Yesterday's preparedness conference was an experiment on many different levels. I wasn't sure what sort of attendance we would have (completely full room of 40 people plus presenters), how well it would be received, (evaluations from attendees were fantastic), and whether it could be an annual event (we announced the next one would be Saturday, January 4, 2014). All in all, it was a success.
I want to share some of my observations from the conference. Note these aren't observations about what the speakers said; these are thoughts I gleaned from talking with attendees. As I mentioned Atlanta Jeff last week, one of the great opportunities I'd have during the conference is to take the pulse of folks like you and hear what's on your mind.
- The level of concern among the prepper nation is palpable. While they are not whining, they are voicing their concerns. They are also willing to start putting resources and time towards becoming more self sufficient. Note they are not in a panic, but they are at a heightened level of alertness.
- The level of preparedness acumen continues to grow. I hear fewer "got my guns and MREs" stories and more reports of people creating thoughtful, sustainable plans to be self-reliant for a period of time.
- People are more open to having their preconceived notions challenged. We live in interesting times. More people are now willing to ask questions about the government's ability to provide for people during a disaster than they were previously. They are asking questions about the forces at work in the financial markets.
In many ways, I feel vindicated. I've proven to at least myself the preparedness movement is alive and well in Central Texas. And it's nice to be in a room of nearly 50 people and talk about storable food, the risk of inflation, the need to be armed, and how we can help others during emergencies without being thought of as some sort of genetic anomaly.
Postscript From My Ongoing Discussion with eFoods Direct
Social media is a great thing. One of its many tools is to call out businesses not helping their customers. Here's a message I recently posted on eFoods Direct Facebook page:
I got a call from eFoods on January 2 in response to this. To their credit, they expedited shipment and refunded all shipping charges. And as promised, my order arrived on Friday, just in time to have some of its contents used as door prizes at yesterday's conference.
I ordered the "The 1-Month Food Supply" which according to their site "provides one adult with 192 servings of healthy, delicious storable food for 28 days." Delaney and I opened the green plastic container which eFoods uses for all of its larger orders. These containers are very nice - rugged and stackable. I like that.
To see just how long this 1-Month Food Supply would actually last me, we did some math. Using the nutrition information on each of the packages in the bin, we determined that this particular food supply contains 32,836 calories and 748 grams of protein.
Let's do the math. If the standard diet for recommended daily intake (RDI) purposes presumes that the typical person needs to consume 2,000 calories and 50 grams of protein a day, the 1-Month Food supply provides 16.4 days' worth of calories and 14.96 days' worth of protein. Of course, in a grid down environment, caloric and protein needs will likely be higher than the RDI numbers, due to stress and the likelihood one would be more physically active.
At best, the "1-Month Food Supply" will last you two weeks unless you supplement it with something else.
I have had eFoods' products before. They are easy to use and are tasty. They are often high in fat, but for preparedness purposes, that's not a problem - when we're eating our grid down food, we won't be worried about gaining weight. We'll want as much energy from our food as possible.
It's eFoods Direct's policy to bill your credit card at the time of purchase, rather than the time of shipment. In this case, I paid for my food 39 days before receiving it. Suppliers like Emergency Essentials, on the other hand, do not charge you until your food actually ships.
I should add that eFoods advises they are overwhelmed with demand now from preppers. I don't doubt that, and I don't fault them for it. What I do criticize them for is a) not updating their customers when food does not ship when they say it will, b) not responding to customer inquiries via their website, c) billing their customers at order time rather than shipping time and d) not being more transparent about the fact that their 1-Month Food Supply doesn't provide the typical adult with enough nutrition for a month. (I cannot opine on their three, six or twelve month packages as I have not ordered them.)
So what are the lessons here? As I told the crowd yesterday, food storage is a math problem. You must do the math to determine how many calories, protein, vitamins and minerals you need. Don't assume that because someone sells you a "one month" supply that it is enough food to sustain you for a month.
Would I order from eFoods again? Probably so. The food does taste good, and it ships in containers great for storage. Some of their pricing specials make it an attractive option. But when I order, I am doing so knowing what I am getting into. You should do the same.
"Europe Must Be Prepared For Popular Uprisings In The Style Of North Africa."
That's not me talking, friends. That's the International Red Cross. Thanks to Clifford for sharing this article with me. As we have discussed here over the last several months, the EU economic situation remains challenging.
It's hard to believe that anyone would say this about Europe, especially an aid group like the Red Cross. If it could happen there, could it happen here?