Below is the information from “Doomsday Preppers” on replenishing food that I would like to expand.
“Unless a crisis is quickly resolved, preppers eventually will have to produce their own food to replace what they consume. This will require them to cultivate crops and raise animals, either for meat or to produce milk and eggs.”
“Know Your Climate” – This really needs to go beyond just knowing your climate zone. For every location in there are insects and diseases that will impact your plant selection. Each disease will have vectors and climate conditions when they are active. Insects have life cycles based on climate and time of year. All of these have to go together in selections of plants, fungus, and animals to raise for food.
“Know Your Land” – Most counties will have soil surveys that show the soil types on an aerial map. You will also likely find topographic maps and flood plan maps. Also many areas will have maps with all active wells in an area. The soil on the land and the drainage of the land many times dictate what can be grown on the land. You also want to know other peoples land!!! Because the soil and topography will dictate what plants will likely be growing. This can help with wild harvesting. The plants also help to determine what animals may be living on the land. This can help with hunting and fishing.
“Remember That You Need Water to Produce Food” – Again topographic maps, aquifer maps, maps of wells, flood plan maps are all useful in finding stable sources of water. Weather information is also useful in areas where cisterns can be used to collect and store rain water from buildings. Again, it helps to know what water may be available on your neighbors land. For you may have to travel, fish, etc. to collect food or you may need to know where water is available as you move your herd.
Two major irrigation methods are drip irrigation and spray irrigation – There are actually many variations of both drip and spray irrigation. Two factors are available water pressure and particulates in the water. Some drip and most spray require sustained pressure for them to work. Dirty water will clog many low pressure systems as particulates settle out of the water in the drip irrigation. Availability of water and level of water availability throughout the year will dictate what plants and animals you will be able to raise. For example I knew some Russians who had small farms. They tended to grow many berries, shrubs, and trees because they could survive droughts that annual crops could not.
“Strive to be a Year-Around Food Producer” – there are a number of perennial and biennial crops that can be grown in different areas. You need to think beyond just growing annual crops. Technology can also be used to extend the growing season in many cold areas. Simple cold frames and more elaborate green houses are commonly used. Many times your heat source dictates what type of winter growing system will be available to you. Hydroponics can be used but requires knowledge and experience. There are simple systems such as growing tomatoes that can be used to learn about hydroponics.
“Don’t Forget About Animal Protein” – here the focus in on meat. If you look at low tech herding the focus was on storable protein in the form of cheese. Sheep and goats were the main source. Seldom was an animal killed for meat because they were more valuable for milk and wool. There is a saying from the old country, “when a man is eating chicken, one of the two were sick”. This is because hens produced valuable protein in the form of eggs. There is a difference in animals that must be confined and animals that can forage or graze. Caged animals must be supplied all their food and water. So you must store rations for them and secure a good source of water. Herding animals can be moved to food and water sources. Just take poultry, geese are grazers. They can get 80 percent of their food from good pasture. Geese can also be herded and moved to food and water. So when deciding on animal protein you should understand your resources and the needs of the animals you may raise. Another factor is parasites and diseases that can affect your animal protein. It does not make sense to raise turkeys if your property has black head disease for example.
One thing I would like to add is the ability to wild harvesting. People are now talking about gorilla gardening and gorilla orchards. Well when I was a child we picked berries every fall. In the spring asparagus was picked in stream beds were it grew wild. Knowing what plant you and your animals can get is very important. Many people have practiced edible landscaping for decades. This was a practice of using edible plants in your landscape. Many times edible plants, shrubs, and trees were planted to attract game. Just go to the wild turkey federation and you will find a list of these for turkeys. You will also find that many of these can also be food for people. Then there are protein sources from fish and game. Corn requires a lot of protein to grow. Fish parts you may not eat can be turned into useful fertilizer. They can also be used as a feed source for poultry and hogs. I remember when I was a child going with a neighbor collecting halibut heads to feed to his hogs. Or going to another friends place and helping dry salmon for his sled dogs. There were also times when we collected and pickled kelp and seaweeds. It is important to know the resources around you. That which people readily understand as food would also likely to be the first resource depleted. If a flock of chickens is around and a flock of quail is around which is more likely to be eaten? It is hard to steal a wild quail. I have had a whole group of chickens stolen overnight.