This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by Chris J
When I bring up survival or preparedness to my friends, family, or co-workers, most just scoff and say things like “Well, I can keep food on my table by hunting.” Apparently, they think that they are the only ones with this idea, and that they will be in the woods alone to have their fill at nature’s table.
What they fail to understand is that others will be doing the same thing. They are right for the first few days of a disaster, when most people are not running out of food yet.
However, if the disaster lasts longer than a couple of weeks, all but the true survivalist will be out of food. Once their meager supplies of food are consumed or spoiled, the village will empty into the surrounding countryside. Deer, squirrels, rabbits, and other choice game will be hunted out within a few weeks. Hungry people will start turning to the less desirable table fare such as raccoons, possums, and rodents. This happened during the Great Depression in my home state of Tennessee.
Deer were made virtually extinct as poor families did their best to live off the land. A wildly successful restocking program in the sixties made deer available to everyone, but let the wood become the sole provider of food for just 5% of the people and you would see deer all but disappear again.
Even if you own thousands of acres, you won’t be able to keep every poacher off your land, and you can’t protect every wild animal that passes through your land. You can more easily protect livestock, though, because it is generally kept close to the farmstead and will rely on you for care.
Defending something in your yard is easier than defending something moving unseen through the woods a mile away. Livestock comes with its own set of issues for the survivalist, though. Most people don’t own enough land to have enough livestock to truly provide for them. In today’s modern agriculture, even large farms don’t raise all of their own animal feed. If the feed truck stopped running, would their livestock simply starve to death?
Below are a few suggestions and thoughts regarding putting food on your table during an extended crisis:
2. While most of us can’t economically grow our own livestock feed, make sure to include that feed on your supply list and always keep an adequate supply. If you have a 6 month supply of stored food, consider at least a 3 month supply of animal feed. This includes pet food. You don’t want to have to decide between your family or your pet when it comes to dividing up the meals.
3. If you have a small amount of space, start small. You don’t need a huge herd of cattle to put food on your table. Raise chickens or rabbits until you are comfortable. Goats don’t require a lot of space, will eat darn near anything if they have to, and are excellent sources of meat and, with the right breeds, milk.
4. Get to know your neighbors. Partner with a local farmer or rancher before the next crisis. Offer to help defend his farm and home in exchange for food. A $30 grain grinder and a visit to the local farmer for corn or wheat will provide you with the means to feed your family. The farmer might even give you the grain in exchange for grinding him some flour or meal.
5. Grow a garden every year, even if it is only a container garden or a small plot in your back yard. The knowledge you gain will be valuable even if your harvest is not large. And, a garden can be defended, unlike the food that many plan to forage from the local woods.
6. Learn to store and prepare the food you grow and raise, and have the necessary tools on hand. Don’t wait for a crisis to get motivated to learn, do it now.
7. Realize that growing your own food is hard work, and it takes a lot of time to grow it all. Start with small steps so you don’t get discouraged, and organize your like-minded friends, family, and neighbors so that each can provide a small part of the needs of your community.
With a little planning, you can have a food source that you can defend, and one that you will continue to provide long after the last of the game has been shot out and your bag of rice and beans has been emptied.
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
- First Prize) Winner will receive a gift certificate for $170 worth of Winchester Ammo donated by Lucky Gunner. A Smith & Wesson Heat Treated Collapsible 21″ Baton and a copy of my book Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat.
- Second Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Food Storage meat bucket and 3 dozen Tattler Reusable Canning Lids donated by LPC Survival.
- Third Prize) Winner will receive a LifeStraw water filter system donated by Eartheasy and a copy of the Wolf Pack Cookbook.