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16 Ways to Prepare for Food Shortages

Prepare for food shortages because they are high impact and usually accompanied by economic collapse or destabilization of everything else in a country. Planning ahead is the only option because people will panic and quickly pick grocery store shelves clean once things get bad.

If you live in the United States and there are food shortages, it is likely shortages are on a global scale. There will be nowhere to run to. Your only option is to prepare for food shortages.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

If you are ready to prepare your family for food shortages, read on.

#1 Prepare Food Storage Space

Ready Squirrel’s Main Food Storage.

First, prepare for food shortages by setting aside storage space in a cool, dark location. I store most of my food in my bedroom closet, so I need somewhere to put my clothes. That is how seriously I take food storage. Where should you store your food?

Where should I store my food?

Store your food on storage racks or pantry-type shelving in a cool, dry location with low humidity. Make storage racks from dimensional lumber or buy Gorilla racks. Store food under beds, in closets, and inside furniture. So, what temperature should I store food?

What temperature should I Store Food?

Prime food storage temperatures are below 75° F and above freezing. Heat and temperature fluctuations drastically reduce the shelf-life of food stockpiles. Look for cool, dry, clean, pest-free areas, provide good ventilation, and avoid storing foods in a hot garage, attic, or outdoor shed.

It may be challenging to get constant temps of 75°, so pick your coolest, darkest location.

Next up, stockpile food.

#2 Stockpile Food

Ready Squirrel Stockpile: beans, rice, and wheat stored in Mylar and #10 cans

Second, prepare for food shortages by stockpiling food. I Stockpile shelf-stable, non-perishable foods like dry staples, canned fruit, vegetables, meat, or professionally packaged emergency food. I store everything I can afford and get my hands on.

Short-Term Emergency Food

To start, stock up on non-perishable canned food and bottled water for FEMA’s suggested 72-Hour Emergency Kit, which includes 2000 calories per day per person and 1 gallon of water per day per person.

Long-term Emergency Food

After setting up short-term food supplies, start working on bulk food for long-term survival. These types of food have a shelf-life of 30 years if stored properly.

I built my long-term food storage around rice, beans, and hard white wheat berries. I suggest you do the same.

Check out these Ready Squirrel articles to get started, How to store rice in long-term storage: by the numbers, and Store Bulk Beans Like a Rockstar.

19 foods for food shortages

  1. White Rice
  2. Dried Beans
  3. Hard Grains Like Wheat
  4. Instant Potatoes
  5. Dent Corn
  6. Salt
  7. Sugar
  8. Honey
  9. Soy Sauce
  10. Rolled Oats
  11. Pasta
  12. Dehydrated Foods
  13. Freeze-dried Foods
  14. Dried Lentils and Split Peas
  15. Low Fat Powdered Milk
  16. Powdered Eggs
  17. Canned Fruit
  18. Canned Vegetables
  19. Canned Meat

#3 Stockpile Water

5-gallon Water jugs are an excellent way to stockpile drinking water

The third way to prepare for food shortages is to store water. Yes, keep water for food shortages. The social environment and upheaval that comes with severe food shortages create an atmosphere of chaos. Since You need water to survive, it’s good to ensure you have a supply if the tap stops running.

How Much Water Do I Need?

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), You need a minimum of 1 gallon of water per day to survive. Half of that water is for hygiene, and half is for hydration.

How do I Store Water?

For a long-term water supply, store bottled water, catch and store rainwater, take water from freshwater sources like lakes, rivers, and streams, punch water- well or siphon water from a freshwater pool.

For societal collapse, you need enough water to last an indefinite amount of time.

7 Uses For Water: Food Shortage

  1. Hydration
  2. Sanitation and Hygiene
  3. Washing Clothes
  4. Maintaining Gear and Equipment
  5. Gardening
  6. Food Preparation
  7. Livestock

The bulk of my emergency water storage is in 55-gallon drums.

To learn more, read the Ready Squirrel article, Societal Collapse: Emergency water sources and storage.

Next up, have a plan.

#4 Have a Plan

The fourth way to prepare for food shortages is to devise a plan for how much food and water to store. Ask yourself what could cause a food shortage and how long you think it will last. Following, are couple of plans to get your juices flowing.

Plan A

Store at least 2000 calories worth of food per person per day for X days. I suggest a year’s supply, but you have to decide what best fits your situation.

Plan B

Store a minimum of 1 gallon of water per day per person to survive and have a method to clean natural water sources and or water catchment.

Read the comprehensive Ready Squirrel article, “How Much Food To stockpile per person, ” To learn more about stockpiling food for your family.” This article breaks calories down by age, sex, and activity level and hits the foods you should focus on storing for maximum shelf-life.

Check out the Ready Squirrel article, 21 Emergency Water Container Ideas for SHTF, to learn about the best emergency water containers.

#5 Grow Food

Jefferson Hazelnut Bush. I planted 3 varieties of hazelnut for cross-pollination.

Grow hundreds of pounds of food on a tiny plot or grow food on the patio of your apartment.

What if I don’t have the room to grow a survival garden?

The fifth way to prepare for food shortages is to grow your own food by starting a survival garden. If you have limited space to grow a garden in your yard, look for a community supported agricultural program (CSA) where food is grown locally. Another option is to join an urban garden or rent a growing plot. These gardening options are available in most metropolitan areas, even in NYC. So, what should your grow in a survival garden?

Ideal Perennial Vegetables

Perennial vegetables take longer to get going but you should plant them first. Early American colonist planted perennials like asparagus and fruiting trees before they began construction on a house.

Examples of Perennials

  1. Asparagus
  2. Egyptian onions
  3. Sunchokes
  4. Apple trees
  5. Cherry Trees
  6. Cherry bushes
  7. Pear Trees
  8. Peach Trees
  9. Plum Trees
  10. Blueberries
  11. Raspberries
  12. Blackberries
  13. Mulberry tree

There is a place for annual vegetable gardening, i.e., potatoes, but I’d get the perennials in the ground first. Following is a list of vegetables to plant.

Examples of Annuals

  1. Potatoes
  2. Dent corn
  3. Popcorn
  4. Sweet corn
  5. Sweet potatoes
  6. Herb garden
  7. Onions
  8. Strawberries
  9. Peppers
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Squash
  12. Zucchini
  13. Beans
  14. Spinach
  15. Carrots
  16. Wheat

American colonists planted fruiting trees and bushes before they started building their houses. Most of their drinking water came from hard cider, either full-strength or watered down.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

14 Best Techniques for Planting a Survival Garden

Getting ready to prepare for food shortages by planting a garden? Following are fourteen gardening techniques that will get you started in planning. Some methods rely on composting and mulching instead of commercial fertilizers. Let’s get on with learning about the 14 techniques.

#1 Growing Zone

Your growing zone tells you which plants will do well where you live. Choose to grow vigorous plants in your area, bordering on invasive.

#2 Rotate crops

Growing different kinds of plants in the exact location but in different seasons. This cuts down on pests and can be used to feed the soil naturally.

#3 Plant Propagation

Propagating is an excellent way to create a food forest without spending money. Propagation methods make many plants from just one plant, tree, or shrub. You can practice different techniques, including plant cuttings, air-layering, division, and seed collecting.

#4 Bioaccumulating Plants

Comfrey, Black Locusts, and Willows create nitrogen you can feed to your garden by mulching garden beds or planting fruit trees next to them.

#5 Storing and Conserving Seeds

Learn to store seeds from the best-tasting, vigorous plants in your vegetable and flower garden. Use open-pollinated seeds.

#6 Companion Planting

Plant things together that are complementary. Corn, Beans, and Squash are good examples of this. Each of the 3 plants adds something that makes the plants more vigorous.

#7 Perennial Food-Forestry

A low-maintenance way of growing fruit and nut trees is based on a forest system. A food forest includes perennial vegetables, fruiting shrubs, edible vines, and flowers.

#8 Land Race Gardening

“A traditional method of growing food in which the seeds to be planted next year results from the survival of the fittest in a particular garden in previous years.” Mother Earth News”

#9 Silvo pasture

This is a method of raising animals in a food-type forest. It’s an integration technique using animal rotation to improve land and meat quality.

#10 Permaculture

Permaculture is a set of design principles based on whole system thinking, including where you build structures, the types of plants used, water storage, etc. Permaculture was created by Australian Ecologist Bill Mollison. The system consists of everything you can think of

#11 Vertical Gardening

Growing plants up instead of out. Useful if you have limited space. Growing vertically allows you to produce much more food than just planting flat beds. You can get really creative with this gardening technique.

#12 Mulching

Mulching is placing plant biomatter on garden beds and around trees and plants. Feeds plants, improve soil, and maintains ground moisture.

#12 Multiple Fruit Trees

Plant similar fruit trees in the same hole, 24″ apart, if you have limited space for your survival garden. It is used to maximize fruit production in a confined space.

#13 Hugelkultur Mounds and Gardening

Hugelkultur is a raised garden bed built with logs, sticks, and other biomass. Hugelkultur mounds are excellent in areas where you can’t water regularly. Hugels work well when combined with mulch.

#14 Korean Natural Farming

Use microorganisms in the soil and other natural materials to increase soil fertility, earthworm populations, and the soil’s overall health.

Practice specialty skills related to gardening and fruit production like using a still to make alcohol, baking bread, making hard cider, or mead and honey from beekeeping. Plant tobacco as a pest deterrent and use it for barter.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

#6 Learn Food Preservation Methods

You will have to conserve the food you raise or forage during a food shortage. Food may be plentiful during warm weather but set some aside for more challenging seasons like winter.

8 Types of Food Preservation for Food Shortages

When you prepare for food shortages there is a possibility of life without electricity. With electricity goes refrigeration so earn these eight food preservation techniques to make sure foods don’t spoil when you have a bounty that will only last days without refrigeration.

  1. Drying: removing water from food using sunlight. It decreases bacteria and mold and increases shelf-life.
  2. Fermentation: Used to make hard cider, beer, or fermented foods like Kimchi or Kefir
  3. Pickling: Preserving food in an acid solution of vinegar or salt
  4. Water Bath Canning: the method used to process high-acid foods like tomatoes for a longer shelf-life.
  5. Dry Canning: method of canning grains, beans, and nuts in canning jars and baking
  6. Pasteurization: Heating foods quickly to kill bacteria
  7. Smoking: Provides flavor to meats and provides some preservation
  8. Salt Curing: Using edible salt to cure meats like pork, beef, or fish

#7 Grains, Rice, and Beans Are The Best Survival Food

Prepare for food shortages by picking the best foods. Hard grains, rice, and beans are crucial for long-term food storage. They have been proven over thousands of years to keep civilizations alive.

If you had to, you could survive dry staple foods for an extended period. When stored properly, you’re looking at a 30-year shelf life. Perfection.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

If you do nothing for food shortages but store hundreds of pounds of beans, rice, and wheatberries, you are way ahead of the game.

#8 Raise Livestock

Chickens provide protein and fat-rich eggs (fat is the hardest thing to store long-term)

The eighth method to prepare for food shortages is to start raising chickens and rabbits or grow fish in a pond.

Raising large livestock like cows is more complicated and takes a lot more resources than raising chickens, so start small and see if it’s something you want to do.

Up next, learn to cook and have the tools to do it without electricity.

#9 Manual Cooking Tools

Ninth, to prepare for food shortages, plan on preparing food without electricity because who knows if we will have power from the grid. Following is a list of tools that you will find helpful, but ultimately you will have to make this list based on your situation.

Cooking Tools

  1. Manual Grain Mill
  2. Dutch Oven
  3. Cast Iron Pans
  4. Outdoor grill
  5. Fire Ring
  6. Firewood
  7. Matches
  8. Spatulas
  9. Whisk
  10. Wood Spoons
  11. Manual Timer
  12. Wood or steel mixing bowl
  13. Pie Irons
  14. Coleman Stove and Fuel

Next up, learn to cook from scratch.

#10 Learn To Cook

The Dutch Oven is the most useful pot for outdoor cooking.

The tenth thing to do to prepare for food shortages is to learn to cook. The best long-term emergency foods are dry staples that require essential preparation. Please keep it to the basics. Learn to boil beans and rice and bake bread.

Experiment with how you will cook food when the grid is down. Consider cowboy kitchens, covered outdoor kitchens, wood-fueled ovens, wood-burning stoves and cooktops, tripod cooking over an open campfire, or build a colonial-style outdoor kitchen with a DIY bread oven.

If you are cooking outdoors, use cast iron pans for cooking directly on hot coals or over direct flame.

A large Dutch oven with a lid is the single best piece of cast iron you can own. Cook just about anything in any style from frying and boiling to baking.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

Up next, learn to protect yourself.

#11 Firearms and Weapons

Eleventh step to prepare for food shortages, learn to use weapons to protect you supplies during a post-apocalyptic event. Let’s take a look at the most popular survival weapons that I suggest you purchase and learn to use.

Best Weapons

#1 AR-15

The AR is accurate, reliable, and simple to use, and it’s so popular in the United States that it is pretty easy to barter for ammo and find replacement parts.

#2 .22 Rifle

It’s controversial whether the .22 has a place in self-defense, but it is an excellent, lightweight caliber for hunting small game. You can carry thousands of rounds in a backpack, and the ammo is readily available.

#3 9mm pistol

The Ammo is popular, readily available, and easy to shoot from a pistol or carbine.

#4 Convertible Single Action Revolver

Convertible revolvers allow you to change ammo calibers by swapping out cylinders. This might be a good option if you are in a barter situation or scavenging

#5 Shotgun

Arguably the best weapon for home defense, the shotgun is versatile, reliable, simple, and deadly at close quarters.

There are many ammo types for shotguns; the most common types are Buckshot for hunting foul and Slugs used to hunt deer.

#6 Kukri

The Kukri is the machete-like knife used by the fighting Gurkhas from Nepal. This knife will take down small saplings and, second, as a self-defense weapon. These knives are multi-use, not just for self-defense but also great around camp. I learned how great they were when I used a cold steel Kukri to build a pine survival shelter.

(Check your local gun laws before purchasing a firearm.)

Up next, bartering.

#12 Barter

Twelfth, prepare for food shortages by learning to barter. If there are food shortages bartering allows you to get what you need.

What is Bartering?

Bartering is trading a skill like carpentry or a supply like white rice for something you want or need. Bartering will be an essential skill if society collapses.

The recent collapse in Venezuela is an excellent example of this. The only way people are getting food is if they Barter for it.

Look in your closet or garage for something you don’t use anymore. Put the item on craigslist or Facebook and trade it for something you will use or want. Take an inexpensive item and barter for maximum profit. Keep bartering and see what you can get by contuning to barter.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

Top Barter Items

  1. Seeds
  2. Sugar
  3. Salt
  4. Alcohol
  5. Ammunition
  6. Powdered Milk
  7. Rice
  8. Beans
  9. Baby Formula
  10. Medicine
  11. Hygiene Supplies
  12. Batteries
  13. Candles
  14. Matches
  15. Coffee
  16. Tea
  17. Tobacco
  18. Fuel

Top Barter Skills

  1. Construction
  2. Plumbing
  3. First Aid
  4. Carpentry
  5. Gardening
  6. Electrician
  7. Blacksmith
  8. Sewing
  9. Cobbler
  10. Security
  11. Baking
  12. Fermentation
  13. Brewing
  14. Distillation
  15. Hunting
  16. Trapping
  17. Communication (Ham Radio)
  18. Animal Husbandry

Up next, fishing.

#13 Fishing license

Fresh Water Muskellunge (related to the northern pike)

The thirteenth thing to do to prepare for food shortages, get hunting and fishing licenses and learn how to get fish and game. Get outdoors and start fishing and hunting game. Most of us won’t be able to sustain ourselves by living the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, but we can put meat on the table every once in a while.

I currently live on the Gulf Coast of Florida which makes the cast net one of my favorite methods of fishing. You can usually get some small fish to flavor rice and beans or the stew pot.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

Next up, start collecting survival books.

#14 Hard Copies of Books and Manuals

Step fourteen to prepare for food shortages, store hard copies of survival manuals, how-to books, recipes, conversion tables, etc. so you have a way of looking stuff up when you need information.

Next, make a journal so you can keep track of everything you need to do to get ready for food shortages.

#15 Make Lists or A Prepping Journal

Step fifteen to prepare for food shortages, start paying attention to the foods you can’t do without in a food shortage and put them down on a list or in a prepping journal. In addition, list anything you’ll need and start checking things off as you get them: food, supplies, tools, skills, etc.

Putting ideas on a running to-do list will keep you from getting overwhelmed and make you feel in control.

Finally, get up off the couch and get it done.

#16 Take Action

The final step is to take action. I’m not preaching here. But it goes without saying if we want to put ourselves in the best possible situation for food shortages, we have to get off the couch and do the work.
Thanks for hanging out with Ready Squirrel. If you have any thoughts, leave them in the comment below.
Keep on prepping.
Kind Regards, Scott

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