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Some reflections on the US Prepper community and what we could apply

Thought would be interesting to reflect on the impact of the coronavirus on people's buying habits and panic of "running out" in terms of our local food sources. In particular, was thinking of the lady on the recent 7.30pm Report, who has been essentially hoarding essentials for a little while. When they showed her talking about having packets of seeds in case our food system really got impacted by the virus, it really struck me how far removed our society has become from growing and raising our own food. As if it were quite that simple to just chuck in some seeds into the ground the day you don't have any more fresh pumpkins at Woolies. (As a side note, my pumpkins just haven't done that well this season! Has this happened for others too? too hot then too wet.. vine getting big but flowers dropping off).

Anyway, for over seven years or so I've been an intermittent listener of the Survival Podcast by Jack Spirko for his gardening and permaculture tips.  Spirko also talks about many other issues of interest to the US Prepper community (cryptocurrency, ammunition, hunting, libertarians/anarchy, all sorts of random things) which I've never really paid attention to. But when it comes to gardening, I thought, preppers are gonna know how to grow potatoes because if the Zombie apocalypse comes,and their longterm survival will depend on their gardening skills! 

Despite listening on and off to this podcast over the years, I can't say I personally would be that prepared in terms of inventory if something were to go down. Spirko advises to have at least 1 month worth of food and water at any given time (especially if you have kids, he says, otherwise he considers you an irresponsible parent!). I have to admit truthfully, I wouldn't have enough to last me through the week. Well I would be scraping at the bottom of the lentil jars... And the garden? I could dig out the cassava and eat moringa leaves but really, in terms of sustaining me? I am not prepared. 

A reason to up the ante and get down gardening? 

What are your thoughts? How prepared would you be if you got cut off from commercial mainstream food systems overnight? What assets and strengths do we have in our community currently ?

PS I think I have about 4 rolls of toilet paper left...

Source: Unknown, has been doing the rounds 

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Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 8, 2020 at 20:55

After 2014, I now have a generator as well.  It's only got to keep the fridge going, and maybe the aquaponics.  The camping solar system and battery will also help.  However, something that's been weighing heavily on my mind is the fights over toilet paper.  If people are acting like that over dunny paper, what will happen if they start to get hungry?  

Comment by Doug Hanning on March 8, 2020 at 20:23
I was just thinking that I am not a prepper at all and realised I have about 40 meals of fish and 20 meals of meat in my feeezer, plus a 4stroke gen to keep it going at least until I run out of petrol, but they are so efficient I could run for a week on a few 20l fuel cans. Then I have my perennial greens that we are used to eating everyday, plenty of starches in arrowroot, sweet potatoes and purple yams. Enough fruit trees for weekly fruit that could be sun dried.
I think I have 300 rounds for my .308, the rifle is only used to shoot animals that I eat. Air rifle for hares and rabbits, need fuel to get out to properties to get some goats, pigs or roos(the farmers have macropod tags). I agree that killing animals to eat is something that some people are not cut out for, for me I see no diff in killing a grasshopper or a chicken, fish or rabbit. They are all living creatures and although I do it, its not a task I relish Once you start killing animals to eat you really appreciate each meal. Geez maybe I am a prepper!
Think my wife would eat me before the dog though Dave.
Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 8, 2020 at 20:07

One of the best things since I've become a gardener is that I don't rely on meat as much any more.  

Comment by Susan on March 8, 2020 at 19:46

I am not a huge prepper but growing up in the country made me “better at it” than most I guess even though the city life has definitely rubbed off on me. When we were kids, mum did a monthly shop in “town” and only topped up essentials like bread and milk (even then we sometimes had a goat and powdered milk was the bane of my existence) at the local store. We had our own chickens and ducks, often raised our own pigs, lived near the ocean so caught our own seafood and dad was always on hand to help someone butcher a cow so we always had meat. While I didn’t get in on the butchering of large animals, it was alll hands on deck come chicken processing time, so I’ve retained enouh of that knowledge to confidently do that on my own and I can deal with fish and crab processing like nobody’s business. While I don’t do a monthly shop, I do fortnightly but always have “spares” in the cupboard. Currently, I’m at the end of a fortnight and just as an example I have 4kg rice, 3 bags pasta, 2 kg each of plain flour, sr flour, sugar etc. My freezer has about 15 meals worth of meat at any given time and before you go on about power, I have solar with a large battery that gets us through to 2 am. If we had to shut down all use of electrical equipment, I’m sure it would last until morning. I could easily go 1 month if I had to ( I’ve even got 2 kg of powdered milk) 

Comment by Dave Riley on March 8, 2020 at 14:02

What you need is plenty of fats and oils. Right there is both calories and nutrition.

That's the Greek hack. The survival niche. Not so much the  starches.

Most of the stuff in your garden, including the weeds, is more likely to be supplemental.

2,000-2500 calories per day via your dirt and DIY takes a bit of practice. There's only 25 calories in a tomato, for instance -- so you'd need to eat 80 per day.

Then aim instead  to grow the starchier foods  -- spuds, sweet potatoes and corn.

Chicken and their eggs make a lot of sense so long as you don't rely too much on grain to feed them.

The Irish had a great system: milk and potatoes -- and the fam kept a cow.

But, as I say, beggars can't be chooses. When you can't feed 'em -- put them to culinary usage:

  1. Thit Cho Luoc - Steamed dog
  2. Cha Cho - Grilled  dog
  3. Rua Man - Steamed dog in shrimp sauce, rice flour and lemon grass
  4. Doi Cho - Dog sausage with dog blood, peanuts, vegetables and neck bone
  5. Gieng Me Mam Tom - Steamed dog in shrimp sauce, ginger, spices and rice vinegar
  6. Canh Xao Mang Cho - Bamboo shoot and dog bone marrow
  7. Cho Xao Sa Ot - Fried dog in lemon grass and chilli

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on March 8, 2020 at 12:33

Is this no power and all my foods gone off  a ploy by insurance companies  to justify  paying big premiums each year because with a few taps on a phone can get  a uber taxi  or food delivered  then why can this frozen food be boxed up and put in cold storage and with the fridge some cheap dry ice .

Comment by Sophie on March 8, 2020 at 9:20

Great discussion everyone! Looking forward to my autumn plantings and cooler weather. Hopefully the virus thing slows down and Dianne and Graham are able to go on their holiday! Impetus for me to get back onto it :) keep me posted on your prepper activities!

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 7, 2020 at 23:54

I'll just add a little discomfort.  I'm okay with killing a fish and processing it. I can't knock a chicken. Probably because we only need a few so they are pets.  Knocking quails isn't much fun.  I avoid the hell out of it but they don't live for long so you have to be prepared to do it.  It is that weekend.... unfortunately.  

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 7, 2020 at 23:23

A week without power changes your life.  That's what happened to me in 2014. 

I'm desperately saving for batteries to prevent that happening again.  Aside from that, the BBQ looks good.  And the gas stove top.  If all that runs out, I have the wood pizza oven. 

After a few months my food supply is going to get bloody boring but I could survive for a while.  Understanding the seasons and planting seeds will become important.  I think hoarding lots of food is a mug's game.  Great backup but don't rely on it. 

I think skills will also become important. If I can get basics then I can make all kinds of stuff.  In my mind, that's the greatest gift.  I've tried my best to share it on Youtube.  

I'm comfortable in ways that can't be stolen.  

Comment by Dave Riley on March 7, 2020 at 13:06

I think you'd need to check out your nutritional requirements relative to your harvest & hoarding potential.

Flood, fire and storm can potentially cut off a community but the main emergency is lack of electricity. You living  with torches and bbqs is one thing, but food in the local food shops is set to spoil as it would in your own fridge after, say, 3 days.

The problem with survivalists are that they are anti-social and anti-community -- as befits libertarians -- when the best response to a disaster is working with your neighbours. Out there among the members of your community is where survival lies.

The most we've been cut off is 3 days and that was primarily a problem of getting to work and no truck deliveries. A worser impact was when the town lost electricity for >48 hours and all the perishable food spoiled.

So for me, my basic prep is to always have a means to cook food and heat water. A day without a cup of tea is not worth living through.

You will survive even if you have to eat the family dog.

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