Sunday, May 4, 2008

Alternative Food Sources

Things have gotten ugly. The grocery stores are like war zones as people rush to stock up before the shelves are empty. As you watch everything unfold on the news you start to realize that you're missing a few things yourself. Dealing with the unruly crowds at the supermarket just doesn't seem like a good idea, though. So where do you go?

Gas stations are a good start. They probably won't be much better than grocery stores, though, since a lot of people will be trying to get gas at the last minute and they'll be grabbing what they can along with their gas. Most gas stations do sell a lot of convenience items these days, though. If you have a gas station that's close and a bit off the beaten path then it should be easy to beat the rush. If there's a line at the pump then it might be a good idea to just skip the gas and start hitting the shelves before everyone else gets the same idea.

Places like Walgreens and Family Dollar also sell groceries. These places are usually pretty quiet. Like convenience stores, people tend to go here to pick up a few odds and ends. If they're panicking and stocking their pantry at the last minute then they're probably going to hit the grocery stores first. The downside is that there are usually only one or two cashiers and a couple of clerks working at places like these so once people catch on it'll get chaotic a lot faster than at grocery stores.

Obviously it won't be long before the smaller stores start getting hit as hard as the bigger stores. There are plenty of other options, though. Restaurants usually keep a good stock of food in the back. If you eat out a lot it's pretty easy to get to know some small restaurant owners that might just help you out if you show up at their back door during an emergency. Even if you don't get to know the restaurant owners it should be easy to convince the manager to give you something if you offer a big wad of cash.

Pet stores and feed stores are another option. You'll be limited in your selection but who else is going to be mobbing the feed store to buy bags of corn and wheat? Most people probably won't be thinking about rabbits and guinee pigs as food sources until they're already starving. These aren't your best choices but they're certainly better than nothing if you can't get anywhere near the stores and you've only got a few week's worth of food in your house.

Going to where the food eventually ends up is great and all but it's got to come from somewhere. Warehouses will have a ridiculous amount of food. These are the places that keep all of the stores and restaurants stocked. A lot of these places will allow anyone to open up an account. Some of them are even cash and carry. Then there are some that won't do business with the general public. Find out where these places are now. Get to know them ahead of time and start doing business with them now. That way when the ball drops they'll be more likely to help you out when you show up during a crisis. The downside to this idea is that you'll probably have to do some driving to get there and a lot of industrial areas are surrounded by pretty bad neighborhoods. Use your own judgement.

Then there are farms. Start going to farmer's markets. Some of them will let you pick up right at their farm. Offer to help out where you can. If there are riots in the streets then they'll probably want some extra security. Get to know the farmers and you might just have a permanent food source. Once again, if you live in the city then you probably don't have a farmer for a neighbor. The situation dictates whether or not you'll even have a chance of getting out to your farmer buddy's land during a crisis.

Obviously the best option is to have your preps squared away well in advance. There's no substitute for a good stock of food, the ability to grow a garden and being able to raise some type of meat animal. That's not always an option, though. If you just have to go out and get the last of your preps at the elventh hour then think outside the box. Go to places that most people won't be thinking about. During a crisis your best bet is to stay as far away from the crowds as possible.

6 comments: said...

You are spot on about making valuable contacts now - farmers, suppliers etc. When stocks become low these people may just come through for loyal, familiar customers rather than any Joe off the street.

When food panics occur, I am thinking most people go for the meats, which is rather dumb since meat tends to spoil easily. Complete proteins in the form of rice, beans, oats, etc that store long term are possibly the best bet.

If it is a real SHTF nuke type situation I might even opt for a thousand pounds of dried dog food while everyone else is busy fighting in the meat isle! But of course that is just me...

DAL357 said...

I'm not seeing this in my area--yet--although I can see how panic buying could become an ugly situation with little warning. Let's face it, the veneer of civilization covering people seems to have gotten thinner with each passing decade. It should be interesting to see how it all turns out.

The Urban Survivalist said...

I'm certainly not suggesting that it's going on right now. In fact it looks like the government may have managed to pull another rabbit out of their hat in regards to the economy. It'll take another "crisis" to keep everything from getting back on track within the next year or so.

Chile said...

Feed stores are a good tip, although the grains may need more cleaning as they aren't stored the same as that for human consumption. On Sunday, I also wrote about alternative sources of meat for when things get rough.

The Urban Survivalist said...

Actually I bought a few bags of whole wheat from a feed store and it was very clean. That's the wheat that I used to make the bread in my whole wheat sourdough post. It's not dusty. There are a few stems mixed in but only a very small amount and the stems don't make a difference, anyway. Remember that if you're buying animal feed you're buying something that is intended to feed something that's going to be slaughtered to feed us.

Survival Gear said...

These are some pretty good ways to get food, good post.