Preparing for a Food Shortage
by David Sims
AMERICA HAS been, since the Great Depression of the 1930s, very adroit in avoiding food shortages. Several predictions of famine have come and gone, and a famine has never happened. That’s good. But, nevertheless, it is possible. One of the wisest of folk sayings is “Better safe than sorry.”
If a severe food crisis happens, then it will probably happen quickly.
Do you remember how all the toilet paper disappeared from the store shelves for a while during the summer of 2020? People who regarded toilet paper as a necessity that they wanted to be sure that they would not have to do without panicked and bought all the toilet paper that they could find. The stores ran out, and only the first people to hit the stores got what they wanted.
That can happen with food, too.
The replenishment cycle with food is longer than it is with toilet paper. Whereas toilet paper can be produced as fast as trees can be cut down and loaded into factory machinery, food must be grown, and that can take time.
If the farmers don’t have fertilizer, then they’ll have a bad year in which they can’t grow as much as people need. And that can happen for many years in a row, while imports aren’t arriving and America hasn’t yet found a viable work-around. On that topic, Kashmir’s Ziraat Times recently reported:
Crops are the basis of our food system, whether feeding us or animals, and without secured supply in terms of volume and quality, our food system is bankrupt. Crops rely on a good supply of nutrients to deliver high yields and quality (as well as water, sunlight and a healthy soil), which in modern farming systems come from manufactured fertilizers. As you sit and read this article, the air you breath contains 78% nitrogen gas – this is the same source of nitrogen used in the production of most manufactured nitrogen fertilizers.
However, to take this gas from the air and into a bag of fertilizer takes a huge amount of energy. The Haber-Bosch process, which converts nitrogen and hydrogen into ammonia as a crucial step in creating fertilizers, uses between 1% and 2% of all energy generated globally by some estimates. Consequently, the cost of producing nitrogen fertilizer is directly linked to the cost of fuel….Russia and Ukraine are also major producers and suppliers of fertilizers and their raw materials. For example, Norwegian group Yara, the biggest producer and supplier of fertilizers in Europe, makes much of its product in Ukraine. Reducing western trade with Russia, and the disrupted supply lines in Ukraine, will therefore add another layer of pressure to the production and supply of fertilizers.
Russia is responsible for nearly a tenth of global nitrogen fertilizer production. Russia also has a comparable share of phosphate fertilizers and together with Belarus around a third of potash production….
Vladimir Putin has explicitly been connecting the disruption to the trade in fertilizers with a coming surge in food prices.
The Russians have just announced a suspension in fertilizer exports to the west. With major markets in Brazil, China and the US for Russian ferilisers, these global suppliers of grains to the world will be impacted.
Ukraine is also a huge agricultural producer in its own right, supplying significant quantities of cereals and oil crops to global markets (12% of the world’s wheat and the world’s largest supplier of sunflower oil). So at a time when many crops in Ukraine are due to be sown or those already in the ground are expecting fertilizers and pesticides, disruptions will put further pressure on this year’s harvest and lead to higher food prices. At particular risk from reductions in Ukrainian and Russian grain supplies are Egypt, Turkey and Bangladesh.
In order to bridge the gap in time, between the onset of a food shortage and its end, you need to have several years’ worth of non-perishable food supply. Dry rice, dry beans, and such, in significant quantity and in containers that will preserve them from the decay and rot that moisture or oxygen would eventually cause.
Your neighbors, friends that they might be, won’t be able to help you. Or, anyway, not nearly as much as you would need to be helped if you haven’t prepared at all. Each family will do little more than provide for itself for however long they believe the shortage will last. Beg however you might, the head of that family will be weighing your life against the lives of his immediate kin, and you will come away the loser in that calculation.
So — last warning. Get fully prepped, and not merely token prepped. Don’t be satisfied with a store of food that gives you something to point at. When it’s gone, you won’t be eating anymore.
Most people don’t do enough prepping when it comes to food. Those living in Kharkov, Ukraine, found out the hard way that a single five-gallon bucket of rice or lentils for a family does not constitute being prepared for a food shortage. You should be able to get through an entire year, at least, without ever leaving your home.
A five-gallon bucket of rice and another five-gallon bucket of dry lentils will last how long? Only 80 days for one adult person. So a two years’ supply would require nine buckets of rice and another nine buckets of dry lentils. Per person.
Don’t worry. You’ll eat it. And if you shop before the shortage begins, you’ll save a lot of money. Although it might not seem like it when you spend the money on bulk dried foods, you actually would have spent a lot more in the grocery store over time.
The difficult expense is the buckets. You do need to have these in order to seal the food in, away from oxygen and moisture. And the prices of five-gallon buckets have already gone up. It used to be $13 for one bucket with a lid. Now it’s over $20 per bucket.
Still, if you buy buckets with “gamma” lids, you can reuse the bucket over and over, assuming that you can get more food to put in it.
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Source: Author and Ziratt Times