Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Prepare: Just In Time Preppers

You hear frequently about the problems with "Just In Time" inventory management practiced by American businesses the past 40 year of so. Critics say that JIT is the wrong way to go for our fragile society. They point out Hurricane Katrina and how easily food and supplies in surrounding areas were wiped out as evacuees fled New Orleans.

The problem critics have with JIT is that stores and companies no longer stock extra things in the back like they used to in the good old days. That the modern grocery store, for instance, only carries enough on hand for about three days of normal business.

This has been a big deal for those who like to be prepared for unknown scenarios like war, invasion, and societal collapse. "Preppers" like to have plenty of extra food, water and supplies on hand in the event the stores run out or simply cease functioning.

The problem is "prepping" takes years. Acquiring enough food to feed a family of four can cost a great deal of money and is not something that can be done in a single day. And there lies a big problem.

The Just In Time Prepper.

Many of us have prepared for this eventuality.

Scenario: After one too many disasters and financial misteps, the federal government goes belly up. Chaos reins. You are at home and decide to take this chance to get to the store and pick up "a few extra things".

When you get there, its a mob frenzy. People are grabbing anything they can get in their cart or hands and running pell mell through the store. Those coming out of the store are having their purchases commandeered by those trying to get in.

This is the scene of the Just In Time Prepper. That neighbor or friend who never kept more than a few cans on the shelves who thinks that magically they can obtain enough food to feed their family for an unlimted amount of time with one trip to the grocery store.

Here are some numbers which blow holes in that position.

A 2lb 10oz canister of Quaker oatmeal has about 30 normal sized servings in it. That would be enough for one person for a month. To feed a family of four, you would need four of those for a month and forty eight for a year.

A 50lb bag of rice has 454 servings. That would roughly be enough for one person for one year barring any spills or waste. To feed a family of four, you would need four of those bags.

The amount of food needed to feed a family or group of people for any appreciable length of time is staggering. Thinking a quick trip to a mobbed grocery store is going to make a dent in your long term food needs is ludicrous.

Start stocking now a little at a time and a one month, six month or one year supply of food can be built over time. Don't be a Just In Time Prepper.

On another note, here's a lesson learned the hard way. I used some cracked red winter wheat for bread this morning. Don't do it. Cut it at least three to one with regular flour or you will end up with a hard as a rock hockey puck. This is something to think about when you have to start using those fifty pound buckets of wheat - get a good grinder to make flour with.

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