Food Shortage

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by NeeNee, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. NeeNee

    NeeNee Guest

    What is there was a nationwide food shortage? Do you think that could ever happen? What would you do/grow in order to prepare yourself for such devastation?
  2. wildman800

    wildman800 Well-Known Member

    I believe the Food Shortage has started along the entire chain from production, processing, and delivery to stores. Take a critical look at grocery store shelves. Do you notice "gaps" of open shelf space? Look behind the front row of products lining the shelves, are there more products behind that front row? By the end of a normal day, my local Walmart's freezer section is 1/3rd empty of products.

    My mitigation efforts have been to:

    Store more food of all kinds by always picking up 2 or 3 extra things when I go to the store.

    I just cleared trees from my backyard, that would shade my planned garden area.

    I keep vegetable seeds in the freezer until I need them. I add new seeds to the group each spring.

    I am learning about and making plans now to build a chicken coop and a rabbit hutch in the backyard corners.

    I will start planting 10-20 herbal plants in pots near the front and back doors. These will be herbs with food and medicinal uses.

    I am now giving the trees in my front yard a critical look. I could have them removed and have more area for gardening. The front yard as a garden would incur some security risks although it might just end up as being the area reserved for helping my neighbors with their needs. This can of worms require a great deal of thought before implementing it!!

    I am improving my bicycle stable carrying capacity so that it can be used more, if fuel supplies become tight in the future.

  3. dilligaf

    dilligaf Well-Known Member

    There will be shortages of food at some point in this economic mess .

    We grow at this point about 90% of our food on the homestead. The only things we dont grow are coffee, tea flour and sugar. We could produce oil from sunflowers if we chose too and we do grow some grains . We also forage for somethings in order to make flours. We could also render more fat from the critters at butcher time if we chose and tea can be made from many things. Our biggest issue is not having sweetener of any real sort other than some fruits. We cant do bees since we are all allergic and i kill all my sweet leaf every time i plant it.

    Then again i suppose we will need to barter for something sugar may as well be it:)

    I recommend to anyone to grow as much of there own food as possible. Even if its just a little bit, those little bits can help stave off starvation in meager times. One doesnt need to have much land or space to grow a lot of food in.
  4. Treyfer

    Treyfer Guest

    I didn't know you could preserve seeds in the freezer?
  5. Fn/Form

    Fn/Form Function over Form

    You can't really learn gardening skills or build a garden and compost/watering sources/tools overnight. So the key is start now. Think about who you can ally and work with. Securing a garden from people and critters is also important in needy times. Also, be prepared to preserve harvested food for hard times when weather or seasons do not cooperate.

    Sugar, flour wheat, etc. can be bought in bulk. A grain mill is needed.

    Think about powering canning/milling/preserving seeds without electricity. Also securing the same from the elements and rats.
  6. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

    If you look at the price of rice right now it seems crazy not to be putting it up in quantity if you have the extra money available. Costco is selling 25 pound bags for $10.80. That's essentially 40,000 calories, enough to feed a person for a month (with other protein sources).

    I'm looking at putting in corn and strawberries in the backyard and carrots, beets, and lettuce in the frontyard next summer. My expectations are low, as this is my first time doing anything but strawberries (which was years ago). But as Fn says, better to get started now and start the learning curve, than later, when your life might depend on it.
  7. dunappy

    dunappy Well-Known Member

    We have a large vegetable garden and save seeds instead of buying them. I have a winter garden in the house windows and the summer garden outside.

    I also keep perinneal plants so that I don't need to reseed them every year in particular my onions and herbs.

    I also have fruit trees, (apple, Peach, Asian Pear, Mulberry) and Nut trees, Pinyon, and butternut.
    And fruit bushes (saskatoon blueberry, Elderberry and currants)

    And I have chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys for both eggs and meat.

    And I have horses for transportation. but in a serious pinch if one were gravely injured, I don't have a problem slaughtering for meat either. We also live less than 15 miles from a nice lake full of fish and I can fish.

    We live right outside the National forest and we frequently have deer and elk come near the house so we could go hunting as well if needed.

    And at the moment we are stocking up on beans and rice and other things we can't grow well here in the high desert mountains.
  8. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

    I agree to start now. Even if there is not a food shortage being sufficient should be everyone's goal and if you have even the smallest plot of land you can grow a good number of quality vegetables just fine including indoors.

    Start a compost now, freeze dry some food, vacuum seal grain, rice, sugar. Then start a basic garden or raised bed to plant in. If you don't have fruit bearing trees then plant a few. Do them in pairs.
  9. Magus

    Magus Scavenger deluxe

    Sugar will keep about five years in sealed glass jars with some dessicant on top. :)
    No need to go tradeing your hard earned stuff just for thet.
  10. Lowdown3

    Lowdown3 Active Member

    Hey Dilli, have you guys ever tried sugar cane up there? We've tried it a couple times here and didn't have any luck. But I spent about 30 minutes talking to an old gal that grows it here recently and we are going to try again.

    I have some stalks I can cut up and mail to you if you want to try some, let me know.

    BTW, did you get any more rabbits?

    Good subject matter here.

    Folks I hate to sound negative but if you are not doing a lot of this NOW, it's not going to be as easy as you think it is when the time comes. Many factors will work AGAINST you including-

    *Lack of experience- that's the big one Weezey!
    *Lack of water pressure- think about it, how will you irrigate?
    *Seed longevity- sure you might get a little longer keeping your seeds in the freezer but the real ticket is to grow a garden EVERY year so that you get in the habit of keeping seeds regularly and always have a "fresh" crop of seeds.
    *Soil not ready- most folks think they will just pop open their #10 can of "survival seeds" scratch the earth, pop them in and have the Garden of Eden in a few short weeks. Doesn't work that way folks! Get your soil tested NOW and start working on amendments NOW, not after the fact.

    These are just a few.

    Ponds and orchards take the longest time to get established, these are the things you want to do FIRST when you get your homestead set up. Why? Because the fruit trees will take 3-5 years to really start producing and the pond will take a couple years to get into full production also.

    Also, if you have not yet moved to your retreat and are just visiting on the weekends, etc. then these are the two main things you can do as a semi absentee owner. You can't reliably grow a garden and raise animals without being there to look at/work with them. You can put some fruit trees in and water them on the weekends, you can put your pond in, lime and fertilize it, stock it and walk away for it for a while.

    These things take time. Listen to folks like Dilligaf, they are LIVING this right now, I was blessed to visit their place earlier this year, it is AWESOME!

  11. dilligaf

    dilligaf Well-Known Member

    ohhhhhhhhh i would love some canes lowdown! That would be awesome and no we havent tried it as yet although my ex inlaws grew it in mexico:D We did indeed find a breeder to get a couple few more bunnies locally. We havent gotten them as yet but they do have them continually so it shouldnt be an issue when we are ready. ... sorry to hijack the thread a tad....

    :D...we have a good bit stored away. We have most everything we need for a good couple years while we work toward expanding things even further with what we grow and do here on the land. By no means what we do here now is all we plan on doing. It is a constant evolving work in progress and i think it always will be.

    We got the basics covered in the recent years here and have it completely functional now we are simply adorning our diet with other things as we go along and as i have said before in posts we are at about 90 % sustainability. sugars and oils are the major things that we plan on working toward in the coming months / years. At the same time it takes alot of time to get things to where we need them in order to accomplish each goal. The more you plant, the less room you have to accomplish the remainder of your goals. This in turn requires getting creative in making new beds and new soil to grow in. Priorities are different for each family or individual, for us it was getting gardens sustainable for us, then getting crops for critters to a level we felt good about and now it is adding things where we can and when we can afford it to keep while maintaining the sustainbility we have. As we grow , the more time it takes to accomplish everything and with two of us to work it all it becomes a juggling task at times.
  12. Laddyboy

    Laddyboy Guest

    I know 'sweet leaf' as something else.....ask Black Sabbath.
  13. AgentFlounder

    AgentFlounder fan of analysis

    I wonder. How many times have there been food shortages in the US in the past ... say 100 years? Or 200 years? Under what circumstances have there been food shortages elsewhere in the world and do any of those circumstances seem likely in the US in the next few years?

    I don't have those answers, but my gut feeling is that a nationwide food shortage is not very likely.

    Somewhat more likely is a family food shortage due to an economic crisis either because we get really poor or food gets really expensive. Likelihood varies by family, I would think.

    My parents grew up during the depression. My grandmother (RIP) grew up poor. I heard stories of them growing their own food, canning, skills lost to most of us urbanites. They lived through WWII and victory gardens, rationing, etc. and I have heard those stories too.

    I have done some hobby gardening with decent success with some plant. I have recently taken up hunting (with no success yet) as a hobby too. I could see either hobby also being meagre food sources.

    One has to consider how much cost in water and fertilizer for a garden versus buying in the store. If economic crisis hits, will I be able to afford my house? How much does a pound of deer meat really cost given range fees and bullets for practice and low success rate (say 30%)?

    If I had a big property on fertile land I'd be thinking about a bigger garden, but in suburbia I think other mitigations may make more sense than DIY food.
  14. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

    There WAS nation wide food shortages!

    In 1813/1814 volcanic eruptions in the south pacific cause the US to have virtually no summer.
    Snow in June, Hard freezes in Sept.
    There was virtually no growing season and thousands died.

    Most of our Irish Immigrants came to America because of a Potato famine in Ireland where MILLIONS starved to death.

    The US 'Civil War' (Wasn't anything 'Civil' about it.) ruined crops in the south, and starvation killed thousands.
    Some people resorted to picking undigested kernels of grain out of the Union troops Horse Dung and eating them, others ate leather belts, shoes, harnesses to keep from dying.

    1930's in America saw the 'Dust Bowl',
    Unusually dry weather for about 10 years in the plains, western states & south that usually produced most of our wheat and most of our corn.

    Floods in the 'Corn Belt' & Rice production along the Mississippi River states have driven up prices in the '80's and again in the last couple of years.
    I live in Indiana, and we were effected both times.

    People wonder why I grow garden, home can as much as I do...
    First off, I like doing it!
    I like knowing EXACTLY what's in my food supply!
    And home canned food tastes so much better since it's picked at the correct time (Ripe) instead of industrial pickers taking everything from green to rotten!

    No rat droppings or insect parts allowed in my canning!
    No harmful chemicals, no poisons, no preservatives except for some table salt...

    Secondly, It's good for me!

    I'm former military, I was in three aircraft crashes, shot once and caught some shrapnel...
    Had car and motorcycle wrecks, and my family is prone to lots of things like diabetes, cancer, arthritis, ect.
    And I'm German/Native American, so, I LOVE TO EAT!

    Working in the garden keeps the arthritis from the many fractures and dislocations limbered up so I don't stiffen up.
    Working in the garden gets me off the sofa and away from the table and getting some exercise!
    Bending, stretching, lifting (Gardening is 'Country Yoga'),
    And lot's of 'Tinkering' with tomato cages, bean poles and pea fences, WEEDING!...
    Turning the compost pile over, mending fences, digging potatoes, ect.
    I have the blood pressure of a 25 year old, cholesterol is down some (still WAY high) and I keep my weight in check! (Weight is a BIG DEAL for Germans! We are ALL FAT!)

    Third, I have about 2 years of home canned staples at any given time, since I know 'This-or-That' can get rainned out, eaten by bugs, early frost can get things, ect., so I usually put up at least two years worth when I'm running low on something.

    Fourth, I get EXACTLY what I want!
    If I want to put up 'Indian' corn as a lark, I can do it!
    If I want to make 'Bread & Butter' pickles out of Zucchini, then I can have that!
    (BTY, Zucchini makes GREAT pickles!)
    If I want to mix string beans with great northern beans, then I can put them up that way!

    Fifth, I get chemical free meat.
    The large cattle/pig/chicken producers pump the cattle full of growth hormones and anti-biotics.
    Those are CHEMICALS, not living pathogens, they don't 'Disappear' or 'Die' with low heat (cooking) and are passed right on to the consumer...

    If I get or grow livestock locally, I know what is going into the meat I'm freezing/canning.

    This gives me an automatic 2 year 'built in' buffer against failures, shortages, or just plain stupidity!

    (like speculators driving up the price of Wheat, Corn, Soybeans, livestock, ect. like they did oil prices over the summer!)

    I'm guessing a 2 year supply could be stretched to 2.5 or 3 years if I had to by hunting, fishing, foraging more than I normally do... Game meat and fish can/freeze very well too!
    (Walnuts, Pecans, Hickory Nuts, Black Berries, Mushrooms, ect.)

    I also like the fact that I have plantings seeds for two or three years from letting the last of each crop go to seed.
    I have some types of seeds that I haven't seen sold in the catalogs for several years, but I like the way they produce/taste, so I do the seed storage every year on those items...
    (Like 'Indian' sweet corn! Find that in the seed catalogs!)

    BTY Guys, SUGAR is a NITRATE, and will store indefinitely if you keep it air tight.
    Sugar has been found in 4,000 year old Egyptian tombs, as good as the day it was stored!

    Same with salt, keep it from moisture, and it will be good for at least 4,000 years!
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2008
  15. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

    There are numerous things pointing toward a global food shortage in the coming years. First, is Peak Oil. Whether you're a believer or not, there is a finite supply of oil on the planet and our current agricultural production is highly dependent on oil and natural gas. It's used in fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, harvesting, processing, and distribution. No doubt, the higher the price of oil and natural gas, the higher the cost of food production and eventually, the higher the cost at market.

    Second, the higher the cost of oil, the more pressure to turn food into oil-like products like ethanol. In 2007 roughly 20% of US corn went to produce roughly 6% of the fuel that went into American gas tanks. As oil prices rise (and they will once again), expect the competition for corn to rise.

    Third, there is no US food supply anymore, there's only global food supply. Just like the US can't isolate itself from world oil prices, we can't isolate ourselves from world food prices either. It's a global market, so we're competing with both suppliers and consumers from around the world. A bad rice crop in China or India has a direct impact on the price you pay for grains in the US.

    Fourth, whether you're a believer in man-caused global warming or not, the long-term trends indicate that the climate is changing. Remember reading about Hans Brinker ice skating on the canals of Holland when you were in school? Well the canals have frozen once in the last 100 years or so. That period was known as the Little Ice Age. Scientists don't know exactly what caused it, but suspect a variety of things like a period of increased volcanism or low solar output. In any case, with 6.5 billion people on the planet, an event like that would be catastrophic today.

    Fifth, is the possible long-term impacts of massive honey bee die-offs. The loss of pollinators could impact hundreds of major crops that humans are dependent upon. No one is ever sure why, but the consequences could be global.

    Personally, I'm just tired of being dependent on a supply chain that I have no control over. My short-term goal is to get to producing 15-20% of my own fresh veggies by this summer. Long-term, I'd love to produce half or more, but that won't happen with my current home. I need more land and water for that, so that's just one of several reasons we're on the prowl for a new place to call home.
  16. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

    Re: Bees Dying

    Although I do live in the city once a year we have a fair and farmers come from all around to educate city folk on how farms work. You get to see cows, pigs, sheep and bees. The bee guy told me all about why the bees are dying off. It turns out there is a mite that sits in the bee. When it hatches it eats the wings of the bee. The bee can't fly and it dies.

    Apparently almost all bees in North America now have a mite. It will wipe out a hive unless you do one of two things. The first is to blow tobacco smoke on the hive. All the bees and mites pass out and fall to the bottom of the hive. You put a mesh at the bottom and the bees stay in while the mites fall out. You can also do the same with icing sugar. It makes the feet of the mites clog and they can't stay on the bees.

    He even had some mites living in his glass display hive to show how it works. There were indeed wingless bees. He said as long as you do the tobacco thing your hives will be fine.

    He also said that each box or colony has a minimum size. If you put too few bees in a box they will all die. Since farmers pay by the box lots of bee keepers have been putting too few bees in each box. The farmers never check the boxes because they don't want to get stung. As long as they see a few bees coming out of the box they assume it is full and never take the lid off to check. As a result these "cost cutting" measures are leaving many bee keepers with no bees.

    I kept the guy's card because his honey was awesome and I kind of wanted to do a cooking blog on honey and bees. For those of you who have farms he says bees are easier to keep than any other farm animal. Even people in the suburbs with large back yards can keep bees and make home made honey. If you have a farm keeping a few hives ensures all your crops will be pollinated. He told me he always has queens for sale and can send them out.

    Here's his card:

    Szabo Queens
    Tibor Szabo
    Guelph Ontario
    [email protected]

    I don't know if you can mail bees to the United States from Canada but it might be worth looking into. If you've got a farm it might be worth a try?
  17. AgentFlounder

    AgentFlounder fan of analysis

    I wonder if they figured this out because the beekeepers who were chain smokers didn't have the problem? :D Glad to hear they figured this out. Was curious what was going on with that.
  18. Washkeeton

    Washkeeton Well-Known Member

    I raise bees.. havent heard that one yet about the colony colapse. The veroa mite sounds like the problems you describe...they are attached to the bees and live off them.. you can use powdered sugar to get rid of them because the suction cup feet cant continue to hold on...The last I heard about the bee die off was due to a virus of some sort... There are tracheal mites that live in their trachiea and there is many many other diseases and problems with bees that can cause them to die.

    I am glad to be up here with out many of the problems of the lower 48, I do have to admit. We did have our largest bee keeper in the state loose over 25 hives this summer to the problems with the bees. He has over 100 hives. I on the other hand do well to just keep up with the 2 that I have. Most of the AK bee keepers keep the popular italians that come from California. I on the other hand dont, I keep the caucausions from South Dakota... I often wonder if that also has something to do with the health of my bees because I havent had any problems with them yet.

    For sugar, I know that Alaska couldnt grow cane but oh would I love to... I will hopefully be able to try to grow stevia this yr and see how it goes... is that the sweet leaf your refering too?
  19. dilligaf

    dilligaf Well-Known Member

    yes it is the sweet leaf i was referring to...
  20. Washkeeton

    Washkeeton Well-Known Member

    To answer your question... I had about a quarter acre cleared last summer that I intend to start working a portion of this summer and get it planted... I plan to hopefully get an opperable green house up and if not will put up the 2 portible ones until I can get the place the stationary one will go. I have my place set up here for 2 routs... one I have it all set up for gardening with a garden tractor with a plow and disks etc. I also have it set that I can build in frames for raised beds and use them to grow in doing a square foot garden sort of option... All hand tools and no gas powered anything. I will be setting up the watering system this summer. I have a well and will be setting up drip irrigation into certain areas of the garden. It rains a lot here so water really isnt the problem up here, it is keeping the soil warm so the plants have time to grow. When I set up the green house I will set it that run off from the roof rain will go into an under ground holding tank and that will be able to be pumped back out into the garden by a 12 volt pump run off a solar/wind set up. There by if I have elec or not I will always be able to grow something... the green house will have a propane heater and back up of a barrel wood stove...

    I forage for blueberries, I have rose hips, highbush cranberries, watermelon berries, bunch berries, rasberries, and black currents growing here on my property presently. With the clearing I am going to put in my mini orchard of apple, apricot, and pear trees. I will also start the red currents and strawberries plus some blackberries. My yard produces bluebells, dandalion, pineapple weed, lambs quarter, plantin, horsetail, fiddlehead furns, and fireweed that all grows naturally for both madicinal and food in my yard. There are others both edible and madicinal also but those are the main ones.

    I am going dipnetting for salmon.. will spend most of my days off this summer fishing for kings (now that I know the trick to catching them). I want to go moose hunting and have put the feelers out for any one that black bear hunts that I want their bear fat as long as the bears arnt into the fish when they take them...

    In a back corner of my yard I will be setting up a strong little 16 x 16 or so pen for 2 pigs... I should be able to acqurire them in late fall next yr. I will winter them over while they are little and finish feeding them out by the end of the summer 2010 and should have quite a bit of fat from them. Plan to render the lard down from them into lard containers... for my yearly lard needs.

    Since I am allergic to dairy, wheat, eggs, sugar, and a few other things I am trying to learn about traditional native foods and how they were prepared prior to the introduction of both processed sugar and flour.

    I want to be as food self-sufficient as possible..