Site search is only available for members

Shops are closed NOW WHAT?

Well, let’s get ready for that, it might never happen still, a bit of food here and there can be good. Let us build further upon our “grid down” scenario in an urban setting.

It’s now easier to get food than it’s ever been. Most of us, especially in cities, can buy food pretty much around the clock – or we can store it at home in the freezer. But what happens if this suddenly becomes impossible?

It doesn’t take much to disrupt our food supply chain. A terrorist incident, storm or as we regularly see now, LOCKDOWNS – anything that closes retailers restricts your mobility or puts the power out. If that happens, our modern society suddenly has a problem with food. You can’t buy anything. The ready meals in the freezer will soon start to deteriorate as they thaw, and you don’t have the means to cook them. How well placed are you to survive in this situation?

To be prepared, you must have an emergency food supply that will keep you going for three days. Food supply will be different based upon your situation. For example, you might want to set up a “go bag” or stay at home. If you stay at home, your food supply storage is different than when you set up a go-bag. You can survive three days without food as long as you have water, but you’ll soon start to run out of energy. You can pack water. Just remember that a litre of water is 1 kg to carry. I have some water in my pack and have a life straw to keep the load down. If you are stationary, well you can collect water and store it. 

A stockpile of emergency rations is essential to maximise your chances in a potentially life-threatening situation. Remember to remain agile and not pack your “go bag” with heavy stuff. Stockpiles can also create a false sense of security. It would be best to remember that your life is more important than your stockpile, should things go wrong. 

You can buy pre-packed emergency food from the typical prepper and camping stores. They are expensive. It was not financially viable to purchase enough food to make a difference. I rely on growing and replenishing “fresh” food. There are plenty of alternatives or create your own. For example, you can dry them and store them if you have leftovers. That is a cheap alternative and works. All dehydrated food needs a lot of water to prepare – and if you can’t heat the water, the result can be a pretty unappetising cold, lumpy sludge. It’ll keep you going, but it isn’t going to do much for your morale.

Instead, you should concentrate on foods that need minimal preparation, and you can eat cold if necessary, and I do not mean ice cream. That’s especially important if you live in an urban area. You’ll always be able to light a fire to hear water in the country, but a major disaster in a city is a different story. 

Urban areas have their set of own dangers, like rioting groups (remember I said it is best to be grey). Starting a fire can start a chain reaction of undesired situations like gas explosions, burning houses, and attracting attention. 

What about military-style rations, for example, MREs? These have some good points. They have a long shelf life, are sealed in rigid packaging, and are not too heavy. Everything in them can be eaten cold, with no preparation. They also pack in a lot of calories – around 1,200 per meal. Make sure you practice with at least one of them if you want to heat them. You can quickly burn yourself due to the chemical reaction they get VERY HOT.

MREs are designed for military use, and military catering doesn’t care if you’re gluten-free or have a nut allergy. They generally do not fit in a “non-combat” environment. They are not designed for that. MRE’s are not intended for the typical joe in a domestic setting. Hence not advisable to eat for an extended period if you are loitering around the garden. There are better alternatives. 

Another downside is the cost. You can get MREs on eBay. Ensure to check the date. Many are dumped on eBay if they are a few yrs out. 

A single meal with five years’ life left costs are expensive– and you’ll need three of them per day for each person. 

Finally, they’re pretty bulky. Some foreign military rations come in 24-hour packs instead of the MRE’s single-meal format, but these are usually best avoided – the menus can be weird. An exception is the British 24-hour GS ration, which many American soldiers prefer to the MRE.

Military rations can be a good choice if you can find a supply of new ones with a few years’ shelf life remaining, but the best option is to put together their supply for most people.

This method has its advantages that more than balance out the plus points of MREs:

  • You can allow for any food intolerances or allergies you have.
  • It’s possible to tailor your supply to suit your tastes – and having food you like is very good for morale.
  • It’s a lot cheaper – and you can spread the cost. Instead of buying a case of MREs or an expensive bucket of dehydrated meals, you can pick up one or two items every time you go grocery shopping.

Look for foods that have an excellent nutritional balance. High-calorie content is valuable; it gives you the energy to cope with emergencies, and in really extreme circumstances, surplus calories let you stretch your supply further. Don’t overlook other factors, though. Fibre will help avoid digestive problems, and protein helps you stay in good condition. Vitamins are less of an issue over three days, but you’re better off than without them. Here are a few suggestions:


  • Granola bars
  • Dried fruit bars
  • Clif bars
  • Cereal


  • Long-life crackers (Saltines or Sailor Boy pilot bread)
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned tuna
  • Processed cheese
  • Spam
  • Canned corned beef
  • Vienna sausages


  • Canned stew or chilli
  • Canned chicken
  • Canned corn – This can be turned into a salad with some Miracle Whip
  • Canned beans – Rinse and use in a salad
  • International bread – Tortillas, naan and chapattis can last for months or years if they come in a sealed package
  • Canned fruit (snack size)
  • Canned custard – Goes excellent with canned fruit and can be eaten cold

Drinks and Snacks

  • Slim Jims
  • Beef jerky
  • Dried fruit
  • Seasoned or sweet crackers
  • Iced tea mix
  • Kool-Aid, Crystal Light or Tang
  • Candy
  • Powdered milk

Cookable Extras

If you’re likely to be able to boil water, there are lots of long-life carbs that can be added to your supplies. These are filling and energy-rich. They let you stretch meat and vegetables a lot further, too. If you have three days of canned food, you can extend that to a week or more with dried goods:

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Egg or ramen noodles
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa


  • Manual can opener
  • Paper towels or tissues
  • Toilet paper
  • Trash bags


The absolute minimum you should allow is five litres per person per day. It’s best to have a 20-litre container for each person as part of your three-day supply. That allows some surplus for washing and gives you a safety margin in hot weather. 

Military-grade black plastic jerry cans are ideal – they’re adamant and don’t let light through. Most camping stores sell good ones; they do not get the see-through ones. That can inhibit the growth of microorganisms. Fill containers as complete as possible to minimise the air in them. The less air, the better. Empty containers every month, rinse with a sterilising solution (sterilising tablets from a homebrew shop work well), then refill.

Don’t forget you can set up alternative water capturing sources around your house if you decide to stay put. 


Once you’ve built up your food supply, don’t just stick it in the back of the cupboard and forget about it. Check use-by dates regularly and replace anything getting close. If you regularly buy items on your emergency supply, rotate them. The new one goes into storage. Please take out the oldest one and add it to your everyday collections.

Store your food in a cool, dry – and ideally dark – place that doesn’t freeze. Check it regularly to ensure no cans or packets are leaking, swelling, or anything else that looks like bad news. If anything is, get rid of it and replace it as soon as possible.

Putting your emergency food supply together doesn’t cost much, and it’s an effective, flexible solution. There’s no risk of being stuck with expensive survival foods you don’t like much, and you can easily rotate items without making a big difference to your grocery bill. Keeping three days’ worth of convenient, high-energy food makes a lot of sense, and with our food supply chain as fragile as it is now, can you afford not to?

Protected by Security by CleanTalk