By 2050 the world could have more people than food. According to Professor Julian Cribb, a worldwide food crisis is imminent and approaching fast.
While the leading solution proposed by Cribbs and other experts in the field is a global switch to vegetarianism, this presents its own challenges.
Many experts believe that 10 billion is the max cut-off point for the population, and supporting any more than that number is almost impossible.
Even if everyone agrees to avoid eating meat, significant challenges related to soil, climate, land, and access must be considered.
Thus, with population increases, climate change, and an impending financial crisis, we need to consider this issue a genuine concern and plan accordingly.
When The World Runs Out Of Food…
We should all be worried if predictions are correct, and many people believe they are. However, even if the current projection of running out of food by 2050 is entirely wrong, there is still significance.
Dwindling food access is far more of a concern than running out of food.
Related: The Seedbank You Need To Build Before The Upcoming Food Shortage
Multiple factors contribute to food access, and getting food from the farm to the table is a complex process that has already seen some significant issues.
Ongoing challenges currently and continually impact society, regardless of location. Thus, whether you believe we will ‘run out of food’, preparing for a time when access to food may become difficult is a good idea.
There are many ways to protect yourself against a food shortage, and there is no reason you can not start today. While these practices may help you prepare for disaster, they can also help you to save cash you can put away for a rainy day.
Foraging is the act of gathering food from the wild and is an excellent way to supplement your diet for free.
While foraging has recently gained mainstream popularity, for centuries, many cultures have relied on foraging for survival, with entire cultures being built upon the idea.
As recently as WW2, gathering wild rosehips to create syrup was essential to many people.
Wild rosehip allowed people to supplement vitamin C at a time when importing fruit like oranges was widely restricted.
Foraging food from the wild gives you access to a seasonal supermarket outside your front door.
What Can I Forage?
The list of things that can be foraged is extensive, and with some knowledge and experience, you can gather a substantial amount of food.
What you forage will depend on where you live. However, below are a few examples.
Wild Garlic: One plant you can quickly identify and forage is wild garlic.
This helpful plant can be found lining the banks of streams and rivers as it thrives in damp ground.
Wild garlic can be used in various ways and foraged from late March onwards.
Identifying wild garlic is relatively easy, and it is generally the scent that indicates this plant. Wild garlic has a strong, pungent aroma that is distinctly garlic.
Unfortunately, it is essential to note that, like many plants, wild garlic is not without copycats.
In Canada and the US, Lily of the Valley is a look-a-like that can cause confusion. The flowers, fruit, and leaves of the Lily of the Valley plant are poisonous.
Elderberries and Elderflowers: From late May to early July, a plant dots the landscape, signifying the start of nice weather.
Elderflowers are commonly used to create cordial, a tasty, liqueur-like beverage but can also be used to make other items like jam, yogurt, or sorbet.
Related: 79 Edible Flowers in North America (with Pictures)
The plant’s berries also have many uses, making this double-harvest plant one to treasure.
Nettles: Stinging nettles are one of the easiest wild greens to identify.
However, if you hope to forage this plant, you will need a thick pair of gloves.
Stinging nettle grows abundantly throughout North America, thriving in damp soil.
The plant, often harvested for food or to create various dyes, can grow up to six feet tall in some locations and is usually found growing along the roadside in dense patches.
Blackberries and Raspberries: Most people remember picking and eating wild berries as children.
These delicious morsels can be found growing throughout the world and make a delightful treat. Blackberries are most abundant in autumn and are easy to identify.
You can pick as many as you can carry and freeze them to enjoy as a tasty treat throughout the year or use them to make sweet jams or pies.
Chestnuts: There are many wild nuts that you can forage.
One of the most popular wild nuts is the sweet chestnut.
Sweet chestnuts are great for making pesto and are excellent when added to your holiday stuffing.
These nuts can also be roasted and enjoyed on their own. You will surely be delighted no matter how you choose to enjoy the sweet chestnut, which can be found throughout the US.
Dandelion: Often viewed as an annoying weed that dots front yards across the country, dandelion is easy to identify and can be safely consumed if adequately washed.
Eat it raw or use it in your cooking. All parts of this plant are edible, although they are a bit bitter.
Foraging for food can be a great way to save money or make ends meet. It may also come in handy should we face a food shortage.
If you want to learn more about foods you can forage for, here you will find all you need to know about the superweeds that saved large communities during the Great Depression.
However, if you plan to forage, there are a few things you should remember:
- Know what you are picking.
- Only take what you will eat.
- Ask permission before foraging on private property.
- Leave some for other foragers.
- Never forage for rare species.
Grow Your Food
Growing your own food is one of the best ways to protect yourself against a potential crisis.
Natural disasters, floods, droughts, fires, a financial crisis, a delay in shipping, a collapse of the government, or any other situation that could potentially impact access to food are not far-fetched ideas anymore.
For most of us, it is not the fear of a zombie apocalypse – instead, the current economic climate and actions of the government fuel prepping. So what better way to prepare than through self-sufficiency?
Nothing is more empowering than growing a garden and harvesting food in your yard. For more helpful information, check out this guide on how to make a year-round self-sustaining garden.
Whether you live on a large, rural property or in a small apartment in the city, you can grow your own food and cushion against a future food crisis.
Even if you lack the luxury of a yard that can house a large garden, there are still many plants that you can grow.
You can create a garden, even indoors, in a small space. Use pots and planters to turn your home into a garden that will work as a supermarket.
Here are some foods you can grow indoors: radishes, mandarin oranges, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, greens, microgreens, herbs.
To create a fully-functional indoor garden, you will need some supplies. Not all these things are mandatory, but they will increase your chance of success.
- Light: you may be able to provide an ample amount of natural sunlight if you have large windows and are in the right area. Alternatively, you may want to utilize a grow light to encourage plant health.
- Potting mix: A good potting mix is essential to a healthy crop.
- Containers: An assortment of containers in various sizes is a must-have for any aspiring gardener.
Related: 61 Fruits and Veggies You Can Grow in Buckets
- Water: An obvious necessity for any garden.
- Humidity: Depending on what you plant to grow, you may need to purchase something that allows you to control and monitor the humidity of your space.
- Air circulation: Circulating the air is essential.
- Temperature control: You need to be able to monitor and control the temperature.
- Fertilizer: You need to feed the soil, which will feed the plants.
Growing food could be a lifesaving decision should we face any crisis that impacts access. If you can grow even a few plants in your home, you will be well ahead in the face of disaster.
While a garden is handy, what do you do with the excess food you grow?
This is where preserving comes in and saves the day.
For many years people have been preserving and pickling foods for the future.
While that jar of pickled radishes your grandma made may look scary, chances are good that they are still edible even today.
Learning to safely store food and preserve it long-term may help you overcome adversity should you find yourself in a food crisis.
What And How To Preserve
There are various ways to store and maintain foods. Popular options include the use of a root cellar or cold storage.
A root cellar, or cold storage, can be created in many places, such as a cellar, basement, or crawl space. If you don’t have a root cellar, here’s a cheap and easy way to build a root cellar in your backyard.
Some good choices for root cellar storage include: cabbage, carrots, peppers, beets, apples, peaches, onions, garlic, squash etc.
Outside of root cellars and cold storage, there are many other options for extending the shelf life of food.
Drying or dehydrating is another popular choice. This option often requires a professional dehydrator, although there are methods of dehydrating food (such as fruits, veggies, and meats) using your oven.
Canning is another popular alternative. Canning often requires access to a professional canner and other canning equipment. These items are available online, and some retailers offer payment plans.
You can also can without equipment using a method called a water bath. In water bath canning, a large stock pot is used to seal jars and preserve the contents. Canning food essentially causes it to be frozen in time so that it can be eaten weeks, months, and even years later.
Raise Your Own Livestock
While you could live off the vegetables you grow in your garden, you may want to eat meat sometimes. Meat is an essential aspect of many diets and is valuable to your health.
Should we find ourselves in a food crisis, the cost of meat is almost sure to skyrocket.
Related: Livestock Animals You Should Start Raising For The Upcoming Economic Crisis
The meat industry heavily relies on processing and transportation to get food to your table. Any issues in production will take their toll and can hinder your ability to access this vital food source.
Raising livestock is an option you may want to consider. Depending on where you live, you may be able to have chickens or small animals on your property.
Chickens are an excellent choice as they provide eggs and access to poultry. Cows, on the other hand, can give both milk and meat in an emergency.
Before becoming a livestock farmer, look into your area’s laws to ensure you can house, raise, and slaughter animals on your property.
A Harsh World Diet
Should humanity see the day when we actually run out of food, life will quickly become a challenging struggle for us all. Think back to the chaos of the 2020 toilet paper shortage and imagine that, but with a lot of angry, hungry people.
If predictions are correct and our food sources are to become scarce, we are guaranteed to see widespread effects, probably accompanied by violence, looting, and more.
Finding ways to become more self-sufficient today could make a big difference tomorrow.
The ideas shared here are merely a few of many. There are lots of ways you can adjust your current lifestyle and prepare for the future.
I would love to hear your thoughts on preparing for a food shortage, and I want to know how you feel about the current prediction timeline.
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