Are You Prepared for Peak Chicken?

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three-step-chickensWe have all heard about peak oil. But have you heard about “peak chicken?” Or peak almost everything else that composes the modern human diet—dairy, meat, corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, vegetables, and sugar?

According to a study in Ecology and Society,1https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art50/ we’ve already been there and done that. We peaked on just about every food-related product considered critical to human survival, except farm-raised fish, in or before 2010.

Thank goodness for carp, catfish, and tilapia! If you don’t like those, you might want to start working on some new recipes and get used to them….

Once you get your head around the idea of peak food—meaning that food production is stagnant or declining—then do an Internet search for “world population clock.”

Sit back and watch as the world’s population increases before your eyes.

It is interesting to watch, until you do the math and realize that declining food production + increasing population = a big problem. Suddenly that population calculator looks a lot like a ticking time bomb, and the $60,000,000,000,000 (global public debt)2http://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock/ question is: “When does it explode?”

The truth is that we don’t know if, how, or when the bubble will burst.

Reason to Worry

But according to the authors of the Ecology and Society study, we should be worried. Their findings show that 20 of the 27 key resources for human survival peaked within the 50-year period ending in 2010.

The fact that so much of our food supply peaked within the same time frame makes sense at an intuitive level. Growing food with current industrial processes requires adequate water and fertile land suited to maneuvering large equipment. When we run out of fertile land, we develop undesirable land by leveling or clearing the earth, adding synthetic fertilizer, and pumping in water for irrigation. That works until we exhaust our water stores and deplete easily accessible nitrogen sources.

As land, water, and fertilizer become less available, the natural result is that food production declines, prices go up, and distribution gets contentious.

Those of us fortunate enough to live in wealthy countries like the United States have been insulated from most of the deprivations of peak food.

  • But if you live in rural Mexico, you probably already know what a 733% increase in the cost of a staple like tortillas feels like.
  • Or if you’ve lived in parts of Venezuela in the last few years, you know what it’s like to go to the grocery store and find the shelves inexplicably empty.
  • In India, farming-related debt is so high and weather events are destroying crops so frequently that suicide among farmers has reached epidemic levels.

These are just a few examples of peak-food-related issues already occurring around the world.

According to the USDA’s Agricultural Projections through 2022,3https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/projections/USDAAgriculturalProjections2022.pdf “Although agricultural prices decline in the near term, continued growth in global demand for agricultural products holds prices at historically high levels.” This means that for those of us who live in the United States, Japan, or the EU, our days of food cost stability are numbered as developing countries are expected to outpace us on demand, economic growth, and strength of currency in international markets.

Additionally, the USDA’s Food Price Outlook, 2017-20184https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings/ for the U.S. indicates that the most notable inflation increases in food have occurred, and will continue to occur, around the perimeter of the grocery store.

The Rise and Fall of Peak Nutrition

Poultry, dairy, eggs, seafood, and fresh fruits—the most nutritious foods available—are becoming less affordable, and this is expected to get much worse.

In response to price increases, such as the market price of beef going up 10 percent in two years in the U.S., consumers have already diverted their budgets from nutrient-dense natural foods to prepackaged, high-calorie foods, which tend to be less nutritious.

Just as it makes intuitive sense that peak food would follow quickly on the heels of peak land, we can also assume that trading fresh, healthy foods for processed foods to make ends meet will lead to peak nutrition—after which our collective public health will begin to accelerate in its decline.

So, is there anything we can do to change our food future?

In light of their disturbing findings regarding synchronous peak production, the authors of the Ecology and Society study suggest that we need a “paradigm shift” in our use of resources if we are going to be able to adapt to our post-peak realities.

That seems like a polite way of saying, “we need to radically alter our methods for growing and distributing food, or we’re in big trouble.”

Finding Answers

The good news is that you, I, and other members of The Grow Network community are already starting to work on this. The peak calculations were based on data from the 2013 FAO Statistical Yearbook5http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3107e/i3107e00.htm. That report includes figures reported by international governments like Gross Domestic Product, and is dependent on financial information provided in tax returns and financial statements.

All the home-scale food growing taking place around the world is not included in determining these peak food calculations.

The study also does not take into consideration the black markets and barter markets that are already prevalent throughout much of the world, and may be used by two-thirds of the world’s population by 2020.

Unfortunately, for the same reasons that these data are not included in peak calculations, it is impossible to determine how much of an impact home food growers, barter economies, and black markets are making in relation to peak food.

Anecdotally, though, we know that there has been increased interest in home-based food production:

  • Just look at the number of self-sufficiency publications showing up on supermarket and bookstore shelves over the last ten years.
  • The number of farmers’ markets have increased by nearly 500% over the last 23 years, according to the USDA.6https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NationalCountofFMDirectory17.JPG
  • There’s been an explosion in intensive growing practices—raised beds, vertical gardening, companion planting, permaculture, aquaponics—methods that use significantly less inputs than industrial agriculture while producing a superior product with excellent yields.
  • The Obamas put a garden on the White House lawn, and Oprah started a farm in Maui.

These are all positive signs that a transition to more sustainable food-growing processes is already under way.

A 3-Step Solution

Taking a closer look at the details reveals that our current “peak food” problem is really more of a “peak industrial farming” problem.

What the Ecology and Society study makes absolutely clear is that we cannot feed the world using only industrial farming methods because they depend on resources that have peaked, or will peak, in the near future—such as constant nitrogen inputs, spray irrigation, and mono-cropping on cleared land.

However, we can continue to improve our outlook with regard to peak food by choosing to support a few clear, actionable solutions:

1) Diversifying What We Grow
2) Reintegrating Local Farming Into Our Communities
3) Supporting Community Food Security

Let’s take a closer look at these solutions…

#1. Diversifying What We Grow

sweet-potato-vinesThe fact that our key resources list can be narrowed down to just 27 items that include corn and sugarcane is both an indictment of our modern diet, and a mandate for change.

The Case for Corn

Corn, for example, could be an excellent “calorie crop,” meaning that it has the potential to provide a high calorie-per-acre yield. It has culinary versatility: corn bread, polenta, grits, tortillas, eaten on the cob and off the cob, popcorn, and as a supplemental feed for poultry and pigs.

But less than 1 percent of peak corn grown today actually makes it to your table directly. The rest is inedible for humans as it is grown specifically to go into our cars as ethanol or to be used as feed for livestock like cows, which would never touch it if they tripped over it in the pasture. A good portion of the corn used in our human food supply is corn syrup that is arguably a leading contributor to epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Fields of monoculture corn swaying in the wind might even seem pretty—but don’t walk barefoot in those fields because they are loaded with toxic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that require protective gear to apply.

For the home grower, corn can be a fun food to grow as part of a balanced diet, if you have the space. You need to grow enough corn stalks for good cross-pollination or you need to hand-pollinate, and you have to take some extra precautions to prevent contamination from cross-pollination if you want to save your seeds.

But an even better option is to focus on more nutritious foods that don’t make the peak list.

Think about cabbage, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and winter squash. These are also versatile in soups, sauces, and pies, and they can be mashed, added to breads and pasta, roasted, and fried. Pumpkin and squash take space to grow, but there is no reason that they can’t be grown in vertical space. There are compact varieties of sweet potatoes like Bunch Porto Rico that can be grown in containers. These alternative calorie crops also store well without additional processing and they are relatively high in nutritional density, according to the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.7https://www.drfuhrman.com/learn/library/articles/95/andi-food-scores-rating-the-nutrient-density-of-foods

Mix these alternative calorie crops up with a long list of other highly nutritious foods that you can easily grow at home or pick up at your local farmers market, such as tomatoes, chard, beets, turnips, arugula, watercress, lettuce, and you will be on your way to post-peak food health and happiness.

A Not-So-Sweet Staple

Now for a not-so-sweet subject: sugar. Sugar is a staple of our diets … really?!

Why is something that significantly increases our chances of dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease (according to the American Heart Association) a resource considered necessary to our survival? Sure, it’s got calories, but they are non-nutritive.

If you consume your calories as sugar, you must either overconsume other foods to make up the nutritive difference, or run a nutritive deficit. Both roads lead to poor health.

Currently, roughly 898,000 acres of sugarcane and sugar beets are grown commercially in the U.S. alone. That amount of land, replanted using intensive farming methods, could grow enough healthy vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy products to feed 400,000 people a healthy, balanced diet.

If you’ve got an incurable sweet tooth, how about satisfying it with a source that takes almost no land to produce, is good for you, and the production of which actually increases crop productivity in the immediate area? This is not some manufactured miracle sweetener that we will later discover causes cancer. It’s the oldest known sweetener on the planet, so revered at one time that the pharaohs of ancient Egypt were buried with it in their tombs, while indigenous communities risked life and limb to extract it.

Of course, you guessed it: The miracle sugar alternative is raw honey.

Raw honey is loaded with good nutrition. It may also help reduce the intensity of seasonal allergies, which are expected to increase in length and severity as a result of climate change, resulting in greater losses in productivity. Keeping bees near your garden increases pollination rates and raises yields. Since every third bite of food we eat requires insect pollination, and most of this is done by honey bees, adding honey to our key resource list makes much more sense than sugar.

If you want to keep your own bees, try a top-bar hive. You can make it out of scrap materials and it does not require expensive extraction equipment. If you can’t keep bees, buy raw honey from your local beekeepers to encourage more beekeeping activity that benefits our entire food supply.

stevia-growing-in-herb-gardenOr how about growing stevia? Stevia is an acquired taste, but once you adjust your palate, it becomes a viable alternative to sugar in beverages.

The leaves have negligible calories and can be boiled with teas and iced to make a sweet-tasting soda alternative. You can grow stevia from seeds obtained from a reputable supplier or you can grow it from cuttings. The plants do well in containers and can overwinter indoors in zones 7 and below with adequate light. When you harvest leaves by trimming the plants between leaf segments, similarly to how you harvest basil, the plants will become bushier and even more productive.

Corn and sugar are easy targets because there are delicious, available alternatives. But there are endless ways to diversify your diet:

  • Swap rice for bulgur, quinoa, lentils, or split peas.
  • Try goat or duck as a beef substitute.
  • Use buckwheat and amaranth flour instead of wheat.
  • Substitute sunflower seed meat for almonds.

Study your shopping list, identify the things you buy regularly, and then seek substitutes that can be grown in your community. You may be surprised at how much variety is available when you make the effort to look for it.

#2. Reintegrating Local Farming into our Communities

peak-chicken-peak-eggs-fullThe expression “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has never had more relevance than it does right now.

Checking Into Chicken

Chickens are fairly easy to raise at the home scale and they add fun and beauty to a landscape, so if you are seriously thinking about raising a backyard flock, now might be a good time to start. Make sure you know your LORE (laws, ordinances, rights, and entitlements) before taking the plunge. Also, talk to chicken owners you trust or do research to determine best practices in buying and keeping chickens in your area.

If it’s against the “LORE” for you to keep backyard chickens or you don’t have the space, how about rallying your community to turn underutilized common areas onto vegetable gardens and raise egg chickens or egg ducks there? Not only does this concept make common space meaningful again by doing something productive with it, but it can create opportunities for new farmers to enter the profession, and opportunities for residential “lawnscapers” to become organic “foodscapers.”

baby-ducks-and-chickensLaying Off Lawns

And this leads us to another method for countering peak food—let’s overcome our lawn addiction. North Americans devote 40,000 square miles of prime growing land to lawns.8https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/edible-ground-covers That is more land than we use to grow wheat or corn, it requires half the American residential water supply to grow, and it uses heavy doses of post-peak nitrogen and chemical products that end up soiling our waterways.

In the era of peak food, we really need to kick our lawn habit to the curb.

If you are a DIY type and you already take care of your lawn and landscaping, swap your holly hedge for blueberry bushes, replace flowers with flowering herbs, grow veggies anywhere you currently grow annuals, or build raised beds right over your lawn. Fruit trees like paw paw, jujube, Asian pear, mulberry, and elderberry are less needy than many ornamental trees like dogwood or flowering cherry, so use those as your starting points for planting a “foodscape.”

Surround the trees with a living mulch of Russian comfrey and borage. As the trees grow, prune them for good airflow and a less dense shade profile so you can grow shade-tolerant spinach, lettuce, and peas under the trees. If you have good southern exposure in front of your trees, plant fruit bushes there, plus herbs like chives, lemon balm, and mint to attract beneficial insects. You can also vine grapes up the trunks, making use of that vertical space.

herb-spiral-for-microclimatesIf you are not the DIY type and you spend on lawnscaping, reallocate your budget toward foodscaping to support a new generation of growers.

Many professional farmers and landscapers are excellent machine operators, soil scientists, irrigation experts, and pesticide applicators. But they may not have the expertise to grow a variety of foods without the aid of heavy equipment or purchased fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.

To beat peak food and take advantage of prime growing land located within our populated communities, we need more small-scale farmers and growers skilled in controlling pests without chemicals, adding fertility with organic inputs produced onsite, minimizing water usage through smart planting, and applying intensive planting methods to increase food production.

There are plenty of people who want to do this, but we need to create the economic opportunities for them to be able to make a living at it.

To get started, talk to your current landscaper about having them do the work for you. If they don’t have the skills and they aren’t willing to gain them, talk to your local agricultural or gardening extension office, farming schools, vendors at farmers markets, or nearby permaculture schools to find people who are able to help you.

To keep costs low, you can make agreements to let student farmers sell surplus crops and keep the profit in exchange for doing the work. There are also a lot of budding permaculturists who offer their consulting services at discounted rates to develop their resumes and client bases.

Finding ways to grow food in our homes and neighborhoods should be a priority for anyone concerned about peak food.

#3. Supporting Community Food Security

Planting food instead of lawns not only increases food production, but also raises awareness of the importance of doing so. A surprising number of people are not even aware of the issues surrounding peak food. An even more surprising number of people are aware of some of these issues but feel powerless to do anything about them.

By bringing food growing to the forefront of our daily lives, we create opportunities to share our knowledge and help others collaborate with us. Our window of opportunity to beat peak food gets smaller the longer we wait and as weather becomes more erratic and resources less available, so the sooner we spread the news and help others get involved, the more impact we can have.

If you have any doubts about the urgency of building food communities, look to China for guidance. The Chinese government has encouraged its food corporations, through loans and preferential economic policy, to purchase and accumulate companies from around the world that grow and process food products (e.g., Smithfield Foods). This is part of a concerted effort to ensure food security for China’s growing population. And, it might be a wise policy given the reality of peak industrial food.

Yet not all governments are this proactive, and even when food is stockpiled or production is secured, distribution systems may not be fully developed. Also, goods may be distributed with preference for specific populations, like wealthy cities and wealthy citizens.

Realistically, unlike the Chinese government, most of us here don’t have $5 billion to buy up 25% of the pork production in the U.S. “just in case.” But most of us do have some kind of grocery budget and/or a food-growing system in place. Instead of spending our money and resources to support a post-peak industrial food system, we need to redirect our efforts toward local and sustainable food-growing activities.

Home growers can set up food-swapping networks with other growers to exchange products and increase diversity. Non-growers can take their food budgets to the farmers’ market and buy direct from local producers, or pick up weekly baskets from a local CSA. Greater demand for local food means more local growers. More local growers means more food security when declining industrial farms can no longer meet the food needs of a growing population.

We can adapt our eating and growing habits, and make the paradigm shift required to overcome peak food, if we acknowledge the problem and meet the challenges individually, and in our home communities, through thoughtful effort.

We can reach critical mass and cause real change in our society.

But the clock is ticking….

 

 

TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

(This is an updated version of a post originally published August 14, 2015.)

References   [ + ]

1. https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art50/
2. http://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock/
3. https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/projections/USDAAgriculturalProjections2022.pdf
4. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings/
5. http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3107e/i3107e00.htm
6. https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NationalCountofFMDirectory17.JPG
7. https://www.drfuhrman.com/learn/library/articles/95/andi-food-scores-rating-the-nutrient-density-of-foods
8. https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/edible-ground-covers

The post Are You Prepared for Peak Chicken? appeared first on The Grow Network.

Are You Prepared for Peak Chicken?

three-step-chickensWe have all heard about peak oil. But have you heard about “peak chicken?” Or peak almost everything else that composes the modern human diet—dairy, meat, corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, vegetables, and sugar?

According to a study in Ecology and Society,1https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art50/ we’ve already been there and done that. We peaked on just about every food-related product considered critical to human survival, except farm-raised fish, in or before 2010.

Thank goodness for carp, catfish, and tilapia! If you don’t like those, you might want to start working on some new recipes and get used to them….

Once you get your head around the idea of peak food—meaning that food production is stagnant or declining—then do an Internet search for “world population clock.”

Sit back and watch as the world’s population increases before your eyes.

It is interesting to watch, until you do the math and realize that declining food production + increasing population = a big problem. Suddenly that population calculator looks a lot like a ticking time bomb, and the $60,000,000,000,000 (global public debt)2http://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock/ question is: “When does it explode?”

The truth is that we don’t know if, how, or when the bubble will burst.

Reason to Worry

But according to the authors of the Ecology and Society study, we should be worried. Their findings show that 20 of the 27 key resources for human survival peaked within the 50-year period ending in 2010.

The fact that so much of our food supply peaked within the same time frame makes sense at an intuitive level. Growing food with current industrial processes requires adequate water and fertile land suited to maneuvering large equipment. When we run out of fertile land, we develop undesirable land by leveling or clearing the earth, adding synthetic fertilizer, and pumping in water for irrigation. That works until we exhaust our water stores and deplete easily accessible nitrogen sources.

As land, water, and fertilizer become less available, the natural result is that food production declines, prices go up, and distribution gets contentious.

Those of us fortunate enough to live in wealthy countries like the United States have been insulated from most of the deprivations of peak food.

  • But if you live in rural Mexico, you probably already know what a 733% increase in the cost of a staple like tortillas feels like.
  • Or if you’ve lived in parts of Venezuela in the last few years, you know what it’s like to go to the grocery store and find the shelves inexplicably empty.
  • In India, farming-related debt is so high and weather events are destroying crops so frequently that suicide among farmers has reached epidemic levels.

These are just a few examples of peak-food-related issues already occurring around the world.

According to the USDA’s Agricultural Projections through 2022,3https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/projections/USDAAgriculturalProjections2022.pdf “Although agricultural prices decline in the near term, continued growth in global demand for agricultural products holds prices at historically high levels.” This means that for those of us who live in the United States, Japan, or the EU, our days of food cost stability are numbered as developing countries are expected to outpace us on demand, economic growth, and strength of currency in international markets.

Additionally, the USDA’s Food Price Outlook, 2017-20184https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings/ for the U.S. indicates that the most notable inflation increases in food have occurred, and will continue to occur, around the perimeter of the grocery store.

The Rise and Fall of Peak Nutrition

Poultry, dairy, eggs, seafood, and fresh fruits—the most nutritious foods available—are becoming less affordable, and this is expected to get much worse.

In response to price increases, such as the market price of beef going up 10 percent in two years in the U.S., consumers have already diverted their budgets from nutrient-dense natural foods to prepackaged, high-calorie foods, which tend to be less nutritious.

Just as it makes intuitive sense that peak food would follow quickly on the heels of peak land, we can also assume that trading fresh, healthy foods for processed foods to make ends meet will lead to peak nutrition—after which our collective public health will begin to accelerate in its decline.

So, is there anything we can do to change our food future?

In light of their disturbing findings regarding synchronous peak production, the authors of the Ecology and Society study suggest that we need a “paradigm shift” in our use of resources if we are going to be able to adapt to our post-peak realities.

That seems like a polite way of saying, “we need to radically alter our methods for growing and distributing food, or we’re in big trouble.”

Finding Answers

The good news is that you, I, and other members of The Grow Network community are already starting to work on this. The peak calculations were based on data from the 2013 FAO Statistical Yearbook5http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3107e/i3107e00.htm. That report includes figures reported by international governments like Gross Domestic Product, and is dependent on financial information provided in tax returns and financial statements.

All the home-scale food growing taking place around the world is not included in determining these peak food calculations.

The study also does not take into consideration the black markets and barter markets that are already prevalent throughout much of the world, and may be used by two-thirds of the world’s population by 2020.

Unfortunately, for the same reasons that these data are not included in peak calculations, it is impossible to determine how much of an impact home food growers, barter economies, and black markets are making in relation to peak food.

Anecdotally, though, we know that there has been increased interest in home-based food production:

  • Just look at the number of self-sufficiency publications showing up on supermarket and bookstore shelves over the last ten years.
  • The number of farmers’ markets have increased by nearly 500% over the last 23 years, according to the USDA.6https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NationalCountofFMDirectory17.JPG
  • There’s been an explosion in intensive growing practices—raised beds, vertical gardening, companion planting, permaculture, aquaponics—methods that use significantly less inputs than industrial agriculture while producing a superior product with excellent yields.
  • The Obamas put a garden on the White House lawn, and Oprah started a farm in Maui.

These are all positive signs that a transition to more sustainable food-growing processes is already under way.

A 3-Step Solution

Taking a closer look at the details reveals that our current “peak food” problem is really more of a “peak industrial farming” problem.

What the Ecology and Society study makes absolutely clear is that we cannot feed the world using only industrial farming methods because they depend on resources that have peaked, or will peak, in the near future—such as constant nitrogen inputs, spray irrigation, and mono-cropping on cleared land.

However, we can continue to improve our outlook with regard to peak food by choosing to support a few clear, actionable solutions:

1) Diversifying What We Grow
2) Reintegrating Local Farming Into Our Communities
3) Supporting Community Food Security

Let’s take a closer look at these solutions…

#1. Diversifying What We Grow

sweet-potato-vinesThe fact that our key resources list can be narrowed down to just 27 items that include corn and sugarcane is both an indictment of our modern diet, and a mandate for change.

The Case for Corn

Corn, for example, could be an excellent “calorie crop,” meaning that it has the potential to provide a high calorie-per-acre yield. It has culinary versatility: corn bread, polenta, grits, tortillas, eaten on the cob and off the cob, popcorn, and as a supplemental feed for poultry and pigs.

But less than 1 percent of peak corn grown today actually makes it to your table directly. The rest is inedible for humans as it is grown specifically to go into our cars as ethanol or to be used as feed for livestock like cows, which would never touch it if they tripped over it in the pasture. A good portion of the corn used in our human food supply is corn syrup that is arguably a leading contributor to epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Fields of monoculture corn swaying in the wind might even seem pretty—but don’t walk barefoot in those fields because they are loaded with toxic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that require protective gear to apply.

For the home grower, corn can be a fun food to grow as part of a balanced diet, if you have the space. You need to grow enough corn stalks for good cross-pollination or you need to hand-pollinate, and you have to take some extra precautions to prevent contamination from cross-pollination if you want to save your seeds.

But an even better option is to focus on more nutritious foods that don’t make the peak list.

Think about cabbage, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and winter squash. These are also versatile in soups, sauces, and pies, and they can be mashed, added to breads and pasta, roasted, and fried. Pumpkin and squash take space to grow, but there is no reason that they can’t be grown in vertical space. There are compact varieties of sweet potatoes like Bunch Porto Rico that can be grown in containers. These alternative calorie crops also store well without additional processing and they are relatively high in nutritional density, according to the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.7https://www.drfuhrman.com/learn/library/articles/95/andi-food-scores-rating-the-nutrient-density-of-foods

Mix these alternative calorie crops up with a long list of other highly nutritious foods that you can easily grow at home or pick up at your local farmers market, such as tomatoes, chard, beets, turnips, arugula, watercress, lettuce, and you will be on your way to post-peak food health and happiness.

A Not-So-Sweet Staple

Now for a not-so-sweet subject: sugar. Sugar is a staple of our diets … really?!

Why is something that significantly increases our chances of dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease (according to the American Heart Association) a resource considered necessary to our survival? Sure, it’s got calories, but they are non-nutritive.

If you consume your calories as sugar, you must either overconsume other foods to make up the nutritive difference, or run a nutritive deficit. Both roads lead to poor health.

Currently, roughly 898,000 acres of sugarcane and sugar beets are grown commercially in the U.S. alone. That amount of land, replanted using intensive farming methods, could grow enough healthy vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy products to feed 400,000 people a healthy, balanced diet.

If you’ve got an incurable sweet tooth, how about satisfying it with a source that takes almost no land to produce, is good for you, and the production of which actually increases crop productivity in the immediate area? This is not some manufactured miracle sweetener that we will later discover causes cancer. It’s the oldest known sweetener on the planet, so revered at one time that the pharaohs of ancient Egypt were buried with it in their tombs, while indigenous communities risked life and limb to extract it.

Of course, you guessed it: The miracle sugar alternative is raw honey.

Raw honey is loaded with good nutrition. It may also help reduce the intensity of seasonal allergies, which are expected to increase in length and severity as a result of climate change, resulting in greater losses in productivity. Keeping bees near your garden increases pollination rates and raises yields. Since every third bite of food we eat requires insect pollination, and most of this is done by honey bees, adding honey to our key resource list makes much more sense than sugar.

If you want to keep your own bees, try a top-bar hive. You can make it out of scrap materials and it does not require expensive extraction equipment. If you can’t keep bees, buy raw honey from your local beekeepers to encourage more beekeeping activity that benefits our entire food supply.

stevia-growing-in-herb-gardenOr how about growing stevia? Stevia is an acquired taste, but once you adjust your palate, it becomes a viable alternative to sugar in beverages.

The leaves have negligible calories and can be boiled with teas and iced to make a sweet-tasting soda alternative. You can grow stevia from seeds obtained from a reputable supplier or you can grow it from cuttings. The plants do well in containers and can overwinter indoors in zones 7 and below with adequate light. When you harvest leaves by trimming the plants between leaf segments, similarly to how you harvest basil, the plants will become bushier and even more productive.

Corn and sugar are easy targets because there are delicious, available alternatives. But there are endless ways to diversify your diet:

  • Swap rice for bulgur, quinoa, lentils, or split peas.
  • Try goat or duck as a beef substitute.
  • Use buckwheat and amaranth flour instead of wheat.
  • Substitute sunflower seed meat for almonds.

Study your shopping list, identify the things you buy regularly, and then seek substitutes that can be grown in your community. You may be surprised at how much variety is available when you make the effort to look for it.

#2. Reintegrating Local Farming into our Communities

peak-chicken-peak-eggs-fullThe expression “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has never had more relevance than it does right now.

Checking Into Chicken

Chickens are fairly easy to raise at the home scale and they add fun and beauty to a landscape, so if you are seriously thinking about raising a backyard flock, now might be a good time to start. Make sure you know your LORE (laws, ordinances, rights, and entitlements) before taking the plunge. Also, talk to chicken owners you trust or do research to determine best practices in buying and keeping chickens in your area.

If it’s against the “LORE” for you to keep backyard chickens or you don’t have the space, how about rallying your community to turn underutilized common areas onto vegetable gardens and raise egg chickens or egg ducks there? Not only does this concept make common space meaningful again by doing something productive with it, but it can create opportunities for new farmers to enter the profession, and opportunities for residential “lawnscapers” to become organic “foodscapers.”

baby-ducks-and-chickensLaying Off Lawns

And this leads us to another method for countering peak food—let’s overcome our lawn addiction. North Americans devote 40,000 square miles of prime growing land to lawns.8https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/edible-ground-covers That is more land than we use to grow wheat or corn, it requires half the American residential water supply to grow, and it uses heavy doses of post-peak nitrogen and chemical products that end up soiling our waterways.

In the era of peak food, we really need to kick our lawn habit to the curb.

If you are a DIY type and you already take care of your lawn and landscaping, swap your holly hedge for blueberry bushes, replace flowers with flowering herbs, grow veggies anywhere you currently grow annuals, or build raised beds right over your lawn. Fruit trees like paw paw, jujube, Asian pear, mulberry, and elderberry are less needy than many ornamental trees like dogwood or flowering cherry, so use those as your starting points for planting a “foodscape.”

Surround the trees with a living mulch of Russian comfrey and borage. As the trees grow, prune them for good airflow and a less dense shade profile so you can grow shade-tolerant spinach, lettuce, and peas under the trees. If you have good southern exposure in front of your trees, plant fruit bushes there, plus herbs like chives, lemon balm, and mint to attract beneficial insects. You can also vine grapes up the trunks, making use of that vertical space.

herb-spiral-for-microclimatesIf you are not the DIY type and you spend on lawnscaping, reallocate your budget toward foodscaping to support a new generation of growers.

Many professional farmers and landscapers are excellent machine operators, soil scientists, irrigation experts, and pesticide applicators. But they may not have the expertise to grow a variety of foods without the aid of heavy equipment or purchased fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.

To beat peak food and take advantage of prime growing land located within our populated communities, we need more small-scale farmers and growers skilled in controlling pests without chemicals, adding fertility with organic inputs produced onsite, minimizing water usage through smart planting, and applying intensive planting methods to increase food production.

There are plenty of people who want to do this, but we need to create the economic opportunities for them to be able to make a living at it.

To get started, talk to your current landscaper about having them do the work for you. If they don’t have the skills and they aren’t willing to gain them, talk to your local agricultural or gardening extension office, farming schools, vendors at farmers markets, or nearby permaculture schools to find people who are able to help you.

To keep costs low, you can make agreements to let student farmers sell surplus crops and keep the profit in exchange for doing the work. There are also a lot of budding permaculturists who offer their consulting services at discounted rates to develop their resumes and client bases.

Finding ways to grow food in our homes and neighborhoods should be a priority for anyone concerned about peak food.

#3. Supporting Community Food Security

Planting food instead of lawns not only increases food production, but also raises awareness of the importance of doing so. A surprising number of people are not even aware of the issues surrounding peak food. An even more surprising number of people are aware of some of these issues but feel powerless to do anything about them.

By bringing food growing to the forefront of our daily lives, we create opportunities to share our knowledge and help others collaborate with us. Our window of opportunity to beat peak food gets smaller the longer we wait and as weather becomes more erratic and resources less available, so the sooner we spread the news and help others get involved, the more impact we can have.

If you have any doubts about the urgency of building food communities, look to China for guidance. The Chinese government has encouraged its food corporations, through loans and preferential economic policy, to purchase and accumulate companies from around the world that grow and process food products (e.g., Smithfield Foods). This is part of a concerted effort to ensure food security for China’s growing population. And, it might be a wise policy given the reality of peak industrial food.

Yet not all governments are this proactive, and even when food is stockpiled or production is secured, distribution systems may not be fully developed. Also, goods may be distributed with preference for specific populations, like wealthy cities and wealthy citizens.

Realistically, unlike the Chinese government, most of us here don’t have $5 billion to buy up 25% of the pork production in the U.S. “just in case.” But most of us do have some kind of grocery budget and/or a food-growing system in place. Instead of spending our money and resources to support a post-peak industrial food system, we need to redirect our efforts toward local and sustainable food-growing activities.

Home growers can set up food-swapping networks with other growers to exchange products and increase diversity. Non-growers can take their food budgets to the farmers’ market and buy direct from local producers, or pick up weekly baskets from a local CSA. Greater demand for local food means more local growers. More local growers means more food security when declining industrial farms can no longer meet the food needs of a growing population.

We can adapt our eating and growing habits, and make the paradigm shift required to overcome peak food, if we acknowledge the problem and meet the challenges individually, and in our home communities, through thoughtful effort.

We can reach critical mass and cause real change in our society.

But the clock is ticking….

 

 

TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

(This is an updated version of a post originally published August 14, 2015.)

References   [ + ]

1. https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art50/
2. http://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock/
3. https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/projections/USDAAgriculturalProjections2022.pdf
4. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings/
5. http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3107e/i3107e00.htm
6. https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NationalCountofFMDirectory17.JPG
7. https://www.drfuhrman.com/learn/library/articles/95/andi-food-scores-rating-the-nutrient-density-of-foods
8. https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/edible-ground-covers

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Child-Safe Kitchen Remedies For The Cold And Flu

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Child-Safe Kitchen Remedies For The Cold And Flu

 

Cold and flu season is upon us, and children tend to catch every little sickness that comes their way. While conventional medicine has its place and time, parents can turn to home remedies for kids when their children are feeling under the weather. Please check with your doctor first about these home remedies.

Sore Throats

At times, a sore throat can indicate strep throat. Symptoms of strep include pain while chewing or swallowing and a fever above 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Contact your doctor if you child is showing these signs of strep. But if it’s just a sore throat try these:

  • Echinacea. This should be the first choice for parents. Give your child Echinacea as soon as a runny nose or scratchy throat begins. You can use Echinacea tea or a safe dose of liquid Echinacea. Adults can take it in a capsule form.
  • Honey and lemon. If your child is under one year old, honey is not safe due to botulism. But for kids in the safe-age range, honey is one of the best remedies for sore throats. Simply mix warm water, raw honey and lemon juice.

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  • Peppermint. Kids over the age of six years old can have diluted peppermint essential oil applied to them. Another option safe for most ages is peppermint tea. It will soothe the throat, break up mucus and make your throat feel amazing.
  • Salt water gargling. A simple home remedy for sore throats is gargling salt water. Add a teaspoon or two of salt to a glass of warm water. Have your child gargle the salt water twice a day. It is one of the easiest and best-known remedies for a sore throat!

Flu

The flu can present itself with many symptoms. Rest and hydration top the list for cures!

  • Elderberry syrup. You can find elderberry syrup in the store or you make it yourself. It is best if you take it daily to prevent the flu. However, for those with the flu, take a dose 3 to 5 times per day. Fortunately, elderberry syrup tastes relatively good!
  • Activated charcoal. Keeping activated charcoal around your house is wise. Not only does it help with a stomach bug, but activated charcoal also works for food poisoning. Activated charcoal binds your digestive tract and helps the process. It is best taken as a capsule, but you can mix it in food. Speak to your doctor first!

Chest Colds and Coughs

  • Eucalyptus. Make sure that your child is within the safe-age range to use eucalyptus, typically six years old due to issues with respiration. However, you can safely add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to your bath water, along with Epsom salt, for children.
  • Steam. When your child has a chest cold and a cough, you can have your child hold his head over a bowl of hot water. Put a towel around his head. You want him to breathe in the steam for at least 10 minutes. Put a drop or two of eucalyptus oil in the water to add more benefits!
  • Bay leaves. You might use bay leaves in your soups, but it serves other purposes! Take three to four bay leaves, and add to water and boil. Then, remove the leaves and dip a cloth into the water. Wring it out and place it on your child’s chest, only if the heat is tolerable and won’t hurt your child!
  • Turmeric milk. If your child is at least one year old, you can try turmeric milk! Turmeric contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. It is a wonderful herb for chest congestion. Boil a cup of milk and add a pinch of turmeric. You also can add salt and sugar to help your child drink it.

This is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult your child’s doctor first.

What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:

Surviving The Great Depression: Why Some Farms Flourished And Others Failed

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Surviving The Great Depression: Why Some Farms Flourished And Others Failed

When the stock market crashed in October of 1929, it sent the country into a tailspin and resulted in an economic depression that would last 10 years. Although no sector of the American economy was immune to the fallout, the agricultural community was hit especially hard.

For most farms, the depression actually began just a few years after the end of World War I. During the war the government had pushed farmers to grow and produce as much as possible to send overseas to troops and to export to European nations. However, once the war ended and other countries were able to get their own agriculture back on their feet, prices went into sharp decline here. Suddenly there was far more product than demand, causing farmers often to sell at a loss. Still, credit was easily available and farmers were able to limp along in hopes that the market would stabilize.

When the stock market crashed, though, all the “limping along” came to a sudden stop. Banks became desperate as depositors removed their funds, forcing the banks to call in their loans and mortgages. For farmers who had already been struggling with variable markets, this often meant foreclosure and bankruptcy sales.

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Still, a number of farmers both big and small were able to carry on. Those who avoided foreclosure and bankruptcy now dealt with the next hurtle – very few had the funds to buy their products! Supply exceeded demand in such extremes that by the early 1930s corn was worth less than coal, just 5 to 10 cents a bushel. Many farmers turned to burning corn to heat their homes.

Despite low prices and a stagnant market, farmers who had been able to hold onto their lands were much better off than many of the people who lived in town. Those who farmed were able to grow food and to feed their families, even when there was no money to be had. Neighbors got together and traded crops and livestock, and for this reason more small farms and farming communities faired far better than the bulk of town dwellers.

In 1933 Congress passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act to aid struggling farm families. This Act raised farm product prices by paying farmers not to raise crops or livestock, particularly corn and hogs. By the end of that same year the government controlled 87 percent of corn and 95 percent of hog production.

In the Midwest and Plains states, trouble continued to brew. Dust storms had begun to crop up as early as 1931. Farm lands which had been over plowed during the farming boom of the early part of the century had turned dry due to drought. These dust storms worsened and increased over the next few years, and by 1934 about 35 million acres of land that had been previously cultivated was now useless. Another estimated 125 million acres was losing its topsoil at a rate that would soon make it useless, as well.

Farmers who had held on now found themselves in a new situation. Many abandoned the land and migrated in hopes of finding jobs or land to rebuild. Those who stayed dealt with health issues such as “dust pneumonia” and the persistent dust and dirt that found its way into every nook and cranny. After several major dust storms in 1934 and 1935, the term “Dust Bowl” was coined.

In 1935, Congress established the Soil Erosion Service, along with the Prairie States Forestry Project. These were just two of several programs that FDR and Congress started in hopes of reducing the strain and addressing the plight of the American farmer. The Prairie States Forestry Project was one of several that put unemployed farmers to work, planting trees and windbreaks to help slow the windstorms and erosion.

While the Heartland tried to halt the loss of its topsoil, the Dakotas and areas to the north were fighting grasshoppers. The grasshopper plague as it was later called caused not only the loss of crops, but destroyed trees and just about anything the bugs could eat. Many farmers, tired of poor prices, drought, and insatiable insects, left and headed west in search of other opportunities.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the country, small farms and farming communities that had been able to survive on their own were now finding some growing market for their crops and livestock in local towns and cities. Town dwellers, who had previously not had cash to buy with, now were able to afford a little after FDR’s “New Deal” put men back to work building bridges and other infrastructure.

In the latter part of the 1930s the rains returned and with it the end of the “Dust Bowl” storms. Many people who had migrated out of the Heartland returned to their farming lifestyle, though others had to adjust crops and change techniques due to the erosion of topsoil.

With the onset of World War II, agriculture in the U.S. finally recovered as once again American began exporting crops to European nations. It also marked the end of the Great Depression, as factories once more began to produce goods.

What would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:

3 Little-Known Ammo Makers That Gun Owners Should Know About

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3 Little-Known Ammo Makers That Gunowners Should Know About

If you’re a gun owner, then you likely know all about the big names in ammunition. Winchester, Remington, Federal and Hornady are popular brands for all forms of shooting – from hunting, to training, to self-defense. But they’re not the only ones.

A recent conference for gun writers in the industry brought three companies to the surface that I suspect many shooters are not aware of, even though these companies have been around for quite some time.

Precision Delta

Based out of Ruleville, Miss., this company has been around since 1982, long enough that I’m embarrassed to say I should’ve known of them. The company is perhaps better known for ammunition components such as bullets. However, the company offers two distinct lines of ammo geared toward training and competition.

Their “Performance Standard” line is remanufactured, using only once-fired cases. This ammo has undergone an extensive case-processing operation to bring it back to factory SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute) specifications. Precision Delta uses their own match-grade bullet for this line of ammo. They produce it in 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 Auto, 38 Special, and 223 Remington. While pricing for this line is not at bargain-basement levels, it is reasonable and sold in bulk quantities.

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Precision Delta’s next line of ammo is the “Performance Pro.” This line uses the company’s own precision-made jacketed bullet and is engineered for optimum performance. They use new, high-quality brass for this load, specialized for precision and competitive shooting. The Performance Pro line is manufactured in 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 Auto, and 38 Special.

Learn more at Precision Delta’s website.

DoubleTap

Mike McNett is the founder and president of DoubleTap Ammunition. He started making his favorite ammunition, 10mm, in his garage in 2002. Since then, the company has grown to be one of America’s largest, producing many loads that are branded under other names. Located in Cedar City, Utah, DoubleTap Ammunition has rapidly gained a reputation for powerful, reliable and accurate ammunition.

“We continue to be at the cutting edge of innovation from defensive ammunition to hunting ammunition,” he said. “Every single round that goes out the door has been touched by our hands and inspected by our eyes.”

The company currently offers 82 “mainstream” calibers and another 17 special order calibers. They can take any special order under certain quantity requirements. DoubleTap produces millions of rounds of ammunition every year. Additionally, the company offers brass and hard-cast bullets to the general public.

DoubleTap offers the following categories of ammunition:

  • DT Defense — both handgun and rifle offerings based on self-defense needs.
  • DT Hunter — handgun and rifle cartridges built for hunting.
  • DT Long range — rifle ammunition built specifically for the long-range shooter.
  • DT Safari — heavy rifle cartridges for your African Safari.
  • DT Tactical — rifle and handgun ammo designed for tactical use.
  • DT Target — primarily built for handgun target shooting, although 223 and 308 is also offered in this category.

The company also offers a more economical line of ammunition under the Colt name. Ammo under the Colt brand is broken down into “Defensive” and “National Match” categories.

Are you an STI Pistol shooter? If so, DoubleTap has specific offerings for the STI brand of pistols.

Finally, a “Ted Nugent” line of ammo is available from DoubleTap and is, of course, endorsed by the Nuge himself.

Visit the DoubleTap website.

Desert Tech

If you’ve heard of Desert Tech, you probably associate the name with their bullpup design precision and modern sporting rifles. Their design allows for easy switch out of barrels and calibers, but that discussion is for another day.

Most likely you’ve not heard of Desert Tech’s line of precision rifle ammo. It’s more than suitable for law enforcement, military and competition applications.

Desert Tech representatives state that the accuracy and consistency of their match rifle ammo comes from “proprietary formulas and strict quality standards.”

The company, based in Salt Lake City, Utah and founded in 2007, produces match rifle ammo in the following calibers: .223Remington, 308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .338 Lapua Magnum, .375 CT, and .50 BMG.

Desert Tech also offers a full line of accessories, training, and now the new MDR (Micro Dynamic Rifle), a bullpup design carbine.

For more information, visit the Desert Tech website.

Most long-time shooters have their long-standing, favorite ammunition, but these companies could provide you with some unique options for your shooting needs. Give them a try!

Have you ever shot ammo from these companies? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Are You A Prepper Or A Hoarder? (Here’s How To Tell the Difference)

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Are You A Prepper Or A Hoarder? (Here’s How To Tell the Difference)

Even though your stockpile may fit the definition of a “hoard,” chances are quite high that you are NOT actually a “hoarder” in the contemporary and now commonly used sense of the word.

The contemporary and common use of the word “hoarder” indicates a person who accumulates things in a disorganized, messy, emotional and non-functional manner. Hoarders typically hold onto non-utilitarian (even broken) things, and collect to the point where their living space does not work for its intended function. When you hear or read the word “hoarder,” the image of a pack rat house stuffed to the rafters with every table top covered and only narrow spaces to walk through comes to mind. The hoarder is driven by emotion. The items hoarded do not serve a useful function and tend to actually interfere with the individual’s capacity to function or use their living space as intended.

In contrast, a prepper’s main goal is a functional supply of items. Preppers accumulate items with a plan and a purpose, and prioritize the collection and storage of items in an organized manner.

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The definition of a prepper (according to Urban Dictionary) is: “A person who believes a catastrophic disaster or emergency is likely to occur in the future and makes active preparations for it, typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.”

You are a prepper if the majority of the following statements are true:

  1. Your stockpile and home are reasonably clean.
  2. The items you stockpile are functional.
  3. Your stockpile is organized.
  4. You can use the items you are storing within your lifetime.
  5. You agree with the saying “store what you eat and eat what you store.”
  6. You are prepared. You do not have to go to the store to “pick up a few things” when a major storm is predicted.

You are a hoarder if three or more of the following statements is true:

1. Items in your house are taking over space or furniture meant for eating, sleeping, walking, or other normal human activities.

2. Despite the fact that items in your house are taking over space and furniture meant for eating, sleeping, walking or other activities, you are emotionally attached to these items and reluctant to let them go.

3. You are storing non-functional items. For example, broken items, or perhaps stacks of newspapers, or stacks of magazines, plastic bags, shoes or any particular item or groups of things for which there is no realistic use or functional purpose for amount stored. How does this differ from a collection? A collection is organized and/or has monetary or sentimental value. These items do not.

4. Your items have been gathered without a plan, and you’ll organize them “someday.”

5. During a resource shortage, you collect more than you need, or more than you can reasonably use, and you hide these resources away (in comparison, a prepper will already have resources stored and will not rush out to secure more).

6. You do not have the food and supplies at home needed to get through a three-day power outage without running to the store to “pick up a few things.”

Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Top Skills You Need To Perfect In Order To Survive

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By Mike B. – Guest Post

Survival isn’t just a skill – it’s a conglomeration of many skills, all of which you need to learn, master, and perfect to stay safe, secure, and comfortable in survival situations. Many of these skills are overlooked by preppers who focus purely on stockpiling materials without the know-how needed to use them – or replace them when stores are compromised.

In this article, we’ll give you a run-down of the 5 most important survival skills to master – including why they matter, different techniques you can use, and resources to learn. No matter how well you stock, build, and lock your stores and shelters, you never know when life will throw you a curveball and put your real knowledge to the test. These skills can be used in every situation – from the mundane, to the extreme – so study up, and get ready.

#1: Shelter Building

Any wilderness survivalist will tell you that the in almost all climates, exposure is the biggest threat. Shelter is essential in every situation, whether it’s cold, hot, polluted, exposed to animals, or even seemingly safe. Shelter provides security for your body and your material goods – but sometimes, our pre-prepared shelters become unavailable. Learning how to create your own shelter with the materials around you is absolutely vital to staying safe.

There are several ways to build shelter, and the type you build depends on your surroundings. In cold weather, lean-tos, A-frames, and other enclosed brush shelters can protect you from insects, hypothermia, and rainfall – and all of these can be created using a tarp. In the absence of a tarp, learn to handle a knife – like one of these best combat knives – so you can effectively chop saplings and other vegetation to create your structure. In snow, learn how to dig snow caves – a long-time favorite shelter of mountaineers and explorers that provides a surprising amount of warmth, even in sub-zero temps.

Although it seems counterintuitive, shelter in hot weather is also extremely necessary. Shelter from the sun prevents life-threatening conditions like heat stroke, dehydration, and severe sunburns, and can be used to store perishable goods like freshly hunted meat and fish. Shelter is the first priority of nearly all wilderness survival experts in a tough situation – make sure you’re prepared to make your own in a pinch.

#2: Water Gathering

The next most important skill to learn is water gathering. Although humans can go several weeks without food, we can only last a few days at most without water – and we deteriorate fast. Water is available in all environments, even seemingly dry ones, and learning how to collect it effectively and safely is incredibly important. Here are some tips for different types of climates:

  • In snowy conditions, water isn’t hard to find – but it can be harder to prepare. Snow should be melted before consumed so as not to drop the body temperature dangerously, and try to gather freshly fallen snow or snow pack from high points.
  • In wet climates, rainwater can be collected using buckets, tarp traps, or any other type of container. If possible, filter rainwater before drinking.
  • In dry climates with no precipitation, dew and underground water are your best sources. Dew can be collected in tarp traps in the morning, but it may be scarce. Condensation pits are also useful, and are created by placing a jug or cup into a hole in the ground, insulating, and covering with plastic or a tarp. Condensation from the ground will collect in the cup. Use this water sparingly.

Water is vital to survival – make sure you know how to find it with primitive tools.

#3: Fire Starting

The last of the “big three” basics for survival is fire starting. Fire provides not only heat, but a way to cook and preserve food, signal for help, and sanitize water and medical supplies. Most survivalists won’t be caught without some kind of firestarting tool – whether it be waterproof matches, lighters, or flints – but in the absence of these tools, make sure you can start a fire without them

Bow drilling is an ancient practice of starting fires that uses the friction between materials to create heat. You’ll need several tools to start a fire with this method, but they can all be found in almost any environment. For an in-depth guide to the bow drill method, check out this resource.

#4: First Aid

The next skill we’ll discuss is first aid. A lot of first aid is pretty intuitive, and chances are you can handle scrapes and bruises without too much trouble. However, other injuries like animal bites, dislocations, breaks and sprains, burns, and allergic reactions often require a little more know-how to manage in the best way.

Make sure that you’re well equipped with a basic first aid kit everywhere you go that includes materials for infection control, splinting, bleeding control, and allergic reaction control. There are tons of guides for how to put together a good kit, so we won’t go into it here, but there’s one more thing we will mention: you don’t need a first aid kit to provide first aid. In situations where medical supplies aren’t available, you can use everything from ski poles to ripped up clothing to manage wounds, breaks, sprains, and insect bites. Consider taking a first responder or wilderness first responder course to learn how to utilize the things around you to take care of injury and illness.

#5: Plant Identification

Our final skill of note is plant identification. Most people don’t realize just how many plants around them are edible and medicinal, and many beginners make the mistake of consuming incorrectly-identified plants that make them sick. Plant identification, while not generally considered a “rugged” skill, is unbelievably useful for providing extra nourishment, treatments for common conditions, and learning to harvest and grow your own garden.

Start learning plant identification with easy-to-recognize vegetation. This category includes berries (like huckleberries, blackberries, and raspberries, which grow across the U.S.), edible flowers (like pansies, nasturtium, dandelions, and violets), and seeds (like pine nuts and sunflower seeds). Then, work your way up to more difficult-to-recognize plants with possible imposters, like wild garlic and onions. Always make sure you’re absolutely sure what you are eating before you eat it – and practice before you actually need to use the skill.

These skills are only a few of the amazing things you can learn to survive when modern comforts aren’t available. Make sure to master them before you need them, and you’ll be safe in the most difficult of situations.

Guest post at The Survival Place BlogTop Skills You Need to Perfect in Order to Survive

About the author:

Mike is a passionate hunter and his favorite grounds are Alaska and British Columbia. He’s also an expert in hunting gear and he is one of the most reliable resources when it comes to choosing the right tools for the job. He also writes for OpitcGearLab.com

The post Top Skills You Need To Perfect In Order To Survive appeared first on The Survival Place Blog.

This Is Your Wake-Up Call: How to Start Prepping

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By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

Out of all the years that I’ve been writing about prepping, this has been the year of the wake-up call. If one good thing has come from all the disasters, it’s the fact that many people have seen the light and learned a hard, firsthand lessons and want to start prepping.

  • Hurricane Harvey taught people that places which didn’t normally flood were still not exempt from Mother Nature and that the aftermath was rife with danger.
  • The wildfires in California taught people that they needed a rapid evacuation plan for themselves and their pets.
  • Hurricane Maria taught us that life could completely and utterly change for millions of people whose homes were destroyed and who may not have the grid back anytime in the near future.
  • Hurricane Irma was one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the state in many years. Millions of people were warned to evacuate. Residents faced destruction and lengthy interruptions in power and the availability of supplies.
  • Throughout all these disasters, we got confirmation that all hell DOES indeed break loose and that we won’t be able to rely on 911, no matter how stringently the “everything is okay” myth is reinforced by the media.

Now there’s an epic storm in the Northeastern US that was sudden and brutal. A friend called me yesterday and told me she and her family could be without power for more than a week. She wasn’t ready for it. “This really drove home what you do,” she said.

All of these horrible things have one silver lining…more people than ever realize that the government won’t be rushing to save them anytime soon and that they must be prepared to be completely on their own.

So if this is you, welcome to the prepped side. I have put together a little primer for you. It isn’t over the top. You don’t need a bunker and an AK47 for each family member. You just need food, water, shelter, and an evacuation plan. No tinfoil required.

There are links in each section where you can go to learn more about that topic. At the end is a resource list with some shortcuts and some useful books.  You don’t have to do every single thing RIGHT NOW.  This is just a preparedness overview and if you have recently been through an emergency, you will probably recognize what your priorities should be.

Water preparedness

If you never buy a single canned good or bag of pasta for long-term food storage, please store water. Every time there’s a pending emergency, the shelves at stores are completely cleared of water within a matter of hours (if not sooner.)

If you went out and bought it, a full month’s supply of drinking water for a family of 4 would cost approximately $150, depending on the prices in your area. I recommend the refillable 5-gallon water jugs for this. This is a small investment to make for your family’s security and well-being in the event of an emergency.

As well, fill empty containers with tap water. Every container that comes into your house can be used for these purposes. When you empty a jar or bottle, wash it, fill it up, and stash it somewhere. Even if these containers aren’t food safe, you can use them for flushing, cleaning, and hygiene.

Once you have water stored, consider adding filtration devices, secondary water sources, and water harvesting to your preparedness endeavors. You can learn more about water preparedness in my book on the topic, and  HEREHERE, and HERE.

Build a pantry

Lots of preppers like to keep a year’s supply of food on hand. If you’re just getting started out, that can bein incredibly overwhelming. Start out smaller than that – focus first on an extra two weeks, then on a month’s supply. You can always build from there.

Keep in mind when building your emergency food supply that you might not have electricity during some disasters. In that case, you’ll want to have food that doesn’t require lengthy (or any) cooking times. Look for just-add-water dehydrated foods, or better yet, foods that don’t need to be cooked at all. Search for an off-grid cooking method that will work for your home.

Do not make the mistake of loading your pantry with nutritionless processed foods. In a crisis event, you want your body to work optimally, and junk in means junk out. Focus on nutrient-dense foods for good health and energy no matter what’s going on in the world around you.

  • Learn how to build a pantry HERE.
  • Learn to build a food supply fast with emergency buckets HERE.
  • Find a list of foods that don’t require cooking HERE.
  • Shop for emergency food HERE.
  • Get an emergency stove that can be used indoors HERE.

Power outage survival

A great starting point for someone who is just getting started on a preparedness journey is prepping specifically for a two-week power outage.  If you can comfortably survive for two weeks without electricity, you will be in a far better position than most of the people in North America.

Lighting is absolutely vital, especially if there are children in the house.  Nothing is more frightening than being completely in the dark during a stressful situation. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest things to plan for, as well as one of the least expensive.

Some lighting solutions are:

Learn about prepping for a two-week power outage in more detail HERE.

Have a plan for sanitation preparedness

A common cause of illness, and even death, during a down-grid situation is lack of sanitation.  We’ve discussed the importance of clean drinking water, but you won’t want to use your drinking water to keep things clean or to flush the toilet.

For cleaning, reduce your need to wash things.

  • Stock up on paper plates, paper towels, and disposable cups and flatware.
  • Keep some disinfecting cleaning wipes and sprays (I don’t recommend using antibacterial products on a regular basis, however, in the event of an emergency they can help to keep you healthy.)
  • Use hand sanitizer after using the bathroom and before handling food or beverages – there may be a lot more germs afoot in a disaster.

Look at your options for sanitation.  Does your toilet still flush when the electricity is out?  Many people discovered the hard way that the toilets didn’t work when the sewage backed up in the highrises in New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  At our cabin, the toilet won’t flush without power because the pump is electric.

If you are on a septic system, with no risk of the toilet backing up into the house, simply store some water for flushing in the bathroom.  (At the first sign of a storm, we always filled the bathtub for this purpose when we had a home on septic.)  Add the water to the tank so that you can flush.

If this is not an option, another solution is to stock up on extremely heavy duty garbage bags (like the kind that contractors use at construction sites) and kitty litter.  Place a bag either in your drained toilet or in a bucket.  Sprinkle some kitty litter in the bottom of the bag.  Each time someone uses the bathroom, add another handful of litter. Be very careful that the bag doesn’t get too heavy for you to handle it.  Tie it up very securely and store it outside until services are restored. Learn how to make a kitty litter toilet in more detail HERE.

Heat (depending on your climate)

If your power outage takes place in the winter and you live in a colder climate, heat is another necessity.  During the first 24 hours after a power outage, you can stay fairly warm if you block off one room of the house for everyone to group together in.  Keep the door closed and keep a towel or blanket folded along the bottom of the door to conserve warmth.  You can safely burn a couple of candles also, and in the enclosed space, your body heat will keep it relatively warm.  As well, dress in layers and keep everything covered – wear a hat, gloves (fingerless ones allow you to still function), and a scarf.

  • Click HERE to learn how to stay warm with less heat.
  • Click HERE for some cozy options to get your home ready for winter.

However, after about 48 hours, that’s not going to be enough in very cold weather. You will require backup heat at this point in certain climates.  If you are lucky enough to have a source of heat like a fireplace or woodstove, you’ll be just fine as long as you have a supply of wood.

Consider a portable propane heater (and propane) or an oil heater.  You have to be very careful what type of backup heat you plan on using, as many of them can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if used in a poorly ventilated area. Also, invest in a  Carbon Monoxide alarm that is not grid-dependent.

Learn more about off-grid heat options HERE.

First Aid kit

It’s important to have a basic first aid kit on hand at all times, but particularly in the event of an emergency.  Your kit should include basic wound care items like bandages, antibiotic ointments, and sprays.  As well, if you use them, keep on hand a supply of basic over-the-counter medications, like pain relief capsules, cold medicine, cough syrup, anti-nausea pills, and allergy medication.

If you want to put together a more advanced medical kit, you can find a list HERE.

Special needs

This is something that will be unique to every family. Consider the things that are needed on a daily basis in your household. It might be prescription medications, diapers, or special foods.  If you have pets, you’ll need supplies for them too.  The best way to figure out what you need is to jot things down as you use them over the course of a week or so.

Plan ahead for home defense

It’s an unfortunate fact that disaster situations bring out the worst in many people. Because of this, even if you stay safely at home, you could be called upon to defend your property or family.  Some people loot for the sheer “fun” of it, others consider chaos a free pass to commit crimes, and still others are frightened and desperate.  You can have a 10 year supply of food, water, and medicine, but if you can’t defend it, you don’t own it. The article The Anatomy of a Breakdown explains the predictable patterns of social unrest.

The best way to win a fight is to avoid getting into that fight in the first place. Secure your home and lay low, but be prepared if trouble comes to visit.

Here are some tips to make your home less of a target:

  • Keep all the doors and windows locked.  Secure sliding doors with a metal bar.  Consider installing decorative grid-work over a door with a large window so that it becomes difficult for someone to smash the glass and reach in to unlock the door.
  • Keep the curtains closed. There’s no need for people walking past to be able to see what you have or to do reconnaissance on how many people are present.
  • Don’t answer the door.  Many home invasions start with an innocent-seeming knock at the door to gain access to your house.
  • Keep pets indoors. Sometimes criminals use an animal in distress to get a homeowner to open the door for them. Sometimes people are just mean and hurt animals for “fun”.  Either way, it’s safer for your furry friends to be inside with you.

If, despite your best efforts, your property draws the attention of people with ill intent, you must be ready to defend your family and your home.  If the odds are against you, devise a way to get your family to safety.  Your property is not worth your life.

It’s very important to make a defense plan well before you need one.  This book can also help. You want to act, no react.

Have an evacuation plan

Not every emergency can be weathered at home. Sometimes there is no option but to evacuate. Some examples of this are the pending collapse of a dam, a volcano, a massive storm, flooding, wildfire, or a chemical spill. In some cases, you’ll have an hour or two to get ready before you have to leave. In other situations, there may barely be enough time to put on your shoes.

Have things set up ahead of time so your evacuation can be quick. Even if you have more time, getting on the road before everyone else gives you the advantage of being less likely to be stuck in a traffic jam while disaster bears down on you. Keep important documents in the cloud so you can access them if your home is destroyed.

Don’t wait for the evacuation order. When officials are trying to cover mismanagement or when an event occurs suddenly, you may not be warned in time.

Survival Supply Checklist

Here is a general list of supplies to have on hand. Remember that sometimes power supplies are lost during a variety of situations, so keep the potential for a down-grid situation in mind when preparing.  You don’t have to get everything all at once.  Just get started and build your supplies as you can. After a quick inventory and re-organization, you may be pleasantly surprised at how many supplies you actually have on hand.

  • Water: 1 gallon per person per day (We use 5-gallon jugs and a gravity water dispenser
  • Water filter (We have a Big Berkey)
  • Necessary prescription medications
  • well-stocked pantry – you need at least a one-month supply of food for the entire family, including pets
  • This is a one-month food supply for one person – it’s not the highest quality food in the world, but it is one way to jumpstart your food storage
  • An off-grid cooking method (We use this one for inside and this one for outside, plus our barbecue)
  • Or food that requires no cooking
  • First aid supplies: This one is good for basics and this one is good for traumatic injuries
  • Lighting in the event of a power outage
  • Sanitation supplies (in the event that the municipal water system is unusable, this would include cleaning supplies and toilet supplies)
  • A way to stay warm in harsh winter weather (This Little Buddy propane heater with a supply of propane is our choice)
  • Over-the-counter medications and/or herbal remedies to treat illnesses at home
  • A diverse survival guide and first aid manual (hard copies in case the internet and power grid are down)
  • Alternative communications devices (such as a hand crank radio) so that you can get updates about the outside world
  • Off-grid entertainment:  arts and craft supplies, puzzles, games, books, crossword or word search puzzles, needlework, journals (Find more ideas HERE and HERE)

Books to Help You on Your Journey

Welcome to the preparedness community!

I’m always so happy to welcome people who are new to preparedness.  Read books, go to websites, and join forums an Facebook groups. While there ARE some curmudgeonly folks out there, most are delighted to answer questions and help you on your way.

Please, don’t let the thought of all of the preps that you do not yet have bring you down.

It’s a process.  Once you know the possibilities, accept them, and begin to prepare, you are already far ahead of most of the neighborhood. Don’t be discouraged by how much you have left to do, instead, be encouraged by how far ahead you are compared to your former unawareness.   Just making the decision to get started is the biggest step towards preparedness you’ll ever take.

For those of you who have been doing this for a while, please welcome our new friends. And tell us in the comments, what is your best advice for getting started?

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: This Is Your Wake-Up Call: How to Start Prepping

About the author:

Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com She is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menarie. You can find Daisy on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

The post This Is Your Wake-Up Call: How to Start Prepping appeared first on The Survival Place Blog.

This Is Your Wake-Up Call: How to Start Prepping

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

Out of all the years that I’ve been writing about prepping, this has been the year of the wake-up call. If one good thing has come from all the disasters, it’s the fact that many people have seen the light and learned a hard, firsthand lessons and want to start prepping.

  • Hurricane Harvey taught people that places which didn’t normally flood were still not exempt from Mother Nature and that the aftermath was rife with danger.
  • The wildfires in California taught people that they needed a rapid evacuation plan for themselves and their pets.
  • Hurricane Maria taught us that life could completely and utterly change for millions of people whose homes were destroyed and who may not have the grid back anytime in the near future.
  • Hurricane Irma was one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the state in many years. Millions of people were warned to evacuate. Residents faced destruction and lengthy interruptions in power and the availability of supplies.
  • Throughout all these disasters, we got confirmation that all hell DOES indeed break loose and that we won’t be able to rely on 911, no matter how stringently the “everything is okay” myth is reinforced by the media.

Now there’s an epic storm in the Northeastern US that was sudden and brutal. A friend called me yesterday and told me she and her family could be without power for more than a week. She wasn’t ready for it. “This really drove home what you do,” she said.

All of these horrible things have one silver lining…more people than ever realize that the government won’t be rushing to save them anytime soon and that they must be prepared to be completely on their own.

So if this is you, welcome to the prepped side. I have put together a little primer for you. It isn’t over the top. You don’t need a bunker and an AK47 for each family member. You just need food, water, shelter, and an evacuation plan. No tinfoil required.

There are links in each section where you can go to learn more about that topic. At the end is a resource list with some shortcuts and some useful books.  You don’t have to do every single thing RIGHT NOW.  This is just a preparedness overview and if you have recently been through an emergency, you will probably recognize what your priorities should be.

Water preparedness

If you never buy a single canned good or bag of pasta for long-term food storage, please store water. Every time there’s a pending emergency, the shelves at stores are completely cleared of water within a matter of hours (if not sooner.)

If you went out and bought it, a full month’s supply of drinking water for a family of 4 would cost approximately $150, depending on the prices in your area. I recommend the refillable 5-gallon water jugs for this. This is a small investment to make for your family’s security and well-being in the event of an emergency.

As well, fill empty containers with tap water. Every container that comes into your house can be used for these purposes. When you empty a jar or bottle, wash it, fill it up, and stash it somewhere. Even if these containers aren’t food safe, you can use them for flushing, cleaning, and hygiene.

Once you have water stored, consider adding filtration devices, secondary water sources, and water harvesting to your preparedness endeavors. You can learn more about water preparedness in my book on the topic, and  HEREHERE, and HERE.

Build a pantry

Lots of preppers like to keep a year’s supply of food on hand. If you’re just getting started out, that can bein incredibly overwhelming. Start out smaller than that – focus first on an extra two weeks, then on a month’s supply. You can always build from there.

Keep in mind when building your emergency food supply that you might not have electricity during some disasters. In that case, you’ll want to have food that doesn’t require lengthy (or any) cooking times. Look for just-add-water dehydrated foods, or better yet, foods that don’t need to be cooked at all. Search for an off-grid cooking method that will work for your home.

Do not make the mistake of loading your pantry with nutritionless processed foods. In a crisis event, you want your body to work optimally, and junk in means junk out. Focus on nutrient-dense foods for good health and energy no matter what’s going on in the world around you.

  • Learn how to build a pantry HERE.
  • Learn to build a food supply fast with emergency buckets HERE.
  • Find a list of foods that don’t require cooking HERE.
  • Shop for emergency food HERE.
  • Get an emergency stove that can be used indoors HERE.

Power outage survival

A great starting point for someone who is just getting started on a preparedness journey is prepping specifically for a two-week power outage.  If you can comfortably survive for two weeks without electricity, you will be in a far better position than most of the people in North America.

Lighting is absolutely vital, especially if there are children in the house.  Nothing is more frightening than being completely in the dark during a stressful situation. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest things to plan for, as well as one of the least expensive.

Some lighting solutions are:

Learn about prepping for a two-week power outage in more detail HERE.

Have a plan for sanitation preparedness

A common cause of illness, and even death, during a down-grid situation is lack of sanitation.  We’ve discussed the importance of clean drinking water, but you won’t want to use your drinking water to keep things clean or to flush the toilet.

For cleaning, reduce your need to wash things.

  • Stock up on paper plates, paper towels, and disposable cups and flatware.
  • Keep some disinfecting cleaning wipes and sprays (I don’t recommend using antibacterial products on a regular basis, however, in the event of an emergency they can help to keep you healthy.)
  • Use hand sanitizer after using the bathroom and before handling food or beverages – there may be a lot more germs afoot in a disaster.

Look at your options for sanitation.  Does your toilet still flush when the electricity is out?  Many people discovered the hard way that the toilets didn’t work when the sewage backed up in the highrises in New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  At our cabin, the toilet won’t flush without power because the pump is electric.

If you are on a septic system, with no risk of the toilet backing up into the house, simply store some water for flushing in the bathroom.  (At the first sign of a storm, we always filled the bathtub for this purpose when we had a home on septic.)  Add the water to the tank so that you can flush.

If this is not an option, another solution is to stock up on extremely heavy duty garbage bags (like the kind that contractors use at construction sites) and kitty litter.  Place a bag either in your drained toilet or in a bucket.  Sprinkle some kitty litter in the bottom of the bag.  Each time someone uses the bathroom, add another handful of litter. Be very careful that the bag doesn’t get too heavy for you to handle it.  Tie it up very securely and store it outside until services are restored. Learn how to make a kitty litter toilet in more detail HERE.

Heat (depending on your climate)

If your power outage takes place in the winter and you live in a colder climate, heat is another necessity.  During the first 24 hours after a power outage, you can stay fairly warm if you block off one room of the house for everyone to group together in.  Keep the door closed and keep a towel or blanket folded along the bottom of the door to conserve warmth.  You can safely burn a couple of candles also, and in the enclosed space, your body heat will keep it relatively warm.  As well, dress in layers and keep everything covered – wear a hat, gloves (fingerless ones allow you to still function), and a scarf.

  • Click HERE to learn how to stay warm with less heat.
  • Click HERE for some cozy options to get your home ready for winter.

However, after about 48 hours, that’s not going to be enough in very cold weather. You will require backup heat at this point in certain climates.  If you are lucky enough to have a source of heat like a fireplace or woodstove, you’ll be just fine as long as you have a supply of wood.

Consider a portable propane heater (and propane) or an oil heater.  You have to be very careful what type of backup heat you plan on using, as many of them can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if used in a poorly ventilated area. Also, invest in a  Carbon Monoxide alarm that is not grid-dependent.

Learn more about off-grid heat options HERE.

First Aid kit

It’s important to have a basic first aid kit on hand at all times, but particularly in the event of an emergency.  Your kit should include basic wound care items like bandages, antibiotic ointments, and sprays.  As well, if you use them, keep on hand a supply of basic over-the-counter medications, like pain relief capsules, cold medicine, cough syrup, anti-nausea pills, and allergy medication.

If you want to put together a more advanced medical kit, you can find a list HERE.

Special needs

This is something that will be unique to every family. Consider the things that are needed on a daily basis in your household. It might be prescription medications, diapers, or special foods.  If you have pets, you’ll need supplies for them too.  The best way to figure out what you need is to jot things down as you use them over the course of a week or so.

Plan ahead for home defense

It’s an unfortunate fact that disaster situations bring out the worst in many people. Because of this, even if you stay safely at home, you could be called upon to defend your property or family.  Some people loot for the sheer “fun” of it, others consider chaos a free pass to commit crimes, and still others are frightened and desperate.  You can have a 10 year supply of food, water, and medicine, but if you can’t defend it, you don’t own it. The article The Anatomy of a Breakdown explains the predictable patterns of social unrest.

The best way to win a fight is to avoid getting into that fight in the first place. Secure your home and lay low, but be prepared if trouble comes to visit.

Here are some tips to make your home less of a target:

  • Keep all the doors and windows locked.  Secure sliding doors with a metal bar.  Consider installing decorative grid-work over a door with a large window so that it becomes difficult for someone to smash the glass and reach in to unlock the door.
  • Keep the curtains closed. There’s no need for people walking past to be able to see what you have or to do reconnaissance on how many people are present.
  • Don’t answer the door.  Many home invasions start with an innocent-seeming knock at the door to gain access to your house.
  • Keep pets indoors. Sometimes criminals use an animal in distress to get a homeowner to open the door for them. Sometimes people are just mean and hurt animals for “fun”.  Either way, it’s safer for your furry friends to be inside with you.

If, despite your best efforts, your property draws the attention of people with ill intent, you must be ready to defend your family and your home.  If the odds are against you, devise a way to get your family to safety.  Your property is not worth your life.

It’s very important to make a defense plan well before you need one.  This book can also help. You want to act, no react.

Have an evacuation plan

Not every emergency can be weathered at home. Sometimes there is no option but to evacuate. Some examples of this are the pending collapse of a dam, a volcano, a massive storm, flooding, wildfire, or a chemical spill. In some cases, you’ll have an hour or two to get ready before you have to leave. In other situations, there may barely be enough time to put on your shoes.

Have things set up ahead of time so your evacuation can be quick. Even if you have more time, getting on the road before everyone else gives you the advantage of being less likely to be stuck in a traffic jam while disaster bears down on you. Keep important documents in the cloud so you can access them if your home is destroyed.

Don’t wait for the evacuation order. When officials are trying to cover mismanagement or when an event occurs suddenly, you may not be warned in time.

Survival Supply Checklist

Here is a general list of supplies to have on hand. Remember that sometimes power supplies are lost during a variety of situations, so keep the potential for a down-grid situation in mind when preparing.  You don’t have to get everything all at once.  Just get started and build your supplies as you can. After a quick inventory and re-organization, you may be pleasantly surprised at how many supplies you actually have on hand.

  • Water: 1 gallon per person per day (We use 5-gallon jugs and a gravity water dispenser
  • Water filter (We have a Big Berkey)
  • Necessary prescription medications
  • well-stocked pantry – you need at least a one-month supply of food for the entire family, including pets
  • This is a one-month food supply for one person – it’s not the highest quality food in the world, but it is one way to jumpstart your food storage
  • An off-grid cooking method (We use this one for inside and this one for outside, plus our barbecue)
  • Or food that requires no cooking
  • First aid supplies: This one is good for basics and this one is good for traumatic injuries
  • Lighting in the event of a power outage
  • Sanitation supplies (in the event that the municipal water system is unusable, this would include cleaning supplies and toilet supplies)
  • A way to stay warm in harsh winter weather (This Little Buddy propane heater with a supply of propane is our choice)
  • Over-the-counter medications and/or herbal remedies to treat illnesses at home
  • A diverse survival guide and first aid manual (hard copies in case the internet and power grid are down)
  • Alternative communications devices (such as a hand crank radio) so that you can get updates about the outside world
  • Off-grid entertainment:  arts and craft supplies, puzzles, games, books, crossword or word search puzzles, needlework, journals (Find more ideas HERE and HERE)

Books to Help You on Your Journey

Welcome to the preparedness community!

I’m always so happy to welcome people who are new to preparedness.  Read books, go to websites, and join forums an Facebook groups. While there ARE some curmudgeonly folks out there, most are delighted to answer questions and help you on your way.

Please, don’t let the thought of all of the preps that you do not yet have bring you down.

It’s a process.  Once you know the possibilities, accept them, and begin to prepare, you are already far ahead of most of the neighborhood. Don’t be discouraged by how much you have left to do, instead, be encouraged by how far ahead you are compared to your former unawareness.   Just making the decision to get started is the biggest step towards preparedness you’ll ever take.

For those of you who have been doing this for a while, please welcome our new friends. And tell us in the comments, what is your best advice for getting started?

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: This Is Your Wake-Up Call: How to Start Prepping

About the author:

Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com She is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menarie. You can find Daisy on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

The post This Is Your Wake-Up Call: How to Start Prepping appeared first on The Survival Place Blog.

Pancreas Cancer – Maybe Your Most Likely Chance of Being Killed By a Disease Quickly

Click here to view the original post.


Had friends in from out of town, went to visit other friends too, one ladies’ husband was a super nice guy always making sure everyone at the party had whatever they wanted….died last December 21, solstice day.   
Big surprise to us and super quick, he had pancreas cancer (same thing took Steve Jobs down) which is often not diagnosed until it is too late, and it readily spreads to other organs, so sometimes its called the silent cancer.   It is predicted to be the 2nd most deadly cancer by 2030.
71%  to 80% die In the first year
93% die within 5 years
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  1. For those over 50, it is probably one of the most likely ways of having a quick disease driven death
  2. About 1.5% of population will get this, but if you are a smoker, drinker, or fat that might go up to 9%
  3. If you get it, and don’t catch is very early,  it will likely kill you fast
  4. There is no blood test catch it early, some blood tests might be a “clue”, but they will not do this as part of standard blood work.
  5. MRI is effective at catching it early / screening, but health care in USA does not screen for this
Green tea (you can buy it in a pill) is shown to reduce pancreatic cancer risk.
But there are “signs” but these signs come too late almost always.    I also have friends that have lost loved ones in Hawaii, from this.   
Signs:
50% of all victims have these 2 signs, however, once you have these symptoms, it may be later stage and too late.
  1. Jaundice
  2. Abdominal Pain
Other signs
  1. Rapid Weight Loss
  2. Bloating – Gas develops rapidly after a meal
  3. Appetite Loss (although Pancreas Cancer is a rare cause of this, many other causes)
  4. Discolored Stool
  5. Abdominal Pain (sheesh, wasn’t this item 2 also?
———————————————————————————————
Causes – Many Pancreas cancers have no identifiable cause
  1. Smoking – doubles your risk
  2. Overweight
  3. Chemicals, pesticides, solvents, dyes, organic hydrocarbons
  4. Alcohol consumption (affects men but not women) up to 6 times higher
  5. Poor oral hygiene.    Amazingly heart disease is closely linked to poor oral hygiene, flossing AND use of mouthwash daily, pretty much eliminates this risk, so is a no-brainer.
There is basically no commonly available way for early detection, and the new strategies of the “medical system” are to not screen for pancreas cancer  AT ALL.
So like all other modern medicine, your health is controlled by for profit corporations, who insist on rationing care and it’s getting worse.   Knowing what to say and how to say it may get you better treatment.    Doctors have to justify every test to insurance companies, so they need  a reason to request a test.    Family history / genetics is one of the best ways. 
There is a blood test that looks for “CA 19-9” but it doesn’t always get produced even if you have pancreatic cancer, and sometimes there is a false positive, and sometimes, if detected, it’s already too late.    So they use this as an excuse to not test at all, see how that works?
Your best bet for getting tested is to explain any family history of pancreas cancer, but history of other types of cancers of course it needs to be direct blood relatives.  
They can test for gene changes which can show “increased pancreatic cancer risk”
Endoscopic ultrasound is a newer test for detecting early p/cancer.   They won’t give you this unless the genetic test shows increased risk, or you have “a strong family history”
CT scans can be used, but these involve thousands of X-ray in just seconds, so the radiation dose is unacceptable high.  Like 20 years of radiation in a few seconds.   CT should be outlawed, as MRI is superior is all aspects, except some specific bone imaging.   But they still have these CT machines and the people who know how to use them, so they still use them.
A special kind of MRI called an MRCP can give high-quality pictures of the pancreas, the pancreas duct, and the bile ducts.  However, some patients who are claustrophobic may decide against having an MRI performed.
Some doctors will prefer an Endoscopic Ultrasound over even the MRCP/MRI because they can also get a biopsy at the same time, a biopsy is a tissue sample they can get with a very fine needle.   The “Endoscopic” means they stick a tube down your throat with the ultrasound and a tissue gathering needle.   They also feel that they can get a better view of the pancreas than with the MCRP/MRI, but that seems a little sketchy to me.   I think they like the “biopsy” approach because then they have “proof”.     But the problem with taking byopsies is that if you are poking into cancer stuff, you can also spread the cancer right then and there.   
from the above, it is callous how they say that if your chance of getting this horrible cancer goes up 650% it is “not significant”

Of the 40 study participants, 38 (95.0%) had a family member with pancreatic cancer, four (10.0%) had a p16 gene mutation, three (5.0%) had a BRCA2 mutation, and one (2.5%) had a BRCA1 mutation. The BRCA mutations are among the most common genetic mutations associated with familial pancreatic cancer.
On the above article link, I signed up for a “Medscape” account as a “medical educator”
They have a bunch of interesting stuff, like up to 30% fat is “good for you”, see here, but you might need an account.   This guy headed a study on 135,000 people, and showed it to his mom who said “duh that what my grandma and her grandma knew all the time.”
They also prove that eating animals, makes you less likely to be depressed.   Another duh!

Pancreas Cancer – Maybe Your Most Likely Chance of Being Killed By a Disease Quickly


Had friends in from out of town, went to visit other friends too, one ladies’ husband was a super nice guy always making sure everyone at the party had whatever they wanted….died last December 21, solstice day.   
Big surprise to us and super quick, he had pancreas cancer (same thing took Steve Jobs down) which is often not diagnosed until it is too late, and it readily spreads to other organs, so sometimes its called the silent cancer.   It is predicted to be the 2nd most deadly cancer by 2030.
71%  to 80% die In the first year
93% die within 5 years
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  1. For those over 50, it is probably one of the most likely ways of having a quick disease driven death
  2. About 1.5% of population will get this, but if you are a smoker, drinker, or fat that might go up to 9%
  3. If you get it, and don’t catch is very early,  it will likely kill you fast
  4. There is no blood test catch it early, some blood tests might be a “clue”, but they will not do this as part of standard blood work.
  5. MRI is effective at catching it early / screening, but health care in USA does not screen for this
Green tea (you can buy it in a pill) is shown to reduce pancreatic cancer risk.
But there are “signs” but these signs come too late almost always.    I also have friends that have lost loved ones in Hawaii, from this.   
Signs:
50% of all victims have these 2 signs, however, once you have these symptoms, it may be later stage and too late.
  1. Jaundice
  2. Abdominal Pain
Other signs
  1. Rapid Weight Loss
  2. Bloating – Gas develops rapidly after a meal
  3. Appetite Loss (although Pancreas Cancer is a rare cause of this, many other causes)
  4. Discolored Stool
  5. Abdominal Pain (sheesh, wasn’t this item 2 also?
———————————————————————————————
Causes – Many Pancreas cancers have no identifiable cause
  1. Smoking – doubles your risk
  2. Overweight
  3. Chemicals, pesticides, solvents, dyes, organic hydrocarbons
  4. Alcohol consumption (affects men but not women) up to 6 times higher
  5. Poor oral hygiene.    Amazingly heart disease is closely linked to poor oral hygiene, flossing AND use of mouthwash daily, pretty much eliminates this risk, so is a no-brainer.
There is basically no commonly available way for early detection, and the new strategies of the “medical system” are to not screen for pancreas cancer  AT ALL.
So like all other modern medicine, your health is controlled by for profit corporations, who insist on rationing care and it’s getting worse.   Knowing what to say and how to say it may get you better treatment.    Doctors have to justify every test to insurance companies, so they need  a reason to request a test.    Family history / genetics is one of the best ways. 
There is a blood test that looks for “CA 19-9” but it doesn’t always get produced even if you have pancreatic cancer, and sometimes there is a false positive, and sometimes, if detected, it’s already too late.    So they use this as an excuse to not test at all, see how that works?
Your best bet for getting tested is to explain any family history of pancreas cancer, but history of other types of cancers of course it needs to be direct blood relatives.  
They can test for gene changes which can show “increased pancreatic cancer risk”
Endoscopic ultrasound is a newer test for detecting early p/cancer.   They won’t give you this unless the genetic test shows increased risk, or you have “a strong family history”
CT scans can be used, but these involve thousands of X-ray in just seconds, so the radiation dose is unacceptable high.  Like 20 years of radiation in a few seconds.   CT should be outlawed, as MRI is superior is all aspects, except some specific bone imaging.   But they still have these CT machines and the people who know how to use them, so they still use them.
A special kind of MRI called an MRCP can give high-quality pictures of the pancreas, the pancreas duct, and the bile ducts.  However, some patients who are claustrophobic may decide against having an MRI performed.
Some doctors will prefer an Endoscopic Ultrasound over even the MRCP/MRI because they can also get a biopsy at the same time, a biopsy is a tissue sample they can get with a very fine needle.   The “Endoscopic” means they stick a tube down your throat with the ultrasound and a tissue gathering needle.   They also feel that they can get a better view of the pancreas than with the MCRP/MRI, but that seems a little sketchy to me.   I think they like the “biopsy” approach because then they have “proof”.     But the problem with taking byopsies is that if you are poking into cancer stuff, you can also spread the cancer right then and there.   
from the above, it is callous how they say that if your chance of getting this horrible cancer goes up 650% it is “not significant”

Of the 40 study participants, 38 (95.0%) had a family member with pancreatic cancer, four (10.0%) had a p16 gene mutation, three (5.0%) had a BRCA2 mutation, and one (2.5%) had a BRCA1 mutation. The BRCA mutations are among the most common genetic mutations associated with familial pancreatic cancer.
On the above article link, I signed up for a “Medscape” account as a “medical educator”
They have a bunch of interesting stuff, like up to 30% fat is “good for you”, see here, but you might need an account.   This guy headed a study on 135,000 people, and showed it to his mom who said “duh that what my grandma and her grandma knew all the time.”
They also prove that eating animals, makes you less likely to be depressed.   Another duh!

Internet for Homesteaders and Off-Griders! Or Not!

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There are times I live in two worlds.  When I go up to my dad’s place in East Texas, I’m transported to an off-grid paradise where the skies are clear and God shows us a masterpiece with every sunset.  But then, I live in a fast-paced internet world.  This world allows me to update Prepper Website every evening and The Prepper Website Podcast every weekday.  Because my dad’s place is so remote, I get a faint signal there.  Enough to call out, but not enough to use my data, get on the internet and update Prepper Website.  Believe me, I’ve tried! 

Then, I was contacted by WeBoost to review their product, Weboost Connect 4G-X.  The representative told me that WeBoost wouldn’t create a signal, but it would boost a weak signal and improve it.  I was excited!  This gave me promise to spend more time up at the country and update Prepper Website, to live in both worlds.

WeBoost Connect 4G-X Review

 

Unboxing the Weboost Connect 4G-X.

The Weboost Connect 4G-X comes with everything you need to connect to the cell tower signal.  Other than what you see in the pic above, and in the following pics, I had the generator going to provide power.

The Outdoor Antenna

This is the outdoor antenna.  I plan on keeping the WeBoost really mobile to the point that I can temporarily put it up and take it down.  I don’t want to leave it up because we have had some issues with theft in the past.  And although it has been a while since we have had anything stolen, I want to make sure I protect this device.  So, I plan on temporarily mounting it to a 1″ x 4″ 12-foot board while we are in the country.  

The spot where I get the signal here is not where you see the antenna in the picture.  The spot is actually a little further back from the pic at the corner of the structure.

The outdoor antenna runs to the WeBoost Connect 4G-X inside. See pic below.

Indoor Antenna

The pic above is of the Indoor Antenna.  A cable runs from the WeBoost Connect 4G-X to this antenna.  Normally, in a traditional setup, this antenna would be mounted to the wall.  This is the antenna that would send out the boosted cell signal.

The WeBoost Connect 4G-X

This is a pic of the WeBoost Connect 4G-X main unit.  The outdoor antenna feeds into it and the unit feeds out to the indoor antenna.  The unit needs electricity (for you off-griders), so I had the generator on.  Normally, in the evening, we would have the generator on during the summer months to cool down the bedrooms.

Me frustrated! Trying anything!

AND…..this is a picture of me frustrated.  Why am I frustrated you ask?  Because of all the times that I have gone up to the country, this is the first time that I haven’t been able to get a cell signal at all!

My dad went up the day before because he was expecting the delivery of his new tractor.  See pic below. 😉  He usually calls when he gets there and then in the evening.  We were a little concerned that he hadn’t called anyone and that he wasn’t answering his phone. 

I was a little worried and apprehensive driving up the driveway the next day.  But I found dad milling around like always.  When I told him mom was worried and asked why he hadn’t called, he said that he didn’t have a signal. 

That WASN’T what I wanted to hear!  I made the trip up to the country to test out the WeBoost and fill-up my father-in-law’s deer feeder.

Although I tried for a while, I never was able to get a signal to really try the WeBoost.  And that is the rub, you need a signal for  WeBoost to actually boost!

I will say that I was disappointed.  My laptop with me and was going to use the hotspot on my phone to connect to the internet.  I wasn’t able to do that.  But it wasn’t the fault of the WeBoost Connect 4G-X.  It was just a lack of signal.  

I plan on going up there again real soon and trying it out a second time.  Thus, you will get part 2 of this review when that happens!

If you are interested in looking at the WeBoost Connect 4G-X for your homestead or property, check it out by CLICKING HERE. WeBoost also makes devices for vehicles!

Peace,
Todd

Dad’s new tractor!

ts

Retired NYPD Captain says Now is the Time to Prepare! Part 2

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Retired NYPD ESU Captain, JC, is back for the second half of our interview to issue a clarion call to get spiritually and physically prepared for what is coming. If you’d like to help the Shining Light Mission Orphanage which we talked about  in today’s show, you can send a check to:

Shining Light Mission

PO Box 781268

Sebastian, FL 32958

If you’re interested in getting directly involved with the orphanage, email me. prepperrecon@gmail.com

 

The Days of Elijah, Book Three: Angel of the Abyss is now available!

Everett and Courtney Carroll have endured to the midpoint of the Great Tribulation. The previous Seal and Trumpet Judgments have left the planet in shambles. The western hemisphere is nearly uninhabitable. The prophet Elijah gives Everett a special mission, which will give him a unique role in fulfilling end-times prophecy, but he’ll have to survive the coming cataclysms first.

 

jm2

I use JM Bullion because they have the lowest over-spot price of any dealer I have found for silver and gold bullion. JM Bullion now offers free shipping on every order!

tpitw

Trading Post in the Woods is ran by veteran crisis responders who know how important it is to be prepared. They specialize in comprehensive natural survival remedy kits, preparedness and homesteading supplies as well as skills training. Visit them online today at TradingPostInTheWoods.com.

Ready Made Resources is a trusted name in the prepper community, because they’ve been around for 18 years. They offer great prices on Night Vision, water filtration, long term storage food, solar energy components and provide free technical service. Get ready for an uncertain future at ReadyMadeResources.com!

Fish_300x250_A

CampingSurvival.com has all of your preparedness needs including; bug out bags, long term food storage, water filters, gas masks, and first aid kits. Use coupon code PREPPERRECON to get 5% off your entire order at Camping Survival.

The post Retired NYPD Captain says Now is the Time to Prepare! Part 2 appeared first on Prepper Recon.

Science Today — Politicized — But Could You Pass A Fourth Grade Science Test? Fun Stuff

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stock here: we often talk about how science has become politicized, and how so many scientists now
cannot use intuition to save their lives.   It seems like they can ONLY launch forward based on “accepted science” of what has gone before.

So I saw this “4th Grade Science Test” and was a little worried to take it, since it has been decades since I have had formal school training.    Not to worry, I am Einstein in a 4th grade world, but don’t worry I won’t invent any Atomic Bombs.   

I missed the question on what is the longest bone in the human body.

Try it out here and post your results in the comments below.

http://offbeat.topix.com/quiz-result/17193

Wire shelving and S-hooks

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Someone pointed out the shelving in a previous post.

For storage of food and household goods, I use the wire shelving units found at CostCo. They’re about $90 and you get four uprights, six shelves, and four wheels. What a lot of people don’t know is that you can buy a cheap little force multiplier that really opens up a world for your shelving plans. These little jewels are called “S-hooks”.

Imagine that you buy a shelving unit and set it up. You have one rack of six shelves, yes? Now, lets say you bought a second unit. You set that one up. You now have two columns of shelves next to each other. Ah, but if you had the s-hooks you could have three clumns of shelves, using those same two units. The s-hooks allow you to hang a shelf off the edge of another shelf. And since you can put the s-hook anywhere along the edge of the shelf, you can make L-shaped shelving arrangements to co around corners, or even T-shaped arrangements.

Here’s an example:

thumbnailNotice that the run of shelving on the right butts up against the row running along the back wall. Where they meet, thats where the s-hooks are…thats why theres no upright at that inside corner.

958e05b7b00fc0c6e6f8fdbf6cacc9da-mediumI get my s-hooks from these guys.

Also, note that when you buy wire shelving make sure the shelving has a reinforcing rib running down the middle of each shelf. In the first image you can see a rib that is just like the one running around the edges of he shelf. You don’t want just a piece of wire running the length of the shelf, you want an actual rib. Anything else and the thing will sag and not hold weight well. I’ve been using the wire shelving I got at Costco for over fifteen years and never had a problem with it. Yeah, it’s made in China but there’s not a lot out there in American-made wire shelving that meets my needs.

Anyway, I highly recommend the wire shelving for your food/gear storage and if you do decide to go that way, definitely get the s-hooks….they will make the shelving so much more versatile.

Creating A Tiny Off-Grid Cabin At The Farm – A 320 Sq. Ft. Guest House!

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It has always been a dream of ours to build a tiny, self-sufficient, off-grid cabin at the farm.  In fact, for those that have followed us for years, you might remember our original plan back in 2013 to do just

The post Creating A Tiny Off-Grid Cabin At The Farm – A 320 Sq. Ft. Guest House! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

Carbon Monoxide CO: Silent Killer In Our Midst

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Carbon Monoxide. CO. There is a silent killer in our midst. We can’t see it, can’t smell it, can’t taste it, or detect it without tools. It is in nearly every home yet most do not think about it. Every year over 400 people die and tens of thousands are sickened and permanently weakened by this silent killer. Guest post by ‘Minerjim’ Carbon monoxide, one carbon atom and one oxygen atom, makes for a deadly molecule. Carbon Monoxide, CO, as it is sometimes referred to, is produced by burning nearly every carbon-based fuel in air. Natural gas, propane, coal, wood,

The post Carbon Monoxide CO: Silent Killer In Our Midst appeared first on Modern Survival Blog.

10 Ways To Use Baking Soda For Gardening

Baking soda is one of those multi-purpose items that’s found in every household. It’s used as a leavening agent in baking, as a tooth-whitening agent, as a deodorizer in the fridge or laundry and even in the garden.

That’s right – baking soda is useful in the garden in more than one way. And forget about using it only in your garden, since you can also grow food indoors!

1. Natural Pesticide

Each year, almost 140 million pounds of pesticide are applied to lawns and gardens, both commercial and private. That’s a whole lot of poison going into our ground and thus our ground water. Not to mention the fact that you’re eating it, too.

But what’s the solution? Make your own! I’ve been experimenting with natural pesticides over the last year and I’ve learned a lot. Right off the bat, I had a problem with aphids on my peppers and tomatoes. So, I did what all good farmers do – I headed to Google.

The first recommendation was Neem oil, which is apparently good for many things in the garden, but I didn’t have any Neem oil, so I kept looking. Then I came across a recipe that used baking soda, dish soap, olive oil, and water. I mixed it up, sprayed it on my plants every other day for a week, and BAM! Problem solved.

I sprayed them once a week just for maintenance, and supposedly it’s good for spider mites, too. I read that it’s good to get rid of fungus, but I didn’t have that problem. Of course, that may have been because I was using the solution.

Ant problems? Baking soda is good for that, too. Mix it with confectionary sugar and vinegar. You can’t use regular sugar because ants are smart enough to separate regular granulated sugar and the baking soda, so it won’t hurt them. Not so with the confectionary sugar.

Use equal parts and add enough water to make it damp an sprinkle where the ants are a problem. Ants will eat the sugar, and take in the baking soda, which is lethal to them. Afterward, spray the nest with vinegar to kill the remainder.

2. Boost Your Plants

If your plants have hit a funk and just aren’t growing well, producing, or looking as bright and beautiful as you’d like them to, give them a boost with a gallon of water, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon Epsom salts, and 1/2 teaspoon ammonia. Give each plant a quart or so and do this once a month.

You’ll be amazed how happy they’ll look almost immediately.

3. Find Your Soil pH

If you have baking soda and vinegar, you can find the approximate pH of your soil, which is important to know because different plants grow best in different acidities. This won’t give you the exact pH, but it will tell you whether your soil is acidic, neutral, or base. Start by collecting two soil samples from different parts of your garden.

Separate each sample into two different containers so that you have two test containers for each location sample. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of vinegar to one test container for each location. If it bubbles, your soil is alkaline, which means that your soil pH is above 7.

If it doesn’t bubble, then mix equal parts water and baking soda and add it to the other two samples. If it bubbles, then your soil is acidic; your pH is lower than 7. If you get nothing, it’s base, or 7.

4. Make Soil Alkaline

So say you did the pH test above and your soil is acidic, but you want to grow plants such as hydrangeas or begonias, or carrots, cucumbers, or cauliflower. They grow best in alkaline soil. Well lucky for you, you have a big box of baking soda in your garden shed. Mix it in with the soil or make a solution with water and spray/pour it on to make your soil more plant-friendly.

5. Kill Slugs

Everybody knows that salt kills slugs, but salt is also not so great for your plants. Baking soda, on the other hand, is not bad for your plants, but it does kill slugs.

You can put it right on the slug and you can also sprinkle it lightly on the soil to deter them.

Be careful not to get the powder on the plants though because it will burn them.

6. Kill and Deter Cabbage Worms

These will decimate your leafy greens and are hard to get rid of, unless you have baking soda, of course. Remember though that straight baking soda will burn your plants, so mix it with equal parts flour and dust your plants with it. They’ll die within a day of ingestion. Repeat two or three times to get rid of them.

7. Deodorize your Compost Pile

Baking soda is great in the fridge and to deodorize laundry, so there’s no reason to think it won’t do the same for your compost pile.

It will also help prevent acid buildup. Use it sparingly though because it’ll slow down the composting process.

8. Mold and Mildew

Baking soda kills mold and mildew spores, which is wonderful in numerous garden applications. It’s good for your plants, but also for patio furniture, decks, and anywhere else that’s damp and prone to these spores.

9. Keep Cut Flowers Fresh Longer

Add a tablespoon of baking soda to two quarts of water and you’ll have a great solution to put your cut flowers in. Change the solution every couple of days.

10. Grow Sweet, Delicious Tomatoes

Tomatoes grown in less acidic soil are much sweeter and may even grow bigger. No matter if they are planted in a pot or in your garden, sprinkle lightly onto the soil then water. It’s just like mixing it into the soil, without the work.

There are literally hundreds of uses for baking soda in the garden and in the house. It’s one of those multi-purpose items that everybody should have on hand. I’d venture to say that just about every house in America has at least one box, and those that don’t would probably tell you they were just out.

Another great thing about baking soda is that it’s dirt-cheap. I buy a box the size of a small cereal box at my local superstore for less than $2 and it lasts me quite a while because it takes so little to be effective. So if you need to make anything from toothpaste to pesticide, baking soda is a great tool to have and use to support your food independence!

If you can think of other uses for baking soda in the garden, please share them with us in the comments section below!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Meet The NBC Guy!

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Meet The NBC Guy! David Jones “Prepping Up with the Jones “ Audio player provided! This Premier episode will be packed full! Dave introduces himself and how he became the NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) Guy. Learn about his back ground and find out why you can trust him when he tells you personal experiences with … Continue reading Meet The NBC Guy!

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