If you live in America or really any industrialized country, there is a good chance you have a ton of holes in your food chain. The vast majority of Americans don’t even know what food security is, it’s just not something they think about. As long as they can get to the store and buy their food, they are happy. Unfortunately, when the pandemic hit, it was eye opening for a lot of people. They learned that having an emergency food supply isn’t just about a zombie apocalypse. This series is here to help you identify and start to fill the holes in your food security.
Why Food Security Is Important
I don’t understand why so many people don’t think about where their next meal is coming from. It’s mind boggling to me how many people just go about their life with no thoughts to the future. Most people don’t have a plan if their house catches on fire, let alone what they are going to do if they lose their job. Preppers have caught a bad name due to being hyper prepared but also due to propaganda. But those of us that have lost jobs, homes, or other life altering events know how important it is to have a back up plan.
Not all emergencies look the same, nor are they all on the same scale. For example, losing a job could be catastrophic for one family, but not a big deal for another. A week without power could cripple a family that relies on freezers to feed their family. A cancer diagnosis could financially ruin a family. But all of these are emergencies. But by having food security, it reduces one part of their emergency. Even if it’s small.
What Is Food Security
To start, we need to figure out what food security means to you and your family. To me, food security means having the ability to source and acquire the food, water, and other necessities my family and animals need to survive, at a minimum. If you don’t know what that looks like, you came to the right place.
In order to start filling food security holes, you need to first identify them. Then you can start figuring out how to close those holes. Remember, we are trying to source these items. Are you on a special diet? What do you know how to cook? What do you like to eat? What kind of storage do you have? What do your animals need to eat? These are all very important questions in closing food security holes.
Let’s start answering some of those questions
If you are on a special diet like a cardiac, diabetic, or even lactose intolerant, getting emergency supplies is going to be harder to do. There is a ton of carbs and sodium in long term, commercial foods. Preserving your own foods is ideal, but it’s not necessarily long term.
Can you cook? If not, having pre-made, commercial meals may be the way to go. Especially if your culinary skills are limited. However, I would highly suggest you learn to cook more and also learn about the fundamentals of cooking.
Are you a picky eater? Or have someone in your home that is picky? Then you need to make sure that you’ve got foods that they like or can tolerate. It’s cruel to tell someone, “sucks to be you” in an emergency situation. So make sure you’ve got foods that they like. A side note to this, if you buy a pre packed survival meal kit like this, please make sure that you like EVERYTHING in it. It may save you some money now, but if you don’t like beef stroganoff, don’t waste your money on it.
What kind of storage do you have? We are blessed to have a basement/garage combo that we were able to retrofit with shelves and turn a 12×12 area into our food storage room. We’ve got tons of shelves and supplies to help us out. Everything from canned goods to extra jars as well as commercial, long term storage items. If you aren’t that lucky, where can you store your emergency supplies? A linen closet? Under the beds?
Lastly, what do your animals need to survive? It seems that most people forget to make sure they’re animals will be okay in an emergency situation. That means making sure that you’ve got medications, food, and water.
Why is this so important to me?
Well, recently we had to replace our well pump. I know you’re thinking, “Leigh, a well pump isn’t about food and food security.” But it is. Without water, all things will die.
When we moved on to our homestead, we were told that the well pump was pretty new but to have a couple of pump switches on stand by because the power would surge and cause the switch to fail. The first night we were here, the water cut off in the middle of my shower. I had to use bottled water to finish washing my hair. I called my step dad and the old owner trying to figure out what happened. The switch failed.
For the next several months we dealt with the water randomly cutting off or the water stopping if we ran the back spigot. Multiple plumbers came out and no one knew how to fix it. Then one morning, the water cut off completely.
This is a big problem, without water you cannot drink, shower, water crops or animals. Since the other plumbers couldn’t figure out the problem, I decided to call a well plumber. We were showering at the stations because we had no water at home and we were giving our animals bottled water. There was also a winter storm bearing down on us that was supposed to hit that weekend. The stores were running out of water. In short, we were screwed if we couldn’t get access water.
The well plumbers came out and said it was the well pump. When we explained it was a brand new pump, they said that everything we were describing; running out of water, low pressure, etc were all because of the pump. Once it was replaced, we never had another problem.
PS: Shortly after the well pump was fixed, that winter storm hit and we lost power for three days.
So how does this relate to food security?
Simple: if you do not have water, you cannot cook, clean, drink, or survive. Without that well pump, our animals would die of thirst.
Some of the steps we took after this incident was to make sure that we always have 5 gallon jugs filled. We also have a pump to get water out of them. Then we have several IBC and 55 gallon totes around the property that we fill for animal water.
Our garden produces a lot of our veggies, if not all of them. This helps make sure that we have fresh veggies for today, but also canned veggies for later.
Then we have our animals, all of the animals on our homestead can survive off of what the homestead produces during the warm months. The chickens and ducks give us a ton of eggs and we’ve only selected dual purpose breeds so that we can butcher when we need to.
Our goats provide us with milk and we make our own cheeses, creamers, and even butter. We are also going to be purchasing Boer goats and breed them so that we can have meat from them as well.
Don’t live on a farm?
Don’t panic! Just because you don’t have a garden or animals, doesn’t mean that you can’t start preparing for an emergency! You can go on Amazon or Walmart.com and start looking at various long term, emergency food. We like Augason and Ready Wise, but do your research.
Food security includes water, food, and basic necessities like soap, medications, first aid, and clothes just to name a few things. So what can you do to start identifying holes in your food security and fixing them?