Archive for December 5th, 2008

Friday Food Storage Quickie: Feed Someone Else

Sharon December 5th, 2008

Ok, usually these focus on little things you can do to improve your own food security.  But this week, I want everyone to put a little extra effort into improving the food security of others, at whatever level they can.  What can you do?  It varies based on your income, where you live, how shy you are, etc… but everyone can do one or two or three of these things.

And since I’m asking you to do stuff, I thought I ought to give back a little. I’ve got a signed copy of Kathy Harrison’s wonderful book _Just in Case_ to give away - it is a terrific book, the clearest and wisest guide to getting started on preparedness that I know.  Sign up in comments for a drawing, I’ll let one of the kids pull a name out of a hat, and I’ll send you a copy.  Make sure you mention in your comment that you are in for the drawing, and we’ll draw on Monday and announce the winner!

1. Talk to someone about having a reserve of food - it could be a family member, a friend, a person at church or even someone you meet in the supermarket.  It could be as you are checking out at the farmstand “I know, doesn’t it look like a lot of potatoes - but given the times, it feels important to have some food, in case times get even tougher.”  You can talk to one person or a group of 50 - preach from the pulpit or chat over tea or by the watercooler.  But talk to someone about why it is important to have some food stored up.  You don’t have to discuss peak oil and climate change - you can talk about unemployment and what grandma did.

2. Offer to help someone get started with food storage.  Talk to a neighbor “I just noticed that tuna and rice are on sale - these days food prices are so high - would you like me to pick up a couple of extra bags or cans for you?”  If someone you talked to wants to know more, well, show them/tell them what you’ve been doing.  Start a neighborhood preparedness group, and get together once a month.  Start a buying club, or a food price stabilization group - everyone gets together and tracks the sales, or orders wholesale or helps find good prices. 

3. For those not in the dead of winter like us, talk about the food resources around you.  Are fruit trees going unharvested?  Could they be gleaned and given away to the food pantry or shared with friends?  Are there wild foods you could introduce a friend, a neighbor, a niece or nephew too “Look, honey, that’s lambs quarters.  It doesn’t look like they spray here or it is too near the road, so let’s pick some for a salad.”

4. Give the gift of food security.   Trying to figure out what to give people for the holidays?  What about a gift certificate to the local farmer’s market or a membership in a coop, a basket of produce from your garden or root cellar,  a book or class on food storage and preservation?  Perhaps you could give a young person you know with their first apartment the gift of an afternoon of “setting up the pantry” - you can help them shop, clean and set up.  Or perhaps you might teach a friend how to can, dehydrate or make gifts of food.

5. Donate locally.  Give food, money, and whatever else is needed to local charities. Keep a close eye on your food pantry - particularly after the holidays.  If you don’t have money to donate yourself, at least spread the word that the battered women’s shelter desperately needs food and toiletries, that the soup kitchen needs someone to bake bread, and that the animal shelter needs kibble.  One charity I like is - they give free organic seeds to prison gardens, food pantry gardens, school gardens - anyone who needs to learn to grow food.

6. Help someone in need directly.  Maybe you don’t have money, but you’ve got an extra coat, some home canned food that you can’t give through the food pantry, and you can give someone who lost their car to the Repo man a ride to pick up her son at daycare.  Ask around through religious institutions, social service programs and schools, and you’ll find someone you can match up with and help.

7. Don’t forget the world’s hungry.  As things get bad here, the food crisis has gotten knocked off the front page.  That doesn’t mean it has gotten better - the world is full of desperately hungry people right now, and they need our help.  Donate money - my  favorite programs are the heifer fund, and the Mennonite Central Committee, but you may have your own.  Feel free to suggest more in comments.

8. If you don’t have money to give, or even if you do, make sure you also remind governments to keep their commitment to the World Food Program and the world’s starving people.  We’re throwing billions away on keeping the rich institutions - but the US and other nations haven’t ponied up their promised donations to keep people from starving to death.  DO NOT let them get away with it.

What Else?  Anyone have any suggestions?  How many of these can each of us do this week?  And don’t forget to put your name in for the drawing before Monday!