Understanding Personal Food Security
What is Food Security?
From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
A food-secure household is not simply fed—it is free from the fear of hunger and not forced into unthinkable options (heat or eat) or short-sighted decisions (cheap, quick calories versus more nourishing choices). —Jim Hanna
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines "food security" as access at all times by all people within a household to enough food for an active, healthy life. "Food insecurity," on the other hand, occurs when a household's consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year. —Elyse Miller
In essence, food security is the ability to meet your food needs and those of any dependents on a consistent basis.
What is Food Security Important?
Well, aside from the obvious (we all need food to survive) there is reason to believe that some of us will one day face a situation in which the usual supply chain breaks down and the usual sources of obtaining food are disrupted for a time. If the local grocery stores run out of food for a month, how will that impact your household? Related to this, and arguably more important, do you have enough potable (i.e. drinkable) water to sustain you and any dependents during that time?
In June of 2017 The Guardian published a news article called, Vulnerable ‘chokepoints’ threaten global food supply, warns report in which they explain how
The following excerpt sums up the entire article:
“We are talking about a huge share of global supply that could be delayed or stopped for a significant period of time,” said Laura Wellesley, one of the authors of the Chatham House report. “What is concerning is that, with climate change, we are very likely to see one or more of these chokepoint disruptions coincide with a harvest failure, and that’s when things start to get serious.” The chokepoints are already suffering repeated disruptions, the report found.
What Can You Do?
There are several things you can do right away to increase your own food security. Here are just a few:
- Maintain a well stocked pantry or food store. Keep it organized so that older items are being used up as new items are added to replace them.
- Stock up on non-perishable items that you actually use when they go on sale.
- Learn how to sprout beans, lentils, grains and seeds to provide an easy source of fresh plant matter.
- Learn how to grow microgreens such as broccoli, sunflower shoots and pea shoots for additional fresh greens.
- Grow your own crops in containers, your yard and extend your growing season in colder climates using improvised greenhouse-like devices.
- Store fresh water but also consider investing in and learning to use water purification methods such as tablets and filters.
- Learn to identify wild edible plants that you can harvest from your local environment.
- If you are a meat eater, consider learning to hunt and/or raise your own livestock such as hens or rabbits.
- Learn various methods of preserving any excess food you have on hand in order to reduce waste.
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