Lets discuss food sources in a post apocalyptic world after SHTF.  Survivalist have a wide range of ideas on how to get food in a post apocalyptic world.  Some of these ideas cover everything from living a hunter-gather lifestyle, to living off of food stocks until society recovers, to farming and gardening.   Lets take a look at some of these ideas and make some comparisons.

The plans that each Survivalist has will vary widely depending on actual experience and training.  The plans range from the very well thought out and tested plans, to spur of the moment ideas.

Lets set the tone for this article – a new virus has developed that has a 90% fatality rate.  This is like what the Black Death was in 1348 – 1350, where 1/3 of Europe died.   Society has broken down to the point where no food or fuel supplies are being shipped.  People will not leave their homes except to find food – which gets more difficult to find.  Finally, people have to do “something” so they do not starve to death.

One survivalist approach is to Bug Out to the wilderness and live off the land – this is also called the “Bug Out Bag” theory.  In the event of a world wide disaster, the survivalist is going to grab their Bug Out Bag, then take their family out to the wilderness to live off the land.

This is reminiscent of prehistoric man living a hunter-gather subsistence lifestyle. There are several problems with this situation:

  • There is no support chain – if you need help, your own your own.
  • Very few people have the skills to live a hunter-gather lifestyle.
  • People have difficulty adjusting to sudden changes in their lifestyle.
  • Deforestation has destroyed a lot of native edible plants.
  • A lot of wild edible plants are seasonal.
  • Unsafe drinking water – people that adhere to the Bug Out Bag theory, underestimate the effects of water borne pathogens, as their primary source of water will be from streams, lakes or rivers.
  • At the mercy of the weather – rain or shine, hot or cold, your just gonna have to tough it out.

To a lot of people, these points do not matter. If Homo Erectus, Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon and early Homo Sapiens could survive for tens of thousands of years with simple stone tools, then so can they.

Bug out bag theorist forget – once agriculture was developed, the hunter-gather lifestyle was abandoned. Why expend so much energy hunting and gathering food, when it can be grown?

One of theories is to stock enough food, that the family unit can live off it until society recovers. Stores abound of survivalist having 1, 2 or even 3 years of food stocked up.  Some types of survival food stocks include Meals Ready to Eat (MRE), dried beans, dried rice, freeze dried foods, 5 gallon buckets of freeze dried flour or wheat,,,,,.

Now lets take a look at some of the drawbacks to this plan.

  • To cook dried beans and rice, your going to need a lots of water and lots of fuel for the stove.
  • The dried foods are a non-renewable food source – once the can of beans is opened, will you be able to plant the can an grow a bean plant?
  • Empty cans will pile up – and they must be disposed of.
  • Rotting food in the empty cans helps the spread of disease – flys get into the food residue left in the cans, then spread that disease.


The thing with stocking large amounts of food – its not very portable, its heavy, its bulky, it has to be rotated once the expiration date is reached, it can get expensive, and the entire plan is not very flexible. The term “flexible” means this – “You have your canned goods or dried foods and your going to live off of that if there is a disaster,,,,.” Where is the flexibility of that plan?

Real life story – one of my buddies invested a lot of money into freeze dried foods, cases of #10 cans, 5 gallon buckets of flour and wheat. When Hurricane Ike made landfall, 3 – 4 feet of flood waters entered his house. A lot of his food stocks (cans and 5 gallon buckets) were covered with a muddy sludge. If the cans where opened, the sludge would containment the food. At the very least – all of the cans and buckets had to be washed off with antibacterial soap and decontaminated.

Now its time to discuss the farming and gardening aspect of survivalist food preps.  This is probably the most versatile, flexible and most effective plan so far – that is just my personal opinion.  Plans can range from having an established farms with cows, horses, pigs and chickens, to have some seeds in the freezer and not having the slightest idea of what to do with them.

Out of all three topics discussed so far, gardening and farming is the only one that provides a renewable food supply.

But even this topic has its drawbacks:

  • Farm animals are difficult to transport
  • Drought and floods can devastate crops
  • Farm animals can get sick and die
  • Fruit trees can blow over in high winds
  • Crops can be destroyed by diseases and insects

Even with the disadvantages, farming and gardening has a lot to offer.

  • Renewable food sources – seeds can be harvested saved, chickens lay eggs, farm animals reproduce
  • Variety of foods – everything from fresh vegetables to protein, this provides for a balanced diet
  • Extra seeds can be used for trade items

When preparing for a long term disaster, its important to look at as many food production options as possible. Whether its hunting, gardening, gathering berries and roots, farming, stocking up on dried or canned goods,,,,. Work out a plan that suits your situation the best. We can not expect a city dweller to have 10 acres of land and a working farm.

The key is to work out a plan, test the plan, study the plan, and figure out what is going to work the best for you and your family.

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Kevin Felts

Kevin Felts was born and raised in southeast Texas, graduated from Bridge City high school Bridge City Texas, and attended Lamar College in Port Arthur Texas. Hobbies include fishing, hiking, hunting, blogging, sharing his politically incorrect opinion, video blogging on youtube, survivalism and spending time with his family. In his free time you may find Kevin working around the farm clearing brush, working on a fence, building something, or tending to the livestock