This is a guest post from Marie James, who writes about food preparation and preservation at The Homesteader Kitchen. She is also enthusiastic about other rural life and sustainable living topics.
The other day I was watching Doomsday Preppers, where several families shared their prepping plans and practices. Each one had a somewhat different approach to getting ready for some kind of food shortage, civil unrest, or other disruption to their lives.
I was especially impressed by some of the larders full of commercially packaged and home-canned foods. This is because I don’t have tons of food stored away. We’re consistently amassing more, but we’re not “there” yet. I feel behind in that aspect.
But I realized something as I watched each portion of the Doomsday episode. None of the families seemed to have total sustainability on their minds. One couple had rooms full of packaged food and water, but I didn’t see a garden or any livestock in their suburban yard. Another family had a large garden, but no protein-producing animals were mentioned.
It made me think about our own prepping concepts and practices. My family’s big goal is to be able to live comfortably without help from the outside world if need be. We want to have the capability of producing protein foods, vegetables, fruits, and herbs year after year after year.
This episode of Doomsday Preppers got me thinking. Do we have what we need to live independently for a long time if need be? Sometimes the big plan looks great but there are minor details to consider. The more I thought about it, the more little loopholes I saw.
For one thing, part of my poultry production plan was dependent on electricity for hatching and brooding replacement layer hens and meat birds. I’d planned to focus on a prolific egg laying breed and a meaty broiler breed. Trouble is, neither tends toward “broodiness,” which is a desire to sit on eggs and snuggle baby chicks. So if we couldn’t use electric incubators and brooders for five weeks straight, we’d be up a creek. Now I’ve revised my plan to include plenty of hens that are natural mothers—no electricity needed.
I also saw that though I have enough canning jars for supplementing our frozen foods right now, there aren’t nearly enough jars and lids for food storage without a freezer if power is unreliable. Even my current supply of reusable lids will not go very far if years go by with high inflated prices and shipping disruptions. If I had to can more meat and vegetables instead of freezing, I’d come up short of both jars and lids.
Stay tuned for part two of this article in a couple days where I will talk about some specific things to consider when putting together a sustainable food production plan.