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With the events of the last few years it’s hard not to have concerns over the potential lack of available food in grocery stores.
Food shortages could still happen, even in 2022.
Being prepared for potential food shortages is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from hunger and rising food prices.
This post is going to show you how to prepare for food shortages and start focusing on food security.
I remember reading an article around the start of 2020 that said in Australia, we have enough food – locally grown food – to last 3 populations of Australia worth. Yet somehow still, people – generally not the homesteaders – freak out, panic buy and wipe out all the food and supplies from the supermarkets.
If you begin to build an inventory of different foods you can eat during emergencies, you can avoid going hungry during a shortage. The steps you take now can save you and your family in the future.
Stockpiling food and having a food security plan is often considered a bit of an extreme view if you’re not a homesteader – whereas a homesteader looks at stockpiling food in levels of achievement – starting first with stockpiling store bought food before eventually levelling up to stockpiling their own grown and preserved food.
So, if you’re interested in stockpiling or learning more about food security, this post will outline some of the common ways a new homesteader (or even a pro!) can get their food security plan in order to ensure the homestead has enough food in any given emergency.
Plant a garden on your property – the ultimate foray into food security
Start planting a garden on your property. Whether you have a lot of space or not, certain vegetables are relatively easy to grow. As long as you plant seasonally and plant what is suitable for your climate, you will always have some type of yield and can start saving seeds from some of your crops which are already acclimated and suitable for your area.
When – or if – the food supply chain is broken and shortage occurs in the grocery stores, you would still have essential healthy food items to consume until things improve.
Saving seeds and the best online resources for seed purchasing
Whenever I am unable to save or swap seeds from a crop I like, I do use an organic and heirloom seed company in Australia called Happy Valley Seeds. They are my go-to company for sourcing high yielding seeds with great germination rates.
Below is a list of some of the most common and my personal favourite vegetables to have on rotation, or growing well in the garden.
Having access to these vegetables will cover a lot of basics for future proofing your cooking and meal prep schedule, if you’re into that.
Potatoes are surprisingly easy to grow and with the right care, can be stored for several months. They are versatile in their use and are very filling.
If you want to keep potatoes even longer, they can be frozen and canned.
If you are in a warm climate I would also suggest growing sweet potatoes as these are ridiculously easy to grow. I’ve grown them by chance many times where I’ve thrown vines away into another paddock and next minute I have a burgeoning sweet potato crop where I had no intention of planting one!
Carrots are versatile vegetables to grow. It is best to plant the carrot seeds during cooler weather at the beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn, depending on your area.
Planting carrots at the end of summer, can yield plenty of carrots by the end of autumn. Once you have carrots, you can do a lot with them. You might want to roast them in the oven, steam them, and even add them to rice.
Much like carrots, tomatoes tend to grow with ease. Even if you are new to gardening, you can successfully grow large tomatoes.
Try to plant the seeds during the warmer months because that is when the tomatoes tend to thrive. It typically takes around two months to harvest tomatoes.
Lettuce and Cabbage
Another good vegetable to grow in your garden is lettuce. It can grow rather quickly. There are times when lettuce grows to a full head in as little as 30 days. You can produce different lettuce varieties and use them to create salads with your fresh tomatoes.
Cabbage is also an absolute must in my garden. Cabbage can be eaten fresh/raw and made into sauerkraut. It is a versatile vegetable that is superbly healthy and has many culinary uses, at least in my kitchen!
Do not forget about growing a variety of bean! Not only are they good for you, but they are also easy to grow. It does not take much effort to keep the green beans thriving throughout the year. I love berlotti and green beans.
Onions and Garlic
Without a doubt, onions and garlic are staples in our home and are used in so many dishes. Onion can be stored for longer periods of time after harvest, and garlic can be pureed, canned, dehydrated, freeze dried or fermented in honey for a twist.
Regardless, onion and garlic are incredibly versatile vegetables and should be in everyone’s food security arsenal.
Start the canning process to build an inventory of food
Besides starting a garden where you will grow assorted vegetables and fruits, you should consider canning to prepare for any potential food shortages that could occur.
Canning can help you can create a stockpile of food that will last for years in canning jars. The extended shelf life of canned foods could provide you with a sense of relief – especially knowing it was your harvest you canned or if your vegetables came from an excellent source like a local organic farmer for example.
Canning is an easy and enjoyable skill to have and even if you haven’t got enough of your own yield, stockpiling extra vegies and fruit from other homesteads or the local farms may also work in your favour.
Jams and preserves are probably the most common way to preserve an abundance of fruit. You can create some of your favorite jam recipes, add them to glass mason jars, and begin the canning process.
It is always good to have jams available during a food shortage. You can use them to add flavor to different foods, including loaves of bread, oatmeal, and yogurt.
Prepare pickles with fresh cucumbers, vinegar, and other ingredients such as dill or mustard seed. You can start canning these pickles and keep them on shelves in your basement until you need them. The canning process ensures a long shelf life with no commercial preservatives.
It is even possible to start canning different types of meats. Some of the best meats for canning include sausages, beef, and pork. When working with meat, make sure you follow superior cleanliness and hygiene practices to ensure your meat stays bacteria free throughout the canning process.
Freeze Drying – Yes you can do it as a homesteader and yes it will contribute to your homesteads food security!
I am looking into a freeze drying machine now with my preference to date being a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer. My only concern is that the initial outlay and transport from the USA would bring it to about $7,500 AUD with electrical conversion – however – this is something that will totally up my (and your!) game when it comes to food security.
Freeze drying food allows longer term – up to 25 years – storage of food items. Food that is freeze dried retains its nutritional value as well as the colour and flavour of the item when fresh and is easily reconstisuted for use again.
There’s an array of other homesteaders currently writing and recording freeze drying recipes and vlogging about their journeys with their freeze dryer so there is no shortage of users and inspiration online.
I highly recommend any new or existing homesteader to consider the investment of one if you’re serious about your food security.
Collect non-perishable food items while on sale
Make it a priority to start gathering non-perishable food items while they are on sale. You can check weekly advertisements to see which stores have the best deals on items that will come in handy.
Not sure when to buy? This post I wrote may help steer your thinking in the right direction:
Peanut butter is a great food item to purchase in advance. It has a long shelf life, tastes delicious, and is an excellent source of protein and fat. Even if you did not have access to many other foods, having peanut butter at home during a food shortage could genuinely help.
Sometimes drinking plain water can be drab. If you do not want to get stuck drinking water all the time, collect tea bags while they are on sale. They have an extremely long shelf life and will allow you to make warm, soothing cups of hot tea when you want or need it.
I’ve been experimenting all summer with an array of cold sweet iced teas in all sorts of flavours – my favourite to date would have to be the blood orange (Keep an eye out for a recipe coming soon!)
Many canned portions of meat have a long shelf life. While you can complete the canning process for different types of meats, you can also buy some pre-canned meats at your local grocery store.
Things like spam and tuna fish are great sources of tinned protein and everyone should have them as part of their stockpile.
Granted, spam may not be considered the cleanest of foods, but you have to consider the reasons behind why you are stockpiling, and understand you may not be able to get your bougie organic stuff when in a crisis.
If spam is all you have to eat, you’d be surprised how much you’d appreciate it!
Nuts have a long shelf life and are good to have during a food shortage. Peanuts, almonds, cashews, and pecans are just four of the many options to consider collecting. Nuts are an excellent source of protein and fiber, making them great to have during an emergency.
Non-perishable food for food security
These are only a handful of the non-perishable food items worth collecting. There are plenty of other great foods worth buying and saving in your basement. You never know when these foods will get put to good use.
Make sure that any non-perishable items you get are rotated frequently and used after some time.
Buy meats in bulk
Try to buy meat in bulk when on sale. You can remove the meat from the original packaging, separate them into serving sizes, and put them in freezer bags.
My preference is always to go direct to the farmer. If you have a pasture to plate farm nearby, consider a meat share and buying as much of an entire beast as you can.
Alternately and even better – buy and raise your own livestock so that you have more control over your food source. If you’re on a smaller homestead, let’s say 5-10 acres, and depending on your council areas you may not be able to have more than one livestock per certain size land.
For example in my council area and dependant on the size of your land, we can only have one pig/sow, 3 dogs (registered) and/or 1 horse per 1 acre, (but that changes if its a stallion).
You can have a small number of cows, sheep and goats, but again, they limit that to small herds. Again, those herd sizes would likely be enough for you and your family needs, but it’s still good to double check.
When considering larger farm livestock and if you do have limitations like the above, then it needs to be something worthwhile.
If you need to spend time and energy raising a steer to eventually butcher it, you don’t want to do just one. If you’re already going down that route, it makes sense to raise a few more so you can sell them to at least cover your costs, and bring in some extra cash.
In these examples, perhaps refocusing on chickens, ducks or guinea fowl or egg production to recoup costs as an alternative is more beneficial.
Back to the meat – Once you sort through the meat, you can put it in your freezer to keep it longer and until needed.
You might even want to consider buying a deep freezer if you haven’t already, though if you are an old hat homesteader, you probably have a few of these already!
If you have a deep freezer, you will have plenty of space to start saving meats and other frozen goods.
How to prepare for food shortages in 2022 and beyond
You can start a garden full of vegetables and fruits, start the canning process, and even buy meat in bulk before freezing it. Collecting foods and creating an impressive inventory of non-perishable items is the best way to avoid starvation during a significant food shortage.
Food shortages can happen anywhere and at anytime, and this current period in our lives is a ripe event for that to occur. The last thing you want to deal with is a lack of food when you have a family at home.
If you would like to make sure you and your loved ones have food to eat no matter what, follow the tips mentioned above.
Tell me how you have learned how to prepare for food shortages in the comment section below!
Here’s a list of some other useful posts I’ve written on homesteading and preparedness that can help you on your journey to self sufficiency!
- How to be zero/low waste on a homestead – Life on Milo’s Farm (lifeonmilosfarm.com)
- 10 ways to start homesteading now! – Life on Milo’s Farm (lifeonmilosfarm.com)
- How to be a homesteader when you have a full time job – Life on Milo’s Farm (lifeonmilosfarm.com)
- So you want to be self sufficient – what does it mean and how do you start? – Life on Milo’s Farm (lifeonmilosfarm.com)
- The lost art of bartering – Life on Milo’s Farm (lifeonmilosfarm.com)
- How to build a grocery stockpile – Life on Milo’s Farm (lifeonmilosfarm.com)
- 20 Ultimate Pandemic/Lockdown Survival Tips For Homesteaders – Life on Milo’s Farm (lifeonmilosfarm.com)
- 20 ULTIMATE recipes for meal planning – Life on Milo’s Farm (lifeonmilosfarm.com)
Until next time!