On Lou Dobs tonight, Sonny Perdue, Dept. Of Ag., was talkng dirt about food “hoarding”. Saying to only buy a week worth at a time and assuring everyone we had oodles in storage.
Well, I grew up with Depression Era parents who taught me it was prudent to keep a well stocked pantry. Dad was from a farm in Iowa, where you stored the fall harvest to eat through winter and until the first harvest of summer vegetables. The self sufficient farm ethos is to be stocked enough to survive even through a bad crop year. The Bible exhorts to have 7 years grain in the granaries.
So I have always kept at least a few weeks of food on hand, and often a few months. It has been very useful when I have been “suddenly between jobs”.
Now compare two scenarios:
The Government way:
I’m told to shelter in place for two weeks, while avoiding any groups, but need groceries to do it. I’m tossed into the grocery store line along with everyone else. No avoiding groups there. Then, every week or two, me and a few hundred neighbors will share air and touch pads buying another few days of food, now that the first burst was restocked. The virus will love that.
In addition to my emergency store of mostly dry beans, rice & noodles, starting about 2 months ago, I slowly bought about 2 months of food, filled the freezer and fridge, and stocked a cupboard of canned goods. No disruption to anyone. Plenty of time for the store to restock. When the announcement came, I was not part of the problem. I was at home. Now there was just that much more on the shelves for everyone else. Not only that, but my added demand a month ago will have caused increased orders to the warehouse. So more ready to ship to stores. Increasing the supply chain volume. Then, for the duration of the pandemic, I ought to be able to avoid the Grocery Store Germ Exchange. Wins all around for everyone.
Now, about all that food in storage in the supply chain:
First off, not a peep about the beans, rice, noodles and other dry goods that are the core of prepping. No mention of canned goods, the other big pillar. It was all meat, dairy, frozen stuff. Things not the stuff of prepping for disaster. Then, to make me feel good, they quote the stock in pounds. Not tons. B is billion.
1.3 B cheese 19 B milk 38 M eggs 1.1 B red meat 1.3 B poultry 2.1 B frozen vegetables 1.2 B frozen fruit
Sure sounds like a lot, huh. But with about 1/3 Billion people (330 million) in the USA. that 1.3 Billion pounds of chicken is about 4 pounds per person. One big package of parts. Not quite a whole chicken.
Lets restate that chart in pounds per person, shall we:
3.9 cheese 57 milk (or about 7 gallons) 0.1 eggs 3.3 red meat 3.9 poultry 6.3 frozen vegetables 3.6 frozen fruit
Plenty of milk, but I’d bet that includes a lot destined to become cheese.
3 pounds of red meat gets me through a week. Half a chicken good for dinner and a later lunch. Maybe. But I get 2 eggs for breakfast… if small ones. Plus, a bag of cheese shreds, block of cheddar, and some slices.
Not exactly the thing to inspire confidence in their ability to keep me fed for a month of isolation…
In the mean time, yesterday I turned a can of SPAM, some dry onion granules & garlic, and a quart of dry beans into over 3 quarts of flavored beans that I’ll be eating over the next week or three… and not being in lines at the grocer, not putting strain on deliveries.