Welcome to Saturday's Potluck
Polar vortexes are disrupting to life. We get them periodically in this part of Oregon. Hard to be completely prepared. As the years go by I just keep working on trying to have enough preparation done if the unexpected happens it is more an inconvenience than a tragedy.
Middle of January is not the best time for a Birthday parties, too soon after Christmas and winter roads. My 10th birthday was special there was going to be a party. Snow covered the frozen ground, roads were plowed and red cinders spread for traction in the icy spots.
After the school bus dropped us off, into the car with Mom for last minute party shopping. She was splurging on paper plates and plastic cups just like the parties shown on TV. Leaving the store the weather changed, warm Chinook winds from the south. Tense drive home, tires cut through packed snow as it melted into slush. The Volkswagen hatchback pushed through the softened snow of our long driveway towards the parking area by the house. Only had another 40 feet to go when it started to float. The whole parking area was now a small pond. When the car stopped at the other side of the pond, water poured into the car when doors were opened to scramble out.
That was it, party cancelled. Mom started calling the guests. Consolation we could still eat cake on the paper plates and use the plastic cups.
Adventure was not completely over. Dad needed help moving his car and pick-up out of the new pond. Now that I was 10 no longer a mere child, tall enough to see over a steering wheel and small enough to fit through a window, I drove the vehicles to dry land as Dad pushed from behind. I was driving slow enough it did not matter my legs were too short to reach the brake peddle.
If during a disaster plans have been implemented provide our own safe shelter, food and water there is less demand for emergency services. Perfection is not the goal, simply not getting overwhelmed and being able to respond to the unimagined is a positive outcome. As a bonus if we are not dealing with a crisis of our own volunteering becomes an option.
Dependency on modern food distribution methods and food preparation increases the potential for acute food shortages.
It didn’t take the pandemic to reveal the inefficiency and injustice of our food system: globally, a third of all food is wasted, while nearly 690 million people were undernourished in 2019 — almost 60 million more people than in 2014. But the pandemic has underscored the matter: According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “the number of acutely food insecure people could increase to 270 million due to COVID-19, representing an 82 percent increase compared to the number of acutely food insecure people pre-COVID-19.”
And the disruption of transportation has shown that the long distances it normally takes for food to get from one place to another can be a serious liability during a crisis. “Food banks are under tremendous pressure to meet the skyrocketing demand,” wrote Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Feeding America CEO, and Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau, to then-Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in April of last year. “At the same time, however, we are seeing literally tons of agricultural goods being discarded because of the shutdown of so much of the economy.”
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental economic group with 37 member countries, said that the pandemic has “laid bare pre-existing gaps in social protection systems” in a report published in June 2020. “While the impacts of COVID-19 are still unfolding, experience so far shows the importance of an open and predictable international trade environment to ensure food can move to where it is needed,” the OECD report states. “The biggest risk for food security is not with food availability but with consumers’ access to food: safety nets are essential to avoid an increase in hunger and food insecurity.”
Another problem is the lack of media coverage about the food insecurity being witnessed around the world, particularly during the COVID era. As The Economist recently pointed out, journalists in 2020 “wrote more than 50,000 articles about the cancelled Eurovision song contest, but only around 2,000 about drought and hunger in Zambia.”
Resiliency does not have to be complicated. It may start with learning to cook with various ingredients and not relying only on store bought mixes. If food supplies are disrupted favorite foods will still be available in your home.
simple example 3/4 cup Biscuit Mix as a substitute for Bisquick
2/3 cup flour (all purpose, wheat, rye, rice, corn, buckwheat or mixture)
1 teaspoonful baking powder
(intended for immediate use, sugar and salt deliberately left out preservatives not necessary)
Cut in with a fork or pastry cutter, optional blend in food processor
about 2 Tablespoonful solid fat (butter, lard, shortening or margarine)