First off, I don't think someone that was amassing a supply of food for nefarious purposes would be so open and public about it. Secondly, all one has to do is look at my background to see why I might be doing a little stockplin'. And, no, I'm not talking about my white, middle-class, good girl, nice college educated background, although that probably wouldn't hurt. I'm talking about my adult life where things haven't gone so well, despite that quality, yet strangely worthless, college education. The adult life where there have been times that I've had $5 or less to feed my family for a month and relied heavily on foraging, since I didn't know how to garden yet and didn't have a good place to do it in our apartment. Or the aspect of the adult life where we had to live with my husband's mom for seven years before we could get a place of our own. The adult life where my husband was injured on the job and couldn't work for nearly a year, then let go from that job about a year and a half later. In other words, we've struggled. A lot. Money is constantly uncertain and, for many of these times, food was very uncertain as well. These are the reasons I learned to forage, to garden, and to cook so darn well. No, I'm not sitting around feeling sorry for me or my family, I'm just explaining why, other than terrorism, someone might gather an extensive supply of food while they have the means to do so.
While stories like that of my family may not be that uncommon (or maybe it is, since I think a lot of people would have just given up by now instead of keep getting back up for more), there are bunches of other reasons I can think of that someone may amass enough food to last months or even years:
- Gardeners: while many may see us as a sick bunch with our dedication to making green things grow, we like our homegrown goodies and try to make them last, so we preserve them, if we can, to last through the off season
- Canners: also a twisted group of souls (which of course, I wouldn't say unless I was part of this group), we love the sound of the pop when a jar seals and the corresponding pop when it is opened. Because of this goofy obsession (if you don't think it is goofy, just look at the expression on a canner's face when either pop sounds), we want to make the fun last throughout the year.
- Hunters: without this group, there would be a lot more starving beasties and more car/deer collisions throughout the year, but I don't know of any family that can eat an entire deer in a week or less.
- Extreme couponers: a group considered by many to be at least slightly crazy, but not dangerous (unless maybe you get in their way of a deal), they get stuff when the stars, or at least the sales and coupons, align right. Since that doesn't happen for every item every week, they get the mass quantities when they can.
- Mormons: it's a religious imperative to have a year's supply of food. I'm not sure why, because I've never really looked into their beliefs, just the great lists of what one should have for such a supply, but I'm fairly certain Mormons are not known for terrorist activities.
- Elderly people: anyone that lived through the Great Depression or WWII is likely to have tendencies to get the goods when they can (I remember seeing my grandma's pantry after she moved on, with its approximate bagillion cans, especially kidney beans. She had about a googolplex cans of kidney beans for some reason). Even as this generation dies off, their influence continues on with younger people that learned from them.
- People who live in the country: Gas is expensive. When the nearest store is in a neighborhood far, far away, it doesn't make sense to get groceries every few days or even every week. Limiting the trips to the store can save a lot of money.
- People who only get paid every couple weeks or even less often: if you get paid less often than once a week, but are living paycheck to paycheck, sometimes that money can seem to evaporate pretty quickly! Many, many people will buy their groceries for the entire payperiod, at least the bulk of them, in one trip, so they don't end up short on food at the same time as they are short on funds.
- People who live in disaster prone areas: I don't know how many stories I've heard in my life, usually from people in hurricane prone areas, of the stores being closed for at least a week, sometimes as long as a month, after a storm. If you only have a week of food at a time, you'd have to wait until the last minute before the storm hits in order to have enough food to possibly be okay until the supply chain reopens.
- Anyone that listens to the CDC: the CDC recommends a minimum two week supply of food be maintained in the home. From their website: "Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supplies for two weeks, consider maintaining a supply that will last that long." FEMA and the American Red Cross concur, strangely enough using the exact same language in this document on emergency preparedness. While I'm sure there are some people that would disagree, I'm pretty sure the US government wouldn't consider the CDC, FEMA, or the Red Cross to be organizations engaged in or encouraging terrorist activity.
How long could you go without buying food, if you needed to? Do you fall into one or more of the categories I mentioned if you do have more than a week's worth, or do you have reasons I may not have thought of?
This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #10.