Food shortages in America are a real possibility in the near future as our economy continues to crumble under the weight of economic turmoil, inflation, political uncertainty, supply line disruptions, Covid-19 response, and now war in Ukraine.
Most people don’t believe there could be a food shortage in America. After all, there are still 15 types of colorfully boxed Cheerios packing the isles, which gives them the illusion of abundance. Despite their rosy beliefs, America is already experiencing food shortages in some sectors and the situation could get worse very quickly.
If you’ve gone shopping recently, you may have noticed that many shelves are empty. It might appear that our food supply is running out. What is actually happening is that the food supply chain is broken.
Xavier Naville, author of The Lettuce Diaries: How A Frenchman Found Gold Growing Vegetables In China, told Parade,“Two-thirds of the apple concentrate consumed in the United States comes from China, and a large portion of its fish catch is shipped to China to be processed and re-exported. With Chinese ports showing a 7-day average of 206 ships waiting at ports versus 82 ships pre-COVID, logistics for such items is likely to be inconsistent too. And with Chinese factories operating at reduced capacity because of power restrictions, supply issues for food products destined to the US market like frozen or dried vegetables used as ingredients in soups or ready meals will be impacted too.”
There are also regional meat shortages due to COVID-19 wreaking havoc on meat processing plants and slaughterhouses. With labor shortages and many plants closed, farmers are unable to get meat processed and are having to euthanize pigs and chickens.
In June 2021, a ransomware attack targeted one of the biggest beef suppliers in the world. As a result, beef is often still in relatively short supply at many grocery stores, as well as higher in price than ever before.
Then there is the massive backlog at two of America’s major container ports in California causing food shortages in America. Land O’Lakes, one of the biggest farm cooperatives in the country, says it’s producing plenty of milk, but that the massive backlog of ships waiting to enter California’s two largest ports has led to problems getting milk to people.
You might be interested to read Why There Is a Dwindling Food Supply.
As we learned with Covid-19, there will be little time to react. Because of the inventory methods used today, your local store shelves have three days or less of food available. Should the supply chain be disrupted, shelves would be empty in three days and millions of Americans would be left to fend for themselves.
Those who are awake to the economic and political conditions in America are preparing for food shortages.
Financial experts have been warning of inflation for years… some even warn of hyper-inflation. The annual inflation rate in the US hit a 41-year high in March 2022 to 8.5% .
Although many people equate inflation with rising prices, that’s only the result of something bigger. What’s happening is the purchasing power of your money is becoming less because the value of the dollar is losing value. Therefore, it takes more of those dollars to exchange in the marketplace and we’re seeing grocery bills rising faster than most people’s incomes.
Prices for wheat, corn, soybeans, bread, apples, beef, chicken, eggs, and milk: are shooting up by double-digit percentages.
With energy prices also rising, more Americans are feeling the pinch in their grocery budget. Imagine how bad it could get when the price of diesel fuel prevents trucks delivering food to your grocer.
I believe we are only seeing the beginning of a much larger trend of higher prices and limited supplies. The push of a green agenda is part of an overall plan that will necessarily push prices higher and limits on certain environmentally unfriendly products.
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Here are 7 simple ways to begin to prepare for food shortages in your household:
Stay Aware of food shortages in America
Stay aware so you can prepare. While you don’t need to hoard toilet paper, it is wise to have an idea of needed supplies that are dwindling.
Consider the food products your family consumes and think how you would feed your family should those products become scarce. When the baby formula shortage popped up, many people found themselves scrambling to find baby formula.
Create a Food Bank
Everybody should have a back-up to the everyday food pantry. Instead of saving your money in the bank earning .25%, a better investment would be storable food. You could start by picking up some extra canned goods, dried foods, and other essentials for storage each time you go to the store. Devise a plan for FIFO (first in, first out) rotation for your food bank.
Learn Food Preservation
Food preservation comes in a variety of forms such as canning, pickling, and dehydrating. If you can afford it, a food dehydrator is a good way to go and usually comes with a preparation guide for most foods. Another option to add months, if not years, to many food items is a vacuum sealer.
You might want to acquire food-grade buckets to store your bulk dried foods, and be sure to label and date everything. I’ve been getting these kinds of buckets at my local grocery store for free – ask the bakery department for empty frosting buckets. Besides the obvious storable foods like rice and beans, or canned goods, some other important items to hoard are salt, peanut butter, cooking oils, sugar, coffee, and powdered milk. It’s recommended, too, that you store the kinds of foods that you are now eating… store what you eat, eat what you store.
Produce Your Own Food
It would be wise to have the ability to produce your own food should the food system crumble. If you don’t know much about gardening, then start small with a few garden boxes for tomatoes, herbs, or sprouts and keep expanding to the limits of your garden.
If possible, get some chickens. They are an easy animal to maintain and have endless benefits from providing eggs and meat, to eating bugs and producing rich manure. Five laying hens can ensure good cheap protein for your entire family. If you have limited growing space, there are brilliant aquaculture systems that can produce an abundance of fish and vegetables in a small area.
Set high goals for independent food production, but start with what’s manageable now.
You might want to take a hint from the government and the elite that have seed banks … so should you. Seeds have been a viable currency in many civilizations past and present. Beware of GMO seeds from commercial seed giants like Monsanto. What you want are heirloom seed banks that allow you to save seeds from each harvest.
Think long-term about food shortages in America
When you go shopping, think long-term. Anticipate shortages. What items can you stock long-term that may be difficult to find in the future? These are the items that you should prioritize.
For example, experts are expecting shortages for staple medicines. Stat News reports, “The problem is likely to be exacerbated by the vagaries of the global pharmaceutical supply chain, which is heavily dependent on China for active pharmaceutical ingredients and on manufacturers based in India. As of now, 43% — or 67 of 156 — of acute care medicines used to treat various illnesses are running low. This group includes such staples as antibiotics, blood thinners, and sedatives.” Keep getting your prescriptions refilled so you don’t face shortages.
Join or Start a Local Co-Op
Joining local cooperatives is very important, especially when food shortages occur.
You may not be able to provide for yourself completely, especially in terms of variety, so having a community mechanism to spread the burden and share the spoils will be important.
Check around your local farmers market or search the directory at LocalHarvest.org to see if there is a local food cooperative in your area. If your area doesn’t have a co-op, then start one, perhaps with friends, neighbors, or co-workers.