Archive for Food and Water

Food Prices Spike in Canada as their Dollar Weakens

Think cheap oil is good for the economy? Not when it is caused by low demand from economies in free fall. This may come as a surprise to some Americans currently enjoying the price of much cheaper gas, but if you are a Canadian, you are suffering as your currency is rapidly losing its value. The Canadian lesson should serve as a reminder that this can and will happen even in First World countries.

How would it affect you to see your grocery bills increase by 5%, then 10%, then 30%, then even higher? Canadians are suffering this reality today. Prices of food items increased as much as 38% in 2015. (See: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/econ155b-eng.htm) However, this is using the government’s averaged figures and totally discounts areas in Canada where prices have spiked far higher. What is worse, 2016 is already on track to see even higher price spikes and Canadians literally unable to afford even the basic food staples. Soon Canada could be experiencing a true food emergency. Read more

Food Confiscation: How to protect your food stores and production from government confiscation

Did you know that if you have even a small subsistence farm to grow and or raise food for your family it all could be confiscated. Did you know the government is currently trying to identify and register all food producers to support this goal? Whether you are aware or not, at any time the president deems necessary, the US can now confiscate key resources in the name of national security. In particular, the food you worked hard to grow or raise could be seized. Naturally, it makes no sense to spend your time and money developing a farming capability to insulate your family from hard times only to have it seized. By following a few basic rules, you can help to protect your food supply and ensure those that helped cause the collapse and refused to prepare aren’t fed on your watch.

President Obama also nationalized our nation’s food supply through executive order. (See: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/16/executive-order-national-defense-resources-preparedness) This executive order effectively orders the heads of various agencies to include the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to identify critical resources under their purview and develop policies on how to ensure their production and procurement during national emergencies. As with most government regulation, this order on the surface doesn’t sound too draconian. However, the devil is in the details regarding its implementation. In order for the USDA to “secure” the US food supply, it becomes necessary to identify everyone involved in food production. Once identified, then upon order, the USDA can send nationalized goon squads to confiscate any and all “critical resources” deemed necessary for national security. National security may very soon include declaring “preppers” “extremists and depriving them of their stores of food. In this particular case, it could involve your entire crop. Read more

Survival Gardening: Don’t fight your soil

Don’t fight your soil trying to grow “ideal” crops.  Those of us who have undertaken growing our own food understand intimately how much work it can be.  Soil quality is one issue that consumes a disproportionate amount of time and work to overcome.  Often, we are in possession of land that has less than optimum soil for growing crops.  The generic solution is to build up and work that soil until it is of the consistency and PH desirable.  Achieving this “optimum” gardening soil can be daunting and take years.  Today I want to suggest a different approach that requires far less work and time, but will still yield suitable crop yields.  Read more

Global Updates

In addition to my more in-depth posts, I will be routinely adding short bulletized points to keep our readers up to date on global issues.  If you would like more details on a specific issue, please post to comments or email me directly at LMS.

April 20, 2015

  • US sending warships to “prevent” Iran from providing arms to Houthis in Yemen.  The US has greatly contributed to the crisis in Yemen and engaging in a stand-off with Iran over support to each country’s respective proxies is a losing card for the White House to play.  The US (aside from special interests) has nothing to gain from this conflict.  The only possible winner will be AQAP (Al Qaeda).  Yemen’s US backed “president” in exile will never be able to return to “effective” power after using foreign militaries to bomb and kill Yemeni civilians.  Further, the Houthis, which pose no threat to the US will be weakened, but not pushed from power.  The US will no doubt dupe itself into another disastrous conflict.  The end result will be prolonging the chaos in Yemen and AQAP gaining significantly more power.  Just as I warned, the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia/Qatar in Syria would eventually engulf the entire region and turn hot.  If the US policy in Yemen was to create greater Middle East conflict, empower Islamic extremism, and further destabilize global oil markets, it has achieved its objectives.
  • US arrests suspects attempting to join ISIL.  The US acts as though this was a great crime fighting/anti-terrorism win; however, it is a sign of deeper problems that have been self-inflicted.  Minnesota in particular is a hot bed of Islamic activity because of the suicidal domestic immigration policies that favor and actually import tens of thousands of people into the US annually from countries known for radical Islamism such as Somalia.  In short, it is a self fulfilling prophecy that has been used to justify an unnecessary domestic spy/police state and draconian legislation such as the “Patriot Act.”
  • Iraqi military backed by US and Iran fails to retake key cities from ISIL.  Contrary to rosy claims by the Obama Administration, the Iraqi Army has only scored marginal victories against what appears to be a far more dynamic and better led ISIL force.  Specifically, government forces were able to seize some key areas around Tikrit, but have so far failed to effectively secure the city.  Further, while the Iraqi military was focused north in Tikrit, ISIL has appeared to have shifted its fighting strength to the Ramadi area where it has gained ground in recent weeks.  As predicted, the violence and bloodshed in Iraq will continue and grow as long as the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia continues to burn.  As one side gains ground, the other side will bolster its support for its proxy until the conflict has grown so big and so violent it will directly involve its original sponsors.  The end result will be a disaster for both the Middle East and the US.
  • Drought in California continues at record levels.  If you haven’t planted a large garden this year, plan to pay more…a lot more, at the grocery store.  As warned in previous articles last winter, food prices have continued to rise.  This price inflation isno where near at its peak with beef prices skyrocketing.  The conditions that continue to cause price hikes will persist.  Crops largely grown in California will see some of the largest spikes such as nuts and lettuces.
    • http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/02/19/californias-water-shortage-will-lead-to-a-spike-in-food-prices-and-economic-peril/
    • http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/02/24/the-impending-food-price-crisis-time-to-plant-your-survival-garden/
    • http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/02/24/feds-withhold-water-to-california-farmers-for-first-time-in-54-years/
  • High taxes and over regulation finally ruining Virginia.  Northern Virginia, an area historically known for its strong economy and growing population has begun to feel the pressure of increasingly socialist governmental policies.  Naturally, the region draws on people working for the federal government and the big bureaucracy mindset has metastasized across the Potomac into the Commonwealth of Virginia.  High taxes, oppressive regulations, and stifling over population have all been the result.  This caustic bureaucratic recipe has led to a fed up population that is now leaving in droves.  Ironically, many of these people leaving were responsible at the ballot boxes for the socialist turn in governance.  Perhaps they learned their lesson and will not repeat their same mistake in the future, but that is doubtful.  As the population growth levels out and then begins to drop, local governments will soon realize budget deficits are growing and they are unable to provide the services originally programmed.  Without undoing what has become a socialist style of governance in the enclave, Northern Virginiais doomed to double down on its current failures and create another communist utopia on the banks of the Potomac.
    • http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/washington-area-population-increase-slowing-down-census-figures-indicate/2015/04/19/34683ab0-d7b5-11e4-8103-fa84725dbf9d_story.html

By Guiles Hendrik

 

 

 

Feds Withhold Water To California Farmers For First Time In 54 Years

 

And just as we warned….

Drought

Drought

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The US Bureau of Reclamation released its first outlook of the year and finds insufficient stock is available in California to release irrigation water for farmers. This is the first time in the 54 year history of the State Water Project. “If it’s not there, it’s just not there,” notes a Water Authority director adding that it’s going to be tough to find enough water, but farmers are hit hardest as “they’re all on pins and needles trying to figure out how they’re going to get through this.” Fields will go unplanted (supply lower mean food prices higher), or farmers will pay top dollar for water that’s on the market (and those costs can only be passed on via higher food prices). – See more at: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/feds-withhold-water-to-california-farmers-for-first-time-in-54-years_022014#sthash.bgLTNut1.dpuf

http://www.thedailysheeple.com/feds-withhold-water-to-california-farmers-for-first-time-in-54-years_022014

Walmart’s Staggering Profit Drop is the Canary in the Coal Mine for US Economy

walmart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 20, 2014:  Today the world’s largest retailer posted a staggering 21 percent drop in fourth quarter profit and.  Walmart quickly blamed bad weather and cuts to food stamps, but this is a weak excuse at best.  Even Walmart doesn’t seem to buy their excuses because they slashed their profit forecast for the rest of the current year.  Per Walmart’s rationale, the cut would only be justified if they expected more snow this summer!  A closer look reveals a much direr situation in the US economy.  As the world’s largest retailer, a near quarter drop in profit is the proverbial canary in the coal mine for the US retail market.

Contrary to the endless spin vomited by the US mass media and Obama White House, the economic reality is grave.  The US economy never recovered and is about to fall off another, much larger cliff.  As a result of inflation, un/underemployment, high taxation, suffocating regulation, sky high food and fuel costs, centralized economic planning, massive debt, and an industrial base that has gone overseas, the US economy is now in shambles.  For the majority of Americans, they have witnessed over the last decade a near total destruction of their wealth and a rapidly deteriorating standard of living.  Americans no longer have the disposable income they enjoyed just six years ago and as a result are not spending money.  This fact has been demonstrated by repeatedly bad retails sales numbers that go much further back than any snowstorms can justify this winter.  As a result, the retail sector of our economy is suffering the initial brunt of the next wave of collapse.  The result of this will be a tidal wave of retail stores shuttering store fronts this year.  Already there are historic levels of vacant retail space in the US and this datum point is set to rapidly rise.

Consider that Wal-Mart earned $4.43 billion in the quarter that ended Jan. 31, 2014, which was over a BILLION dollars less than its posted $5.6 billion earnings for the same quarter just a year earlier.  A billion dollar difference!  The weather and food stamps simply are not sufficient to justify this near one quarter loss in profit.  For starters, let’s dispatch the snowstorm myth.  Every winter, including last winter brought cold weather and snowstorms that spread across the country.  Demolishing the food stamp myth is even easier.  First, if the majority of shoppers at Walmart are welfare and food stamp recipients, our country has already gone over the edge and no longer has a productive middle class.  This stat alone would spell disaster for the US.  Second, and more specific to dismantling the Walmart alibi, the amount of people and thus the overall amount of money paid out in food stamps actually increased over the period.  That would mean their profit from food stamp recipients should have gone up now down.  Furthermore, even though the food stamp programs’ overall $80 billion annual budget was only cut by about $4 billion, Walmart seems to think it alone endured over a billion dollar loss as a result.  Only a fool could conjure this type of math knowing full well that would represent well over 100% of what has allegedly been cut to date in payouts from the program.

Walmart’s excuse for the collapse in profits is a pure lie to placate stockholders and the real data are far scarier.  Illustrative of this fact is that Wal-Mart itself reports that its stores, which account for about 60 percent of its business, recorded their fourth consecutive quarter of revenue declines at stores that have been open at least a year.  This revenue report undeniably shows that revenues were dropping long before any snowstorms or cuts to food stamps.  No business, not even Walmart can withstand near 25% quarterly drops in profit for long.

What we are witnessing now is the collapse of retail, which will ripple throughout the economy in the form of job losses, higher unemployment, and even less income.  This will undermine government tax revenues, kill manufacturing, pop the housing bubble, and cripple the overall economy.  As we have been warning, the next, much bigger, economic collapse is nearing and you need to prepare.  Woe be the economist that shrugs off consistent reports of massive retail losses; especially, when they are coming from the world’s largest retailer.

 

By Guiles Hendrik

February 20, 2014

All rights reserved.

The Impending Food Price Crisis: Time to Plant Your Survival Garden

 

Food Shortage

Food Shortage

In case you have been asleep for the last five years or somehow managed to not buy any groceries, you should know that the price of groceries has quadrupled over as many years.  For the rest of us feeding our families, we are intimately aware of how much more we have had to pay for groceries in recent years.  It has gotten so bad that many families that used to be able to purchase roughly a shopping cart of groceries for $100 now are paying upwards of $400 dollars for less food of less quality.  Coupled with high prices of gas and energy, most of us have experienced a large net loss of our purchasing power as our disposable income has all but vanished.  Of course this directly contradicts the Obama Whitehouse’s assertions that there has been little to no inflation and economically things are better.  Ask yourself this, do you actually have more disposable income than you did just a few years ago?  Has your quality of life improved?  Sadly, the answer is more often than not a resounding “NO” as the numbers of individuals on government assistance programs like food stamps has exploded.  This article will discuss the basics on how to weather the coming food price crisis.

You must understand that our current state of decay is just the beginning as things will get much worse in the United States.  For starters, California is experiencing historic drought that is decimating its agricultural industry as we outlined in our previous article.  Far worse is that our government is moving closer and closer to a totalitarian state run by left leaning Marxists heavily influenced by global bankers and corporate elites that care nothing for you and are only focused on increasing their power, wealth, and control over you.  Add to this the fact the Federal Reserve continues to counterfeit over a trillion dollars a year and then bills you, the taxpayer, for the created debt even as you suffer from the very real devaluation of the dollar because of the Federal Reserve’s engineered inflationary measures.  These few issues are by no means all inclusive, but illustrate some of the major drivers pushing costs higher and higher as your wages and real earnings are decimated.  These government programs will only intensify as higher taxes, fees, and penalties are lumped on by local, state, and federal governments to offset their rising operating costs, which rob you of any remaining disposable income.  Thus, it begs the question that many are asking…. “How will I be able to feed my family and still pay my bills?”

Fortunately, the answer is neither new nor complex.  One must become self-sufficient.  Self-sufficiency is the same solution our forefathers intuitively recognized and the maxim most farmers, pioneers, and Americans lived by up until the last half of the 20th Century.  Many thought the time for small farms and garden plots was gone for good, but the crisis of increasing food prices has driven Americans back to rediscovering that the old ways were in fact better.  So, if you have been saving your survival seeds for when things get bad, you should seriously consider planting them this year and procuring new seeds for future crops while you still can.  Once things go beyond the tipping point to a full blown crisis, it will be too late to plant, grow, harvest, and use your seed stores.  The garden will provided you affordable, healthy, great tasting, fresh food when no one else can afford or find it in grocery stores.  Further, any excess can be sold or used to barter for other goods you may not have in surplus.

A healthy garden takes years to fully develop to its maximum potential so starting now allows you to experiment with crops, fail (yes, you will have failures), build a tool inventory, and begin building an inventory of food stores via dehydration (drying) and canning.  You will learn what varieties of plants grow best where in your soil.  You will also get to taste various vegetables and decide which are best suited to your family’s palate.  Devising a pest control strategy that works will also be vital.  All of this takes time, sweat, and practice.  There are no real shortcuts to this so get started now.

To begin, select the best land you can for your crops.  This may mean moving to a new location with better soil, water access, and sunlight or simply developing your backyard.  For you folks still imprisoned in the cities, you may want to invest in hydroponic systems or rooftop gardens.  Having the right tools will be critical.  The best hand tools are not the ones made today, but old antique hand tools with solid steel implements.  You can often find these cheaply online or at flea markets and yard sales.  Make sure you have redundancy.  You will also need an ample supply of good seeds.  I recommend that you stick with quality heirloom seeds that have been optimized for your growing conditions.  Make sure you get a wide variety of seeds so that you can experiment with different crops.  For example, if one specific variety of tomatoes does poorly, you may find a different variety does very well saving you from a total crop loss for the season.  You will also need to devise a method to protect your crop from pests such as animals, insects, and diseases.  I have found solar powered electric fences are the best method for keeping out animals like deer that will wreck an entire garden in a single night.  The solar powered electric fence is very easy to set up and affordable.  Dusting crops like beans and potatoes with lime does well at keeping insects back while preventing nutritional diseases.  I also found using a torch around plants to kill weeds is an effective organic solution to weed control.  When it comes to fertilizers, bone meal and manure are two of the best organic solutions.  Just make sure any manure you use is seasoned well so that you don’t introduce invasive weed species to your soil.

For those of you looking to grow gardens or enter into small farming operations, you may also want to employ low profile or clandestine methods.  Many of our readers live in suburban neighborhoods with unconstitutional and oppressive home owners association (HOA) covenants that ridiculously forbid gardening.  In these areas fencing in your yard may be your easiest option.  If that isn’t possible, many people have turned their basements into mini greenhouses, but run the risk of drawing attention of local authorities that may mistakenly suspect illicit marijuana grow operations are afoot.  In this case it may be best to actually let local law enforcement know what you are doing to prevent a mistaken and highly dangerous SWAT raid on your home.  However, if the wrong people know you have food, they may target your residence to steal your crops so discrete is good.  Those of us lucky enough to be in rural areas do not have oppressive HOAs and can grow large gardens, but could become subject to crop confiscation.  The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has steadily increased its efforts to identify all farming operations throughout the country and many suspect that in a time of crisis the government could use this information to confiscate crops to feed the masses.  As protests in Kiev turn violent, an important, illustrative lesson from the Ukraine’s history comes to mind.  During the period between 1932 and 1933 when the Ukraine fell under Soviet control, an estimated 12 million Ukrainians were intentionally starved to death as a result of resisting Stalin’s takeover of power and government mismanagement of agricultural policies.  During this period, the communist government forced confiscation of all household foodstuffs and restricted the population movement to other areas all while shipping off, warehousing, destroying, or leaving unharvested millions of tons of grain that could have fed the Ukrainians.  The urban populations suffered the worst and died by the millions of starvation and disease while the rural populations were demonized and blamed by the communists for the government’s actions.  If you have any question as to why this genocide was carried out, Henry Kissinger succinctly explains it when he stated that if you want to control the population, control its food supply.

This Ukrainian lesson illustrates how a centralized government like ours that mismanages policies and is continuously seeking greater power could seize your crops during a crisis to effectively control our citizens.  To avoid this, don’t report your crops to the government.  Further, plant multiple gardens and crops in various areas throughout your property.  One garden would be overt while the others would be hidden and made to “NOT” look like a standard garden.  In fact, if your garden looks like a fallow field of weeds or just a part of the forest it will draw little to no attention.  In addition, cultivate wild crops and livestock considered “weeds” and wild animals so that they go overlooked even by the most zealous commissar sent by the government to inspect, record, and confiscate your crops.  This technique is highly successful and practical for preppers since even the most savvy of government bureaucrats are generally idiots in respect to anything that actually requires real work or true practical knowledge.  The average USDA inspector couldn’t tell you the difference between spinach and burdock and certainly wouldn’t recognize chicory and dandelions as a staple food crop.  Wild leeks (ramps) and asparagus also would be passed over by even many country folks.  They also wouldn’t recognize your cover crops that feed a disproportionately large deer herd, but certainly would be able to tag, number, and seize every chicken and head of cattle you may possess.  Fish ponds are also nice additions because unless the bureaucrat is ready to dig out and drain your pond or spend a lot of time learning to fish, any fish you have stocked will also go under reported.  Fruit and nut trees interspersed with the forest also will most likely go unnoticed so look at planting stands of these trees in small clearings vice large orchard settings.

On the backside of raising your crops, you must secure your harvest.  The very best way I have found to accomplish this is by building multiple low profile root cellars away from your house.  A root cellar can be very simple (essentially a hole in the ground with an insulated cover) where root crops, fruits, and canned goods can be stored for long periods of time.  These natural storage vessels can be constructed in a way as to be virtually invisible to all but the most astute observer.  By utilizing outdoor food storage locations, you prevent your food supplies from being looted or confiscated in their totality while building a strong alibi respective of “having no food.”  Anyone doubting you would certainly search your home and after finding only the minimum staples would be forced to conclude that you indeed have no food and thus, could not be growing additional food since it would have to be stored somewhere.

In summary, you have been warned of impending food price spikes even as your wages are diminished by our central economic planners.  Your choices now are to either run the risk that all will be well and government that created these problems will suddenly fix them or implement your last minute survival food production plans.  I am recommending to all of our readers to plant every inch of land they can this year since I have become convinced that our economy is teetering on the brink of its greatest economic collapse in history.  Food will become scarcer and prices will rise with every coming month.  This is a certainty.  If you decide to plant the worst outcome would be to have an overabundance of food come the autumn harvest and critical practice and experience growing a garden for real.  Although we preach last “minute” survival, “minute” is very relative in respect to gardens where a more apt description would be last season survival.  Failure to plant your crops this spring will delay any chance of a food crop by not just a year, but a year and a half because of the lead-lag time between planting and harvesting.  Time is wasting so get busy!

 

By Guiles Hendrik

February 18, 2014

All rights reserved.

California’s Water Shortage Will Lead to a Spike in Food Prices and Economic Peril

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As California’s drought stretches into years, the situation according to California’s Governor Jerry Brown is becoming dire.  “Today I’m declaring a drought in the state of California,” said Brown. “We’re facing perhaps the worst drought California has ever seen since records began being kept about 100 years ago.”  As a result, incremental actions to restrict water use have been placed into effect.  Most recently, Governor Brown announced last Friday that they won’t send any water from the state’s vast reservoir system to local agencies beginning this spring, an unprecedented move that affects drinking water supplies for 25 million people and irrigation for 1 million acres of farmland.  The restrictions in water use will be particularly detrimental for anyone involved in agriculture where irrigation is vital for California’s crops raised primarily in arid regions.  The result of this drought and necessary restrictions to California industry and agriculture will mean a spike in food prices and even greater job losses in California.

People fall over themselves lauding the wonderful weather Southern California offers its residents.  However, what Southern California doesn’t offer is adequate fresh water to support the state’s massive population.  Fresh water is the most basic resource for life; yet, over 38.3 million people call it home even though natural sources of freshwater are far inadequate.  Historically, the snow pack in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains has filled reservoirs to supplement California’s water demand, but with record low snowfall, no relief is in sight or expected.  More alarming is the fact that climatologists are warning that this drought could continue anywhere from a couple decades to two hundred years based on California’s historical climatic cycles.  If indeed this drought persists unabated, it could mean that California will be entering a historic dust bowl situation that could effectively collapse the state.

Further compounding the problem is that California leads the country as the largest producer of agricultural products (crops and livestock), accounting for more than 11 percent of the national total, based on the 2007 Census of Agriculture.  To support this, approximately 80% of California’s freshwater is used for irrigation.  Given the shortages, California cannot provide freshwater for its inhabitants and agriculture and industry.  As such, the tap will be turned off first for California’s farmers.  In fact the mere threat of water rationing has already forced many farmers to leave fields fallow and write off this year’s crops as a total loss.  The situation is even worse for fruit and nut orchards where the water restrictions could kill productive trees that take years to grow to fruit bearing size.  Livestock too will not survive without water so cattle, swine, and poultry populations will be slaughtered and not replaced.  As farmers shutter their operations until conditions improve, the businesses that sprung up around California’s agricultural industry are also going out of business.  This will cost California billions of dollars in lost revenues and further exasperate the already high unemployment in California.

The result of the drop in California’s agricultural production will restrict food supplies even as demand globally is growing causing food prices to skyrocket this year.  This will result in major shortages of products that California produces for the United States such as artichokes, lettuce, spinach, peaches, and strawberries.  Many other products such as tomatoes, bell peppers, and carrots, which California produces 1/3, 1/2, and 2/3’s of respectively, will see major price spikes.  Meat prices will also spike after cattle, swine, and poultry populations are slaughtered since herd numbers are already at historic lows.  If not already bad enough news, inflation will continue to erode the purchasing power of the dollar compounded by the dollar’s weakening status globally as a currency.  Add this to a nation with an economy already in collapse and its citizens watching any remaining disposable income vanish as their quality of life descends down a toilet bowl lined by socialist and Marxist economic policies and we have a very real recipe for social unrest.

In case the impact of California’s drought hasn’t caught your attention yet and you still don’t see why it matters, let me be clear.  The drought in California will cause your grocery bill to double again this year.  If you are an average, struggling, middle class American, you will be forced to cut even more from your already bone thin budget and for the first time actually have to go without when it comes to many food items so that you can pay your most basic bills.  This will further reduce the disposable (what if any is left) income Americans have to spend, which will put even more retailers out of business this year.  This will lead to a cycle of more layoffs and higher unemployment as the US economy enters into a collapse of historic proportions.

Taking a page from the government, this impending disaster offers opportunity for those savvy enough to foresee it and take action.  For starters, it would be wise to enter into direct agreements with cattle and pig farmers for set amounts of beef/pork now before prices spike.  Buying a steer or hog now at current prices that will be slaughtered later in the year will save you hundreds of dollars if not more later in the year when prices spike.  To illustrate the already rising prices, the prices of beef have already spiked 16.8% this year and bacon is up 22.8%.  Further, if you haven’t started a sustainable garden you need to begin now.  Invest in a large quantity and variety of heirloom seeds suitable for your growing conditions.  Gardens are not something that happen magically after tossing a few seeds into the yard.  As we have said many times, gardens take time (years), work, and experimentation to perfect.  Anyone waiting to the last minute to plant a garden “when things get really bad” will fail miserably.  Invest now in a garden that will produce beyond the needs of your family and it will reward you handsomely with tasty, healthy food at a price you can afford.  If you don’t have the land, make a deal with someone who does so that you can gain access to fresh produce.  Further, any additional produce not needed can be sold or bartered at a premium price later this summer when the shortages and price hikes really begin to be felt.

In summary, California is entering a period of drought that may last beyond our lifetimes or end next year.  Either way, the water shortage will cause grocery bills to spike to record high levels.  This will further destabilize the already sick US economy.  To protect oneself, the smart prepper will invest in food products and sustainable food production capabilities such as good land, farms, livestock, and gardens to insulate his family from the upcoming price hikes and shortages and turn misfortune into a money making opportunity.

 

By Guiles Hendrik

February 17, 2014

All rights reserved. 

Organic Food Shortages and Why You Should Smile

Today as I browsed news headlines from around the world I noticed that news outlets were reporting on organic food shortages due to high demand.  I could interpret this headline in both positive and negative ways, but generally speaking, I read this as good news.  I see this as proof people are becoming aware of the poisonous food being sold to us by industrialized agricultural corporations like Monsanto and rejecting it.  I see this as proof that we are winning the war against a centrally controlled monopoly of the global food supply.  Even if the bought politicians in Washington have done all they can to silence critics of genetically modified organisms (GMO) and forced organizations that are supposed to look out for food safety like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to certify poisons as “safe” for consumption, people are rejecting the faux science of overpaid lobbyists.  Instead, people are opting for natural and organic foods.  Remarkably, this has not been because of market and government pressure, but in spite of it.  Rather than accepting that GMO crops are just as “healthy” and “safe” as non-GMO crops, consumers have overwhelmingly opted to purchase far more expensive produce because of health, taste, and nutritional value.  In this regard, the consumer has passed its verdict against the evil profiteers at Monsanto and similar corporations in spite of what the bought media may try to tell you.

This phenomenon demonstrates that in spite of corporate and government lies, dirty legal tactics, fancy marketing, and paramilitary raids designed to intimidate and scare farmers, the consumers can still think for themselves and back down billion dollar global corporations.  If it can be done at the supermarket, it can be done on other fronts such as domestic surveillance, illegal wars, and the demonization of firearms.  This should give us all hope.  It should also give Monsanto sponsored politicians like the current head of the USDA, Tom Vilsack, a man that has done immense damage to the health of millions in the US by forcing GMO crops into the grocery stores of America, to pause because their legacy will be one of dishonor and disgrace.  They will be seen and remembered as vile creatures that poisoned our children for profits.

The shortage in organic food also signals that the market for healthy, natural, and organic foods is growing and is profitable.  Anyone with good agricultural land should consider even small scale farming of organic crops as a way to supplement your diet and offset food costs during good and bad times.  Further, on a larger scale, investing in organic farming will be a lucrative enterprise.  As demand grows, these local farms will reap greater and greater profits.  After all, as the world population grows, so does the demand for good food.  However, land suitable for farming is inversely related to population growth so as the world becomes more crowded and requires more food, farmland acreage decreases.  This creates a classic example of economic supply and demand where higher demand for dwindling supplies of organic foods will continue to drive the cost of produce higher and higher.  Those of you able to capitalize on this basic business principle stand to handsomely profit as well as feed your community.

In summary, I welcome the growing demand for organic food because every cent redirected from industrialized, GMO farming to local growers weakens Monsanto and their despicable lobby while strengthening local communities and the health and security of our food supply.  I recommend all of you become informed on these topics and support your local organic and native food growers employing sustainable agricultural practices.  Even if organic food currently costs you slightly more, your health and taste buds will make it worth every dollar.

By Guiles Hendrik

January 21, 2014

All rights reserved. 

 

For more see: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/24501646/organic-food-shortage-hits-us

Earthquakes on the Rise in Oklahoma: A new theory to explain seismic activity in areas once considered geologically stable.

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Many of our readers have noticed and been tracking an uptick in the number of earthquakes in areas previously not known for seismic activity.  Oklahoma, in particular the Oklahoma City area, has been experiencing an unusually high number of quakes in recent years.  Many have speculated that fracking is causing these quakes.  However, fracking alone doesn’t appear to be a viable explanation because the quakes often happen where there is no fracking and where there is fracking no quakes occur.  Correlation isn’t necessarily causation, but in the case of fracking the evidence seems to directly contradict claims it causes earthquakes.  Seismologists agree that fracking can for the most part be ruled out as a cause of the quakes.  Nonetheless, scientists have been baffled by seismic activity in places like Oklahoma and are at a loss to explain what is going on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After reviewing the information, I would like to propose an admittedly anecdotal theory.  Empirically speaking, it seems that there is a strong correlation between the quake concentrations and the Central Oklahoma aquifer, which has been significantly drawn down over the last few decades.  Theoretically speaking, major quakes have occurred along the New Madrid Fault due to the Earth’s crust rebounding after the glaciers receded in the last ice age.  Using this as a rough corollary, it is conceivable that as a major aquifer is emptied, a similar action may be occurring.  In fact, these quakes may be the result of the earth settling into voids created when the water is removed combined with the fact that billions of tons of water pressure have also been removed as the water has been pumped from the ground.  The combined effect has created tensions (or more specifically, released tensions) in the crust great enough to cause quakes as the crust resettles.

To further test this theory, one must look to other areas that have begun to recently experience seismic activity where historically it has been rare to nonexistent.  The recent 2011 DC earthquake centered near Charlottesville, Virginia may have also been due to similar causal mechanisms even though there are known faults that run through the area that have been quiet for centuries.  A closer look at the geology around the fast growing city of Charlottesville (much like the population of Oklahoma City) shows that its water is fed from a central aquifer not directly associated with other larger aquifers.  Like the Central Oklahoma Aquifer, Charlottesville seems to be sitting on more of an isolated underground lake than a river.  As such, both can be drawn down considerably with heavy water usage.  In fact, a reduction in the water level of Charlottesville may have also caused the large and unforeseen quake that shook much of Virginia and Washington, DC.  Note that this theory is not targeted at areas that are known for seismic activity due to other known causes such as volcanism and active faults.  It is however an attempt to explain why certain areas are suddenly having seismic activity.

Considering the above, one should ask the “so what” question.  Your answer to why you should care is that much of the construction in the United States is built to codes that do not take into account major seismic events due to the low frequency of their occurrence.  However, as we have briefly discussed, more and more areas are now experiencing earthquakes where none had previously occurred to any great scale.  This means that you may be living and working or your kids may be attending a school in a structure that isn’t designed to survive an earthquake.  If my theory is correct, more and more cities drawing directly from concentrated lake-like aquifers may experience new and continued quakes that could potentially damage and or destroy structures not designed to withstand the shaking of an earthquake.  If you have any concern, access the US Geological Survey’s aquifer maps online to determine if you do in fact live in one of these areas.  If so, earthquake preparedness may be something you want to consider more seriously.

 

By Guiles Hendrik

December 17, 2013

All rights reserved.

Gear Review: The Esbit Pocket Stove…Not Your Cold Weather Friend

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The Esbit Stove is a light weight, collapsible, tablet powered backpacking stove.
At a mere 3.25 ounces and not much bigger than a deck of cards, the Esbit Pocket Stove is hard to ignore. Also, it’s relatively cheap price of around $15 makes it far more palatable than most of the $50+ stoves available.

It almost sounds too good to be true. This is because it IS too good to be true. If you are camping or backpacking in fair weather for fun then this stove is a good option. Unfortunately, if you find yourself being a last-minute survivor (hint hint) you should consider using this stove as a paper weight, regift, or barter item.

Why?
Although it shines in the size, weight, and price departments it will disappoint you in cold weather. I took the Esbit Pocket Stove on my most recent backpacking trip. After carrying a 45 lb. pack across 10 miles of rugged terrain, I sat down and set up to boil some water. The MRE’s issued to me in the past spoiled me rotten in the hot food department. It was easy back then. Just add water, literally. Not so this time friends! With the temperature at 40 degrees F and dropping fast, the Esbit Pocket Stove was unable to reliably provide the boiling water needed to rehydrate my freeze-dried backpacking meals. Pundits hush! Yes! I did use a wind screen! Sadly, the hot water I did end up with didn’t have the energy needed to bring my Mountain House dinner to full flavor. Adding insult to injury would be my fellow backpackers using isobutane/propane mini-stoves. These fancy contraptions allowed them to prepare their dinners and make coffee before I even had hot water.

The bottom line…
Although the Esbit Pocket stove might be cute, it simply won’t cut it in cold weather. Don’t buy it if you want anything more than somewhat hot water. In regards to preparedness, a fuel canister stove is not a good option either. A grid down situation won’t allow for a drive to the local REI to stock up on fuel canisters. As usual we have no silver bullet solution to last-minute survival stoves. Our best bet is to use what we have at hand. Rocket stoves, mentioned earlier on LMS, are a great solution. If you find yourself wanting something a bit prettier then check out the Vargo wood burning backpacking stove. Just add sticks, twigs, and a lit match. Doesn’t that K.I.S.S. rule keep sneaking up on you?

SGT. G, LMS Contributor

Native Survival Foods: The Pawpaw

Clump of Pawpaws Source: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/438/438-105/438-105.html#L10

Clump of Pawpaws
Source: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/438/438-105/438-105.html#L10

Today, it is hard to not hear of people talking about stockpiling food.  The media and markets are loaded with options for non-perishables and foods packaged so that they can be stored for years.  This is great and LMS fully supports those that commit to long-term storage and stockpiling of backup food supplies.  However, it is equally valuable to know what foods nature readily provides often right in your backyard.  This post looks at the little known, native, North American super-fruit known as the pawpaw.

The pawpaw is a native fruit that grows on smaller trees that are almost tropical in appearance.  The fruit weighing on average about 8 ounces looks similar to a mango from the outside with a green skin and large, dark, pumpkin like seeds on the inside.  The fruit has a custard like yellowish inside that has a taste reminiscent of a banana, mango, and pineapple and ripens between late August and early October.  The fruit is super rich in protein, anti-oxidants, and is reported to have cancer fighting qualities.  Further, the fruit produces its own insect repellent and in a concentrated form can be used to even treat resistant head lice effectively.  The tree is so well adapted, it doesn’t require the use of pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides to grow healthy unlike other non-native fruit trees such as various apple and orange trees.  However, the tree does play host to the beautiful Zebra swallowtail butterfly, whose larvae feed exclusively and harmlessly on the tree.  The trees are typically found along fertile, well-drained soil lining the banks of streams and rivers stretching from the mid-Atlantic to Michigan.

Pawpaw fruit has a rich history in America even though in recent years it has been nearly forgotten.  The pawpaws were so sought after, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are said to have grown and cultivated them on their farms.  Further, not only were they valued by Native Americans, but American history tells us that Lewis and Clark cheated starvation by surviving on the fruit during their return trip along the Missouri River to St. Louis.

By studying a bit online, one can quickly become familiar with the pawpaw and learn to identify it in the wild.  For those fortunate enough to have access to one of these bountiful fruit trees, just a few fruits in the late summer/early fall can yield a delightful and refreshing addition to your diet.  Further, they make excellent additions to fruit smoothies, yogurts, and ice cream.  The fruit puree can also be used to make a host of other items such as jams, wines, breads, and desserts.  Just remember, the pawpaw does not keep well once it ripens and must be used or frozen within three days of peak ripeness.

If you are not fortunate enough to have access to one of these trees, you can buy both the pawpaw fruit and the saplings online from a few boutique sources such as http://www.owennativefoods.com/ , which specialize in selling varieties of native super-foods such as the pawpaw in an organic and sustainable manner.  Note:  Sources such as Owen Native Foods sell the future season’s crop early (usually between December and March) so it is best to place orders far in advance of the harvest season.  Under the proper conditions, you can grow your own pawpaw trees and have a sustainable super-food industry right in your backyard.

Experimental Pawpaw Orchard Source: Blandy Experimental Farm

Experimental Pawpaw Orchard
Source: Blandy Experimental Farm

For additional information on this outstanding, but little known native fruit, visit the Virginia Cooperative Extension, which gives the following information about paw paws on its website: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/438/438-105/438-105.html

The crop is well adapted to the Eastern U.S. climate and soil conditions. Pawpaw is adapted to humid temperate zone growing conditions.  It is hardy to the USDA growing zone 5 (-20°F or -29°C), and needs at least 400 hours in annual chilling requirements (time exposed to 35° to 45°F during winter months, depending on the cultivar).  This is a low chill requirement compared to other tree fruit species (apples 800 to 1,700 hours), and once met, the trees will begin to flower early in the spring.  A long, warm season is required to mature fruit (2,600 degree days; ~160 frost-free days).  From 30 to 35 inches of rainfall is needed annually, with the majority falling in the spring and summer.  Contrary to popular belief, pawpaw performs best in full-sun exposure.  However, sunlight protection is needed in the first year in the field, as young tree shoots are sensitive to sunlight.  In an orchard setting, this is accomplished by using commercially available tree shelters.

The pawpaw is a unique/unusual fruit crop with high nutritional value and potential for both fresh and processed market uses.  As a food source, pawpaw exceeds apple, peach, and grapes in vitamin, mineral, amino acid, and food energy values.  The current and primary market for fruit is as a fresh product in farmers markets and other direct sales outlets.  Though large-scale commercial processing markets do not yet exist, the fruit’s intense flavor and aroma have significant potential in blended fruit drinks, baby food, ice cream, and as a substitute for banana in various baking recipes.  In Kentucky, various entrepreneurs are utilizing pawpaw as a local cuisine item for restaurants and in frozen custard and ice cream products.

There are valuable natural compounds in the plant, which have both anti-carcinogenic and pesticidal properties.  Aromatic compounds in the fruit have potential for use in cosmetics and home products.  Research has shown that pawpaws have a diversity of natural compounds in fruit, leaves, bark, and twigs.  One class of compounds known as annoaceous acetogenins occurs in leaves and twigs and has reported anti-tumor properties.  Currently, Purdue University has patented an extraction procedure and the development of an herbal formulation is underway by a private company.  Commercial drug manufacturers, however, have shown limited interest in the compounds.  An alkaloid, asimicin, is found in the seeds, leaves, and bark of pawpaw and is reported to have pesticidal properties.  Pawpaws are resistant to insect and disease pressure.  This may be due to asimicin and other natural defense compounds.  With proper management, organic production of pawpaw is feasible.  Aromatic constituents isolated from fruit may hold potential for marketing as well.

By Guiles Hendrik