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How to Build Your Barter Supply Line

May 18, 2023 0 Comments

How To Build Your Barter Supply LineWe are years removed from the disaster that was 2020, but supply chain issues remain. 

While the pandemic wasn’t the first time supply chain issues came into the spotlight, it was a reminder of just how fragile our food supply and distribution channels really are.  

It also won’t be the last time – as anything from natural disasters to labor shortages and sanctions to communication disruptions – can trigger supply chain disruptions. 

Now, factor in the many other issues impacting our supply chain, such as continually rising prices, and it’s starting to look like now is the time to build your own barter supply line. 

Farm to Table

Let’s look at a short example. 

Farm to Table restaurants are surging in popularity as people want to eat fresher foods and support the agricultural industry in their communities.

Typically, the food supply line looks like this:

  • Farm
  • Manufacturing
  • Packaging
  • Transportation
  • Distribution
  • Market/Grocery
  • Home

Farm to Table cuts out several parts of the supply chain, and it ends up looking like this:

  • Farm
  • Slaughterhouse (if necessary)
  • Transportation
  • Home

With this shorter food supply chain in mind, it is very possible (and easy) to create our own supply line.

Except when it comes to money. Most of us don’t have the ability to cover the costs of an entire food supply line.

But we do have the ability to barter our way from farm to table. 

Bartering is essentially trading supplies or skills with others. The practice of bartering has taken place since the beginning of time, but it tends to become more popular during times of economic struggle.

Or disasters.

For example, Erica Frenay, who runs Shelterbelt Farm near Ithaca, New York, regularly barters. Life and Thyme reports, “As a farmer in a rural area where many people produce their own food, bartering is a way of life for Frenay. For example, Frenay raises hens but sells most of the eggs, so she trades off – cuts of meat and vegetable transplants for fresh eggs from a friend. The pandemic hasn’t changed things much for her family and neighbors. ‘It’s as it was before, which means there’s a lot of bartering,’ she tells me.”

Bartering is such a normal part of their day-to-day life that this community didn’t experience the same grocery store pandemic pains as the rest of America. 

Wouldn’t you like to live similarly? Or prepare now to do so if SHTF? 

Great news, you absolutely can. 

Consider the Basics Needed for a Barter Supply Line 

If the goal is to build a barter supply line, start by considering what you need to do to get food to your table.

Food storage
  • Food: What food do you need? Where can you get it? Do you have friends with gardens, farms, or cattle? Do you have extra emergency survival food to barter?  

  • Manufacturing: Fresh produce doesn’t require manufacturing. However, if you want meat or poultry, you will need to have a plan for butchering. Do you have something of value that you could barter fairly? If not, could you go in with your bartering community to build a cow share? Additionally, you can place food preservation under the umbrella of manufacturing. You’ll need food during the cold months. Do you have someone in your circle who can barter using preserved foods?

  • Transportation: In the ideal bartering supply line, you can easily drive to and from one another’s homes. However, it is still important to consider how you will get bartering items from one place to another. Do you have a friend with a truck you can use? Or can you use your vehicle for bartering?  
  • Of course, there are other considerations if you want to have all your bases covered.

    For example, you will need space to store your food. Do you have someone who will allow you to barter for some freezer space or root cellar storage?

    Also, think of hard goods required to cook food. If the grid goes down, how will you (and others) cook meals? 

    Identify Needs and Who Has What


    The idea behind building your own food supply chain is that, if you can grow tomatoes and another person has fruit trees, and someone else handles dairy or meat, you can barter and have what you need.

    As you start planning a barter supply line, you must identify your needs and the needs of others.

    • Make a list of foods and goods you want to have access to.
    • Make a list of who produces these items.
    • Make a list of services you want to have access to (such as printing or beekeeping).
    • Make a list of who could provide these services.
    • Make a list of tools you need to get chores done around your home.
    • Make a list of who owns said tools.
    • Make a list of emergency services you may require (nurse, dentist, etc.).
    • Make a list of those in your community you could turn to.

    Now, take time to consider what others in your community need or want. 

    Do you have anything that would benefit them? Or could you learn a new skill, grow a specific crop, or acquire hard goods to offer?  

    If so, use items on this list for bartering.

    Consider those who can meet your needs and those whose needs you can meet. This is your potential community or barter supply line.

    Skills are also important when building this type of community. Maybe you are good at gardening and not at building – build relationships with people whose skills you lack.

    Use this list of needs to help you develop relationships today so that it’s easier to create a bartering system in the future.

    [Related Read: Top 10 Bartering Items + Skills Every Prepper Needs]

    Start at Home


    Bartering involves trading with others, which means you need to be able to offer something in exchange for something you need.

    This will look different from one person to the next, but for a food supply line, you should start with food.

    As you begin to garden and grow your own food, you will enjoy food security and be able to barter your goods with others in need.

    You may also start hobby farming or raising chickens for an endless source of fresh eggs. 

    Bartering also involves trading skills, so learn new skills or brush up on those skills you don’t use as often. 

    Don’t forget to stock up on seeds! They are a valuable commodity because they ensure you can grow and eat your own food, and they will be a valuable barter item should SHTF.   

    If you want a never-ending source of fresh fruits and veggies, make sure your seeds are non-GMO like our Survival Seed Vault

    Just as important as growing your food is having on hand emergency survival food to feed your family and to barter. After all, veggies and fruit only provide a certain amount of nutrients our bodies need. 

    Beans Trio & Rice Kit and Freeze-Dried Beef Dices provide the protein needed to keep going. And they will come in handy should you need to barter in a disaster. 

    Think of foods that people frequently eat – food that will become more valuable should SHTF – like Ready Hour’s Long Grain White Rice and Whole Egg Powder. Stock up on these items now and include them in your barter supply plan. 

    Think beyond Food

    Building your barter supply line must go beyond food. If the grid goes down, how will you (and others) cook meals? 

    Sure, there’s open fire or the grill. But what if there’s no charcoal or wood available? You’ll want to have an InstaFire Inferno Outdoor Biomass Stove handy so you can cook for others or lease it out in exchange for food or another hard good you may need. 

    What if it’s pouring rain or the wind won’t die down and you can’t get a fire to start? Make sure you have a few Ferro Rods by InstaFire or Tactical Fire-Starting Kit (which includes a Pocket Plasma Lighter w/ LED Light that allows you to light a fire in a Category 5 hurricane).  

    Whether you allow barter partners to use this gear in exchange for something else or you have extra on hand that you can barter – you’ll have leverage. 

    We Can’t Live without Water

    flowing stream

    We need CLEAN water to live. Whether it’s being boiled for a meal or to keep you hydrated, you’ll need a safe supply of water.

    And so will everyone else in your barter supply line. 

    If you have the Alexapure Pro Water Filtration System – which transforms water from virtually any freshwater source into cleaner, safer drinking water – you can barter fresh water all day long. 

    In addition, having on hand plenty of Aquamira Chlorine Dioxide Water Treatment tablets allows you to protect your stored water supply. A few drops of this treatment in a container of water prevents mold, bacteria, and other contaminants from spoiling your supply and making you sick. 

    Learn to Ask

    In the beginning, the hardest part will be asking others to barter rather than exchange money.

    It’s humbling to have to admit we need something.

    But instead of thinking about it this way, think of it as a way to cut out the middleman.

    It’s smarter to barter!

    Once you have an idea of what you could barter and who has what, go to individuals and simply ask if they’d be interested in bartering X for Y. 

    They may say no, but most people are willing to barter if the deal seems fair.

    [Related Read: How to Barter Your Way to Survival – Start Prepping Today]

    Reach Out to Those You Know and Trust

    When building a barter supply line, it’s important to reach out to those you know and trust.

    In a bartering community, it means disclosing what you have and your skills to others. You don’t want to disclose this information to people who may use it against you – or outright steal it from you.

    Bartering works best when people are honest, fair, and ethical. You don’t want to barter away fresh produce in exchange for maintenance work only to have the handyman fail to do the job.

    You also want to look for like-minded people. It’s much easier to barter with others who support the idea and enjoy bartering themselves, rather than those you push into it. 

    Start building your bartering supply line today, friends.

    In liberty,

    Elizabeth Anderson

    Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply

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