The ongoing food crisis is about to get worse, friends. When you combine shipping and supply chain issues, the conflict in Ukraine, inflated food and gas prices, and the fertilizer crisis, it creates the perfect storm for farms and grocery stores.
Now add the eerie fires occurring at food processing plants across the US, and you're looking at a full-scale food crisis.
According to Timcast, "There has been an outbreak of fires in food processing facilities across the nation in recent years, with even more in the last six months as food prices soar and supply chains are stressed to their limits […] At least 16 such disasters have taken place at food processing facilities nationwide. While most of the incidents have shown no foul play after investigation, the trend presents a curious string of events across the country."
These combined events should be enough to spur everyone toward action...
BUT IT WON’T.
Unfortunately, we all know people who will not be prepared when the time comes and grocery store shelves are empty.
And who will they turn to? Those who prepared… because folks who do not prepare will always come crashing in on your preps.
If too many people know about your emergency food supply, you'll either have to share it (which means it won't last very long), or you'll have to turn folks away (which means they could become a lethal threat to you and your family).
That's why it is just as important to protect your food supply as it is to have one in the first place.
Don’t get us wrong. Sharing your supplies can be a good thing. But it should be up to you who to share them with. Protecting your supply from unwanted interlopers is key to making that happen.
[Related Read: Prepare Now for the Long-Term Effects of the Fertilizer Crisis]
Why You Must Protect Your Emergency Food Now
Have you ever heard stories about lottery winners who find themselves in debt (or worse) in just a few years?
Why is this the case? In part, because people know they have money! Long-lost relatives come asking for it. Family members go to great lengths to ensure they get their cut of the pot, suing and even murdering the winners.
The lesson? When you've got something people desperately want, they will go to extremes to get it for themselves.
This includes food.
For example, during the Great Depression, it was common for people to steal food to survive.
According to Living History Farms, "If a farmer grew good watermelons, everyone knew about it. Sometimes the tasty treat was just too hard for young people to resist on a hot summer day. Mildred Opitz remembers kids tipping over outhouses and stealing watermelons. And then there were the problems with illegal fishing. Normally, rods and reels, boats and bobbers are the necessary technologies needed for fishing. But in the 30s, a few folks […] fished with their bare hands, even though it was illegal. It was called ‘stump fishing.’”
And more recently, we see it happen every time there is a natural disaster with people looting grocery stores.
If people are hungry, they will take food from anywhere they can get it – including your emergency supply, livestock pens, and fields.
In 2019, Heather Lifsey Barnes told Successful Farming, “I’ll never forget the day my husband came home and told me he’d had to run ladies out of our sweet potato field. He had plowed the field that morning, and before workers could get there to harvest, the ladies were helping themselves to our crops.”
Her account took place BEFORE the pandemic and the ripple effect it had on the food industry.
The moral of the story is, if you don’t protect your emergency food, you run the risk of others taking it from you.
Use the following tips to protect your food and yourself.
When it comes to your emergency food supply, hide it as if it's lottery winnings. If people know you have it, they’ll want it.
Take inventory of who already knows about your food supply outside of your immediate family or those who live with you.
Do you have a house cleaner who has seen your stock? Did you accidentally slip up and mention your supply to your neighbor?
Are your family members talking to others about your supply?
If someone outside your inner circle knows what you have and where you keep it, it needs to be immediately moved to a new location.
Avoid Storing Food Where There Is a Lot of Foot Traffic
Start by evaluating where your emergency food is currently stored.
- Is it stored in an obvious location, such as a food pantry?
- Is it stored in a place with a lot of foot traffic, such as your garage or laundry room?
- Is it stored in a place that gives outsiders easy access, such as a shed on your lawn?
If so, it’s time to move it to a hard-to-reach place or somewhere people won’t think to look.
Don’t Keep All Your Food in the Same Place
Let’s say one of the food looters finds your hiding place. If you keep all your food in the same place, they can clean you out completely. Instead, store your emergency food in different locations on your property. This is a Pro Tip -- it should be a critical part of your emergency food storage plan.
Find Creative Places to Hide Your Emergency Food
Go beyond the traditional food-storage locations and consider some out-of-the-box storage solutions.
- Under the bed
- Inside the back of your furniture (such as couches or recliners)
- In a clothes closet
- Inside campers or on boats
- With the cleaning supplies
- Under the kitchen sink
- Buried in the backyard in sealed buckets
Whether you live in a city or rural area, another way to store emergency food is to place it in different containers. For example, put mylar food bags inside colored Rubbermaid containers or luggage, so no one can see what is inside.
Use strong chains and locks on any doors protecting your food supply whenever possible.
Invest in a Security System
Invest in a security system to protect your property from thieves and looters. A thief can quickly be scared away with a simple security alert, such as alarms sounding or lights coming on.
If your emergency food supply is kept in a specific location, use a security system just for this access point, such as an alarm on the basement door.
Pets also make a great security system. Ask any owner of German Shepherds.
If your emergency food is safely hidden, you can easily fool looters with your everyday food supplies.
For instance, they will go for what they can find. If they can find a pantry with food, that’s what they will take.
If you have an extra 10-gallon food bucket, stuff it with something other than emergency food and leave it out in the open.
Another tip is to hide food in plain sight. For example, think about how your grandparents hid money in places like a freezer or under a mattress.
Do the same type of thing with your emergency food. Place it in everyday, ordinary boxes and label them “Christmas Decorations” or “Art Supplies.”
Use a few food buckets to make a coffee table. Simply place a piece of plywood across the top of the buckets and drape a tablecloth over it.
Purchase from a Secure Company
It’s critical to purchase your emergency food from a company that understands the importance of privacy.
You don’t want to risk your neighbors seeing a delivery man place emergency food boxes on your doorstep.
My Patriot Supply ships all food in unmarked boxes to avoid this sort of situation.
Also, it’s wise to purchase emergency food from a reputable company so, should disaster strike, you can rest assured that the food is high quality and the storage containers are designed to hold up for decades.
Don’t Store Food Where It Will Go Bad
One final tip – protecting your long-term emergency food also means using proper storage techniques so it will last. That means protecting it against oxygen, moisture, rodents, insects, and light.
[Related Read: The Best Ways to Store Food Long Term]
Keep your emergency food safe, friends. Stay alert!
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply