If you don’t believe “preppers”, how about believing China’s official government warning?


One of the most frustrating things about warning readers to prepare for hard times, and to have at least 30 days’ food and other essential supplies on hand in case of emergencies or shortages, is the number of people who simply shrug off such advice.  They counter that it won’t be that bad, or they can’t afford to stockpile so much food, or they’ve no place to put it, or whatever.  (This despite the fact that a bare-bones basic food supply for one adult for 30 days can be bought for well under $100, and stored in a couple of 5-gallon buckets or a foot locker.)

I suppose much of the negative reaction comes from the fact that those of us warning about this are not “official”.  We don’t have a Big Government seal of approval on our advice.  Well, guess what?  The biggest bureaucracy in the world has just given precisely that advice to its citizens.

A statement from China’s government urging local authorities to ensure there was adequate food supply during the winter and encouraging people to stock up on some essentials prompted concerned talk online … The Ministry of Commerce urged local authorities to stabilize prices and ensure supplies of daily necessities including vegetables this winter and next spring, according to a statement Monday evening. Chinese households were also encouraged to stock up on a certain amount of daily necessities in preparation for the winter months or emergencies.

. . .

There was … concern that extreme weather could affect vegetable production and transportation. Wholesale vegetable prices had already soared in recent weeks, costing more than meat in some cases, after heavy rains drenched major producing regions in the north and flooded the top growing province of Shandong.

There’s more at the link.

Given the supply chain logjam we’re currently experiencing in the USA, a supply of emergency food is even more important.  If supermarkets run out of most of what we need, and can’t restock their shelves, there’s going to be trouble.  This applies particularly in the cities, where food supplies are limited at the best of times, relying on constant resupply from outside the urban area.

Back in 1906, Alfred Henry Lewis warned:  “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy”.  In so many words, as the limited urban supply of food runs out, desperate people are going to go looking for more, and do whatever it takes to get it.  Right now, there may be rather less food in urban areas than usual, because the supply chain crunch means that less is being brought in.  If that doesn’t worry you, you’re blind to reality.  If you’ve got more than nine meals in reserve, you can hunker down and ride out the storm, or flee before it if possible:  but if you haven’t, you’re going to be S.O.L.  (To look at how real-world food distribution mirrors Lewis’ warning, see this article.  It’s worth reading.)

If you want the “official” line on emergency food storage, rather than a mere blogger’s advice or commercially-motivated food lists, try these three US government resources:

All are useful and informative.

Over to you, folks.  Time to prepare is growing shorter as winter draws in and the supply chain logjam grows ever more problematic.  I very strongly recommend that by the end of November, if possible, you have in place at least 30 days’ supply of food for yourself and your family.  It doesn’t have to be gourmet or expensive:  rice and beans may be boring, but they’re nutritious, cheap, and still available.  Get a few containers of spices (salt, pepper, seasoning, etc.) to make them more palatable, plus a few cans of tuna, Spam or what have you to add protein and variety.  30 days of adequate emergency nutrition for one adult will cost you rather less than $100, if you buy carefully.

If you can afford more than those basic supplies, so much the better – but please don’t wait any longer.



  1. So what does Jinping do – steal food from the surrounding nations, or let millions starve like his hero Mao did? Time will tell.

  2. One important factor to consider. Just rice and beans will not be sufficient. If things get really bad, then an old problem will become new again. That is the necessity for fat in your diet. While the problem for modern society is too much fat, too little fat causes starvation. Save your bacon grease by pouring it while still hot into glass jars and then covering quickly. Also buy 10 pounds of corn meal mix, a box of powdered milk, and a gallon of vegetable oil. Corn fritters are easy to prepare, and a great source of calories and fat to go with your rice and beans. And a 500 count multivitamin as well, and you will be all set for some months.

  3. Beware Indian Meal Moths hiding in rice. We're fighting an invasion of them. Recommend storing each bag of grain in a double-bagged ziploc system to contain any that might get in.

  4. On a side note, it's alarming when a government not known for its…errrr …concern for its own citizens' welfare makes this kind of announcement. Makes you wonder whether they've got something planned to unleash in the near future that may subject their people to food shortages.

  5. As a good food supplement i reccomend a supply of Met-rx meal replacement powder. It mixes well w water, stores for years in individuality sealed packs, and each pack is loaded with protein and essential vitamins. A little pricey but it tastes decent and can really stretch your survival time w minimal prep.

  6. Another thing to keep in mind: Can you boil water?
    There are a lot of things that need to be cooked before you can eat them, and a lot of things that need to be boiled. Boiling water takes a fair deal of heat. If you don't have any utilities (electricity, water, gas) can you still boil water?

    You need a backup supply of water, and if it's not clean potable water, you need something that will filter it, so it becomes so.
    You need your own ability to cook, be it a camping stove, fireplace, et al, that is independent of public utilities so if they go away (and if the food goes, they will go too!) you can still eat what you've stored.

  7. I read something the other day where somebody was speculating on the meaning behind China's advice to their citizens to stock up on food. If I remember correctly, their thoughts were: a) supply chain problems, b) another round of lockdowns, or c) war.

  8. Unsulphured blackstrap molasses is a really good source of iron and potassium. Relatively cheap, stores well, a little goes a long way, and it'd probably mix in nice with the corn fritters. 🙂

    Potassium muscle cramps are a miserable thing. And iron deficiencies can be hard on anybody. In a bad economy situation, little things like easy potassium are a blessing.

  9. Not only do you need a way to cook, you need multiple ways to cook since you don't know what you don't know. Camp stove, check. Charcoal for Dutch ovens, check. It takes surprisingly little charcoal for one hot DO meal per day. I think my wife even has one of those butane table top burners squirreled away.

    One handy tool we've added to the cooking arsenal is a thermal cooker, today's version of the fireless cooker from the early 1900s. We can cook a meat with relatively little fuel. Just plan ahead. (It also let us eat hot stew in the middle of winter in Yellowstone NP while other's ate peanut butter sandwiches.)

  10. @J van Stry: Actually, thermal cookers do cook – or at least, what's in them goes on cooking, because the food was heated before it was placed in the thermal cooker. You just don't add any more external heat to the process, apart from the initial step.

    You're quite right, though: in a sense, thermal cookers are like vacuum flasks. I have two "food flasks" with wide mouths that are intended to keep things like stew or chili warm, and I daresay they might make useful small thermal cookers under the right circumstances.

  11. We have used a propane camp stove during past winter storm or hurricane -related power outagaes. Set it up right on the range top or kitchen counter. Works great.

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