Backup Food Storage – A Key Element to Emergency Preparedness

I would like people to have a basic understanding of how fragile the food supply system is and see the importance of putting an emergency backup food storage system in place. I believe a sound backup food storage plan is essential and second only to water, as the most important element of a comprehensive emergency preparedness strategy. It could be a critical part in the near future.

Many factors affect our food supply and the costs we pay for it. Becoming aware of and preparing for these factors helps reduce food costs, and provides for ourselves in the event of a major shortage of supply.

Some of the major factors that affect food prices are oil prices, inflation, labor costs, Government policies, stock market speculation and food transportation costs just to name a few. My hope is that readers will see the need for putting a plan in place, thereby providing themselves with an alternative food supply source in the event that what could happen… does.

Let’s start with the basics. In any geographical area, the number of grocery stores, is based on population statistics and demand by the citizens in the community for the food from these stores. As long as the food shipments to the stores continue uninterrupted, the citizens can usually find what they are looking for. But what happens if the food shipments don’t come in as scheduled? This is generally a scenario people are familiar with during major snow storms, which may delay shipments for only a few days and is not a major problem.

But what most people don’t understand is that if shipments were to stop, or be severely limited for more than just a few days, the food would run out in less than a week. Just look at how empty the shelves get with weather forecasts of impending snow storms. That is when you can witness true supply and demand economics in practice! It is this scenario that I wish to address today. russian food store

The farming business today is nothing like it was even 30 years ago. It’s been replaced with a large-scale agribusiness model, which leads right in to the role of oil in the food supply system. Large scale farms use large gas-driven tractors to till the soil before planting, followed by more gas- powered machinery to plant the hybrid seeds into the ground.

Next comes a host of oil-derived chemicals to be added to grow the crops. They include pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides just to name a few. Naturally the crops need water, which can be a very costly item to provide depending on the availability of the water supply. Frequently more machinery is needed in drought situations.Then comes the harvesting of the crops.

Again more gas/diesel-powered machines must then pick, pack and transport the produce to a wholesaler. The wholesaler will then package the produce in more oil-derived plastic before it goes to the retail stores, where we end up frequently using a form of plastic to pay (debit/credit cards) for the food. Each time the price of oil increases, it can potentially have an enormous effect on the price of food, starting from the beginning of the food- growing cycle, to the end at the food- payment cycle.

What happens when oil is not only expensive, but scarce as well? That is precisely what happened in the 70′s with the oil embargo that occurred. Gas lines at times, were a mile long, with motorists waiting to get a $5.00 or $10.00 purchase of gasoline. Another occurrence could be very disruptive to the food distribution system, as well as cause another enormous increase in the cost of the food repeating what happened in the 70′s. This is the type of situation where an emergency preparedness plan for backup food storage could be extremely important.

Coincidentally during the 70’s interest rates at the banks were much higher, and inflation was at double-digit rates as well, which supports what I stated earlier in the article about the entwined relationships with oil, food, politics and economics. Whenever there is a problem with any one of these elements, it seems to have a domino effect with the others as well.