During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen some intense shortages. It started with toilet paper then moved onto masks, alcohol, medications then finally, nonperishable foods. Nobody predicted the amount of shortages, thus it took a while to increase supply to fit the demand.
In the case of this pandemic, increase demand created shortages. Manufacturers were able to increase supply but even that took several months as people continued to buy it up as quick as it landed on the shelves.
To this day, as of November 2020, it’s still almost impossible to find pressure canners, canning jars and rubbing alcohol. Demand for these items have increased past the manufacturers ability. So when they hit the shelves, they’re gone and we’re left without the product for a week or two, sometimes more.
I ordered a pressure canner September 2nd and as of today, November 2nd, 2020, I still haven’t received it.
I’ve been lucky to stumble across canning jars and sometimes rubbing alcohol, but they are extremely scarce and even when I stumble across them, I won’t see them again for another week or two.
We have to understand that our supply chain is fragile. Stores only carry a finite amount of food and supplies, usually about 3-5 days worth to cover the immediate area.
Many factors could disrupt the supply chain such as lack of truck drivers, lack of gas or gas is too expensive, lack of supplies to create a specific product, lack of employees, manufacturing plants closing, natural disaster, etc.
Even today, manufacturers are still trying to catch up with the demand. Even food banks have seen a strain on food supply.
Shortages can happen for any reason, at any time. The best way to not experience the shortages is to be prepared for them.
Here are 10 ways to be prepared for food shortages and supply chain disruptions:
Yep, good ol’ stockpiling is still on the table, at least while supplies last. In the mean time, every time you hit the grocery store, pick up a few extra items. No matter what budget you’re on, you can pick up a few items. It adds up quickly. You can also purchase freeze dried foods, though they have been strained as well, they can be a good option as well. Can and dehydrate vegetables, fruits and meats when you can.
Gardening is a tried and true method of getting delicious, fresh food that you grew yourself. There are many ways to garden, including container, indoors, microgreens and sprouts. Even if you have a small space, you can still garden. In fact, container and indoor gardening are quite easy and if you decide to grow indoors, you can get a grow light and potentially garden all year long! There are many opportunities for a garden, even if you live in a small space. Get some seeds today!
Even if you can only get some laying hens to get eggs, that’s a great start! Eggs are a great source of protein. Keep the chickens happily fed with food from your garden, maybe some grains every now and then and you’ll be set. In addition, you could also raise meat chickens which are good for backyards. Meat rabbits are also good for indoors and small backyards. If you have bigger space, you can get pigs or goats. Don’t be turned off by the size of your space, even if you live in an apartment or HOA, indoor meat rabbits is certainly an option. Just be sure to have a good source of fat, like oils, to compensate for the lack of fat that rabbits don’t offer.
Learn to make things yourself. Learn to make candles. Make your own soaps. Make your own rocket stove. Make your own wipes. Even “make” your own toilet paper. Check out this big list of easy DIY. Learn to make food from scratch. Learning how to make these things not only saves money, but it empowers you to see that you can find alternatives and think outside the box without modern conveniences.
Since we live off grid in an RV, my family and I have learned to live without a lot of things. My children have learned to live without as many toys. We’ve learned to live without air conditioning. We’ve learned to get creative with our space. We have learned that skills were actually more powerful than stuff. Yes, I still stockpile, but I’ve also learned a lot more skills that can take us further than simply having stuff.
Get what you need from local sources. I bet you anything that there are farms, big and small, all around your area. Ask around, do a google search, find the local farms, ask if they sell directly to the public or if they have a CSA program. Head to farmer’s markets and talk to local businesses there. In my area alone I know of local meat, dairy, vegetable farm, honey and hay. All of these things are important to me.
Hunt, Fish, Forage
Many people poo-poo this method. They think that when the food runs out that EVERYONE is going to suddenly become a master hunter and fisher. This just isn’t really so. Hunting, fishing and foraging takes knowledge and skills that aren’t easily developed overnight or even within a few weeks or even within a few months. Learn these skills now. Get books, track animals, find the best fishing setup for your area, etc.
Learn The Old Ways
How did people survive without all of our modern conveniences? Learn those old ways. They not only survived, but thrived. They smoked their meat. They made their own shoes and clothing. They healed with medicinal plants. While there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of modern technology, it doesn’t hurt to learn the old ways, as well. If modern society is no longer there, you’ll have those old ways to help you get through and thrive.
In addition to local farms, are you building a local network of people you can call upon? I know preppers like to keep hush-hush about their preps, and I get that, which is why you never once have to mention you’re a prepper. Just say hi, introduce yourself, talk about current events, get to know them as PEOPLE. Get to know their strengths and weaknesses and just become friends with them. You don’t need to be BFFs, but having acquaintances around never hurts. I once lived in a suburb in which I was friendly with my neighbors and would ask them to watch my home when I was away on vacation. And they asked the same of us. It’s just about community. Banding together to be there for each other. Get to know a few people.
Don’t Panic Buy
Panic buying is a big cause of shortages. When people hoard and panic buy it puts a huge strain on the system. If you want to buy a large supply of items, diversify. As in, when you go shopping, buy a huge bag of rice, then a few cans of food, then a bag of powdered milk and a box of ‘just add water’ pancake mix, a pack of toilet paper, etc. You can get a lot of stuff without clearing the shelves. And each time you’re at the store, do the same thing.
Keep in mind that these options should all be done together. You don’t want to pick just one of these. Stockpile, while also gardening, while also joining a co-op, while also foraging, etc. All of these ideas work the best when they’re done in conjunction with each other.
This is especially important when it comes to gardening. A garden can take months to produce, though there are some quick producing foods, there are also some foods that will take all season until they’re ready to harvest. In the mean time, you’ll need a stockpile or co-op or community or something to keep you going during those few months of growing.
In time, you’ll have a well oiled machine of consistent supplies and food and you’ll be doing just fine.