When a Necessity Becomes Scarce
Many Americans take for granted the ease with which we can feed ourselves today. We can have our food fast, delivered, cooked at home, or microwaved. In fact, it isn’t until we pass by a homeless person asking for food or see video of the third world that we’re reminded of our good fortune. People weren’t always so lucky. The Irish Potato Famine killed between a fourth and a fifth of the population of Ireland. The fungus Phytophthora infestans destroyed half of Ireland’s potato crop in 1845 and roughly three quarters of the crop over the next seven years. “The Great Hunger” that swept through Ireland seems like a long time ago. However, there was a more recent food supply shortage in America.
The Great Depression, while less extreme than the Irish Potato Famine, forced people to stretch their budgets and tighten their belt loops. Many of us have seen images of the Depression era breadlines that fed 85,000 people a day. The government was forced to step in to feed the hungry. That said, those who survived the Depression learned the value of frugality and self-reliance. It’s important that this generation appreciates the wisdom our ancestors were forced to learn the hard way. There are a number of looming threats that could compromise our food supply. Below, I detail how we can prepare for a food supply shortage.
Practice the Principle of Frugality
These days, we have more of a food waste problem than we do a food scarcity problem. Americans overeat, overspend, and are overweight. The overabundance of food makes it easy to ignore the principle of frugality. Just because it’s easy for us to buy more food than we need, doesn’t mean we should. It also doesn’t mean this will always be the case.
If we practice the principle of frugality now, we’ll be able to save more and better prepare for a time when food is scarce. It’s important you only buy the food you need to survive. While this may sound like it contrasts with typical prepper wisdom, you should actually go on smaller grocery runs. This will result in less food waste and increased savings in the long run. Americans today want bigger, better, and more. We stand to benefit from a reminder that sometimes less is more.
Learn to Become Self-Reliant
Governments around the world have, at times, have proven themselves to be incompetent. The Brexit fiasco continues to this day. If a no-deal Brexit becomes a reality, there may be food shortages. Fresh produce entering the UK will grow more expensive and is subject to delays. Food may spoil, ultimately resulting in a food supply shortage. Potentialities like this should push people become more self-reliant. Developing hunting and gardening skills is critical to becoming self-reliant. Homesteading, or becoming completely self-sufficient, is insurance against a food supply shortage. Food preservation techniques like canning, drying, and fermenting can serve preppers well in the event that regional food supplies are compromised.
History is the Best Guide to Surviving a Food Supply Shortage
Students of history know that the high living standards we enjoy today are far from guaranteed. The horrors of the past look like they could resurface. Geopolitical issues and domestic divides are exacerbating. The trade war with China is causing prices on agricultural products to rise. The US government just needed to subsidize farmers to better ensure they can maintain their livelihoods. Wealth inequality is creating a homelessness epidemic that forces people to beg for food. Without a more progressive tax system, this problem will only grow worse. It’s important we prepare ourselves to live frugal and self-reliant lives. If the government cannot implement a solution, we need to take matters into our own hands. Doing so is the best insurance against a future food supply shortage.
Do you have some tips about surviving a food supply shortage? Leave a comment below or contact me directly.