Food Independence Lessons from the Amish - My Patriot Supply
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Food Independence Lessons from the Amish

April 26, 2024 0 Comments

A team of horses pulling harm equipment on Amish land.

Imagine a world where the supply chain crumbles and the grid goes down. For most of us, it would be a catastrophe.

But for the Amish, it’s just another day.

They'll keep on eating like nothing happened, because they’ve truly mastered food independence.

With a population of about a quarter million spread across 28 states, the Amish have been thriving without relying on modern conveniences for centuries.

They've got growing, storing, and cooking food down to a science.

So, what can we learn from the Amish about being self-reliant and food secure? Turns out, a whole lot. 

From adopting solar power to raising livestock to cooking from scratch, the Amish have a blueprint for food independence that we can all follow.

Adopt Solar Power

A series of solar panels set up on the front lawn of a cabin property.

The Amish embrace solar power technology to remain self-reliant.

According to Anabaptist World:

An Amish homestead can be identified at a glance by buggies in the driveway or distinctive garments on a clothesline. Solar panels have joined the list of visual cues, bringing a host of benefits and concerns to people who traditionally lived without electricity. In the past couple of decades, many Amish have embraced solar power, which can be permitted because standalone systems are "off-grid." Rules against worldly vices do not ban electricity or prohibit convenience but are intended to avoid connection to and reliance on the outside world.

This explains why as many as 80% of Amish families in Holmes County, Ohio, have adopted solar panel technology.

As solar power technology has advanced, it has allowed Amish communities to do things such as refrigerate foods and run businesses without being tied to the grid. 

The Amish embrace solar power technology to remain self-reliant. This technology allows them to generate their own electricity without relying on others. (They are not using solar power to watch TV!)

Like the Amish, if you invest in solar-powered generators and solar-powered ovens, you position yourself to be extremely independent.

Grow Your Own Food

Gardening and harvesting are central to the Amish lifestyle. 

According to Amish America:

Nearly all Amish homes have a sizable garden, tended by the woman of the home with help from her children. Sweet corn, celery, beets, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, peas, and a wide variety of other vegetables are grown in the typical Amish garden.

Raise Livestock and Cattle

Raising chickens, pigs, and cattle allows the Amish to add necessary dairy and protein to their diet.

Additionally, many Amish communities still use horses to plough the fields rather than modern-day farming equipment. 

If the supply chain crumbles, the Amish will have all the vegetables, fruits, meat, and dairy they need to survive. 

Will you?

While you may not have the space or ability to have a large garden or raise livestock, you can still get to know your local farmers.

Do what you can to get closer to food independence.

Cook from Scratch

Fresh bread dough sitting on a plate atop a wooden table.

The Amish are known for their traditional food and baked goods.

In fact, selling preserved foods and baked goods is one of their biggest means of earning money from outsiders.

What sets Amish food apart is that they cook from scratch.

Without electricity, time was spent kneading the dough and carefully watching it bake before the perfect loaf of bread was sold.

While the Amish aren’t forbidden from using food from grocery stores or canned foods, they strive to cook from scratch as much as possible.

Find Ways to Store Food without Electricity 

One of the unique ways Amish communities have found food independence is by how they store food.

Safely storing food requires cool or cold storage. How do they do that without freezers or refrigerators?

Traditionally, the Amish have used root cellars and ice houses to store food.

According to Amish 365:

Thirty years or more ago most Amish families relied on cool cellars or ice houses to keep food chilled. Amish would cut blocks or chunks of ice from frozen ponds in the winter and use them to fill ice houses, which would keep food cool or frozen most of the year. Tons of ice can be harvested from a medium-sized pond for all the Amish in a settlement to use. The harvest ice "party" becomes a big event with many families gathering by a cold pond in January or February to start carving out the blocks.

While some Amish communities still use ice houses, more are moving toward refrigeration using solar power.

They opt for solar-powered generators to run refrigerators or off-grid, solar-powered refrigerators. 

Invest in Off-Grid Ways to Cook Food

If the power went out, would you be able to cook a full meal for your family?

The Amish certainly could.

They use many different methods for cooking, including cooking over a fire, using wood-burning cook stoves, and utilizing gas or propane-powered generators to run water systems.

If you can’t remodel your home and add a wood-burning stove, you should at least invest in an outdoor stove or biomass-fueled oven

You can use these for camping or during power-loss emergencies.

Have Old-Fashioned Kitchen Appliances

A person using a hand-powered tool to work with dough in a kitchen.

I love my KitchenAid stand mixer, but I know it won’t do me much good when the power is out.

That’s why I have held on to my old-fashioned hand mixer and eggbeater.

These cordless appliances are common in Amish households, enabling them to cook their favorite dishes at any time. 

Find Community 

One of the final food independence lessons we learn from the Amish is the importance of community.

In Amish communities, everyone has a job or part to play in sustaining their independent communities. Without the help of others, they would not be as insular as they want. 

They work together to make sure everyone is fed. The men plow the fields, the children gather the vegetables from gardens, and the women cook for large groups.

Consider this lovely story about how an Amish community prepared for a large wedding feast:

On the wall inside of the cook wagon was a list of jobs to be done for that day. Each woman chose a job and quickly went to work. Bread was cubed and baked for dressing, and potatoes, carrots and onions were chopped for the dressing also. […] After the menu is decided, the head cooks determine how much food is needed and make a large grocery list. They help schedule the women who come to do the food prep and assign coffee time treats, lunch casseroles, salads and desserts for the meals they share on workdays. […] If one person steps away from washing dishes to get finished pies from the oven, another quickly steps in and takes over the dishes. […] The men set up the tent outside the barn, and tables and benches were set to accommodate all the guests. In the house, the young girls are playing with the small children and the house is getting a good once-over.

Learn from the Amish, friends!


In liberty,

Elizabeth Anderson

Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply

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