Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Emergency Food Storage, Vegan(MoFo) Style

Are you guys freaked about the impending apocalypse? Not the religious one, I'm not feeling that one. No, I'm talking more like peak oil stuff, or even just really bad weather. I've been meaning to post about this for a while, but it's hard to sit down and organize my thoughts about this.

So let me just say that I'm a big fan of science fiction. BIG NERD, right here. I've been to (two) conventions and everything - it's true. You know what my favorite subgenre is? I'll tell you: it's utopia/dystopia stories, or stories with a post-apocalyptic setting. And if they're feminist, all the better. The scariest book in the universe, in my opinion, was Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. It's just too damn realistic. You know how it it goes, society is in decline, some uber-conservative whack-job gets elected to office, people live in walled communities to try to remain safe but violent crime is rampant, etc. The narrator is a young woman who sees where this is going and starts to make preparations, even while her family and friends think she is a little out there for doing so. And what do you know, she was right to do it, the shit hits the fan, and more stuff happens, but you're just going to have to read the book. It's good, I promise. And scary!

So anyway, what the fuck does this have to do with being vegan and food? So I try to temper my paranoid tendencies with strong doses of reality. But when the stock markets start to crash and burn, it makes me think that you know, it probably wouldn't be too bad of an idea to have enough food in the house to sustain my family. For at least a month. And with no power available.

You might be thinking, geez, where is her partner in all this and doesn't he think she's crazy? Oh, no no no no no. If anything, he is more paranoid. I won't go into it here, but trust me, he's more paranoid.

So what are we doing right now? We're following this plan. That's right, we're going to stockpile approxiamately 40 lbs of oats, 90 cans of beans, 90 cans of fruit and 90 cans of tomato products. Oh and multivitamins. And lots of water. For my family of three, this is approximately what it would take to sustain us for one month, with no power. The trick is that you can eat all of these things without a heating source and none need to be refrigerated, although of course most would be improved with heating. But you don't have to. You can eat raw oats as muesli, beans and fruit and tomatoes straight out of the can. And you would, if you were hungry.

The trick is, we eat these foods already, all the time. So I'll be using my stockpile constantly, and replacing it as needed. We'll have a system where the oldest gets used first and the replacement food gets put to the back of the shelf. It's just a nice little insurance policy that lets me sleep better at night.

Luckily, we have many quarts of peaches already canned, and lots of tomatoes already (thank you Costco, for carrying organic tomatoes). We stocked up on 20 cans of organic beans from Trader Joe's this weekend (at $0.99 a can, it seemed like the thing to do!). We're hoping to stock up a little more each weekend.

Now if I could just figure out where the hell to buy 40 lbs of oats in Seattle....

Anyway, what about you? Are you storing food? Do you think you should? How are you prepared for an emergency, long or short-term?


carrie said...

No stockpiling here, only because I'm the furthest thing from a pack rat that you can possibly get, and all of that food taking up space would drive me bonkers!! I do think it's a great idea, but I just.can't.do.it.

We recently watched Bill Maher's new movie religulous, which went into a discussion of the apocalypse, and basically that because of all of the religious nut jobs, it's turing into a self fulfilling prophecy. Very interesting movie....if you are a non-religious person (maybe a bit offensive if you are on the other side of the fence).

By the way, I bet a co-op or HFS could special order your 40 lbs of oats, I mean they order them for the bulk bins anyway, I'm sure they would happily fill your request.

Rebecca said...

A great resource for buying long term food storage is www.shelfreliance.com

jessy said...

you are too awesome, Chessa - i love it! i think it we ever met we'd get along famously, fo 'sho! my friends & family are constantly making fun of me because i stockpile like a mofo. each week i buy a lot of something in bulk and then find a happy place for it in my home. i probably have enough soap, toothpaste, tissues and toilet paper to last me a year. i've got tons of witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, gauze, etc. and as for food: beans, oats, grains, etc - all that can be cooked in a pot over a fire, need be. dan used to think i was a bit nuts, but now he's joining in. he's considered buying a pair of combat boots for us, some heavy duty all-weather sleeping bags, a generator, you name it. yeah, people might think us a bit nutty, but i figure - it's better to be prepared then to get caught off guard and stuck in a pickle. i know we've got enough food for the 2 of us and our 5 pets for a month, but i really need to start canning. really need to. thanks for the kick in the ass, Chessa! and it's nice to know that other people are looking out and prepping just in case, too!

i'll have to check out that book as well. i'm very much in to apocalyptic type stuff, zombies, peak oil, etc. it's all so scary, but fascinating, too!

Jen said...

I used to be SO scared about this kind of stuff. I went to a Catholic school in the 80s, and well, the nuns had me convinced that we were all going to die in 2000. Even after I knew better, there was still a huge part of me that worried about it. I stockpiled like a crazy person for Y2K!

Since then, my apocalyptic fears have relaxed tremendously. I do see something happening soon, I don't know what, but I don't feel like it will be a scary thing. I think it will force us to build communities again, reconnect with our neighbors, examine our food source, and maybe help us evolve.

But I do applaud your food storage! I have lots of beans and rice, but that's about it. Maybe I should step it up a bit, thanks for the inspiration!!

Me said...

there is always a trip to pdx to Bob's Red Mill???
Good Luck with the stockpiling and please don't fret too much!


I would say bob's red mill too.. or ... heh heh heh.. your local friendly mormon missionary. I mean they ARE planning for the apocalypse and they HAVE tons of stockpile.. I am going to stockpile chocolate.. then they will all want to share with ME... ok. so I am not trying ot be ignorant here.. but they would have info.. really..

Bethany said...

I love sci-fi. to the point where I will talk about it or make references and people just look at me with a WTF expression on their faces. So I sort of stopped doing that. sad, really.

Thanks for the octavia butler suggestion. I've read some of her stuff before. Just got done the edge series. A kids book that I wish had been vegan. So I just ignored those parts because it is an interesting series. 1/2 priced books was selling them for cheap.

I'm not really a heavy duty stock piler (I do a small scale stock pile and rotate). Since I also live in the seattle area, a good wind storm can kick our butts, so I'm more aware of this than I was in VT. The one a few years ago left us w/out power for 10 days. no power means no well water which means no flushing the toilet unless you pour water into the tank. so we saved the water bottles from the wind storm and filled them w/ tap water. reminds me of that gross poem for bathrooms: if it's yellow, it's mellow. if it's brown, flush it down. I'm sure people want to read that. but hey, we're into disaster talk here, right? Do you separate your water supply in case part of your house is smashed in during an earthquake? I do. I've only been in mild quakes here in Seattle, but they freak me out.

I'd imagine dehydrated fruits would be good for stock piling.

We have a propane tank so that will last some time and can be used for stovetop cooking. provided it's full :) we also have a generator, but really you have to stockpile tons of gas, which we don't. I should probably look for the camping stove and see if the last person that borrowed it actually returned it. deadbeats.

Now I'm all hyped up, want to read a sci fi book and get the mother of all stockpiles going.

If it happens, I hope it's in the summer because I've been fantasizing about making one of these for a long time.

Chessa said...

carrie - oooh, i've been wanting to see religulous really bad! Maybe I can sneak away this weekend when we visit my parents....Good call on the HFS bulk bins. I bet they would special order it for me!

rebecca - thanks for the link!

jessy - that's awesome you are a stockpiling mofo, too! Yeah, I used to be all about the dried beans for stockpiling until I realized that we don't have a lot of burnable wood on our property if it came to cooking over a fire...and since we're in the PNW it would most likely be very wet. So maybe we should add firewood to our stockpile list? We do have two fireplaces (!?). Does firewood keep forever, or ? I feel like I should know the answer to that, and yet, I don't. Things to research. The mormons must know.

Jen - I totally don't mean to inspire fear. It's just one of those things - like writing a living will - that is hard to think about, but I feel like I should probably do it anyway. Speaking of, I should really get on that living will thing, we do have a child and all...That's kind of sad/hilarious that the nuns were so apocalyptic! I have never thought about that.

me/Tasha - I totally thought of you guys and Bob's Red Mill when I was thinking of this! We are going down to PDX this weekend, and I think we will make a trek over there. I've never been, I'm kind of excited!

aplaceforus - You are so right, I have in the past checked out the Mormon info (their About.com pages are very informative - and they don't try to convert you!). It is truly amazing what they say you should have in terms of food storage - hundreds and hundreds of pounds of food. There is a calculator and everything, it's kind of interesting. And I think the days of chocolate-as-currency are drawing near. ;)

bethany - I know, I always expect that everyone will share my love of SF, but sadly it is not the case. I could go on and on about why it's the best genre of literature - but no use preaching to the converted. In terms of Octavia Butler, I've only read Dawn and Parable of the Sower. I've been meaning to finish the Lilith's Brood series, I have the other two in my collection. She's really good, it's really a shame about her death.

We totally need to have several caches of water, that's a good call. That's crazy you guys lost power for 10 days! Yeah, we need to get on the water storage in a big way. And if it's yellow, we totally let it mellow. All the time. ;)

Who wrote the edge series? I don't think I've heard of that one.

I totally covet the solar cooker, too. I'm still skeptical of the whole "it'll work in Seattle" aspect, but it couldn't hurt to try.

Anonymous said...

Just yesterday, I was talking about this same thing with one of my coworkers. I haven't yet come up with our stockpile plan, but I do think it's necessary (and I don't consider myself a particularly paranoid person). We were recently without power for a week and it got me thinking about stockpiling.

I also have mild concern about pandemic flu...again, a stockpile would come in handy if we weren't allowed to leave our house for a month.

Bethany said...

I love this post! Its so "me".

10 days is 1/3 of a month. We would have been SOL if the stores weren't open that week. though maybe we could have pantry grubbed. Good thing canned baked beans are a favorite. I tried to hunt down my green camping stove and can't find it. Either it wasn't returned or my garage is too messy to find it...

The edge series = http://www.amazon.com/Edge-Chronicles-Beyond-Deepwoods/dp/0385750684

The only place I've seen them is at 1/2 price books. and for cheap.

I also have read some Larry Niven in the past few years. I loved Destiny's Road. And he has a mega kajillion book "known space" series that we've only barely touched. more of a space related sci fi thang.

Seems like we've been on a kids book kick lately. We read the Uglies series. Also the spiderwick series. Luckily Andy loves sci fi too.

I'm just itching for battlestar's season to start up again.

Anonymous said...

How is the stockpiling coming? We are vegan stockpilers too!

You never know what emergency could arise where you might need extra food.

For example

How is the food storage coming along? Our goal is 90+ days of food. I would love to read more about vegan food storage on your blog. May I suggest bugout bags/72hr emergency packs for everyone too. You can google bugout bags for more information.

LizzyQ ~ Vegan Mother said...

We've been working on a stockpile too. I read that blog when I was first starting out.

How is yours coming along? we started about the same time...

Anonymous said...

Great ideas, I'm thinking of doing the same thing. You know the book 'Vegan Unplugged' has great stockpile food and recipe ideas! And you can use this book/stockpile not only for emergencies, but for travelling, camping out, visiting non-vegans, illness, laziness, etc.etc. Michelle

EF Captain BG said...

Survival is the only objective. Started our DFFRNT WRLD vegan stockpile this week. Give thanks for the information.