The Persuasive Prepper: Convincing Loved Ones to Prepare

By DAISY LUTHER | ORGANIC PREPPER | MARCH 21, 2013

If you are a prepper, chances are that you have friends and family who consider you anywhere on the “nuts” scale from a bit eccentric to downright certifiable.

This viewpoint, of course, makes it very difficult for you to talk with these loved ones and bring them over to the “dark side” of preparedness with you.  It’s painful to see people about whom you care, blithely going along, spending money frivolously, buying their groceries a couple of days at a time, and living in places that are totally unsustainable should disaster strike.

Why People Won’t Listen

It’s important to understand why your loved ones see the world through rose-colored glasses.  While they are busy casting mental health disorder epithets your way, it is actually the people who refuse to accept reality who are suffering from a psychological phenomena called “cognitive dissonance”.

Cognitive dissonance (a phrase coined in the book When Prophecy Fails, by Dr. Leon  Festinger) describes the mental discomfort that a person feels when faced with two diverse values – the reality of a situation and the moral belief system of the person collide. When this occurs, the person must make alterations to one or the other in order to regain his equilibrium. According to Dr. Festinger theory, “people engage in a process he termed “dissonance reduction”, which can be achieved in one of three ways: lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors, adding consonant elements, or changing one of the dissonant factors. This bias sheds light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior.”  (source)

It’s very frustrating to watch otherwise intelligent people completely avoid the acceptance of our reality.  Those deep into cognitive dissonance are simply NOT going to come around by hearing you preach to them.  If anything, it will only drive them further away from you.  The concept of, for example, a long term disaster like and EMP or an economic collapse are incomprehensible to them.  Because of this, no matter how fervently you believe these things to be likely in the future, it’s best to water down the reality into manageable bites.

Breaking Them In Gently

Many people find it easier to accept the likelihood of a weather-related disaster that might knock the power out for a few days to a week.  You can easily provide recent examples, like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.  For those in regions where events like this occur, you can often persuade your loved ones to stock in at least a 2 week supply.  Other regions are prone to ice storms, snow storms or earthquakes.  This can be a gentle introduction to preparedness.  Clearly, a two week supply is not enough to weather a long-term disaster.  However you may be able to build on this base acceptance and begin to help your loved ones begin to extend their supplies.

Another great tactic is promoting the economic logic behind a well-stocked pantry.  Prices are only going up – it doesn’t take a prepper to see this.  If you can convince someone of the investment value of a food supply, sometimes you can persuade them to prep without them even realizing that is what they are doing.  Then, when that supply comes in handy during a disaster event or a personal period of economic hardship, you can gently reinforce the lesson.

Sending gentle nudges via email is sometimes helpful, but inundating a non-prepper with preparedness advice will generally fall upon deaf ears.  Repetition of preparedness concepts without the scare tactics can help break through the normalcy bias, but it is important to limit yourself within the tolerance level of the person with whom you are communicating.  Remember, you do not want to be the Jehovah’s Witness of preparedness, knocking on the door during dinnertime while the non-prepper pretends not to be home.

Unfortunately, for the most part,  you have to realize there isn’t a lot you can do to convince others that preparing is vital.  People have to come to their own realizations, just the way you did.  You have to accept that constantly harping on preparedness will do nothing more than drive a wedge between you and those you love.

What If They Won’t Listen?

As a prepper, you have to make a difficult decision.  Are you going to prepare for a few extra people, adding supplies and making room for them when the SHTF?  Or are you going to go about your preparedness business quietly, embracing OPSEC and building up your supplies with only your immediate family members in mind?  Some people state that they have no compunction turning away unprepared family members when disaster strikes, because they spent years warning them to get ready.  This is a choice that most preppers have to make, and there are no “one size fits all” answers.  It is important to discuss this among the decision-makers of your household and present a unified front, which ever conclusion you reach.

Have you been able to help friends and family see the writing on the wall?  If so, how were you able to convince them that it was time to get ready?  If not, are you preparing for extra people or are you planning on locking the doors?

Prepping No Matter What the Setting

By DAISY LUTHER | ORGANIC PREPPER | MARCH 15, 2013

There really are very few “perfect” locations for a prepper.  A very common excuse that some people give as to why they cannot prep is their current location.  People say, “Well, once we are able to get moved to our farm in two years I’ll start prepping hardcore.” Another favorite is “I’m saving the money for moving instead of using it for preps.” Or even worse, ”Oh, there is no point in prepping here, because if the SHTF I’ll be dead.”

Stop this kind of thinking RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

Sometimes, to borrow an old saying, you just have to bloom where you’re planted.

There are many things you can do to increase your preparedness wherever you happen to live.  Apartment dwellers at the top of a city high rise, folks in the middle of the desert, and people in HOA-ruled suburban lots all have to examine their situations, figure out their pros and cons, and work towards resolving what they can.  With some pre-planning, there is a lot you can overcome if you have the right mindset.  I suspect there are just as many (and probably far more) preppers living in the ‘burbs than there are living in perfect rural locations, with a lake, 10 acres of cultivated farmland in an off-grid house.

Money is tight all over.  It’s very easy for people to say, off-the-cuff, “Oh, you should move.”

But just picking up and moving isn’t that easy.  It took me nearly 4 years to be able to do that.  People have obligations and ties that some Joe-Blow on the internet shouting out advice can’t even begin to understand.  Some in the prepping community have a complete disconnect with the realities of everyday people.  There are reasons like:

  • Not enough money to leave
  • A good job (very hard to come by these days)
  • Family members in the area that you don’t want to abandon
  • No work opportunities where you want to go
  • Custody orders that require you to remain in a certain area
  • A spouse who is not on board
  • A house that won’t sell or with an upside-down mortgage

The list goes on and on.  There are as many reasons to remain in one place as there are people living in cities.  And yes, I could sit here and refute each and every reason a person has chosen to remain, but it wouldn’t do one bit of good.  People are sometimes alienated by the prepping movement when it seems that everything is black and white or like their personal decisions are somehow less valid than the decisions of some random person on the internet.

That’s why it’s important to take your current situation, warts and all, and work with it.  This doesn’t mean that you should abandon your plans for a better location some time in the future if such a move is warranted.  But it means that you shouldn’t put off important preparedness steps until after that move is made.

Assess Your Situation

You don’t know where to go if you don’t know where you are.  The first and most vital step is an honest assessment of your current situation.  The situation that you have right now, this very minute, not the one you will have in a month or in a year. Assess your needs regarding the following in a SHTF scenario or disaster:

  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Food/Cooking
  • Heating
  • Security
  • Light

Once you know exactly where you are with these things, you can begin to look for solutions that will work for you, today.  Dig in and make a plan for the survival of your family.

And a little note to those who say, “It doesn’t matter, I’m in downtown Manhattan. I’ll die anyway.”

No, you won’t.  You won’t be that lucky. You will be absolutely thoroughly miserable, breathing foul unhealthy air.  You’ll be thirsty enough to drink unsanitary water, which will cause bowel issues to worsen problem #1.  You’ll be hungry, but not hungry enough that you die of starvation.  You will be at the mercy of thugs better armed than you.  And you won’t die, not right away.  You will live like I just described, and it will be horrible.  Look at the residents of Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy.  They didn’t die but they were absolutely miserable, they were terrified, they were eating from dumpsters,  and much of it could have been avoided with some basic preparedness.

Survival in a Population Dense Area

Before I relocated to my little cabin in the woods I lived in a very metropolitan area.  I was lucky in that I had 1/10th of an acre.  I did everything I could come up with to make my little house as sustainable as possible should the poop hit the oscillating device before I could get out.  A disaster in the city IS survivable.

I planted every inch of the back yard and grew enough food that the home-canned and frozen produce lasted until Christmas.  I stockpiled groceries.  I had plywood cut and pre-drilled to cover each window of the house. I had printed official looking quarantine signs to hang on the door of my house as a deterrent. I put together a little outdoor fireplace in the backyard behind my fence.  I got  a big dog.  I collected rainwater from downspouts at each corner of the house.  I purchased an antique oil heater in good working order, and stockpiled heating oil.  I had enough seeds to plant for the next 4 years.  I located nearby sources of water, wood, and nuts.  I got a wagon for hauling stuff if the transportation system was down.

In short, I did everything possible to make the best of a potentially terrible location.  It wasn’t perfect, but we would have outlasted most of the other people in our residential neighborhood and done so under the radar.

The Priorities

Let’s take a look at each of the major challenges that we face in a SHTF situation.  Obviously different disasters offer different challenges.  These lists aren’t meant to be comprehensive.  They are meant to be a starting point to get your wheels turning on how you and your family can best survive, exactly where you’re planted right now.

Water

You can only survive for 3 days without water (and you’ll be weak and suffering way before that) so that should put water preparedness at the very top of your list.  Some ideas:  1 month supply of drinking water stored (plan on a gallon per day, per person and pet), non-electric water filtration system (with spare filters), buckets along with a sled or wheel barrow depending on the season for transporting water, a water catchment system, water purification supplies (bleach, pool shock, tablets), system for catching gray water to be reused for flushing, washing, etc.

Sanitation

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York, it was reported that people were defecating and urinating in the hallways of apartment buildings once the sewer system stopped working.  Lack of sanitation is not only unpleasant, but it spreads disease.  Some ideas: portapotty, buckets lined with heavy duty trash bags, kitty litter, water for flushing if you have septic, learn how to shut off the main valve so that city sewage cannot back up into your house or apartment, supplies to build an outhouse, lime, baby wipes,antibacterial wipes, white vinegar, bleach,  hand sanitizer, extra toilet paper.

Food/Cooking

Most preppers have a food supply, but have you considered how you’re going to prepare all those beans if your stove doesn’t work?  Some ideas: Minimum of 1 month of food for each family member and pet;  alternative cooking methods indoors like a fondue pot, a woodstove, propane stove, or fireplace; outdoor cooking methods like a barbecue (beware of tantalizing smells and hungry neighbors), outdoor fireplace or firepit, rocket stove, or sun oven; and foods that don’t require cooking or heating.

 Heating

This depends upon your climate and the time of year that disaster strikes.  Prioritize accordingly.  Some ideas: wood stove, fireplace, oil heater, kerosene heater, propane heater, coal heater; non-tech ideas like  arctic sleeping bags, winter clothes and accessories, covers for windows, segregating one room to heat.

Security

In a disaster situation, the risk of potentially violent civil unrest always goes up.  We used a two-fold approach of trying to avoid conflict by keeping a low profile, but being ready to deal with it if it couldn’t be avoided.  Some ideas:  personal defense items (this will vary depending on your location, the laws there, and whether or not you intend to follow those laws), secure heavy doors with reinforced frames, plywood or gridwork to cover the windows, keeping lights off or low, thorny plants around the perimeter of your house and yard, hardening access points, a big dog, an alarm system, and visual deterrents such as warning signs and quarantine signs.

Light

Don’t underestimate the value of light in a dark world.  Most city dwellers don’t consider exactly how dark the night can be without streetlights and lights from houses.  Emotionally, having a bit of light can help soothe frazzled children (or adults) and help the night seem a little less scary.  Use caution that your light cannot be seen from the outside – like moths to a flame, people will be drawn to the only brightly lit house on the street.  Some ideas: Solar garden lights, candles, kerosene lights, oil lights, flashlights, headlamps, battery operated LED lights, solar camping lanterns.

 Make a Plan

So, if you’re reading this and you’ve been putting off preparedness due to your location, what’s your plan?

If you’ve been feeling disheartened by all the folks grimly telling you that your home is a death trap, what can you do over the weekend to improve your chances, right where you are?

And if you are fortunate enough to be in an ideal location, please share your ideas about overcoming some of these difficulties in a less than perfect place on the map. As a community, we can all help one another solve problems that could otherwise seem insurmountable.

Food monopolists are taking over the world food supply

By J. D. HEYES | NATURAL NEWS | MARCH 6, 2013

There was a reason why our founding fathers were leery of monopolies – because they knew that too much power and influence in too few hands was not conducive to liberty and freedom.

That’s one reason why they would likely be concerned about control of the global food supply these days – because too few food multinationals have a grip on commodity markets, “with potentially dramatic effects for consumers and food producers alike,” Britain’s Independent reported recently.

The newspaper was citing a new report that warned the livelihoods of millions of small business owners and firms that produce many of the drinks and foods we consume on a daily basis are “seriously under threat,” noting that extreme price volatility coupled with higher food prices and more concentrated food markets threaten to leave farmers “condemned to poverty.”

The paper said three mega-multinationals now control better than 40 percent of global coffee sales, for example. Eight companies control the supply of cocoa and chocolate. Seven control the lion’s share – 85 percent – of tea production. Five multinationals control three-quarters of the world banana trade. And the largest half-dozen sugar traders account for about 66 percent of world trade, the new report by the Fairtrade Foundation said.

Continue reading full article at NaturalNews.com

The Preparedness Primer: How To Get Started

By DAISY LUTHER | ORGANIC PREPPER | MARCH 1, 2013

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Lao Tzu (604 BC – 531 BC)

Above is the most popular version of this quote by ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.  But I’ve always kind of liked the more literal translation, which is, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin where you stand.”  I find it so inspiring that wherever I want to go in life, I can start working towards that goal, right here, right now.  I just have to make the decision to do so.

I can’t think of any place this quote is more applicable than with a journey to preparedness and self-sufficiency.  Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you can begin right now, this very day, to ensure the well-being of your family during whatever crisis comes your way.

Lately, I’ve gotten a lot of emails and comments asking where to begin.  I think that is a wonderful question because it means that more of you reading this have realized that there’s no time to lose.  I have given some brief suggestions, but this is a topic that deserves detail.  I brushed upon it recently in an article called, “Is It Too Late to Start Prepping?” but today, we’re going to get down to the nitty-gritty.

First things first, you need to figure out where you’re at with regard to preparedness.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your significant other on board?
  • What crises are the most likely?  Think about natural disasters that are common to the area, like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes.  Consider man-made disasters like leaks from chemical plants or nuclear meltdowns at power plants.  Don’t forget the potential for an economic crisis like job loss, illness, and general inflation.
  • How much money do you have to spend on prepping?
  • What kind of storage space do you have?
  • What natural resources can you tap into at your current location? (This could be a lake for water, wild berries in the forest, wood to heat your house, etc.)
  • What do you already have?

Once you know where you are, it helps you map out where you need to go!

Next, you need a plan.

This is where I refer you to another website.   I recommend 52 Weeks to Preparedness by Tess Pennington, over at Ready Nutrition.  This is a free (FREE!!!!) series that breaks down preparedness week by week.  It is incredibly well organized, and by breaking things down into small, bite-sized pieces, it’s far more affordable for those of us who make under 6 figures and cannot afford a fully stocked bunker in the mountains of Idaho.  When I first discovered this site, I’d already been prepping for several years, but the sheer organizational genius of all the lists helped me take it to another level.  So, whether you are starting from the very beginning or you’ve been at it for a while, this series will be incredibly beneficial.

Take the First Step

Take this a bit at a time.  No, you don’t have unlimited time to get prepared, but it’s important not to go out in a tizzy and make rash expenditures, particularly if the budget is already tight.  Use the “week at a time” system above to help you break this down.  It’s very overwhelming to try and attack this all at once.

If you’re going to go out and do some shopping, put together a list.  A good starting target is a two week supply of the following:

  • Drinking water for every member of the household (including the furry members)
  • 3 servings per day of grains for each person
  • 3 servings of protein for each person
  • 5 servings of fruits and vegetables for each person
  • 2 servings of dairy for each person (more for growing children and pregnant or lactating women)
  • Take into consideration any special dietary needs that members of your household might have.  Things like baby formula, low sugar foods, low salt foods and supplements are often overlooked.
  • Necessary prescription medications
  • A method of heating or cooking the above foods in the event of a power outage, along with fuel (alternatively, you can make choices that don’t require cooking)
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Candles or other light sources that do not rely on the grid

And there you are. It really is THAT EASY to get started.

What caused you to make the decision to start prepping?  What was your first step?  Please share in the comments below!

The Failure of Raw Milk Prohibition

by Karen De Coster
KarenDeCoster.com
September 6, 2011

The August 3, 2011 shakedown of the Rawesome food cooperative in Venice, California, in spite of the tragic outcome, has produced one positive result. The ruthless raid on the part of miscellaneous government agencies has sparked a wave of unprecedented discord over the question – How can government dictate what we choose to eat when we each have unique standards for good nutrition?

This federalista blitzkrieg came at a time when raw milk alarmism had reached an all-time high. The folks who wish to banish raw milk can’t leave the issue alone, and instead they have ramped up a cacophonous crusade against one of nature’s natural glories. Day after day, articles and news bits appear in the mainstream media, full of fear mongering and panic-producing propaganda in regards to the safety of raw milk.

A July 2011 article on Dairyherd.com has some interesting survey results on comparative raw milk regulations on a state-by-state basis. To summarize, thirty states allow consumers to transact with raw milk producers while twenty states prohibit that act of freedom. And don’t forget that federal laws prevent the sale of any raw milk over state lines. The fed’s response to the good white stuff moving over state lines is to send in armed soldiers in full battle gear to seize and destroy.

Thirteen mini-regimes across the U.S. allow the sale of raw milk on the farm where it was produced, while four of those thirteen allow only “incidental occurrences,” which, of course, cannot be defined. After all, it is the use of arbitrary laws with a host of potential interpretations that enables the feds to conduct their criminal operations that consist of seizing product and regulating small producers out of business. Incidental occurrences is defined as “occasional sales, not as a regular course of business; no advertising.” Surely, the feds can interpret “occasional” and “regular” and “advertising” in a whole host of capricious ways.

Four of those thirteen states only allow raw goat milk while Kentucky and Rhode Island – now get this – require a prescription from a physician! Of course, you can interpret that to mean raw milk must be medicinal (ask Moms who remedy their child’s allergies with raw milk), but then again, there’s no such thing as a Big Milk Pharma that exists as a corporate arm of the state to keep its products available for the masses. Lastly, eleven states allow raw milk to be sold in retail stores outside of the farm.

Several of the states that allow the sale of raw milk for human consumption have various twists and turns in their laws that make it very difficult to get the milk from the farm to the consumer. This essentially limits, or in some cases prevents, the sale of the product. However, imaginative entrepreneurs whose businesses are stifled by the government’s totalitarian decrees have conceived the idea of herd shares, and this allows folks to jump through aboveboard hoops to buy a “piece” of a herd and get their raw milk. Though this is a costly administrative burden for both buyer and seller, any time that people can conjure up visionary ways to skirt the laws of the regime, freedom has taken a small step forward.

Rawesome was a private, voluntary cooperative of consenting members who took responsibility for any potential risks. Rawesome members even signed waivers before becoming a food club member. With all of the agencies involved (USDA, FDA, LA County Sheriff, CDC) over a period of a year, this jihad came at great expense to taxpayers. The LA Weekly described it this way:

The official word from the DA’s office is that Stewart, Palmer & Bloch were arrested on criminal conspiracy charges stemming from the alleged illegal production and sale of unpasteurized goat milk, goat cheese, yogurt and kefir. The arrests are the result of a yearlong sting. The 13-count complaint alleges that an undercover agent received goat milk, stored in a cooler in the back of Healthy Family Farms van, in the parking lot of a grocery store. While it’s legal to manufacture and sell unpasteurized dairy products in California, licenses and permits are required. Rawesome may have violated regulations by selling raw dairy products to non-members.

Here is a link to the 21-page complaint. Among the many charges against owner James Stewart is one that immediately stands out: entering into private leasing arrangements with consumers. This charge is still fuzzy, and I am sure the feds can produce a whole book of crimes.

In a recent edition of The Atlantic, an article was published that does a solid job of covering the Rawesome food club raid and its aftermath. The Atlantic writer, Ari LeVaux, compares the Rawesome raid by Federal and local agencies to the contamination of 36 million pounds of Cargill ground turkey (one tally is 77 known ill people, 1 dead). Rawesome was raided, trashed, and shut down, and meanwhile, Cargill executives were analyzing the costs of a recall vs. the potential for negative publicity from the tainted meat so they could voluntarily decide whether or not to recall the product.

LeVaux went on to say that food freedom in America is vanishing. A quote from the end of the article: “This is the state of food freedom in America today: It’s being sacrificed in the name of food safety.” But this is not about safety. These raids against about (1) seizing power, which benefits federal and local governments and provides justification for their continued growth through the looting of taxpayers, (2) eliminating the competition for the rent-seeking corporate state, meaning the big business-big government alliance, (3) displaying the omnipotent power of the enforcement state (militarized police and federal/state agencies), and (4) affirming rejection of any individual’s right to self-ownership, and thus making the case that we are subjects to be ruled, including our behaviors and personal lifestyle choices. The apostles of safety – assorted lawyers, corporate interests, meddlesome consumers, and other misguided safety advocates – have joined the government’s campaign against raw milk to promote their own special interests and opinions. There is no tyranny of good intentions here.

Another analysis I have not heard mentioned is that this raid was, in fact, a test case for the new powers granted to the FDA under the Food Safety Modernization Act. Yet, when I wrote about this totalitarian decree just one year ago (see #1 here and #2 here), I received emails from many folks stating that my concern was embellished and misplaced. Yet this regulatory food bill has opened the doors for federal intrusion at the most basic level of choosing one’s food. Food freedomist author and blogger Dave Gumpert had this interesting comment on his blog:

I’m beginning to wonder: Is the cruelty of depriving your population of essential foods a war crime? If there were a real war going on, with guns firing, it could be. A United Nations panel has accused the Sri Lanka military of war crimes for denying food to civilians in a war zone.

We’re certainly edging closer to war here, as guns have been drawn in the war on Rawesome (see photo above). For now, the answer to government attacks on food distribution is to go underground, avoid fixed locations like the Rawesome outlet in Venice, CA. In the meantime, perhaps we should be gathering names for possible war crimes actions against those guilty of this basest of crimes – stealing the people’s food.

Rawesome had been raided previously, in 2010, and here is a very telling – and almost pathetically comical – video of cops barging into the organic-natural food store with guns drawn during the 2010 raid.