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Thursday, June 29, 2017

national food


NATIONAL FOOD
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note: perfection!  I ran across the ideal nickname for Trump, finally.  "Forrest Trump".  How perfect is that?  I'm just glad Hilary didn't get in, so I have nothing against Trump per se.  I don't hate him, but don't like him either.  He is neutral, which is probably a very good thing.  But you need to smirk and chuckle on the way to the slaughterhouse.
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Five years back I wrote on a Rawles article giving the amount of food on hand until starvation at one to one and a half years.  Well, it wasn’t even really an article but more of a paragraph scoffing at the notion that we had anything more than at most six months.  But I didn’t go into all that many details.  One of the great things about only writing and not working for one of the worlds biggest moronic douchebags anymore, being semi-retired, is that my brain has time to relax and ponder and isn’t all clouded with stress and unmitigated dripping hatred.  Hell, I’m seeing eight hours sleep a night as the norm now, finally, after decompressing for a few months.  I used to be lucky to get six to seven.  I can even write now without coffee.  And I can take as long as I need to as I belabor a point.  No need to cram everything into a lunch hour for writing.  So let’s dissect yet another outrageous notion that our buddy put forth, back when he still actually contributed to his blog instead of just using it a rentier wealth scheme that has most likely seen a financial hit and has him panicking ( I’m not sure why, as he’s had since the mid 90’s to prep and the mortgage has to be paid off by now.  Unless he spend all his old profits on FLIR scopes ) about now.  I’m wild ass guessing about all this of course and could be wrong.  It is more supposition and conjecture.  Following the gut.

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Rawles said something to the effect that all of the food on hand would be used up in a year or a year and a half and whoever wasn’t already self sufficient by that time would then starve.  It was kind of a heads up as to how long you had to go to ground before you could safely emerge from hiding, how long a die-off would last.  Not that those were his words.  No one ever accused the man of being Mr. Doomer ( again, I don’t hate the man, just his teachings.  I have respect for what he did for himself, early in the game.  I just don’t respect what he did prior to that, or after ).  You have to fill in the blanks yourself.  I can’t remember any of his reasoning behind his figures, but let me present mine so that you can decide for yourself.  First off, we know there is more than three days worth of food out there.  That is just what is on the shelves due to Just In Time ( JIT ) Inventory.  But there isn’t a years worth out there either.  The reason I say that is that there is a global trade in food.  It is a world wide JIT.  Here is the classic example given.

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Some guy not quite right in the head ( hello!  Heard of Jaws? ) is out on the ocean fishing, gets his haul of junk fish ( a lot of the good stuff has been over fished ) and heads to port.  Because White Boys want too much in labor, the ingrates unwilling to work for a dime an hour for his benevolent corporate master who also wants to sell him a $100,000 mobile home to live in, the fish are quickly sent over to China where they are processed.  Well, by now it is probably sent to Vietnam or Myanmar since those ingrate Chinese bitches are agitating for sixty cents an hour-the Gott Damn nerve!-but it is some dank hole on the map of Asia, and then sent back to White Boy country where one of the 10%’ers ( the 1%’ers straw bosses ) who lives on fish, olive oil, organic veggies and tofu pays some ridiculous price for mercury, microscopic plastic and Fukishima radiation laden seafood to keep her ass tight and boyish for her rich husband who obviously has issues in the sack but what the heck, did we mention he was well off financially?

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It isn’t that we are eating imported food.  We eat domestic food that is grown with imported oil, which is no better, but the point is that our domestic food is sometimes in transit to this country, not residing therein.  So while you can assume that we are food self-sufficient ( not in the long term, due to oil ), you can’t assume it is available at all times.  Let’s take as our start of a one year supply, between harvests, that perhaps 5% is value added food being processed and shipped.  Another 5% is due to Mexico being our new California as far as produce is concerned ( the long term trend in California is moving towards luxury crops like nuts rather than commodity produce like lettuce or broccoli, due to the water issues ).  Produce and frozen luxury fish isn’t a huge part of the market, so I low balled here.  If you go into a grocery store, the produce there is most like no more than 5% of the purchases anyway.  Or at least the calories.

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Those tiny ass women ( hilariously labeled by Tom Wolfe in his fiction as “boys with boobs” by a long suffering hourglass figure older wife looking at her competition ) might survive on zero calorie vegetables and 100 calorie fish fillets, filling up her contracting belly with artificial sweetened water  guaranteed to kill off legions of lab rats in the valiant effort to appear as close to a German concentration camp victim as possible, but that is because of climate control and drugs.  Absent those, that kind of diet, vegetarian, does not work well for survival.  So we can discount vegetables as a calorie source , plus all those foods to be processed in transient and the few small amounts of actual imported food not yet in port.  So that accounts for ten percent of our yearly food supply as unavailable ( I also include in there our domestic foods such as wheat.  We have silos of grain but at the moment the bread factories and cereal factories [ look for a large cereal company such as Ralston Purena to have a processing facility near you.  They ship in rail cars of corn, rice and wheat, just a FYI ] have their contracts fulfilled and so the wheat is shipped over to Brazil or wherever.  In a months time, someone such as Argentina will ship over their wheat.  This way, global JIT, the food conglomerates don’t see inventory on shelves wasting profits.  You need to account for “our” wheat being on loan ), which I think is understating the amount.  By understating, I’m assuming the best case scenario. 

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So, right there, ten percent of our food, in loans, in processing transit and in the form of highly fragile produce is taken off our years total inventory ( we don’t have any long term grain storage in a strategic reserve anymore.  And if my pea brain is recalling a minion comment correctly, fallow farmland is no longer subsidized by the government anymore.  Really, it is a year to year budget, period ).  But that isn’t the fun part.  Now we can go visit the bulk of our calories, the restaurant industry.  Forty percent of meals are eaten outside the home ( this is the reason that I cast my net for knowledge far and wide, consuming non-traditional doomer sources for information.  I got that tidbit watching a consumer advocate documentary deriding McDonalds.  I was in the mood to hate them as I had just passed judgment upon them as my wildly anticipated treats of French fries delivered a disappointing altered product whose taste was befouled.  McDonald’s-hump you very much.  Screw up my fries?  You’re persona non grata, bitches.  Mule member masticating asswhores ).

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I don’t care where you go eat nowadays, other than niche rich people eateries, it is all processed foods in #10 cans or refrigerated or frozen foods ready for quick service.  All that prep work they pay a passel of illegal immigrants to perform has been shrunk down to a minimum with more foods ready to go rather than ready to process.  Taco Hell used to make their refried beans in store.  Now they come ready to heat in a big bag.  Even your sit down restaurants are similar.  They can’t just nuke a hamburger patty, they still throw the frozen one on the grill, but given twenty more years I’m sure they could add enough additives to fake a fresh cooking taste.  They open a bag of pre-cut salad with the carrots and cabbage already added.  They don’t have someone cutting up the ingredients individually anymore.  I’m not trying to make the point that eating out tastes like shopping in the grocery store frozen food isle-I’ve done that before.  I’ve complained of the huge increase in prices as food quality declines.  No, my point is that nearly 40% of our TOTAL food supply is in the refrigerator or freezer at a restaurant.  Add in the prior ten percent we talked about at the beginning and HALF of our food is perishable. 

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Let me repeat that.  HALF.  The percentage of food in this country that must be eaten within days of grid down, widespread riots, economic collapse shutting down trade, etcetera ( the #10 cans are a marginal food source, unless you fill up with a gallon of condiments at a time ).  We have food warehouses, true dat homeslice.  They also contain frozen foods.  What part of greedy profit pig dogs did you forget about corporations ( I’m certainly not saying it is only a factor of greed.  Sometimes it can be simple survival as too much competition and too much debt shaves your profit margins down to diddly.  That is just poor management, but I’ll excuse the industry wide trend by blaming it on everyone’s predecessor.  Greed does factor in of course.  Quarterly bonuses decrease performance long term )?  If they can surpass the metal can to save a few cents, substituting plastic that needs refrigeration for its content, they will.  Not to imply there isn’t dried or freeze dried, just to say the majority is not.

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Now, let’s go meander over to the home and grocery store.  I’m guessing at a casual glance that a good third of all foods are in the freezer.  If 40% of meals are eaten at artificial coloring and taste fake food outlets ( I don’t care if a chicken McNugget is all creamed beaks and toes, at least it is a chicken part [ parts is parts! ].  I object to all the sugar and cellulose and corn byproducts added to most of the stuff ), it stands to reason that those 40% of folks like the taste and are just as lazy when it comes to home food preparation.  These are the idiots who buy frozen waffles because it is SOOOO difficult to mix flour and water.  Plus, a good fifth of our meals are meat, which is frozen.  Let’s reduce the junk food at home to a mere 10% so as to keep that wild optimism bubbling, add the frozen meat that won’t be preserved, and come up with a total of a third.  A third of the 60% eaten at home meals is going to be frozen and must be consumed immediately.  We are up to 70% of the total food consumed being perishable.  I’m sorry, let me repeat that in case you were playing around with your FLIR scope and not paying attention.  70 Gott Dam %.  Now, how about all those calories that are in industrial form.  The corn syrup, the cow feed, the filler.  The big railcar loads of weird crap that goes into huge vats.  We won’t even count that, but I can’t image it is an inconsequential amount ( but, we don’t count it as it might be part of the other percentages ).

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Seventy percent.  Perishable.  Yearly harvests.  One year, minus seventy percent.  Give or take three months of non perishable food.  The first week will see binge eating of historical proportions.  Then, what?  All those factory animal meat warehouses are most likely right up there with frozen food.  You can let most of the herd die to fit the feed on hand, but I’d wager without electricity or daily deliveries of supplies you’ll just have a huge rotting charnel house on your hands.  To speak nothing of the specialty animals unable to survive elsewhere without antibiotics and such vet items.  You’ll only be able to save a minimal amount, and that supposes nobody comes to take them from you.  Given most of our chickens are in the South in factory farms, good luck having them survive in that overpopulated area.  But, again, just focus on the seventy percent.  Don’t even consider the warfare over the available supplies.  Just look at that three month supply of food on hand.  Not a year, or a year and a half.  Three months.  Yes, some regions face immediately warfare and food disappearances, and others have more.  Obviously you can’t predict how it all balances off in three months.  You could enter back into society from your hidey hole and face either total depopulation or warfare still waging.  Gas and ammo should in theory last that three months ( although, with gasoline, I find it hard to believe this.  It is a daily delivery item, not a yearly crop harvest ). 

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But isn’t it better to have a figure to work with calculating your base odds?  Sure, we have enough food to last until next harvest.  But you can’t assume that whole year is available.  Our electric grid, to factor in nothing of its fuel generation, is overloaded and antiquated.  It won’t stick around in an emergency.  And there goes most of our foods.  Three months food supply, for all practical purposes, six months on the outside.

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18 comments:

  1. Distribution alone could waste a great percentage. Does the national guard revert to local control? I can easily see what little is left being used by upstart warlords. We have local feed stockpiles set by to feed hundreds of thousands of cattle. That and the dairy cattle offer a significant food supply. Will fema get it? Somehow I doubt their competence. I'd bet it ends up in the hands of a few "cattlemen" turned warlords.
    I've raised a lot of livestock here on ye ol home(un)steady and I doubt any would survive without outside feed. Maybe if I lived on a river in some lush river bottom. Keeping me alive is questionable. Keeping the livestock going would be an act of God.
    The survivors will have to live on your vegetarian diet. Growing grain is a skill. Harvesting and processing, without oil, is a lost skill. Dairy will be gone. Most wildlife overhunted. The Basque sheep herders lived on cornbread and beans. That might be the entirety of our future preps.
    I still struggle growing a good crop of dried beans....

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    1. I'm thinking that except for a few very exceptional locations, any food surplus goes quicker than anticipated, seeing as how a large army must protect it. The warlords quickly turn cannibal. No guarantee, but I think the six month is an outlier.

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  2. I can only really speak to grains, beans, and grass fed beef, as that is what is grown around here. The grains and beans are stored by farmers and middlemen for up to 2 years in silos - based on market conditions and current projected crop yield. The trucks roll down to the rail yard loaded with grain every month, not just after harvest. So for grains and beans we probably have a years worth or more on hand. Sorry though, if we don't get your diesel fuel for the trucks and trains no-one outside our area will be seeing it. And if Monsanto's shipments to the farmers don't show up, years 3 and on will be insufficient for much in the way of export.
    Beef on the hoof around here may as well be near wild considering the limited amount of care they receive (way more cows around here than people). But collecting and driving cattle is a nearly lost art- collection is now done via ATV and 4x4 and the cows are not led to market, instead they get nice rides in huge cattle trailers, no diesel, no moving the cows to market - no one has the skills or knowledge any more, and the trails are long lost.
    Me, I'm gluten and beef intolerant so I'll be starving in the midst of what to others would be plenty... At least if I didn't prep.
    But I can say that 1 years worth of food in the fields and silos is possible for the USA - but distribution will be a big problem if the price of diesel ever goes more than double, or anything else of the sort happens.

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    1. Just like in Africa, it isn't the amount of food that is the problem, it is getting it to the consumers.

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    2. So when grid goes down, expect one helluva bar-b-que until the frozen meats are gone. I guess processing your stores into non-refrigerated storage products (i.e. canning - dried, etc.) would be a good idea right about now, while these supplies and power to do this exist.

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    3. Research Indian dried meat, Nordic dried ( overcast, cold sea breeze ) to get some more ideas.

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    4. While the weight of it is really there if you have the space, storing 300 plus pounds of plain salt is well worth considering. Ideally you have a good storage of pink salt as well.

      While it really depends on the time of year where I am, in regards to if you have to process a freezer with meat in it.

      Drying-Solar/Wind Drying is good, canning is better but salt curing would be my go to for large amounts..

      it may give a end product that is different then today's typical style of fresh meats.. its holding power is outstanding.

      I have gotten to the point that I can cure, dry and hang whole legs or parts for up to a year in the one cellar area.



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    5. I can't believe I spaced off salt curing for so long. With salt at $4 a big bag ( water softener ) it is silly not to have it. I think I have something like 80 pounds-but that was just for a lifetime supply ( iodized salt is separate ). Wouldn't be the worse thing to get more, a bag a month or whatever.

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  3. This article echos my own research. I also figure that there is maximum of 6 months of food. I read somewhere (can't remember the source) that if the Northern or Southern Hemisphere had a crop failure that there would be famine. (Six months between harvest cycles. Their fall is our spring. So a big harvest happens every six months. Food is shipped where needed.)

    Kinda sucks. Use to be that the US had enough food to last through to at least the next harvest with a little extra stored away in case the harvest was low.

    Forget economic crash, natural disasters, war, asteroids, etc., the fact that there are no reserves should make you want to store survival supplies.

    Like you said, that six months is the outlier. If we really did enter into food shortages, TPTB would make sure that their graineries were filled, damn the peasants.

    Plus just human instinct would cause people to hoard and disrupt the normal consumer cycle.

    This could all happen on rumor, too. Does anyone else remember the great rice shortage that happened a few years ago or the great toilet paper shortage of the 1970's?

    And when people panic, there is waste. Look at any pictures of grocery stores when a hurricane is coming. Broken and stomped on food in the aisles.

    Store food. Six months is good, one year is better, and 6 years of basics (grains, beans, rice and long term canned food) would be best.

    Idaho Homesteader

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    1. Reserves have been "buying" to make up for shortages for more years than not since the turn of the century, until there really isn't any real reserves. One more dry year globally, like when Russia had fires damage crops and they stopped exporting-I think about five years ago or some such-and you ain't seen nothing yet. PS-the idiots who authorized our strategic reserve draw down should be identified and put on the Lamp Post List.

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  4. Jim, you might want to do an article on the "Year without a Summer" (1816)

    Here's a place to start

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer

    Idaho Homesteader

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    1. Even if the Winchester book "Krakatoa", that wasn't given much detail. Everyone mentions that "Frankenstein" was written during that time but no mention is made of actual famines or such. But I agree, that bears researching. Especially as Yellowstone might sorta seem to be acting up.

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  5. “I’m not sure why, as he’s had since the mid 90’s to prep and the mortgage has to be paid off by now.  Unless he spend all his old profits on FLIR scopes ) about now.”


    I don’t mean this as an insult to the man, but he might have had a good life insurance policy on the wife. If you’re carrying a fair amount of debt (And I have no idea whether he was or not) and require two incomes to get by, you should have it.

    So from what I’m gathering, if you have at least a years worth of food, you should be okay. Obviously the more the better, but one year puts you head and shoulders above most others.

    Speaking of McDonald's, I saw something on the news the other night about the kiosks that are in service at various franchises. You now bypass the physical person and place your order with the kiosk. The fox news channel was on in the main house (I don’t personally watch it, but it’s always on in there) and Charles Krauthammer mentioned the upcoming effects of automation. The gentleman sitting near him downplayed what he said, and passed it off as being hype. But ole Chuck is one sharp Hebrew, and probably the smartest person on that station, so I’m inclined to believe him, and not the other joker.

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    1. Kraut Hammer? Is that a real name? Sounds like a Nazi calling himself "Slav Slayer" or "Heeb Hater". Spelled Slaavslyr and Hebhattar, of course.

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    2. Yeah, it’s a real name, and he’s a real dude. I was just being a politically incorrect wise ass by tossing the ethnic/religious component into the mix. As far as him just sitting there, it turns out that he has no other choice, being a paraplegic. I didn’t know that until just recently. I meant what I said though about him being the smartest person on that channel. Well, he and John Stossel. Most of the people on that station are neo-cons, so I can’t really take it too seriously.

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    3. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy others being politically incorrect wiseasses. I'm just wondering why you would keep such a name.

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  6. WARNING! The worst time of year for an "over the waterfall" grid down event is coming up. The end of summer is when you can't start new crops (except some stuff like radishes with a short growing season and winter veggies). There's a severe shortage of water for most in the west. The fire season will still be in full danger mode, and when chaos is in full swing winter will start (got heat and immune strength?) and it's roughly 9 months before new crops come in, IF you can get them in. Just a heads up that there are certain times of year, depending on your location, when it's the worst possible time for the grid to go down.
    Peace out

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    1. Damn, it's about time I get someone gloomier than me speaking up! Well done.

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