by 3ADScout, Survival Blog:
I’ll start by saying that most of the Prepper resources in your community will probably not be advertised or presented as Prepper or Survival resources. That isn’t to say that none will be advertised as for Preppers and Survivalist. We need to be aware that many resources that are in our community, that are Prepper or Survival related, may appeal to many people outside the Prepper or Survivalist Community. The good news in this is, that since these resources are of interest to the “mainstream,” your use of them doesn’t automatically identify you as a Prepper or Survivalist.
DEFINING COMMUNITY PREPPER RESOURCES
Community Prepper resources are classes, courses, lectures, places, and or events that provide Preppers with knowledge, skills, equipment or supplies. Some of these community resources will be very obvious but others may not. I will use the many years of working and living in my community to demonstrate various resources that you might find in yours. The Community that I live in has a county population of about 300,000 residents with about equal urban, suburban, and rural land use. What is available to you will be influenced by where you live, Urban or rural as well as other factors.
Grocery stores are obviously a community Prepper resource. But grocery stores are not the only place where you can purchase food for storage. Farmer’s markets are a great place to purchase fresh locally grown produce for canning, dehydrating or freeze drying.
Auctions are another venue that offer food in a few different ways. A few of our local weekly auctions offer processed foods like boxes of cereals, snack foods as well as other boxed or canned foods, fresh produce and of course “on the hoof” food in the form of live pigs, chickens, rabbits, goats and cows. As local farmers and gardeners start to harvest their crops, many will use the local auctions as a means to sell their food. This is a great opportunity to buy in bulk and get a very good price. For instance, I was at an auction several years ago where a dozen ears of corn were going for $2.35. There was so many lots of corn available that the price started to go down as the want for corn by those attending the auction waned. Finally, the auctioneer offered a lot of 30 dozen ears of fresh corn that I got for 35 cents a dozen.
We also have a few bulk food stores in the area where customers can scoop up deals on spices, grains, pastas, potatoes, instant milk and various dry mixes such as soups, puddings and gelatins. A couple of these bulk stores are owned and operated by the Amish and also offer products for non-electric living. I found the one Amish bulk store a great place to buy mantles for my Coleman lanterns. Another bulk food store has an annual event that hosts other homesteading type vendors and demonstrations.
Depending upon where you live this might sound almost funny but another place to buy food in your community inexpensively is right from the farm itself. We have several large potato farms where you can buy bags of fresh potatoes at great prices. We have one family farm that offers potatoes, strawberries, and asparagus. We also have many orchards locally where they will directly sell you apples, peaches, pears, cherries and even grapes.
SKILLS TO EAT UP
Buying food locally at great prices is one thing but planting and harvesting your own food is priceless. Currently we live in a city of about 100,000. We live near an arboretum that offers classes taught by Master Gardeners on backyard gardening each year. This year they are expanding this to other courses on “resilient living” such as making and using a rain barrel. We also have a community park that offers many educational programs such as bee keeping, actual classes on wilderness survival, snow shoeing and cross-country skiing as well. A nearby State Park offers courses on cast iron cooking and animal signs (tracking, basically). Besides classes, the gift shops at the parks offer some great book titles on edible plants, animal tracks, et cetera.
Look at your local parks to see if they offer any types of courses or seminars that will help you. Many will post schedules on line. I have found that most of these come with a cost but they are very reasonable and well worth the money in exchange for knowledge.
SURVIVING THE FUTURE BY LEARNING FROM THE PAST
Local historical societies are also Prepper resources. Museums with static displays offer a glimpse into how our ancestors lived without the modern conveniences that are powered by electricity. Some historical societies will offer lectures that may offer us ideas on how to live in a post-TEOTWAWKI world without electricity. For instance, they may discuss where a grist mill or saw mill, powered by a water wheel in a local creek was located years ago. Depending upon local development perhaps that same spot would be suitable for a water wheel post-TEOTWAWKI. Perhaps that lecture will shed light on where the rock used in the grist mill came from or how it was transformed from rock to a mill stone.
Besides lectures and static displays, are the living history experiences that are popping up now. No longer is learning about history relegated to just staring at static displays or listening to historians talk about life in a bygone era. Now you can experience it with all your senses. We have one museum whose classroom is a fully functioning replica of a brig from the War of 1812. A sailing course is a great way to learn various knots. But knot so fast, students can learn about navigating across water without GPS, learn how the ships were not only made but were maintained and repaired, cooking and living on board is also educational as is learning how to fire the cannons. We also have a museum that just built a forge and offers demonstration and courses. My son and I are planning on taking the black smiting course soon.
LIBRARIES ARE NOW NOT JUST BOOKS
This might be another one of those obvious resources but community libraries are full of knowledge. However as digital books become more and more popular many libraries are “re-inventing” themselves and are no longer just quiet rooms full of books. Our library now has an “idea lab” with 3-D printers, sewing machines, vinyl cutters and various design software programs. There are classes offered on how to use these resources as well as people on staff who can help you when you start to use them. Before you get too excited, no they will not let you print an AR lower. But that is to say that you cannot learn how to use the machine at a library and then buy your own 3D printer. The library has also started offering different courses on many different topics. A visit to their website provides a list of upcoming classes.
COMMUNITY FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Community fairs and festivals are great entertainment but they also offer opportunities to learn, and find products or services that are available in your area. The Maple syrup festival is a great place to not only learn about how to make maple syrup but to purchase syrup supplies and finished product. A community agricultural fair is a great place to learn about different breeds and about breeders who offer those breeds you may be interested in. Many community organizations also attend fairs to provide information about their group. These groups can run the gamut of 4H clubs, quilting guilds, Bee keeper groups, trapper associations, Boy or Girl Scout groups and many more. Looking for something to improve your BOL or homestead? The County fair is a good place to talk with vendors selling tractors and other agricultural equipment and supplies. They very often offer specials at the fairs as well. Need a new hand pump on the well? Want to look at solar? The county fair is very often a place to find these types of vendors.
JWR Adds: County fairs are also often a great place to meet people who restore antique farm machinery (such as Hit and Miss Engines) and also folks who raise rare breeds of livestock.
There are several organizations in our community that offer community calendars where groups can list their event. In looking at just one of these and just for the month of April I found a listing for, a backyard bee keeping class, a maple festival, a used book sale, a micro-brew fest, a tick awareness seminar, the “basics of tea”, basic backyard gardening, raising chickens, a veteran’s expo, a listing for a new community flea market, a lecture on the Cuban Missile Crisis including recently declassified information, an Herb garden planting workshop, seminar on protecting yourself from identify theft and a hands only CPR. Again, this was just for April and only one calendar.