Episode 339 S12-1
Supply Shortages, Food Preps and the War's Effect
Little House in the Big Woods Ch 1
Lessons from the past are essential guides to the future. Less than 100 years ago, food preservation was a completely different process than today. With the ongoing conflict affecting the supply chain and further impacting global food supplies, now is the time to self-produce and self-preserve.
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Lessons From the Past
Taking a lesson from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book, Little House in the Big Woods, chapter one is filled with essential food preservation techniques from a time when automation was non-existent. In fact, there were no other houses, roads, or people. Only a single wagon track wove its way from their home, and the wolves howled outside the door at night. When “Pa” would take a deer, he did it in the fall, and it would be hung high up in an oak tree so the predators couldn’t take the meat.
The meat would be salted and packed to provide food through the winter, and the skin was salted and stretched to make leather for essential items. Pa made a log smoker to preserve the meat and if you are interested in this setup and how you can preserve your meat without a freezer, check out the article I did on Survival Secrets from The Big Woods. The type of smoker pa made had the fire inside with the meat. He favored “green” hickory chips so the fire would smolder, and they burned the fire for days, waiting for the meat to smoke. Once finished, each piece was wrapped in paper to store.
Fish was salted and packed in barrels for the winter. They had a pig that roamed free and was penned and fattened before winter. It was butchered when it was cold enough to keep the meat frozen. The garden grew near the home so the deer wouldn’t eat from it during the day, and at night the dog would keep the deer out. Root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, and cabbages were stored in a cellar. Braided by their tops, onions were hung in the attic while pumpkins and squashes were piled in corners. The salted fish was kept in the pantry with yellow cheese on the shelves.
As someone who has butchered pigs in the past, I found the pig butchery interesting. Once the pig was killed, they would scald it in hot water to help the bristles on the skin fall off. A brush ensured they were removed entirely. After that was done, they left it to hang in the tree to cool. Everything was used. The head would have every bit of meat removed in boiling water, and then it would be chopped up and seasoned with pepper, salt, and spices and mixed with pot-liquor. Tiny bits of meat were chopped into sausage seasoned with sage, salt, and pepper. Then they would roll it into balls and put it in the shed to freeze for winter use. Hams and shoulders were salted, brined, smoked, and stored. The bladder was blown up for the children to play with like a balloon and the tail made a tasty treat. The lard was simmered and rendered and used for multiple applications all over the homestead.
It is important to remember these lessons from the past because we rely upon energy to do most of our work these days. During WWII, there were shortages and rationing. The people ate and prospered because they were encouraged to produce food at home. What would that look like in today’s reality? Not many of us produce food at home. Also, the news of the current war affecting food supplies was concerning because we have been watching severe weather have significant effects on food supply for the last couple of years.
During WWII, tires, cars, bicycles, stoves, rubber footwear, shoes and typewriters were rationed. These items were limited because of rubber shortages (we didn’t make synthetic rubber then) and the factories shifting focus to making war machines. Fuels such as gasoline, heating fuel oils, kerosene, and solid fuels were rationed. However, some essential food items like sugar, coffee, processed foods, meats, canned fish, cheese, canned milk, and fats were also rationed.
Pre-War Global Food Supply
There was no cause for alarm when the USDA issued the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Wheat stocks started with smaller supplies, but reduced domestic use and lower demand should have left the US with more stores by the end of the year. Worldwide production increases by Argentina and Uruguay were offset by decreased production in Brazil and Paraguay. Russia’s beginning stocks were lower than expected, and they were already expected to export less. Overall the wheat stocks were at the lowest levels recorded since the 2016/17 season.
The US was expected to have higher corn production with greater food, seed, and industrial use demand. However, exports were expected to be lower with larger ending stocks. Worldwide production was supposed to be lower with lower consumption and ending stocks. Declines in production in Brazil, Argentina, Kenya, Mexico, EU, and Paraguay were supposed to be offset by larger yields in Ukraine. Overall global corn stocks were down.
Rice was also expecting smaller supplies, lower domestic use, decreased exports, and reduced ending stocks. Globally they were `forcasting smaller supplies, reduced consumption, fractionally higher trade, and overall lower stocks.
Oilseeds were a mixed bag of nuts. More considerable soybean, canola, and sunflower seed production were expected, and larger peanut crops were offset by lower cottonseed production. Globally lower production, crush, exports, and end of the year stocks were predicted.
Sugar production has been increased in the US, and they were expecting a reduction in imports.
Red meat and poultry production increased. Beef production estimates increased due to higher than standard carcass weights. Pork and egg production was reduced, and cattle, broiler, turkey, and egg prices were already forecasted to increase. Milk and cheese were predicted to have higher import numbers and lower exports.
How the War Will Affect Us
This war with Russia will affect the globe. Many EU nations rely heavily upon Russian energy because of Russian oil pipelines. Small changes can have a significant impact. In 2021 a UK fertilizer plant had to shut down because of rising energy prices. This led to a decrease in fertilizer, higher costs for the farmers, and a carbon dioxide shortage. Carbon dioxide is essential for everything from medical practices to food preservation.
There was already a sharp increase at the grocery store in 2021. Russia and Ukraine account for a fourth of global wheat exports, and Ukraine exports almost half of global sunflower oil supplies. Countries like Turkey and Egypt rely on Russia and Ukraine for nearly seventy percent of their wheat supply, and Ukraine is the number one supplier of corn to China. Russia also supplies many of the key ingredients to make fertilizers which will cause food prices to increase further.
Global transportation will suffer when the rising oil prices hit the shipping industry. Already crippled, the supply chain will have to adjust rail and cargo shipping routes. Cyber attacks on the supply chain are also a threat.
Russia and Ukraine are the leading nickel, copper, and iron producers. In addition to metals like neon, palladium, and platinum. Prices have already increased, and the war will only worsen the situation. Palladium is used in automotive exhausts, mobile phones, and dental fillings. Neon is used in microchip lithography. The disruption in microchip supply was already a significant concern. Titanium is another metal that Russia produces, and it’s essential to the aerospace business.
Overall, the war will spur inflation and slow growth. There were already concerns regarding cereal grain production because of severe weather and lack of labor. The World Trade Organization predicts a massive impact on wheat and bread prices. The markets will shift, but the activity will further tax global supplies.
The Changing Earth Series
Chin Gibson is the mystery prepper. Friend to all and known to none. His real identity hidden from the public, Chin is well known to the online prepper community as the go to resource for finding a community member to solve your problem. He is an awesome people connector and does his best to unite the voices educating the masses about being ready for a unforeseen life challenge. Chin will be joining Sara to co-host The Changing Earth Podcast.