A Micro-History Lesson To Better Prepare for the Future
I'm not a doomsday prepper or anything, but I'd feel less anxiety about this coronavirus epidemic if I were confident my family was food-secure and self-sufficient. The initial food shortages we're seeing make me look back at other times in U.S. history when we've faced food scarcity and how we handled it. You know the old saying "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." I like to look at similar situations in the past to help plan for the future.,,
During World War I (WWI), America’s troops and their allies in Europe were facing starvation- Most of their farmers had enlisted in the war, leaving their farms to languish or be turned into battlefields. To meet the need for food overseas, the U.S. urged its citizens to reduce their personal consumption of meat, wheat, fats and sugar. Slogans such as “Food will win the war” compelled people to avoid wasting precious groceries and to eat more fruits and vegetables, which couldn't be transported overseas. Likewise, promotions such as “Meatless Tuesdays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays” implored Americans to modify their eating habits in order to increase shipments to the soldiers. The U.S. also urged them to keep hens & raise chickens. As a result, food shipments to Europe were doubled within a year, while consumption in America was reduced 15 percent.
During World War II (WWII), it became apparent that voluntary conservation on the home front wasn't enough. The U.S. set price limits and issued food ration books in order to discourage hoarding and ensure equitable distribution. Americans couldn't purchase sugar, coffee, meats, cheese, fats, canned fish, canned milk and other processed foods without food ration stamps.
It's reasonable to imagine if this pandemic continues to grow and our world spirals, food shortages could worsen and rationing may become necessary. I'd rather be prepared and start increasing my self-sufficiency now before that happens. There's no negative to growing your own fruits & vegetables and canning some of them. Start bee-keeping for the honey or collect sap from your maple trees to make maple syrup and trade for other goods with neighbors. Raise your own backyard chickens and be sure of eggs/meat. We should learn from the past to help us better prepare for a potentially significantly different future. Up until now, our "homesteading" lifestyle of self-sufficiency has been just a fun hobby... but it could quickly become a real necessity and the new normal.
Cooking & home projects galore! My secret inner-designer revealed.