3 months of food doesn't hack it

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A recent posting mentioned having 1 to 3 months of food. Wrong. Production agriculture is the ultimate JIT with tons of external inputs that may crash. You city people are DGI's when it comes to food. Crops have to be planted and harvested at the right time. Miss the time and the crop is gone forever not just delayed. Some of you do not seem to understand that agriculture is not like a factory where production can be restarted after a delay to crank out more products.

Take corn. Miss planting in 2000 and there won't be corn again until the fall of 2001. That sounds like a year and a half to me. The same thing is true of other seasonal crops. Also remember that crops to be canned have to arrive at the plant in the right sequence or they won't be packed at all.

There are lots of other examples but my ISP cuts me off before I can finish.

If you are even a moderate GI you need at least a year's supply unles you plan to grow your own. Your decision on food is your final and irrevolkable decision on how bad you think things might get.

As for my wife and I, we have lived in the boondocks for 25 years, have an establish garden and orchard, stocked pond, chinkens in the coup and put in a big alternative energy system in 1998 before the rush. Ya, we have stocked food too and I'm still worried we are under prepared because I understand production agriculture. Extreme food shortages cannot be discounted.


-- Todd Detzel (detzel@jps.net), November 13, 1999


We will descend into barbarism sooner or later.The trick is to have enough food to last while the masses enter into chaos.That way you'll be stronger when you enevitably have to turn predator against you brother man.You can choose to lay down and die or fight to live.Nobody said we had to like it.

-- aopkoliptik (apokoliptik@yahoo.com), November 13, 1999.

My Dear Todd...

Sir you have hit the nail on the proverbial head. And this is the reason why I went infomagic (in scope). When I learned from "Just Another", that there is indeed a likely possibility that all the embeded systems made be induced to have their failures in a matter of days or weeks after the roll over.

With the JIT infrastructure of food/fuel/seeds/in shattered bits, even for a couple of weeks. The window for a significant portion of crop plantings will be lost for that season. And it will be "Kattie Bar The Door". When John Q. realizes that he/she has been lied to.

We are too vunerable to our technical enviroment, And the time is gone for a significant portion of the population to become prepared. In the end, it will be social (i.e. the general population's reaction) which will discontinue, our current efforts at an advanced civilization...Better luck next time,is all I can say to the survivors.


-- Shakey (in_a_bunker@forty.feet), November 13, 1999.

Thanks Todd for putting it into simple plain language that any DWGI can read and understand the implications of food production. But getting them to believe and act on it is another thing.

-- bardou (bardou@baloney.com), November 13, 1999.

My perspective was that we will enter partial dependence on our pantries (The mass panic time period with sporadic outages), full dependency (It all comes apart at the seams), and then a long and chronic partial dependency. You might be able to make stir fries with local produce but you had to have already purchased the rice and soy sauce. I see chronic hunger ahead for America. Food will be out there but not enough of it. And what that food will be at times would make one want to vomit such as all the okra you can eat. The length of that last chronic partial dependency on ones self-sufficient pantry intimidates me as it sounds like a good two years.

-- Paula (chowbabe@pacbell.net), November 13, 1999.

Infomagic, whoever he is, is an optimist. We may see cannibalism within 60 days of the rollover in the inner city.

But hey, I'm just a Kook.


-- Y2Kook (y2kook@usa.net), November 13, 1999.

I just checked the USDA site yesterday, and boy, have they undergone a turnaround since last year! Now it's no problem, it's all under control, 3 day storm nonsense.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a good site that explains what Todd explains so well above? I have to send it to my dear auntie who GI, but not the entire picture, I don't think. Thanks.


-- jhollander (hollander@ij.net), November 13, 1999.

Check this website: http://www.arkinstitute.com. Order one of their survival seed packages and some of their excellent books on home gardening. I have no financial interest in this outfit, just a satisfied customer.

-- Not Whistlin' Dixie (not_whistlin_dixie@yahoo.com), November 13, 1999.

Jeannie, try Hamasaki's DC Weather Reports. There was a farming rebuttal that said Infomagic was a polly because of the food issues.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), November 13, 1999.

What does one year mean? If I store enough food for my immediate family for one year, what happens when I add my best friend and then my nephew and then my brother and then my son's girlfriend?

Keep on stocking up however you can until you run out of money or time. You can't have too much or plan too much!


-- Sally Strackbein (sally@y2kkitchen.com), November 13, 1999.

If you find yourself eating human flesh,make sure the meat is very well done.Human flesh might be tastier served medium rare,but human flesh has all kinds of things that will make you sick.If your situation demands that you eat people,your life will have enough hassels without you having dysentery.Dine on.

-- zoobie (zoobiezoob@yahoo.com), November 13, 1999.

Todd is right. Modern agriculture is WHOLLY dependant on massive amounts of fertilizer which, as everyone should know, is produced using enormous amounts of petroleum products. If the supply of said fetilizer is seriously reduced, there will not be a crop worth mentioning. Farmers everywhere are very dependant on artificially manufactured chemical fertilizers. This is how 1% of the people in this nation can feed themselves and the other 99%, plus about half of the rest of the world. It is because of fertilizers, mechanization, plant breeding, and irrigation.

In the midwest, where most of the nations grains are grown, farmers rely on natural rainfall. No rain, no crop. But in many other areas such as the southwest, irrigation is pre-dominant. The pumps don't have to be down for a month; all it takes is a few days at the right time, and the crop is lost. Irritgation schedules need to be adhered to in order to produce the high yeilds that we are accustomed to. And if L.A. is starving for water because all their systems are down, and there are rivers of water in the central valley of California, who do you think will win that battle? The cities, in the short term at least.

All of those shiny fruits that you see in the grocery store during the winter months don't come from just Arizona and florida and Texas though; they are grown in countries like Chile, and are shipped to the U.S. in a matter of a few days. Do you know whether or not Chile has a vigorous Y2K program?

Even the fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S. are extremely reliant on proper refrigeration throughout the entire journey from field to dinner table. As soon as the back-up gennys run out of fuel, the packing sheds start to warm up, and produce begins to rot. And then there is the trucking system to think about.....

American agriculture is HIGHLY mechanized. There are a million links in the chain that can fail, from a fuel pump for a tractor that you can't get, to a lack of hydraulic oil for the combine. And, unlike most business, farmers can't just wait for some computer system to get back online. If they don't till, plant, irrigate, fertilize, cultivate, spray, or harvest at the right time they can kiss it goodbye.

If it all does go to shit, they might be able to keep a few loaves of bread or sacks of rice on the shelves for a while. But I think you can forget about having artichokes or cauliflower, or a fresh peach next year. That would be asking a lot.

-- cavscout (gotenough@fo.od?), November 13, 1999.

Todd: good post, and I agree completely. Less than around 19 months (when some of the 2001 harvest starts, whatever there is of it) of food storage IMO is almost DGI-level preparations.

Kookster: If the figures on how little food there is in the cities is at all on the level, there is no way that this will take 30 days to become moderately common.

Sally: get your immediate family in your house days (weeks, preferably) before rollover, and DON'T open the door, no matter who is on the other side or what they say. If they try to break down the door, shoot thru it until the breaking-down of your door stops. This is how you make a year's supply of food last a year. If you are not prepared to do this, either move to the boonies, or make your peace with your god. Otherwise, I agree with your post -- keep preparing until you can't anymore.


-- MinnesotaSmith (y2ksafeminnesota@hotmail.com), November 13, 1999.

>> Miss planting in 2000 and there won't be corn again until the fall of 2001. <<

This assumes that each year's harvest is consumed by the time of the next year's harvest. That is far from true. A several year's supply of corn exists in storage.

However, in a scenario where planting cannot be done, distribution of food from existing storage is also going to be disrupted. The corn would be "out there", but very hard to come at. Just a clarification.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 13, 1999.

We got the Ark package last year and tried some of their stuff this year. Most of it was almost comparable to hybrids. The only looser was the "flour/meal" corn which looks like a regual dent field variety. It grew 9-12 feet tall and only produced one ear per stalk. Not worth it. Might be good for silage if you have cows.

I have the winter wheat in now, not for harvet next year but for more seed. It's doing well too.


-- Todd Detzel (detzel@jps.net), November 13, 1999.

Good post Todd. And Sally, your last sentence bears repeating yet one more time...

Keep on stocking up however you can until you run out of money or time. You can't have too much or plan too much!

There are so many GIs right here on this very forum that fail to grasp this very simple notion and have vastly underprepared for what's coming. When the question comes up as to "How much is enough," your statement is the perfect answer. It's amazing and sad that most GIs can't understand this and it will probably cost them their lives and that of their families when TSHTF.

-- (its@coming.soon), November 13, 1999.

Ark Seeds...

We got them last year and tried them this yeaar. We only planted the stuff we'll eat. Most did quite well. Almost as good as the hybrids we grow. We were pretty satisfied. We probabaly could have saved money searching our own seed out but we don't have that lind of free time. The only looser was the "flour/meal" corn. It was a dent-type field corn. It grew 9-12 feet high and made one ear. Might be ok for silage but a waste of space for people.


-- Todd Detzel (detzel@jps.net), November 13, 1999.

Any Pollies or DWGI reading this: These guys are right.

Remember when Russia did it's de-Communist thing, a few years ago? The folks in Moscow went hungry, long lines, etc., while the crops rotted in the fields for lack of a delivery system.

If you live in a mild winter area go out and plant now: collards, spinach, mustard, potatoes,(mulch, turnips, carrots, beets. etc.

-- Mary (CAgdma@gardeningnow.com), November 13, 1999.


You make me feel like she-it. I only have enough for about 4 months.

Anyone needing my body, or what is left of it, can email me to make arrangements. I will let you have for free.

I do not mind dying. I do plan to oil and mudwrestle up until my dying day.

Oh.... also, whoever gets my body at the time of my demise, place my bones around your rose bushes, the calcium will help them do real well.

-- Lorie (SexyGovernmentLaisons@Sheit.com), November 13, 1999.

Excellent commentaries from all here. Pointing out the obvious, to be sure. Without cheap petroleum this panet can't feed more than a billion--if that. In the industrialized West, the calories expended in raising food exceed the calories in the food produced by a factor of three to one. Meat production, 3/1; fishing 20/1; agriculture (taking into account processing and distribution) 3/1. We can't maintain these ratios without cheap fuel, and cheap fuel is about the go the way of the dodo bird. In overall terms of efficiency, worldwide, rice paddies rank supreme--1/50. That is, fifty times more caloric energy is produced than used. (Ever wonder how China can support a billion people?) Prep-wise, is ten years' worth enough? Maybe not, I have 300 people in my town. So I keep buying. By the way, for excellent background and historical perspective on what we face, read A Green History of the World, by Clive Ponting. One of my very favorite references.

-- StanTheMan (heidrich@presys.com), November 13, 1999.


Forgot to thank you for filling in many of the gaps my ISP precluded me from saying. Well, it's only $12 per month so why gripe.

Ag IS highly sophisticated. There are tractors out there with built in cell phones that automatically call the service company when service is due or something goes wrong.

In the case of imported food, much of the fresh stuff you are buying now is imported, think noncompliant ports.


-- Todd Detzel (detzel@jps.net), November 13, 1999.


I wonder if your post was pointed at me. In a recent reply to Ken Decker, I mention what I think to be a reasonable assessment of not only my preparations, but particularly of our location. If Y2K is going to be so bad that three months food and one month of water is insufficient, then my location (or Sally's location for that matter) is inadequate.

The dense population of the dee cee metropolitan area is such that any multi-dimensional disaster (loss of power, water, and gas at the same time) that goes 30 days is likely to result in significant loss of life and property-- not to mention social disintegration, disease, and other bad mojo. In fact, a new location may be more important than putting up more stored food.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (faryna@groupmail.com), November 13, 1999.


To continue what I began to write last night:

That's not to say that a year or more of stored food is a bad idea. Again, I have argued that if you have stored food that you will eat, it is at least as good as cash. That is, as long as you have a roof over your head. And if groceries are more expensive next year, stored food may even be judged a good instrument of investment- however unusual.

Still, I would like to point out that your having a good location in the sticks makes more appropriate the decision to think more about food than where you are or any other considerations for that matter. My point being that prudence in preparation dictates different strokes for different folks.

We can't all move to the country, and especially when the outcome is unkown and unlikely to go Mad Max-- unless nuclear war is unloosed.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (faryna@groupmail.com), November 14, 1999.

i cannot presently recall who said what follows (approximately):

"every element of civilization we now enjoy exists because of three inches of topsoil and the fact that it rains."

the damned food is critical to the numbers who now exist. if the food supply is diminished in any way the population will decrease immediately.

don't eat the seed corn.

-- clayton (ratchetass@hotmail.com), November 14, 1999.

Also consider farm labor. I used to work on a big farm along with about a dozen Mexican laborers. I was impressed by their work ethic and cheerfulness even though they were provided with sub-standard housing, drank water from the river, went potty in a hole in the ground.

These laborers came here all the way from Mexico (1000's of kilometers) every spring and returned there in the fall. They came here because they had more incentives then we blackies and whities to do this kind of work to fill our bellies.

With disruptions early next year, how will they get here, and safely, to work on our farms?

-- Not Again! (seenit@ww2.com), November 14, 1999.

This is weird! I just posted here and email alerts were sent succesfully. But my post disappeared. I'll try again:

Consider farm labor. I used to work on a big farm along with about a dozen Mexican laborers. I was impressed by their work ethic and their enduring cheerfulness, even though they were provided with substandard housing, drank from the river, and went potty in a hole in the ground. Each spring they came 1000's of kilometers to work on our farms, then returned each fall. They did this because we whities and blackies were too lazy/underpaid to do this kind of work.

How will they get here, safely, in early spring, to work our farms to fill our fat bellies?

-- Not Again! (seenit@ww2.com), November 14, 1999.


Consider this; if we (as a society) really do go three months without food then so many people will die that there's a chance the farmers will be able to feed the few who remain...


-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), November 14, 1999.

No one mentioned a MOST IMPORTANT FACT ! Even if you have the seed to plant and bring in successful crops , WHERE are the means to preserve this food for JAN. , FEB. MAR. and April ??? If you haven't used a few hundred small and large jars AND BOUGHT EXTRA LIDS , you won't have to live within 5 miles of a 7-11 to be toast/dead , by the spring of 2001. Eagle

-- Hal Walker (e999eagle@freewwweb.com), November 14, 1999.


Outstanding point and most people thought I exaggerated the point for mentioning it in the past. I imagine something like 500 canning jars and as many years of canning lids as you think necessary are appropriate for a family of four, if you are planning to get through some very lean years. And don't forget, you also are likely to need to bag at least 7 adult deer and many many bushels of smaller animals per year to keep up a good attitude.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (faryna@groupmail.com), November 14, 1999.


You need to acquire information on dehydrating, solar ovens, ammonia refrigeration, inverters, water acquisition, lead acid batteries, mini hydro generation, steam generation, wind generation, solar generation, making tools from scratch, proximity detection, basic medicine, living without deodorant.(sorry bout that one) stills, stalls, stools, styles, staples, stabilizers, starts, stalks, storage, oh well you get the idea.

Got TIME?!!!! No.... Got FRIENDS?

-- Michael (mikeymac@uswest.net), November 14, 1999.

Todd, cavscout, this is the message that should have been heard two years ago. I did an email campaign in early 1998, estimating 300M dead from famine in 2000 and beyond. My scenario is based on the hybrid/pesticide/fertilizer supply chain, and I've seen nothing since that changes my estimate.

I wrote to the UN, to FEMA, to international agencies concerned with food security and crops, to ag departments in universities, you name it. I got two results: the responder would say "glad that's not MY problem", and no answer at all. Last year we still had time to pre-position seed, fertilizer, all that stuff. Now we're out of time and we'll just have to watch it unravel. Billions are at risk.

Get used mason jars at Goodwill and other thrifts for 10 or 15 cents each. Buy lids by the case. We've been practicing canning this year - salmon, chicken, applesauce, other stuff. Also do vacuum packing. Get diatomaceous earth ("DE") to kill bugs without insecticide.

Support Community Supported Agriculture. That means you buy a share of a farmer, he/she raises produce and you get it. Tastes better, it's organic (check with the farmer) and it's LOCAL. Cut the supply chain NOW, before Y2k cuts it for you and leaves you dangling.

Next year, we will be living on local hand-raised crops, fishing, chickens and other small animals. This year they are digging up apple orchards in Eastern Washington, but (as I told whoever would listen last year), next year we won't waste a single apple. Think of all those farmers who left the business this year, who could have stayed in business and made a living next year. There was no communication chain to show them what now is getting obvious: that we'll need them badly, pretty soon.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), November 15, 1999.

Very often I stare at the deer out the windows and wonder if we'll be eating them.

Surely hope not.

-- lisa (lisa@work.now), November 15, 1999.

One area I didn't bring up is how many people believe they can just plant a home garden and feed themselves. Folks, if you haven't grown before you will find it takes far more work and area than you ever thought possible. Just look at the 55 varieties or so in the Ark box. large city lots wouldn't come close to provinding enough space. You also need to be able to store the food. Do you know how to dehydrate, etc. etc.

Also like production ag you need fertilizer, etc. and especially water.

A good book is by John Jevons. The title is something like How to Grow more Vegetables in Less Space Than You Ever Though Possible.


-- Todd Detzel (detzel@jps.net), November 15, 1999.

Taking a permaculture approach to food production will help you grow more food in less area. It has many other advantages too. Should be plenty of websites about it.

-- number six (Iam_a_free man!@(well, a cheap one, anyhow).com), November 16, 1999.

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