It’s no secret that arms and ammo get the bulk of attention in survivalist circles. The reality is, as usual, different from perception. The first reality is that while arms and cool guy stuff may be a fun fantasy, being able to eat is a genuine force multiplier.
Growing food is tough business and if you’re new to it, will take a couple seasons to get right. It’s not certain we have a few seasons for newbies to learn; and we’re well into the current growing season. If you’re behind the power curve or are still camped out in suburbia, there’s a few items you may want to invest in and become familiar with soon.
Even if you’re not actively raising your own food, having the ability to process resources from others is critically important. The ability to do it off the grid is even better, and largely a lost art.
The Universal Food Chopper is an extremely versatile item, found in every kitchen pre-electricity era, and still common all the way up to the early 90’s in some areas. With this, one can grind up all kinds of items for salads, crushing items for easier storage or carrying snacks on the go, and simply taking fresh foods and making a more workable form.
I use one for grinding fresh coffee. Mine was found at one of the local thrift stores for $10. After re-seasoning it the same way I would cast iron, it works well, outlived its previous owners and will likely outlive me as well. I listed it first because it is the most versatile of the hand crank grinders, being able to grind both meat, grains, and veggies, and also is the easiest and cheapest to find second hand due to many not really knowing what they’re for.
The Corona Grain Mill. Like the food chopper, the grain mill used to have a place on every farm, grinding both corn and wheat into flour to be made into bread. As we’ve become more dependant on the grid, the utility of these have fallen by the wayside, but those with them will once more learn their utility in the future.
These can be as cheap or as expensive as you want them to be, with varying levels of quality and features. The lower end models are less than $40 online, maybe just a tad more at any local Ag supply store. The higher end models have stone grinders and more precise grain grinding settings, but the cheaper models work with a few trail runs to work the kinks out, like you should do with all of your equipment.
The Hand Powered Meat Grinder. Making your own sausage is more than just a pastime- in the old days, it was an easy way of processing tougher cuts and making meat easier to smoke, thereby preserving it for long periods of time. Lots of people, myself included, make deer sausage every winter using cow or pig fat from the local butcher. If you can find one used, get it, wash it thoroughly, and re-season it for use. I have one that was inherited and another I purchased, along with the food chopper. They’re not expensive and although having a messy learning curve, can become a fun and very rewarding activity.
The Hand Crank Corn Sheller. These are invaluable especially in the South, where most farmers grow abundances of corn every summer. Allowing the ears to dry out then shelling with this machine, you’ll be able to always efficiently shell large numbers of corn kernels for corn meal.
These used to be found on every rural farm, but seem to have disappeared faster than the other tools listed. A couple of companies make them currently, and while imported, they work.
There you have it. Four items that collectively, even if bought new, will cost less than $250. So even if you’re behind the power curve or just now woke up, instead of going into full blown panic mode and buying freeze dried junk, make friends with the folks at the local farmer’s market and invest in these items, letting them know you have them and have a common interest. You may make a friend and at the same time grow your network. These items are completely off grid and if cared for will last forever. It doesn’t get more “Survivalist” than that.
Local, Local, Local.