Most of us depend on supermarkets for the majority of our food purchases. Yet the slightest disruption to the supply chain would empty supermarket shelves within just a few days. If panic buying were to set in, supermarket shelves would be bare within hours. It wouldn’t take much. Just a truckers strike, a fuel embargo or a widespread natural disaster could suffice to bring about the total exhaustion of our food supplies.
This is not pure science fiction. The global food distribution system is complex and depends on a steady supply of fossil fuels to move food great distances. Winter snows and freezes led to panic buying in the United Kingdom in December 2010. The stocks on grocery stores shelves in parts of the United Kingdom were totally wiped out. I’ve personally seen bottled water and loaves of bread vanish from store shelves as a hurricane approaches.
Disaster relief is not always immediate. You might have to rely on your own resources for a while. Remember Katrina.
When you’re doing your grocery shopping, take note of where the produce is coming from. Are the blueberries from Chile? Were the tomatoes grown in Mexico? Did the potatoes come from Idaho? Would that food still get delivered if there was a breakdown at any point along the supply chain?
How do you protect yourself and your family from some calamitous collapse of the food distribution network? There are a few steps you can take to be better able to respond to a food emergency:
- Stockpile some canned food. Canned goods have a long shelf life and you won’t have to rotate your stock very often. If you buy from a warehouse store like Costco, BJ’s or Sam’s Club, you’re probably already stockpiling some food because you have to buy it in bulk.
- Grow your own food. You’ll be healthier and you’ll enjoy better tasting dishes. You’ll be secure in your ability to harvest some of your own victuals.
- Learn about wild edibles. It’s fun to know how to make gourmet food out of weeds and other wild stuff. It also gives you added food security.
- Take up hunting or fishing as a hobby. It could be very useful to know how to supply some fish and game to your family. You could be feasting on bass filets while others are scraping the last bit of peanut butter out of a jar.
- Make friends with local farmers. They could really help you out in a food emergency. At the very least, you should make an effort to buy local farm products so that we’ll all have a resilient agricultural economy nearby.
- Keep some seeds on hand. The seeds would be virtually useless in a short term emergency. But if there’s a protracted problem, then having seeds for planting or barter could prove crucial. Heirloom and open-pollinated varieties are the best kinds of seed to have because that kind of seed can be saved. Hybrid seed would only be good for a single season.
Just some food for thought ….