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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Out of the desert



It's pretty strange when I think about it. My home base up in northern New Hampshire is in what's called a food desert. Food shopping is a drive down the road and the selection is limited.

Now I'm staying a my dad's place in Florida. There's a huge selection of food in a variety of stores at competitive prices. Most Americans take these shopping opportunities for granted. Food appears abundant.

That's all well and good during normal conditions. During a disaster that cuts off supplies even areas with many shopping centers will run out of food in three days or less. Everything is delivered on a just in time model.

There are two major types of food dessert. There are rural areas like mine where transportation issues and low population density restrict food choice. Another type of food desert is in inner cities. Grocery stores decided it's not economical to run a big grocery store in the inner city. Instead food is provided by small shops, gas stations, and fast food joints. During emergencies these areas are particularly bad to be stranded in.

Areas that normally have good food selection won't be far behind as people have no need to keep a large pantry. Stores are so well stocked and convenient that it feels foolish to clutter up their homes with food storage. It's a false sense of security.

Rural food deserts have a different dynamic. In years gone by it was normal to keep many months worth of food stored away. Some of that attitude carries over to the present. I know I like to keep a fair amount of food on hand. When my friends downstate have unexpected guests they can run to the store a few blocks away. I've got at least a 30 or 40 mile trip so I make sure there's food in my pantry.

I know a lot of people who stock up on hard to get food items when they go to where there's good shopping. Rural people are also more likely to have gardens and know how to harvest wild foods.

Right now I'm enjoying the shopping opportunities around here, but it does feel a bit surreal as so little food is actually produced in this area, at least compared to the population.

-Sixbears

10 comments:

  1. Even if you have a very small place, you can still store food. A box under the bed will hold a lot of canned goods. Putting up a few shelves in a closet isn't a bad idea either. Most people won't think about it until they are hungry.

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    1. The key is that some has to make it a priority. Too few do. I'm afraid there are going to be a lot of hungry people one day.

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  2. With food, it's a case of more is better. I guess that I'd rather be safe than sorry!

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    1. The last thing you'd want is to have to rush to the store once everyone realizes supplies are cut off. It gets ugly quick when people panic.

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  3. One of the things my wife and I both enjoy when we got to Palm Coast is the large number of big grocery stores with all sorts of products we can't get for love or money at home. My wife likes the fact that they are just a few minutes from the condominium as well. I like the stores but I always think that if something cuts off the supply of food from outside, Palm Coast is going to be up the creek without a paddle. I never met anyone there who kept more than a minuscule amount of food on hand. Why bother.

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    1. It lulls one into a false sense of security. It only takes one bad emergency to ruin your day forever. However, I am enjoying being about to walk into a place and purchase some fairly exotic items.

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  4. If I don't have at least 6 months of food on my shelves I start to panic. It is always amazing to me that anyone doesn't have a minimum of 30 days worth available in case of an emergency or possibly even a loss of income.

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    1. Loss of income is so common that it's reason enough to keep stored food -never mind an emergency.

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