Skip to comments.Energy and Food Independence (off the grid)Preparation Tips on Shoe-String Budgets
Posted on 10/08/2012 1:56:11 PM PDT by hope_dies_last
Any tips or helpful resources to prepare for the coming food shortage and societal collapse? I am the father of two and I owe it to my wife and kids to make any necessary preparations, while I still can, for adequate survival in an economic meltdown or food crisis. I am on a very limited budget, but need any useful advice I can get out there to prepare with very limited resources. I am sure there are others on this platform, beside me and my family, that would stand to benefit from such advice.
Recently, it has become more and more apparent to me that urban dwellers may need to learn more about maintaining a survival or crisis garden. In order to maximize space and time for rapid growth and maturation of crops, one must become more adeptly acquainted with adequate soil preparation and maximization. Some of these methods are not widely used in commercial agriculture, which rely heavily on pesticides, fertilizers and heavy watering to compensate due to the nutrient starved and unconditioned soil.
There are several methods that require a multi-disciplinary, all-encompassing organic and soil preparation approach, to make the best use of limited time and space. The working smarter not harder approach, along with adopting a very green, composting and recyclable methods, one can make tremendous strides to maximize the use of the soil and increase yield, to sustain a small family during a food crisis.
We are at the brink of many different scenarios affecting supply chain and food distribution, including natural disasters, grid collapse, financial meltdown of our economy, etc. This is no longer far-fetched, wide-eyed alarmist theory, but a very real prospect that any one or combination of these ills, of our post-modern society, could very well threaten food availability and stability of city dwelling populations.
On average, all of our food is hauled in from an average of 1,200 miles away. Store shelves have been seen to empty, literally within hours, of the awareness of an impending emergency situation in any given major city. There are many preparations one can make to prepare for these situation and create a basic independence from the system for a temporary or extended period of time, depending on the location and the type of preparations made.
I am aware that these scenarios are real, and it is not a matter of if, but when they will happen. However, I work day in and day out and all of our resources and income is used up covering our basic expenses, like housing, food, transportation and other expenses, etc.
I know it will get much worse before it gets better and the saddest part is that although I am acutely aware of the situation, I am limited to act decisively due to our economic position at this time.
I believe acquiring the necessary know-how, tools, and essentials from very moderate means, would go a long, long way to help educate myself and those around me. I look forward to and I am open to your positive feedback and helpful advice to help move forward in this direction.
As they say, Hope dies last. To me there is still hope for the little guy who has the insight to plan and prepare.
When the mess comes you can be sure the authorities will be around to those with gardens to share the booty
Naw, they got their own.
They'll be doing what Stalin did and burning the fields to the ground.
Not only did we save about 20% of our grocery store bill over the long run, we always had a comfortable buffer in case of severe weather interruptions.
Add skill sets. Learn from old books. Google books has lots of late 1800s early 1900s books that are free to download.
And the ones that there are, are lazy bastiges.
Here’s a good place to start...
Not sure if you referenced an article written by a professional horticulturalist or if those are your conclusions.
Perhaps if you describe your property: i.e. do you have a fenced yard which can be converted to a vegetable garden? Do your zoning laws allow chickens for eggs & meat? Would you know how to kill and pluck a chicken? Do you own a chest deep freezer? A generator? A water well and septic tank? Are you able to sell your house and move to a small farm where you could raise cattle for meat and milk, pigs and sheep? Do you know anyone who could run the farm while you continue to work? How old are your children? Don’t get hung up on organic compost. Cows & pigs do that. Also you would need land for grazing and growing hay for feed. Keep horses for transportation (cheaper than gas) and bicycles for emergencies.
Farming is not for the weak kneed.
For soil - we have found the polyculture farming - chickens+compost are the best way to keep good soil.
You can also use biomass aerators like (rinsed) coconut fiber.
And know your minerals.
invest in lead...
your neighbor has food.
and don’t talk about it. keep it secret.
#1 Get a drum you can store clean water in and add a small amount of bleach to it every few months to keep it from getting nasty. Get one of those pitchers with a carbon filter to pour it into when you are ready to use it.
#2 Bulk bags of rice are cheap and it keeps for a long time.
#3 Also have other grains on hand along with yeast and baking powder.
#4 Store sugar, baking soda and salt in a water tight containers.
#5 Have some type of cooking device and plenty of fuel such as propane, white gas, or kerosene.
#6 Store pepper, spices, tea, coffee, koolaid and other substances that make your food more palatable in water tight containers.
#7 Keep canned meats, fish, soup, vegetables and fruits.
#9 Dehydrated foods are good, but tend to be expensive.
#11 All foods must be protected from rodents, insects and other pests.
#12 Make sure that you have some first aid supplies such as hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointments, clean dressings, and pain relievers on hand.
#13 Make sure you have some means to protect yourself and your family.
Most of these items are relatively inexpensive. You don't need to spend a lot of money on expensive “survival” stuff. You should be using these supplies on a regular basis and replenishing to keep them relatively fresh.
Gardening and other long term survival skills are good to keep up on, but seasonal. If you live in a place where you can keep some animals that is great, but remember that they could be vulnerable to other desperate people.
From what you wrote, if those are your words, you know how to grow food, so do that.
Buy extra grocery store food when you can to build up food supply.
There is plenty of info. on the web to guide you through storing food and supplies. Buy what you can on an ongoing basis.
And don’t forget cooking oil, peanut butter, dried milk, dried eggs, cocoa powder and bulk chocolate. Potato flakes are your cheapest dehydrated food and can be added to any broth to make it much more filling.
“invest in lead... your neighbor has food.”
hopedieslast - Only do the above if you want to die.
“Hope” — I strongly urge you to abandon your very first premise: that in the event of an economic/ societal collapse that you will be able to survive in an American ‘urban’ or near-urban location. THAT is a fatal vision.
My/our opinion follows. An opinion based on reading a lot of current and historical material.
The synopsis is easy: MOVE OUT of the city, NOW!
As a husband and father of three, I / we decided long ago that we fundamentally lack the means to successfully defend in place. We live about 30 miles from Atlanta’s city center. Too close to even think of staying. We read and studied numerous texts - some more lucid than others — but in the end there are only two choices in the face of possible dystopian futures:
(1) MOVE OUT of urban areas *now* and resettle away from cities AND the arteries that interconnect them.
(2) construct, prepare and test-drive a realistic bugout plan.
IF a collapse happens, traditional and rational commerce in the city will end within day-one of general realization. At that point, the time to prepare is long gone.
(0) bugout needs to happen within 2-4 hours, and prudence requires you be armed prior even to that bugout, and probably have a ‘get home’ bag with you just to get home to initiate your bugout. Have contingency plans for your family to GO without you if you travel.
(1) travel out of the city within the first 4-24 hours will require use of alternate routes. Condition Red readiness/posture ALL the way. Split your materials between vehicles if you have more than one. That way if one is lost, you haven’t lost all of some things. ALWAYS have enough vehicle fuel on hand to make it to your bug out.
(2) travel out of the city between 24 - 48 hours will be dangerous and high risk
(3) travel out of the city after 48 hours will be a death sentence for you and a horror for your wife & daughter unless you are part of an organized convoy. And that convoy will make you trade liberty and wealth for security.
(4) no city can feed itself - you have already realized that. Neither can a city protect itself. The thin blue line is R E A L L Y thin in a collapse. There aren’t enough ethical Authorities in the USA to maintain order and anything resembling peace.
NET: get out. but if not, be ready to bugout, and have a garden now anyways. Squarefoot Gardening is my favorite. (Amazon.com sells it. Easy to do, really, just a bit pricey to get started.)
read- One Second After (Forsten) to get a rational and substantive view of what happens to modern society after a collapse. Don’t get caught up in the EMP arguments, just follow the societal piece. Place your family in that story.
read- the Enemies Foreign and Domestic trilogy by Matt Bracken (our Travis McGee).
Buy charcoal and/or briquets for cooking.
Ten large garbage cans capable of each holding 100 lbs. of charcoal/briquets can easily last a year. The ‘cans’ should be heavy-duty plastic with tight fitting lids.
I try to buy a couple or three bags of charcoal everytime I go the store. It is inexpensive. The cans, brand new, are not.
One more thing — develop technical/ mechanical skills that will be valuable for barter in a 19th century economy with 15th century politics (feudal). You and your family can survive if you and your wife, and kids can barter skills and labour for food/clothing/ shelter/ security.
And get out of the city. Now.
Correction: condition orange readiness/defensive posture.
Ask Kartographer to add you to his Prepper ping list.
Could you please add me to your prepper’s ping list?
What is a good source for an air tight food storage container. And don’t say garbage con. What do you think would be best for barter - whiskey, tobacco, etc?
Dittos... not into OPP ya know?
The inverse still would apply though
...to protect my own
I can't grow coffee, so I buy bulk green beans from Costa Rica. I'm not sure I'd barter it though. Depends on what the girl looks like, and if she can pull a plow. ;)
“One thing we did when young, and budgets were tight is to find (nonperishable) stuff you normally use, that is on sale, and buy as much as you can afford.”
That is such good advice! Save money AND prep!
You’ll be amazed how fast your food budget will shrink.
Salvage stores are great places to buy canned goods- as long as the exp date hasn’t passed they’re good to store if not acidic.
Mmm, corned/roast beef hash....
Take the chance to get out of the city whenever you get it.
And buy a case of cheap bottled water and stick it under your bed.
I live on a small sailboat... and when I’m away from all the comforts, I found one thing indispensable, an old, sturdy cast iron hibachi, if you can find one. Some of the new ones they’re making are really garbage.
I found that when I was traveling, that old hibachi bolted to my transom fulfilled all my cooking, water heating needs very well. I’m not saying it’s the ideal appliance for cooking, but it will burn anything...when I was traveling, if I saw the beach with a lot of driftwood on it, I stuffed my cockpit lockers full of wood... as long as I used sun bleached well weathered wood, I never had any problem... an added aesthetic benefit is that if it’s evening and the fire has burned down to coals, the salt in the wood makes multi colored flames, very neat.
The downside is, if the wind is blowing in the rain is falling, you need that first cup of coffee in the morning, you have to learn how to make a fire in any weather... but if you love your coffee, you learn!
For example, I live on the New Madrid fault line, and Tornado alley. These are part of the situations I have always tried to be ready for. One of your most important needs is water. Can't survive long with out it. It's more important than food. Hygiene needs to be high on list too. Dysentery is deadly.
When the market crashed, and gas prices rose, I knew from experience that food prices would follow quickly. I took some money from savings and bought a 6 month - 1 yr. supply of groceries, which I restock as sales come along. Most of the food that we eat consistently has risen about 25% per year.
Next I checked out the website for square foot gardening, and bought some seeds. Using these methods you can grow enough food and preserve it for 1 person in about 60 square feet. With row cover and plastic you can also extend your season and have fresh produce.
With rising gas prices, and Fed printing money, the food you buy today is going to be cheaper than what you buy tomorrow, so stocking up is essential. Like wise with guns and ammunition which could become unavailable under some scenarios.
To me, it is harder to survive in Urban situations. We live in a rural subdivision. Neither the subdivision nor the county has very many zoning rules or regulations. We have tolerant neighbors also.
We have our own well, collect rainwater from the roof. Have had a generator for years and lots of oil lamps and candles on hand, because we occasionally have electrical outages that last several days.
I would suggest that you look at your spending, and bills to try and have a little more money to use toward preparation. Magazines, Newspapers, Satellite tv, Redbox rentals etc. Anything that is not a necessity can be cut out.
Every dollar saved, for example, could be used to buy 2 cans of pork and beans-that’s 7 servings to eat straight out of a can if you have no way to cook stuff). In addition buy rice. Beans + Rice = complete protein. Stuff lasts forever. Quinoa is a grain that you can grow that has complete protein. Peanut Butter (another poor man's protein that you can grow). If you know you have water, then buy dried beans instead of canned beans(costs less).
I grew up with lots of people who had beans, taters, and cornbread for supper every night and they were thankful to have it. Some people I know grew up eating ketchup sandwiches and gravy made of pork fat, flour, and water with a little salt and pepper.
Just sit down and see if you can't eliminate or reduce the most costly items in your grocery list, to allow for buying extra of the less expensive things that you like and will eat. When you shop, buy one for the week, and 1 or 2 for the prep pantry. Rotate the supply. When there are sales, buy extra.
Use your imagination, and pretend that things have happened so that you no longer have any modern conveniences or that you are stranded in the backwoods or something. How would you survive? Prioritize the lists. Water, Food, Shelter, Health, and Protection.
Is there another method besides gasoline and a road flare? I guess that method might not go over well on a sailboat. ;)
Believe it or not, two of the most valuable objects for trading purposes to stock up on are half pints of alcohol (vodka, gin, bourbon), and anti-diarrhea medication according to the guy in Serbia during the Clinton Bombing years. Also 22 short and long rifle ammo is a valuable asset both to have and trade.
mild vices will be as good as gold..better.
As long as you don’t get high on your own supply..so to speak.
I would only get within eyesight of your place, then come to a stop and wave a white flag and get recognition from you that you wouldn't shoot me, before I advanced. I'd also wave a bottle of Jack Daniels to help insure you wouldn't shoot. See, you might hit the Jack Daniels and that would be my insurance you wouldn't shoot even though you said I could advance.
I really get tired of the posts to get a gun and go after someone elses water/food. Someone who is a prepper will take out anyone coming after their supplies. To suggest that for someone to do is inviting him/her to commit suicide. I have so much security to alert me someone is here, there is no way the zombie lives. I've been checking out zombie recipes, no sense in wasting meat.
Very interesting. I guess there are a lot more squirrels and bunnies running not to mention your neighbors’ kitties.
I bought a green egg ceramic grill. Not cheap but its the best grill by far I’ve ever owned. I slow cooked a nice ham this weekend, a good 18 hours of cook time. Used maybe 1lb of charcoal and had plenty left over. You can close the grill up and stop the oxygen flow which puts out the fire.
I don’t think I’ll need 1000 pounds of charcoal with it and can enjoy some mighty fine pulled pork in the meantime.
Hmmmm ... envy, robbery, and murder.
What else ya got up your sleeve?
Its not portable but as long as I can stay in place I will have a means of cooking just about anything with a minimum of fuel.
Peanut butter powder is also a good item to get. You can mix it into baking mixes for variety and protein, and it keeps better than regular peanut butter.
Think the zombie would go somewhere else (or die if he chose to keep coming). A tactical vest is loaded with what is necessary to keep firing and it's in the area where the doors are.
I was doing re-arranging of things a few days ago and found a body target sheet I used at a gun range. Years ago, I taped it to the outside of my bedroom door and that is what one would see when coming to my bedroom door. Friends laughed at that, but it made a statement. A body would be mostly cut in two by those bullets.
I agree you would need those military devices for your situation. I have friends who live on a small mountain in a rural area in the hill country of Texas (I've been there) so I can readily see you would need those. They have two Australian Shepherds and those big dogs make horrific barks and growls if anyone approaches.
However, I was there with my little female Yorkie, 4 lbs, and they were afraid of her, would walk away. That was funny.
It really depends on how often you cook outdoors - every meal, for example, or twice a week - and if you are using a dutch oven in addition to grilling directly over a flame.
The dutch oven can bake bread, cook rice and casseroles. It doesn’t require much in the way of charcoal or briquets, but daily use will take a chunk out of your energy supply.
I’m considering buying a small griller that uses sticks as a fuel source. I want to heat water in the morning for coffee and do not want to use either of my two set-ups which cook large amounst and require a considerably larger fuel load than an old camp kettle for heating water.
I never looked into that, but it sounds interesting.
Check the trees growing on “public lands”, like the median strips in quiet neighborhoods. Some of them will have edible fruits or nuts. Very few municipalities spray these areas, so on the one hand you can feel smug about eating organic fruits for free. On the other hand, you will learn to slice those apples very, very thin!
I just made up a big batch of crabapple pie filling from such “free trees”. There are crabapple trees around the corner from my parents’ house that bear apples as big as the ones in the store, and almost as sweet. People driving by give me odd looks when they see me out picking, but nobody objects. I’ve gotten raspberries and hickory nuts the same way.
There are also folks who have fruit or nut trees in their yard, but who don’t want the fruit (or nuts) that they bear. If you see a tree dropping its harvest on the sidewalk, ask and see if the owner would mind you taking some. My dad got a wheelbarrow full of black walnuts that way.
Check trapping regulations in your area. I know around here you don’t need a license to trap on your own property. I used to get squirrels regularly right on the back porch. I had to stop due to a muscle problem that keeps me from being able to set the traps anymore, but my nephew has been showing an interest so I might teach him when he’s a bit older.
If you can afford to send a family member to a trapper’s safety class, do so. They often know tricks for trapping in populated areas without getting caught. They can also help you sell the furs.
Sometimes if you put word out that you’re looking for stuff to can or dehydrate, people will bring you extras out of their gardens. Or, maybe a farmer has a field that could be gleaned? Those harvesting machines miss a lot. On one forum I’m on (can’t remember if it was this one, I’m on so many of them) one person said he picked up enough potatoes to feed his family for an entire year, just by spending a couple hours gleaning the potato field after the machines were done. What’s more, he said he only went through a small part of a single row!
If you have a lot of chocolate chip mix or pumpkin bread or other bread mixes, it’s an easy thing to dump in to add different flavors. Or pancake mix with peanut butter powder, then eat the pancakes with jelly. Can be mixed with fruit and milk to make smoothies and add protein.
In an emergency, mix the peanut butter powder with water for PB sandwiches.
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