourself through no matter what happens.
Food storage is an insurance policy. Let me repeat that: having food stored is insurance. Insurance against famine, insurance against natural disaster, insurance against civil unrest. You may never use your car insurance or your homeowners insurance, but you have it anyway. You should have food storage for the same reasons.
How much do you need? A few days, a month, three months, six months, a year? That is up to you, but I would say a month is the bare minimum and I would not be comfortable with less than six months. A year is not too much. Hell, these days two years is not too much. But storing this much food raises its own issues: spoilage, expense, and storage space. I am going to detail a simple, inexpensive way to cover your ass in the event the fan gets clogged from all the crap that’s flying at it. Whether you choose to use it or not is up to you; you may think it’s too extreme or use any number of other options. But at least you’ll have the information.
How much food do you need for 1 person for a year? There are several ways to calculate this. I like this one: http://lds.about.com/library/bl/faq/blcalculator.htm The Mormons have a church law that requires them to keep a year’s worth of food on hand at all times, so as you might expect, they’ve gotten pretty good at this.
Here are the totals for one person:
Grains -300 lb
Legumes -60 lb
Fats and oils -13 lb
Sugars -60 lb
Milk and dairy -75 lb
Baking Powder and Baking Soda -1 lb each
Yeast -0.5 a pound
Salt -5 lbs
Vinegar -0.5 a gallon
Notice there’s no meat here. Beans plus whole grains (not white rice) equals a complete protein so you don’t need meat.
That’s a lot of food, and a lot of money. A years worth of grains and legumes for one person from most emergency supply stores, pre-packaged, is well north of $600, plus shipping. A family of two would pay in excess of $1200 just for rice and beans. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of money for someone like me. How can you reduce the expense?
Do it yourself. You can get the food and package it on your own. Beans are available in any supermarket. Grains can be bought in bulk from health food stores or online. Or you can go to the nearest feed store and buy untreated feed grain. Yes, you read that right. If you store it right it isn’t going to go bad and you can give it to a farming friend when you rotate it. If you have to eat it, you really aren’t going to care. It’s the same thing they use for humans anyway. Fifty pounds of wheat, corn, or oats from a feed store is about $10. That means it would take you sixty bucks to get enough grain to last a year for one person. Not bad. (Don’t tell them you’re going to eat it. They won’t sell it to you.) You can also get fifty pound bags of white rice for $15, but will need to supplement the rice with more protein sources. Do NOT get more than half of your grains in wheat. A lot of people are sensitive to wheat and don’t know it until they try to eat a heavily wheat dependent diet. You don’t want to do this, have to depend on it, and then discover that you or your seven year old has a wheat allergy.
Legumes –most beans are a dollar a pound or less at the store. Split peas are $0.79 a pound. Get mostly dried and a few cans. Be sure to get multiple varieties. Each kind of bean tastes different. Sixty pounds = sixty bucks. Now we’re up to $120 for one person for a year. Still not bad.
Fat and salt –both of these are absolutely required for health. The problem with most modern diets is that we get too much of both of these for the amount of physical activity we get. Fats tend to go rancid within a year, so you’ll have to rotate these constantly. You can buy a years worth of whatever you normally use and work through it with your ‘store what you eat, eat what you store’ plan. The only exceptions to this are peanut butter and lard. Unopened peanut butter lasts for years, is cheap, and is also a really good source of protein. Lard is cheap and will last for years, but it’s also incredibly bad for you. Salt is going to be the cheapest part; you can buy 10 pounds of salt for two dollars. Put up as much as you possibly can –it is required for life, it’s a good food preservative, a good seasoning, and a trade good. So, $25 for both fat and salt brings us to $145 per person. Call it $150.
Sugar –sugar is a good sweetener and good preservative. Fifty pounds will set you back less than $25 bucks. Milk and dairy are up to you. A lot of people don’t use dairy. Add in the miscelleanous items and you’re up to $200 a person. For a year of food. Not bad for insurance. Fill in as you can afford with vegetables and so forth, but this will take care of your bulk caloric requirements. There are three other items not on the calculator that are absolutely necessary. The first is a good multivitamin. In good times or bad times you need a vitamin, but especially in the bad times. This will ensure that you’re getting all your nutritional requirements. The second is a store of seeds so that you can grow more food. The third –as many spices and seasonings as you can get your hands on.
Now for storage. You need something to put all of this food in. Go down to Home Depot and buy yourself a bunch of their orange buckets with the air tight gasket lids. These cost about $2.50 each, with tax. You can also buy brand new empty paint cans; the only requirement is that they have air tight lids. Don’t just pour the food inside; plastic imparts strange odors to food, so you need a liner. You can use a mylar bag, a paper bag, or anything else that will work. Now you need to remove the oxygen from the environment so that the food can’t degrade. You can buy oxygen absorbers online. They cost about $15.00 for a hundred of them. Or, you know those hand warming packets? They have the same chemicals in them. Activate a couple, throw them in each bucket, and put a lid on right away. Or, don’t fill the bucket quite all the way, put a tealight on top of the food, light it, and put the lid on. The candle will go out once it burns up the oxygen. You will have to look up ways to use this food if you should ever need it –cooking it is a little more complex than opening a can. If you want to be able to make flour, you’ll need to find a grain mill or something similar.
Rotation guidelines: Grains and legumes –once every ten years. Sugar –once every five. Yeast, baking soda, baking powder –use these and replace as needed. Fat –once a year. Salt –never.
All told you’re looking at about $300 a person for an insurance plan that could literally save your life. That to me is not a bad investment.
Where do you store this stuff? In closets, under the bed (in case of the paint cans), in corners, anywhere you can find. Just don’t put the food in the garage or an outbuilding –unprotected buildings cause food to degrade faster, and leave it more open to pests.
A note about pets: don’t forget them. You have to store food for them as well. Dogs are omnivores, and like humans, can eat a vegetarian diet if it’s planned right. But cats are carnivores and absolutely MUST have meat. So throw a few cases of canned cat food under your bed for your feline friend. She’ll also help feed herself on the moles and mice that will inevitably attack your garden or get into your house.
Well, that's "food for thought" for now. Next, maybe we'll list some handy gadgets and other non-edibles that are handy things to have.