Plant-based food preparedness for your family: start with a mindset shift

Why food preparedness matters

In my own province of Canada, British Columbia, at the time of writing this (early December 2021), there are still thousands of people evacuated from their homes due to flooding. The main highways connecting Vancouver to the rest of the country are damaged and in some cases will remain closed for months. Precious fertile farmland remains under a soup of floodwater contaminated by agricultural chemicals, hydrocarbons, and animal feces and carcasses. Writing this brings tears to my eyes and contemplating the consequences for my favorite local produce farmers makes me feel nauseous. It’s an awful reality, but we need to take stock of.

How the climate emergency enhances the need for food preparedness

At the risk of simplifying, here are three big challenges to food security that climate change brings about.

A mindset shift to increase our emergency food preparedness

It’s time for us to reconsider our priorities. As a whole, our consumption expenses like vehicles, home renovations, and travel have become far more significant than our food budget… but what do we really need most: a new electronic gizmo or fresh veggies?

Early steps to grow our food preparedness

In an upcoming blog post, as I learn and experiment more around this topic myself, I will write about ways to increase your household’s food preparedness. In the meantime, here are some early steps to try that will benefit your family while at the same time building up local food resilience:

  • Buy fruit and vegetables from small producers, whether it’s directly from the farm or at the farmers’ market.
  • Participate in a Community Supported Agriculture scheme, the most common of which is the “CSA box.”
  • Learn to cook with seasonal vegetables and with basic ingredients, rather than count on the availability of prepared meals (that aren’t good for you anyway). (The Vegan Meal Plans focus on seasonal produce.)
  • Buy at least part of your groceries from a small local grocer that itself supports local growers, rather than only shopping at big box stores or getting everything delivered from an online giant.
  • Dedicate some storage space in your home to, over time, build up an inventory of dry goods, especially whole grains and legumes. (Keep it protected from pantry moths though!) If you have cool dry storage, keeping squashes and root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets is also great. That way, you’ll have something to cook with for a few weeks if your area struggles with stocking food for a while.
  • Curious about gardening? Growing your own greens and sprouting seeds is a good place to start. I don’t recommend going all-out on gardening without preparation, as you may get discouraged and abandon everything after a few months. Grow your garden slowly.
  • Volunteering at a local community-oriented farm and at urban food hubs will help you become more connected with your local community, and grow your food skills too.

What are YOU doing to enhance your family’s food preparedness? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below.

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Brigitte Gemme

Brigitte Gemme

Vegan mom and cooking coach, runner, writer, reader, PhD in sociology, morning person. Chief Meal Planner at Vegan Family Kitchen.