Today we return to the second in our series introducing each of the 10 Foundations of Full Spectrum Preparedness in more detail. In these articles we’ll start fleshing out the Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness. Essentially, this series will discuss each Fundamental’s place in our Full Spectrum Preparedness cognitive model and briefly discuss how each Fundamental interacts with the other nine. These articles are about the concepts, in later articles we’ll provide practical tactics, techniques and procedures for each Fundamental. We continue this discussion with Food in Full Spectrum Preparedness:
Why is Food Preparedness Important
While you can survive months without food in optimum conditions, there are physical and mental changes that begin to take place after even a short time without sustenance. Having adequate food supplies and the skill to turn them into nutritious meals is a life skill that takes on even more importance during and in the aftermath of a disaster.
You must plan for food preparation as well. Does your food require cooking to make it safe or palatable…if so how will you cook it if your electricity, natural gas or propane sources aren’t available or serviceable. If you had to cook over and open flame do you have the fuel and cookware necessary. Are your pans flame safe? We’ll discuss emergency and austere environment cooking techniques in later articles, but these are some considerations you should begin to think about.
Whole books and websites are devoted entirely to nutrition planning and we won’t try to duplicate that here… but you should spend some time planning well balanced meals for any preparedness plan lasting more than just a few days.
Aspects of Food Preparedness
As we discussed in our article, Introduction to Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine, each Fundamental should be viewed both in terms of the following four aspects as well it’s interactions and overlap with the other Fundamentals. Viewing each Fundamental in these two ways should be help you develop a preparedness plan that is more comprehensive than any one-size-fits-all survival program. Consider your Food Preparedness in terms of:
- Knowledge & Skills: Knowledge is knowing how to do something, skill is actually being able to do it. In a short term emergency you should know how to safely prepare meals without making yourself sick or burning down your home or shelter. In longer term situations knowing how to grow or acquire food to supplement your food stores is critical. Knowledge of what’s edible in your environment and the skill to harvest it will be of increasing importance the longer the survival situation lasts.
- Stuff: This is the storage and supplies you maintain to meet your food preparedness needs. Some of the stuff you should consider is stored food for immediate and longer term needs as well as fuel for cooking, fire lighting supplies, preservation supplies like salt and canning jars/lids and spices to make your meals more palatable. Food acquisition supplies grow in importance the longer the situation lasts. Gardening tools, gardening supplies, hunting arms or bows, foraging books, and traps should all be considered but don’t plan to seriously supplement your food needs by hunting if unless you live in a VERY low population density area.
- Network: This is your personal network of friends and acquaintances. Maybe you have a neighbor that has a few apple trees and another that raises rabbits…what do you offer in your relationships that is or could be valued by your neighbors. Your personal network is where you go to plug holes in your preparedness planning when there’s no place else to turn. You may be helped because of that sparkling personality, but try to add lasting value in your relationships all the same.
Food Preparedness & the Other Preparedness Fundamentals
As we’ve discussed previously, there is tremendous overlap between the Preparedness Fundamentals, which is why we refer to it as a ‘spectrum’ vs a category or list. Below are some examples and thoughts about how your Food Preparedness will interact and overlap with the other nine Fundamentals of Full Spectrum Preparedness
- Cognitive Preparedness: At the most basic level… this is knowing that it’s important to store food, food preparation and food acquisition supplies as well as develop the knowledge, skills and network necessary to keep yourself and your family fed..
- Communications Preparedness: Establishing your own neighborhood ‘grapevine’ in a survival situation can eventually lead to a resumption of trade including trade in foodstuffs. However, be very wary of discussing your food situation with your neighbors until there’s a ‘new normal’ established that allows for trade. You don’t want to be the obstacle that your neighbor perceives stands between his children’s bellies and a full larder. There is significant overlap between communications and community support with the former greatly influencing the latter both before and after a survival situation.
- Family & Community Support: In longer term situations your family or preparedness group must be unified in it’s approach to food which may include intentional weight loss to avoid standing out in your community and making yourselves a target. We’ve already discussed possibilities for the initiation and development of local trade in foodstuffs.
- Financial Preparedness: Do you have the savings necessary to keep your family fed if you lose your job? Do you have barterable skills or items to trade for food to add variety to your family’s diet.
- Personal Health and Medical Preparedness: Adequate nutrition and calories are necessary to stay healthy, especially if you’re working harder or in more extreme environments than you’re used to…no air conditioning in the Aftermath. In the era of maritime discovery, scurvy was a real danger as sailors lacked the food necessary to absorb adequate vitamin C. Additionally, safe food preparation ensures that parasites, bacteria and viruses don’t hitch a ride with our lunch.
- Security Preparedness: We’ve already mentioned the need for maintaining operational security (OPSEC) and not broadcasting to the world that we’ve got a stockpile of food. We also need to protect our stock of food and food gathering/preparation items by keeping an eye out and not leaving our life sustaining stockpiles unattended unless carefully camouflaged.
- Shelter, Clothing & Protection from the Elements: Temperature extremes and direct sunlight can spoil your food or reduce the length that it can safely be stored. Protect your food with the proper techniques, learn root-cellaring for instance. Additionally, you may be using fire around the house differently after a disaster or survival event takes place…use fire prudently and take precautions to keep your food preps from going up in smoke.
- Transportation Preparedness: Are you storing any food or food preps away from your home or retreat? If so, how will you retrieve them? Maybe you’re planning on bugging out and want to travel with your food…do you have adequate room in your vehicle, what if your vehicle is disable…what’s your backup plan? Once trade in food resumes how will you get to ‘market’ and back?
- Water Preparedness: Do you have a supply of safe, potable water to cook with, wash dishes with, keep your kitchen sanitary with?
As you can see, the Aspects of each Preparedness Fundamental and the overlap with the remaining Fundamentals when considered together will help you build a more complete preparedness plan or as we call it…Full Spectrum Preparedness.