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YOUR FOOD PREPAREDNESS SCORE

An exercise to determine just how prepared you really are.

The Food We Eat - Our Dependency, Our Problem

The following is a matrix of food dependency, food self-sufficiency and food preparedness and preparations. This is a test of your actual food preparedness level.

Everybody needs to eat, but understanding just how dependent we really are on our food and whereit comes from, is not always easy to understand.The following matrix measures how prepared you are using several hundred common foods. The matrix does not take into account food storage losses, waste, or techniques and methods that result in food loss. Nor does the matrix measure how much food storage you currently have which is an entirely different subject. Decades of experience has shown that nobody is storing anywhere near enough food (or actually growing enough) to meet their own nutritional needs. Any food that is bought or eaten can be added to this list to determine how prepared you really are. Obviously the list of foods is far from complete - this list covers the most common foods eaten.The following is my "creation". As I've pondered the problems with the food industry, it occurred to me that we really don't understand the risks we're all facing when it comes to food. So I dreamed this thing up - I hope you enjoy it!

Instructions:

Below is a list of the common foods consumed by most Americans. Complete columns 1 through 4 with simple 1=yes or -1=no answers.

Do not skip any lines, as you will skew the results! Be HONEST about your answers, this is about your food preparedness and that of your local region.

Column 1 - Is this food produced locally? Answer yes if this can be grown or produced within 60 miles of your residence (or use a farther distance if you like). Answer no (-1) if not. Leave blank for foods you do not eat or buy.

Column 2 - Do you grow any of this food? Answer yes (1) if you grow any of this food (even small amounts). Answer no (-1) if you never grow any of this food. Leave blank for foods you do not eat.

Column 3 - Do you grow enough? Answer yes (1) if you grow enough of this food and never have to buy it. Leave blank for foods you do not eat.

Column 4 - Do you have this in food storage? Answer yes (1) if you have this food currently in your food storage program. Answer no (-1) if you do not store this food. Leave blank for foods you do not eat or buy.

Food Scoring Instructions:
  • "Yes" answers are scored a value of 1.
  • "No" answers are scored a value of -1.
  • A negative score indicates that you are under-prepared for a food shortage of this product (for any reason - drought, disaster, job loss, gardening failure). A high number of negative scores means you will probably starve when any catastrophe occurs.
  • If you do not eat a certain food, leave the scoring fields on that row blank.
  • We have completed our own test to give you an idea of how this works - the results may suprise you!

Want to take this test yourself? Click here!

Scoring Instructions

Add up the score for each row, left to right. 

Example 1: Almonds (from chart below) -1 + -1 + -1 = -3. Any negative total per row indicates you are not food prepared for that food item.

Example 2: Alfalfa Sprouts -1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 3. I'm food prepared for alfalfa sprouts (until I run out of seeds that is).

Locally Produced Score Column Total:
The higher the negative number, the less food your region produces and the worse off you will be during disaster or crisis. High negative numbers indicate high levels of food imports and greater risk to everyone in your region during any kind of catastrophe or disaster. Consider moving or growing much more of your own food if possible, and storing as much as you can.

Grow Your Own Column Total: High negative numbers mean you grow very little to none of your own food for whatever reason (time, climate, space, desire, etc.). You are at extreme food risk should anything happen to the just-in-time food deliveries in your region / area.

Grow Enough Column Total: If you grow any of your own food, this score represents how much of the foods you eat that you actually do grow in sufficient quantities to avoid having to buy it. The closest to zero or higher that you can achieve is best. Keep in mind this column score ONLY represents those foods you do grow, so even if the total is greater then zero, this only represents those foods you grow - not that you grow enough of ALL the food you actually eat.

Total Grow Score: Add columns 2 + column 3 together, ie., in the example below, our total grow score was -227 + -13 = -240. Not good! The larger the negative number, the more dependent you are on modern food production and delivery of food to your area. Any food storage that you do have on hand will only "save you" as long as it lasts (and you have a sufficient nutritional amounts to stay healthy).

One point about "growing enough". Preservation of your food is CRITICAL. If you cannot dry, dehydrate, can or freeze the excess garden production, the food will spoil quickly. Learning how to preserve food is extremely important!

In Your Food Storage Column Total: The smaller the negative number, the better. Also subtract column 4 from column 1, ie., 277 - 117 = -160. This is your Total Food Storage Score. Negative values indicate inadequate food storage for all the foods you actually eat. Increase this by increasing your food storage program.

Your Total Food Preparedness Score: Add the total points of each of the above columns. The higher the negative number, the less food prepared you are. You're striving for "0" or as close to zero as you can get.

There are 1296 possible points with this specific selection of foods. If you have additional foods that you eat, you can add them to the matrix and score appropriately.

Think your prepared? Think again - you probably aren't. Despite owning a storable food company for 21+ years and counting, AND having a very large food storage of our own, AND a dedicated yearly garden, we took this test ourselves and this is how we scored! What we've learned from this is is we do not grow anywhere near enough of our own food (and we have a commercial greenhouse), and we are still highly dependent upon making purchases of different food items that cannot be grown here.

Even if we eliminated EVERYTHING  do not grow ourselves from our diets - we would still be extremely dependent upon our own food storage (as long as it lasts) to keep us alive. And that is the case (reality) for nearly every American - everyone is extremely dependent upon the just-in-time year round global delivery system to keep the supermarkets' stocked up. It's a dangerous situation that can only be mitigated by having your own food storage - and growing your own.

Food Preparedness Matrix - by Food Assets


Total Food Preparedness Score:
-633 (not good!)
Total food storage score: -392 (not good!)

Is this food locally produced? Do you grow this food?Do you grow enough?Do you have this food in storage?
Total Scoring -->-277-227-13-117
Alfalfa Sprouts-1111
Almonds-1-1-1
Amaranth-1-11
Antelope
Apple Juice-1-11
Apples11-11
Applesauce-1-11
Apricots-1-1-1
Artichoke-1-1-1
Asparagus-1-1-1
Avocados-1-1-1
Bacon-1-1-1
Bagels
Baked Beans-1-1-1
Baking Powder-1-11
Baking Soda-1-11
Bamboo-1-1-1
Bananas-1-11
Barley-1-11
BBQ Sauce-1-1-1
Bean Mix-1-11
Bean Sprouts-1-11
Beef-1-11
Beef Boullion-1-11
Beets
Bell Peppers-11-1-1
Biscuits-1-11
Bison
Black Beans-1-11
Blackberries
Blueberries
Boysenberries
Bran Flakes-1-11
Brazil Nuts-1-1-1
Bread-1-11
Broccoli-11-11
Brown Rice-1-11
Brown Sugar-1-11
Bruscetta-1-1-1
Buckwheat-1-11
Bulgar-1-1-1
Butter-1-11
Cabbage-11-11
Cake-1-11
Soup-1-11
Cantelope-1-1-1
Capers-1-11
Carob-1-1-1
Carrots-11-11
Cashews-1-11
Catfish
Cauliflower-11-11
Celery-11-11
Cold Cereals-1-1-1
Cheddar Cheese-1-1-1
Cheese-1-1-1
Cheese Sauce-1-11
Cherries-1-1-1
Chestnuts-1-1-1
Chicken-1-11
Chicken Boullion-1-11
Chickpeas-1-1-1
Chicory-1-1-1
Chocolate-1-1-1
Clams-1-1-1
Coconut-1-1-1
Coffee-1-11
Colby Cheese-1-1-1
Collards
Cookies-1-1-1
Cooking Oil-1-11
Corn-1-11
Corn Meal-1-11
Cottage Cheese-1-1-1
Couscous-1-11
Crab-1-1-1
Cracked Wheat-1-11
Cranberry-1-1-1
Cream-1-1-1
Cream Cheese-1-1-1
Cream Of Wheat-1-1-1
Cucumbers-11-1-1
Currents
Custard
Dandelions-11-1-1
Dates
Dock
Duck
Eggs-11-1-1
Elk
Enchilada Sauce-1-1-1
English Muffins-1-1-1
Figs
Fish-1-1-1
Fruit Juice-1-1-1
Fudge-1-1-1
Garlic-11-1
Gelatin-1-1-1
Ginger-1-1-1
Gluten
Goat
Goose
Graham Crackers-1-1-1
Granola-1-11
Grapefruit
Grapes-11-1-1
Gravy-1-1-1
Green Beans-11-1-1
Green Peppers-11-1-1
Grits
Ground Beef-1-11
Ground Turkey-1-1-1
Halverti Cheese-1-1-1
Ham-1-1-1
Hash-1-1-1
Hashbrowns-1-1-1
Hazelnuts-1-1-1
Hearts Of Palm-1-1-1
Honey-1-1-1
Horseradish-1-1-1
Hot Chocolate-1-1-1
Hot Dogs-1-1-1
Huckelberries-1-1-1
Hummus-1-1-1
Ice Cream-1-1-1
Jalape?os-1-1-1
Jalepeno Cheese-1-1-1
Jelly-1-1-1
Jerky-1-1-1
Kalbasa-1-1-1
Kale-1-1-1
Kamut-1-1-1
Ketchup-1-1-1
Kidney Beans-1-1-1
Kiwi-1-1-1
Lamb
Lard
Lasagna-1-1-1
Leeks-1-1-1
Lemons-1-1-1
Lentils-1-1-1
Lettuce-11-1-1
Licorice-1-1-1
Linguine-1-1-1
Liver
Lobster-1-1-1
Lunchmeat-1-1-1
Macaroni-1-11
Mandarins
Mangoes-1-1-1
Margarine-1-11
Marmalade
Marshmellows
Mayonaise-1-1-1
Meatballs
Milk
Millet-1-1-1
Mint-1-1-1
Molasses
Moose
Mozarella Cheese-1-1-1
Mung Beans-1-11
Mushmelon-1-1-1
Mushrooms-1-11
Mustard-1-1-1
Navy Beans-1-11
Nectarines-1-1-1
Noodles-1-11
Oat Bran-1-1-1
Okra
Onions-1111
Orange Juice-1-1-1
Oranges-1-1-1
Oysters-1-1-1
Pancakes-1-11
Parmesan Cheese-1-1-1
Parsley-1-1-1
Passion Fruit
Pastrami-1-1-1
Peaches-1-11
Peanut Butter-1-11
Peanuts-1-1-1
Pears-1-1-1
Peas-1-11
Pecans-1-1-1
Pepperoni-1-1-1
Peppers-1-11
Pesto-1-1-1
Pickles-1-1-1
Pine Nuts
Pineapple-1-1-1
Pinto Beans-1-1-1
Pistachios-1-1-1
Pizza-1-1-1
Plums-1-1-1
Polish Sausage-1-1-1
Pomegranates
Popcorn-1-11
Poppy Seeds
Pork Chops-1-1-1
Potatoes-11-11
Pretzels-1-1-1
Prunes
Pudding-1-1-1
Pumpkin-1-1-1
Purslane
Quail
Quick Oats-1-11
Quinoa-1-1-1
Rabbit
Radishes-11-1
Raisins-1-1-1
Rasberries-1-1-1
Red Peppers-1-11
Refried Beans-1-11
Regular Oats-1-11
Rhubarb
Rice Crackers-1-1-1
Ritz Crackers-1-1-1
Roast-1-1-1
Rye-1-1-1
Salad Dressing-1-1-1
Salad Oil-1-11
Salami-1-1-1
Salmon-1-1-1
Salt-1-11
Saltines-1-1-1
Sauerkraut-1-1-1
Sausage-1-1-1
Scallops-1-1-1
Seaweed-1-1-1
Sesame Seeds-1-1-1
Shallots-1-1-1
Shortening
Shrimp-1-1-1
Soda
Soup-1-11
Spaghetti-1-11
Spelt-1-1-1
Allspice, Ground-1-1-1
Anise Seed-1-1-1
Basil, Dried-1-1-1
Bay Leaf-1-1-1
Caraway Seed-1-1-1
Cardamom-1-1-1
Celery Seed-1-1-1
Chervil, Dried-1-1-1
Chili Powder-1-1-1
Cinnamon-1-11
Cloves-1-1-1
Coriander-1-1-1
Coriander Seed-1-1-1
Cumin Seed-1-1-1
Curry Powder-1-1-1
Dill Seed-1-1-1
Dill Weed, Dried-1-1-1
Fennel Seed-1-1-1
Fenugreek Seed-1-1-1
Garlic Powder-1-11
Ginger-1-1-1
Mace-1-1-1
Marjoram, Dried-1-1-1
Mustard Seed-1-1-1
Nutmeg-1-1-1
Onion Powder-1-1-1
Oregano, Dried-1-1-1
Paprika-1-1-1
Parsley, Dried-1-1-1
Pepper, Black-1-11
Pepper, Red-1-1-1
Pepper, White-1-1-1
Poppy Seed-1-1-1
Poultry Seasoning-1-1-1
Pumpkin Spice-1-1-1
Rosemary-1-1-1
Saffron-1-1-1
Sage-1-1-1
Savory-1-1-1
Tarragon, Dried-1-1-1
Thyme, Dried-1-1-1
Turmeric-1-1-1
Spinach-11-11
Squash-111-1
Squid
Strawberries-11-11
Sweet Potatoes-1-1-1
Swiss Cheese-1-1-1
Syrup-1-11
Tangerines-1-1-1
Tapioca-1-1-1
Tea-1-11
Teriyaki-1-11
Tofu-1-1-1
Tomato Paste-1-1-1
Tomato Sauce-1-11
Tomatoes-11-1-1
Tortillas-11-1-1
Triticale-1-1-1
Tuna-1-11
Turkey-1-1-1
Turnips-1-1-1
Vanilla-1-1-1
Veal
Venison
Vinegar-1-1-1
Waffles-1-1-1
Walnuts-1-1-1
Wasabi-1-1-1
Water-1111
Watermelon-1-1-1
Wheat-1-11
Wheat Crackers-1-1-1
Wheat Flakes-1-11
Whey
Whip Topping
White Flour-1-11
White Rice-1-11
White Sugar-1-11
Whole Grain Crackers-1-1-1
Wild Rice-1-1-1
Wine-1-11
Yams-1-1-1
Yeast-1-11
Yogurt-1-1-1
Zucchini-111-1

A few additional thoughts

A lot can be learned by the scores. Most of us will quickly realize that nothing is being grown in our region. The food producing regions of the United States are not always nearby. This isn't a problem - when everything runs like it should and harvests keep coming in. But that doesn't always happen, and many foods are actually imported from overseas (thousands of foods and hundreds of millions of tons now) to meet the American demand for "year round availability". That's the first problem with locally available -- it simply "isn't" in most cases.

It's also extremely energy intensive to buy "long distance food". We do it because we like it, but it's one of the most wasteful human practices there is in terms of energy, oil, transportation, costs, pollution and even exploitative labor. We do it anyway even still, but you can make a difference by making an intentional choice on what you buy and where it comes from.

Eat local if at all possible. How much we "buy" is also revealing. Most of us buy almost all of the food we consume. Food is our greatest expense in our budgets. The sheer amount of money we spend, week after week, year after year, it staggering. We have no control over prices, availability or selection. These points are all established "for us" by complete strangers.

We also have no control over how healthy it REALLY is, other then reading labels, choosing carefully and paying the going rate -- which always increases. We are their consumers, stuck on the treadmill of consumption, constantly supporting and buying from large agribusinesses, some which are very predatory to human health. This is actually bad news for us as citizens and as consumers. Buying food from these multinationals supports them in ways we may not agree with.

How we spend our money on our single largest expense SHOULD MATTER to us. Nobody grows enough of their own food. I've often read about people who claim to "grow it all" or "buy nothing", but close examination reveals that they still buy quite a lot in reality. Most of us cannot (or won't) grow our staples (wheat, rice, potatoes, corn, etc.) year-round (or at all) and we wind up buying these products because we're still eating them regularly.

There are also a great many (hundreds and hundreds) of other food products we're still buying: fruit, condiments, sauces, mixes, supplements, gravy, etc., foods that we still eat but don't grow or make ourselves. In reality, everybody it seems buys almost all of their food -- and grows very little. There are a tiny few exceptions that I've found, but they are extremely rare. Not growing our own food makes us "hungry servants" to those that DO grow the food. We have to spend our hard-earned cash on what they offer at whatever price they set.

Our only other choice is to go without, grow it ourselves, or stock up when we can. Being in the food storage business, I've often seen ridiculous claims about "adequate food storage".

Most units I've examined are incredibly short on nutrition, calories, servings, weight and total size and will miserably fail to meet the advertised length of time the food storage can be eaten. I've covered a lot of these on the price comparison page.

The other major discrepancies I've seen with food storage is failure to store enough food. Almost nobody truly seems to understand just how much food it actually takes per year to stay healthy and energetic. People try to get by "on the cheap" with food storage, which will backfire on them rather badly when they really need it. Food storage is a fantastic investment -- better then gold or silver or almost anything else you can do since prices are always going up.

Food storage should be done "right" if at all possible, because it's not something you can cheat on anyway, your body will not allow it -- you WILL eat until it's gone.

The other thing about food storage is USE IT. Food storage should be a way of life. Consume your food storage at yesterday's lower price (saving money today) and replace it with fresh stock when you can. Rotate your food storage regularly. Make it a part of your daily diet so it is not "strange" to you when you do need it.

Also, always buy what you eat, not what some salesman is trying to sell you. There are a lot of unscrupulous foods storage companies out there trying to separate you from your hard-earned cash. Finally, food storage is STILL ESSENTIAL for everyone. Even if you were one of the magical few that "grow all your own food", you still need food storage, because crops fail, people get sick or injured, jobs are lost, climate spirals out of control, drought, pests, disease, theft or more hungry mouths to feed all still happen.

Nobody "knows" that their crops will meet their needs -- or even come to harvests. Food storage was a MAJOR part of the American development of this country and was practiced by all of our ancestors for thousands of years. They fully understood the need to store food because they had to -- or they would have all starved to death and none of us would be here today. We have forgotten what it means to store food and why we should still be doing it.

My assessment is this:

Nobody is really prepared when it comes to food. I'm not and I know it. The above matrix is my own by the way -- and I've got a ten year food supply on hand. Nothing is grown here and I'm not so naive as to think that I can survive a collapse by heading off into the woods and getting my food from the wild. That is a recipe for disaster as I have often written on the blog.

The lack of locally grown food is a HUGE problem that is not easily solved -- and indeed, will not be solved in most regions. Humanity has now been forced into a corner for food survival -- we now entirely dependent upon agribusiness and multinational food companies to keep us all alive. That's the long and the short of it.

Personally, I have a serious concern about the wisdom of this practice. Anything could happen, including being forced out of necessity to consume foods that aren't good for us (GMO) or having the food supply poisoned or disrupted. Being dependent is a type of slavery in reality, having to "work for food". It's a treadmill that inhibits individual freedom and liberty (and human health), forcing you to always run at their price.

The only answer to this is to gain independence and food freedom by growing your own as much as possible. You will be healthier, freer and save money while lowering your support of agribusinesses, chain stores and corporations who are actively engaged in keeping you enslaved as much as possible. Food freedom is a key component to human freedom!

About the Food Matrix

Understanding how prepared we are is a complex subject. Food is the #1 priority in personal preparedness. Nobody can live long without adequate nutrition. We often take food for granted, not knowing where it comes from, how far it had to travel, nor have any knowledge of the complex logistics involved before it shows up on the supermarket shelf.

Our just-in-time delivery system transports food stuffs from field to processor to manufacture to distributor to warehouse to shelves in a extremely long chain of events that most of us never think about. The average food distance traveled before it makes it to your supermarket is 1500 miles.

Farmers, factories and manufacturers of food are very dependent upon crop harvests, climate, water (including drought), pests and disease; each which can affect how long, how much, and at what price food is available to purchase. Food appears to Americans to be ubiquitous, found everywhere, and always available.

This isn't always true however and as climate disasters and global competition for food stuffs increase, actual shortages, price hikes and unavailability of food become increasingly common. Americans are very well fed compared to other countries, which are much more undernourished then we are. This helps create our complacency about our food, how much we eat, where it comes from, how long it takes to arrive and what it costs. In the past ten years, food prices have increased quite dramatically, food units that I sold ten years ago have more then doubled their costs.

Food storage then, becomes a valid and strong incentive for investment, security, availability and peace of mind. Food is not a "wasted" insurance program, since eating is always necessary, just as much as breathing is. Taking our food supply for granted is a huge mistake in a declining world. You can do something about it -- by growing your own foods, storing food and understanding that food security is a pro-active measure that you can take.