Welcome to another episode of the Be Prepared Channel. Well once again there has been a gap in my posting habits. This is going to be an episode to address one of the common problems or stigmas of being a prepper or a survivalist. The bunker mentality vs real living. A friend of mine has pointed out to me several times that what if all the things we do as preppers goes to waste and none of the doom and gloom on the economy, environment, and out of control government ever manifests itself. “Won't you feel stupid for wasting all that money, time, and effort?” This is a common reply I hear from many and really the answers to those replies are both simple and complex in scope. So are we preppers just nuts? Are we wasting our time? What if nothing ever happens?
Reason #1 we are not wasting our time, money, and effort:We store what we eat, and we eat what we store. Pretty simple really. The wise prepper has looked at the foods we eat, and the things we use. We have noticed the processed, packaged, and prepared foods generally speaking are not good for you! The ingredient list on these things looks like something from a chemistry class, and for the most part these ingredients do not have the kind of shelf life that is beneficial for the prepper who is putting together a food storage plan. The more you look the more you will find out about genetically modified organisms(GMO's) that are in our food supply and the scary and dangerous effects these foods are having on agriculture and on all that consume products made from them. It is not a coincidence that cancer rates have skyrocketed, diabetes is at epidemic proportions, and so many other diseases that suddenly everyone seems to know someone afflicted with diseases that used to be rare like MS. There is evidence that these GMO's along with other food additives, preservatives, and chemicals on our food and water are linked to these diseases. As preppers we can see this if we do our homework and begin adjusting our diets and the foods we store to get these dangerous foods out of our diets. Cash crops like corn, canola, cotton, and soy are the largest offenders in the GMO crops presently in about every food available in the supermarket. So making changes to our diets and our purchases can make you healthier, and will help you get back to the basics. Once you recognize this you begin seeking out organics and natural foods not yet tainted by the GMO onslaught. So the smart prepper can also be the healthier prepper. So there are beneficial reasons to becoming a prepper as we are forced to examine what we eat and what we plan to store. If your eating what you store you will develop a natural food rotation so that the items you buy will never go to waste and the money you have spend will in fact be used, and not just sitting on a shelf in a bomb shelter someplace next to a mountain of ammo and guns! LOL
The bunker mentality and why it won't work.The world we live in we all know of the dangers that surround us either real or imagined.... Spoon fed by the media or part of the hysteria of the doom and gloom crowd. We hear it all the time about pandemic fears, global warming, peak oil, peak water, peak food. The list is endless and for the most part people feel helpless. Why is this? A large portion of this is a side effect of our disconnected civilization and society from the real world. The world where just surviving and that producing food, getting water, having shelter, and providing for your family is some remote thing that happens somewhere else for the most part for many people. People don't know where their food or water comes from or how it arrived at the local store. A world where the cost of everything is increasing and incomes are not keeping pace. This disconnect from the real world plays on the psyche many people and it is easy to play on that guilt or uneasy feeling people have about the damage and condition of the world we live in(or at least as it is reported to the sheeple masses). People don't know what is going on in the real world so it is easy to tell them anything and they will believe it. It makes it very easy for those with interests in getting something from the crisis-es they fabricate by telling you something that plays on your own guilt or fear which allows them to continue to manipulate us even more so that we continue to get further and further away from being self sustaining, self supporting, and self reliant.
Why go into all of this? Because it leads to the next common issue in the prepper and survivalist community. It is the TEOTWAWKI crowd, the bunker mentality, the images of the lunatic hold up some place with guns and some MRE's and spouting lines from the book of Revelation or some other obscure reference. We get to this place because people react to what they don't know, what they cannot control, and what seems to be more and more obvious daily that something is very wrong with society and the world around us. Sadly the response is to run to the bunker, buy a bunch of guns and MRE's is the stereotype that still lingers over the prepper and survivalist today. I know some who have this mindset, but I don't think it is as common as the media or those that would seek to demonize anyone who doesn't think like they do would like you to believe. You see anyone who does not conform to the world they live in is a threat to their system. The rely on you buying everything and anyone who steps outside of that reality distortion field is a risk. So they tend to attack and make anyone who dares think or act for themselves a fringe and crazy. I have seen them even trying to brand us as “the new right”. Which again is yet another distortion. Being old school(prepper, or survivalist) is neither a “left(liberal)” or “right(conservative)” idea. This is just common sense. So don't let the sheep stuck on their consumer tread mill and grinding their way into a bottomless debt pit fool you. YOUR not the crazy one!
If your one of those bomb shelter/bunker preppers it is time to wake up. I don't care how much money you have, how much you have invested in your arsenal, or how many years supply of Mountain House freeze dried foods you have your missing the point. We have put ourselves into this place of insecurity and reliance because of the way society has changed. Global banks and corporations have changed the face of business from Wall Street to Main Street. We are more and more dependent on these massive corporations that have extended their reach into every aspect of our lives. For the most part they own our government and dictate what we are and are not allowed to do. This includes our food supply and the agribusiness. This control has pushed, manipulated, and molded our world into one where hardly anyone you know is a farmer anymore. Your food comes from thousands of miles away from “factory” farms. Food doesn't taste like food anymore. People don't make things, manufacture things, or really do much that has a direct impact on your own life, the people in your community, or the world at large for most of us. They have removed our own means of production and ability to live unless we depend on them. This all leads to a culture of dependence and this dependence creates insecurity and a bunker mentality for those that are preppers and survivalists.
No matter how hard you try you will not be able to purchase everything you will need to survive. No matter how much you prepare you cannot be ready for everything that is going to come your way. And unless you recognize this culture of dependence and take action to correct the effects on your life and the lives of your family and friends you will live for a while in your bunker, but you will likely die there too!
How to get out of the bunker:Society as a whole has been groomed for the sake of profit and market control by the banks and corporations. The changes that have taken place create this culture where things are disposable and we can just buy another one. Things are not made in a way that makes it easy to fix or repair things and with the cost of labor and materials it is many times cheaper to just replace the broken thing. Of course we cannot afford to just keep replacing things so we use credit and debt. This is part of larger scheme to increase control. This circle just keeps feeding itself as long as they can keep you asleep, watching TV, and consuming... At least until they bankrupt you, then your just discarded. So how do we break this cycle of dependence? How do we avoid becoming a “bunkerista”?
We have to go back to school.... No not that kind of school. It is back to the “old school”. If you go back in your memory many of us recall our parents and grand parents lived very differently. They grew gardens, they knew their farmers, they made their own clothes, they built homes, knew how to make things, they had skills directly related to real life in the real world, and if they bought something they used it until it was no longer useful and even then it became the building blocks and parts for something else. Very little went to waste. They were very much more self reliant, self sustaining, and connected to the real world. Did they have stores to buy things? groceries? Sure, but many couldn't afford to spend good money for something that they could grow in their own yards or on their own farms, or that they could make themselves. This was true on so many levels. The key to getting out of the bunker and starting to live as a prepper is to learn these old school skills. I grew up as a kid living out of the garden during the summer months and then eating canned and stored foods during the winter months. Many people would go to a local meat locker or farmer and buy a cow or a side of meat and split it up with other family members or neighbors. This connection to our food supply gave us some sense of security knowing that we weren't going to starve if things got bad.
You see by most peoples definition today my parents and grand parents would be considered nutcase survivalists or something. But in reality that is the way the world works. You relied on friends, neighbors, and to a much more limited extent the local hardware stores, and grocery stores for just basic items. We would go to the grocery for things like flour, sugar, and milk(only because we didn't have a local dairy that we knew about). If you are new to survivalism and being a prepper the real objective or mission should you choose to accept it is the awakening to self sustaining and old school lifestyle. A new connection to your world and how things really work. Contrary to what many will try to tell you we do need each other, and we do need our communities to function regardless of what happens in the world around us. The creation of these corporate monsters has the real possibility of disrupting the world as we “now know it”. But the question you have to ask yourself is this: “Is the world I live in the real world?” Should so many of the things we have become accustomed to, that are trucked in and sold to us on a daily basis, were suddenly not available or worse yet we could not afford them how would your world be affected? The modern survivalist really dovetails right into another “movement” called “back to the land”. Many of the reasons that people are suddenly interested in the back to the land movement and the eat local talk that is appearing is a direct result of a very similar desire. On many levels people know that we are living in a fake world not all that different from something from a movie like “The Truman Show” or “The Matrix”.
How do we make the shift:If your new to all of this prepper stuff this all might seem pretty overwhelming. If your an old school survivalist and have been preparing for TEOTWAWKI and a bunker this might get under your skin a little because it might seem like I am attacking your preps and plan. The key to all of this is transcending the stages of awareness in the prepper community. To make this shift we have to recognize the phases or stages of awareness. Once you recognized the stages you can go straight to the last phase of sustainable living. The common stages of awareness seem to be from my own observations:
Oh My God, the end of the world is coming, I need to get a bunch of silver and gold, guns, ammo, and some meals ready to eat(MRE's). Some people then begin looking for a place to hunker down away from society.
The next phase as you get past the shock of realizing OMG and the end of the world is coming and you get past your panic buying stage. You might start to realize that all the gold and silver in the world will not buy you water and food should the crisis extend beyond a short term event. You start to realize how dependent society is on many external factors, and those MRE are going to run out pretty fast... So you run off and load up on a bunch of freeze dried foods and get more guns and ammo. Some then start thinking the bunker isn't big enough.
The next phase is the transcending phase where you finally realize after some time and probably lots of investment that there is no way you can buy everything you need and when those supplies you have purchased run out, or you find out there are things you overlooked, you discover your in deep deep “do do(crapola, fecal matter)”. That is when you start to think about growing a garden, and where things come from.
- And the final stages are when we realize that there are just too many things we are not in control of and that our survival depends on. Then we start thinking about learning even more old school skills, making more connections with our neighbors, and community. We realize we need a supply of things and that if we don't supply it ourselves or have it available locally we may find ourselves in a pickle. We start to think about the world as we know it needs to be. If your successful in this mission then we can make the world a place where we we want to be and where we are living, thriving, and enjoying life.... Not hold up in a bunker waiting for the world to collapse.
So where are you in your personal transformation? What stage of acknowledging the world we live in are you? Are you ready to begin the journey to a sustainable future?
Suggestions for a sustainable future:So if your ready to make that next leap of faith I would suggest that there are things you can do no matter where you live. Here we are going to focus on food security.
- First learn how to garden. I suggest a book and video set on Square Foot Gardening as a great place to start. Even if you live in an apartment that you can utilize a window, a sill garden, a balcony garden, or talk to the apartment manager about a space for a community garden.
- Next find out what is available locally. In many parts of the US now there is a big back to the earth/land movement and a lot of small acreage farms have popped up that focus on local organically grown foods. Check out localharvest.org and look for community supported agriculture(CSA's) and farmers markets in your area. If you are unfamiliar with CSA's this is a program where farmers sell you a portions of their harvest in advance to those lucky ones who have managed to get on their list(there is usually a waiting list as there are more people wanting fresh, locally grown, organic produce, meat, eggs, cheeses and other things your local farmer can provide). Each farmer CSA will be different so you will have to check it out to see what is available locally. Most of the farmers in these programs are organic heirloom vegetables. These are local farmers that are producing real food locally that is healthy, safe and sustainable. Get to know your farmer and hopefully establish another source of food that you can add to your food plan and to your daily life.
- Support local businesses that support local agriculture. Go to sites like slowfoodusa.com and find local chapters and local businesses that are making, preparing, and selling local real foods. By patronizing these businesses we are building a local sustainable community. If your international you can search on slowfood.com. If you don't have local businesses and chapters then maybe it is a niche and a prime market for you to take advantage of and get directly involved with this growing market. Trust me your not nuts by looking for things like this as this is a growing movement.
One of the big hurdles to going organic and to non-GMO foods is that the cost is high. In some cases this is true. We have listed soy, corn, cotton, canola as GMO crops but this is just a few of many crops that are GMO. Not all have been approved for use in the US, but more are being approved as we speak. Getting organic versions of the same items is easy, but remember when going back to old school that basic foods like rice, wheat, corn, and others are pretty cheap even if buying organics(more expensive than the non-organic, but in the bigger scheme of things less expensive in overall cost compared to prepackaged and processed foods). The other thing to keep in mind is that if your not buying pre-packaged foods then your making them from scratch out of the base ingredients that you are storing. This means the items generally are more nutritious and are fresh, but this is a new way of thinking and requires a new way of doing things. By staying away from prepared foods, mixes, and restaraunts(the non-slow food type) you will likely find that these are all cost saving measures to eating healthy, and you will be saving things that are good for you in your food storage plan. In many ways by making your own foods and going back to basic ingredients you will offset higher costs of organics.
Homestead Update:Well we finally have some good news. We finally found a place that we thought was a good fit for our homestead. I will share the details as things get sorted out over the next month or two and we get things finalized, but it looks like our homestead plans are finally moving forward. We are excited and will hopefully have some more details soon that we can share. Until then stay posted!