Monday, January 24, 2022

Surviving A Long-Term Supply Chain Crisis

By Tim Gamble

Preppers and survivalists should constantly be reviewing, updating, and changing their plans to reflect current circumstances and concerns. Recent events and the growing chaotic political, economic, and military situations in the world have given me plenty to think about and consider. Here is one of my recommendations:

Prepare for the supply-chain problems to continue and worsen. Things will not "go back to normal" as the pandemic winds down, because the root causes of the supply chain problems are not found in the pandemic or lockdowns, but rather go back many years. These problems include over-reliance on foreign manufacturing, a massive trade deficit, a shortage of skilled workers, inadequate infrastructure, a shortage of shipping containers, a massive shortage of truck drivers, and a shortage of trucks available to be put on the road even if we had those drivers, among other many other causes. A special cause of concern is our aging population of farmers, as not enough younger folks are going into farming, as well as a large amount of land being taken out of our agricultural system. These causes will take years to resolve, not to mention lots of political will (currently absent), even after pandemic insanity subsides. 

Returning manufacturing to the United States and improving infrastructure are the duty of politicians and corporate leaders, so it won't happen anytime soon. For us as individuals and families, we can 1) continue to stock up on food, water, and other supplies, 2) forge local supply chains, and 3) become as self-reliant as possible.

1) Continue to stock up on food, water, and other supplies:
     >> Use the current situation to discover what you are running out of, or having a hard time replacing. Pay attention to what isn't on store shelves in your area. Add to your stockpile of these items as opportunities arise. 
     >> Double your food and water storage. Food is vitally important. Whatever your current desired level of food storage, you need to double it, at least. Hard to do for perishables, but consider dehydrated or powdered eggs, milk, and cheese from Augason Farms, which is my choice for long-term food storage. Canned and dry foods, properly stored, do in most cases last a lot longer than the stamped expiration dates (which are really just arbitrary freshness dates). 
     >> Don't forget about other supplies, such as first aid supplies, OTC medicines, cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies, paper goods, clothing and shoes, batteries, firewood, matches, reading glasses, and so forth.
     >> Consider buying replacements now for things that eventually wear out (toasters, toaster ovens, microwaves, coffee makers, blenders, DVD players, and so forth). Make sure they work, then stack them up in a spare room or closet until you need them. I recently bought my next laptop, even though my current two-year-old laptop is working well. When my current laptop finally dies, it is already replaced and I won't be at the whims of what is or isn't in stock. 
     >> If you are going to need new tires sometime soon, you might want to go ahead and get them now.
     >> Go ahead and get next winter's firewood now. I don't know about your area, but firewood was/is really hard to get where I live, and when you can find it, the price is more than double what it was in 2019. 

2) Forge local supply chains:
     >> Become less dependent on Amazon, the Big Box Stores, and national chains by seeking out small, independent stores and suppliers in your area, and forming relationships with them. This means gun stores, hardware stores, feed stores, gardening centers, salvage stores, independent grocers, butcher shops, and so forth. Meet the owners and managers, befriend the employees, and become known as a good customer to them. You'll be surprised by how much these relationships will help you in the future.
     >> Become a regular at your local farmers' markets. Find the farms in your area where you can buy things direct from them. Meet and shake hands with actual farmers. Talk to them. Befriend them. Ask their advice. Buy things from them. Forge relationships.
      >> Talk to your friends, neighbors, co-workers, fellow church members, and other folks around you. Do any have hobbies or side businesses that produce stuff? Within just a couple of miles of my house, I know of two beekeepers, two guys who cut and sell firewood, a retired doctor turned master craftsman who makes everything from tables & chairs to canoes, an older lady who makes beautiful, and warm, patchwork quilts, another lady who is an excellent seamstress, and a blacksmith. 
     >> The key to developing your own local supply chain is to find and build those relationships now, not after things get much worse. You are going to have to get out and meet people. 

3) Become as self-reliant as possible:
     >> Self-reliance is a mind set. Don't wait around for others to solve your problems. Don't depend on experts. Question authority. Think for yourself. Make your own decisions. Develop a DIY attitude. Take responsibility for your own life. 
     >> Self-reliance is skill sets. Develop skills now. Learn how to produce stuff for yourself (ideas: gardening, canning and food storage, fishing, hunting, trapping, foraging, sewing, woodworking, leather working, beekeeping, raising chickens, blacksmithing, raising culinary and medicinal herbs, growing mushrooms for food and medicine, etc.). Learn how to maintain and repair what you have. Learn home repair skills. Learn auto repair. Learn small engine repair. Have the tools and supplies you need to do these things.
     >> Consider expanding your growing season with a greenhouse, if possible. Greenhouses can be built in all shapes and sizes, and with lots of different materials. You can even build one yourself out of salvaged and recycled materials for almost nothing. Books on greenhouses and greenhouse plans can be found on Amazon and elsewhere. 
     >> If you have a garden, expand it. I have expanded by garden space to include almost all my backyard, and even some of my front yard. I live in a neighborhood just outside the town limits, and there is no HOA, so I have no restrictions. If you live in a city or have an HOA to deal with, your options may be limited. Find out what options you have, and push the limits.  
     >> Herbs, loose-leaf lettuce, micro-greens, and mushrooms can be grown fairly easily indoors, even in a small apartment. Tomatoes, peppers, and many other veggies can be grown in pots on your patio or balcony. Lots of free info and videos are available on You Tube and other video platforms. 
     >> The single most important thing you can do now to survive any future chaos is to start taking responsibility for your own life now.

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