Friday, November 13, 2009

Foraging for Food

On the joys of foraging or why you'll need stored food for short term crises and farming/ranching skills for long term cataclysms.

Foraging i.e. wandering in search of food cannot be planned on as a viable option for either short term emergencies WTSHTF (When The $#!t Hits The Fan) or long term cataclysms TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) because, at best, foraging provides sufficient food for only small groups and requires constant relocation.

City slickers whose experiences "roughing it" in the wild consist of weekends in National Forest campgrounds without cable TV will be surprised to learn wild flora and fauna are harder to find and catch in sufficient quantities to feed their families than is shown on the television survival shows. Just how many days will a half tame park squirrel feed a family of four?

Besides that wild things aren't anxious to jump into the cooking pot requiring the expenditure of energy to gather them. Expending more energy catching, cleaning and cooking food than it gives back is slow starvation.

To get an idea of just how hard it is to forage for food in the wild watch Survivorman or Man vs. Wild sometime. Both shows illustrate just how unsanitary and grubby (pun intended) eating grubs, gophers and gulls can be in the wild.

Les Stroud of Survivorman is the more responsible of the two showing how everyday items can be turned into field expedient tools. Bear Grylls, on the other hand, is prone to preface survival demonstrations with phrases like "This is very dangerous, you should never do it" before jumping in and doing the very thing he just warned you against doing.

For the purposes of this article it's sufficient to note that both men barely survive on the food they forage while losing weight and constantly moving to find more food. They are experts. They are feeding only one person; don't expect you'll do any better feeding your family.

Try to maintain a weeks worth of food, a month would be better, in your home. Maintaining a stock of canned goods, of the foods you normally eat, with expiration dates printed on them is a good way to do this. Try to rotate your stock eating the older stock as you replace it with new. Got a manual can opener?

In the event of a crisis WTSHTF (When The $#!t Hits The Fan) where you expect power may be disrupted eat only frozen and or refrigerated food until that food is gone or the crisis is over. If the power does go out, plan refrigerator raids with a list of the foods you're going to take out so as to keep the door open for as short a time as possible.

If the short term crisis turns into a long term catastrophe TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) your food stocks will enable you to remain (hidden) in place while chaos reigns around you. You'll have a better chance of survival after things have stabilized.

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