My step-dad texted me an interesting question this morning, and it’s had my mind reeling all day. He simply wrote (after a conversation with my brother-in-law), “What would it take to feed 20 people for 5 years?”
Here was my initial response, “A lot of food, and/or the ability to obtain/produce more.”
And then my mind took off on what that would look like. Here. On the farm. With my family and our resources. I think I may have sent several text messages back before I realized that he probably needed to get to work and I really should finish cleaning up the barn.
But just because our text conversation ended doesn’t mean my thinking did. And this post might be kind of rambly–because my brain just thinks like that!
Are my thoughts complete? Nope–not even close. I’m sure I’m missing some vital components. These are just the first ones swirling around in this head.
It’s recommended that you store food for your family (obviously). The problem in this scenario? Do you have any idea how much space canned/dry goods for 20 people would take up? Yes we have a large house, but no, I don’t want it filled to the brim with cans and cans of food (especially because we really DON’T eat canned foods any more. )
No, storing just random cans isn’t going to cut it. We need a better plan.
We need to stock up on the things we won’t be able to produce easily. Things like flour, sugar, olive oil, salt and rice. The things that you read about families in the old days stocking up on before winter. Staples.
Yes, we could grow wheat and harvest our own grain, but that would take some prep work that wouldn’t happen right away. Flour (or wheat berries if we have a reliable wheat grinder) need to be stored for the meantime.
Fruits and veggies also need to be stored with more of a short term goal in mind. The ground around here produces abundantly, and new fruits and veggies could be grown within a year of any disaster that would strike. Thus, we don’t need five years worth of those.
Meat (canned variety if we’re assuming no power) is also needed, especially for the summer months. We can easily butcher a pig or a cow or something in the late fall/winter and store it without it going bad, but with our current knowledge, I don’t know how to make it last through summer. This is an area I should learn more about (I hope to have the knowledge and equipment necessary to can chicken before next July’s butcher date…).
Dairy (for providing vital nutrients) would be another area easily taken care of in our current situation. We have three cows bred currently, and two are currently milking (though they’ll be drying up soon). If the situation were different, we’d just stagger the next breeding to ensure that we always had at least one cow in milk instead of drying them all up at once. The milk could be chilled in the creek, and then used to create butter (with supplies we already have), and perhaps some cheeses to add variety to the diet.
That means we need a reliable way to filter and boil water. And since that’s probably not something we’d like to do every day, getting a couple of 55-gallon drums to keep refilling is probably a good idea.
Our goal to learn to create our own charcoal to filter seems to be perfect here. We have LOTS of trees around, and charcoal can keep. Then it’d be a matter of boiling, which would likely be done on the top of one of the wood stoves. Good thing we have some large pots that can go up there!
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