One of the most frustrating things about warning readers to prepare for hard times, and to have at least 30 days' food and other essential supplies on hand in case of emergencies or shortages, is the number of people who simply shrug off such advice. They counter that it won't be that bad, or they can't afford to stockpile so much food, or they've no place to put it, or whatever. (This despite the fact that a bare-bones basic food supply for one adult for 30 days can be bought for well under $100, and stored in a couple of 5-gallon buckets or a foot locker.)
I suppose much of the negative reaction comes from the fact that those of us warning about this are not "official". We don't have a Big Government seal of approval on our advice. Well, guess what? The biggest bureaucracy in the world has just given precisely that advice to its citizens.
A statement from China’s government urging local authorities to ensure there was adequate food supply during the winter and encouraging people to stock up on some essentials prompted concerned talk online ... The Ministry of Commerce urged local authorities to stabilize prices and ensure supplies of daily necessities including vegetables this winter and next spring, according to a statement Monday evening. Chinese households were also encouraged to stock up on a certain amount of daily necessities in preparation for the winter months or emergencies.
. . .
There was ... concern that extreme weather could affect vegetable production and transportation. Wholesale vegetable prices had already soared in recent weeks, costing more than meat in some cases, after heavy rains drenched major producing regions in the north and flooded the top growing province of Shandong.
There's more at the link.
Given the supply chain logjam we're currently experiencing in the USA, a supply of emergency food is even more important. If supermarkets run out of most of what we need, and can't restock their shelves, there's going to be trouble. This applies particularly in the cities, where food supplies are limited at the best of times, relying on constant resupply from outside the urban area.
Back in 1906, Alfred Henry Lewis warned: "There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy". In so many words, as the limited urban supply of food runs out, desperate people are going to go looking for more, and do whatever it takes to get it. Right now, there may be rather less food in urban areas than usual, because the supply chain crunch means that less is being brought in. If that doesn't worry you, you're blind to reality. If you've got more than nine meals in reserve, you can hunker down and ride out the storm, or flee before it if possible: but if you haven't, you're going to be S.O.L. (To look at how real-world food distribution mirrors Lewis' warning, see this article. It's worth reading.)
If you want the "official" line on emergency food storage, rather than a mere blogger's advice or commercially-motivated food lists, try these three US government resources:
- Food and Water Needs: Preparing for a Disaster or Emergency (CDC)
- Food (Ready.gov)
- Food and Water in an Emergency (FEMA)
Over to you, folks. Time to prepare is growing shorter as winter draws in and the supply chain logjam grows ever more problematic. I very strongly recommend that by the end of November, if possible, you have in place at least 30 days' supply of food for yourself and your family. It doesn't have to be gourmet or expensive: rice and beans may be boring, but they're nutritious, cheap, and still available. Get a few containers of spices (salt, pepper, seasoning, etc.) to make them more palatable, plus a few cans of tuna, Spam or what have you to add protein and variety. 30 days of adequate emergency nutrition for one adult will cost you rather less than $100, if you buy carefully.
If you can afford more than those basic supplies, so much the better - but please don't wait any longer.