As Famine Looms, Should You Hide Your Stored Food? Here’s What History Tells Us.

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We at the OP have been sounding the alarm on food shortages for a long time now. Whether it’s been the fires at food processing facilities, farm closures, or the issues around meat production, we’ve been talking about it. But now, is it time to focus more on how to store food secretly?

Building a pantry and becoming proficient at producing and processing your own food are important first steps. I’d like to think that different groups of people forming self-sufficient production communities would prevent future problems, but that may not be the case. It looks like there are going to be major problems up ahead.

Will history repeat?

During the Holodomor in Ukraine from 1932-1933, any withholding of food by farming communities was forbidden. Everything was supposed to go to the cities. Neighbors were encouraged to rat each other out to the authorities.   Anyone suspected of hoarding could expect to have their homes torn apart, walls broken into, and earth dug up around their properties by the police, looking for caches of food.

These capable peasants, these kulaks, who had been born into the self-sufficient lifestyle many people are now trying to recreate, still largely perished.  

And this sort of thing is hardly unique to the Soviets.

For an account of the famine in Mao’s China, you can read Wild Swans by Jung Chang. In her chapter on the famine in the late 1950s, she recounts many of the same techniques used by the Soviets. This is hardly surprising; Mao idealized Stalin. They collectivized farms, took everything produced by farmers to ration to the city-dwellers, and left the people in the countryside to scavenge. 

store food secretly

Like in the Holodomor, many people resorted to cannibalism. Also, like in the Holodomor, many more starved. Eating alone became forbidden. Everyone had to eat in the communal kitchens, making it easier to monitor who ate what.  

Do I think this might happen in the U.S.? Nothing’s impossible. Knowing how utterly incapable many people are in the kitchen, I think it’s more likely violent fights will occur over things like freezer-ready meals once Americans get hungry. I suspect flash mobs like the one that just ransacked a Wawa’s in Philadelphia will become far more common before any kind of coordinated government action.  

This is the kind of thing a large, working pantry will largely protect against.

Sure, I still go to the grocery store most weeks, but I don’t absolutely have to. If riots erupt at the grocery store in town (again, I think, one of the more likely scenarios), well, I can just avoid it for however long the craziness lasts. And, in case anyone thinks I’m being ridiculous here, the grocery store in my town within the last few months hired armed guards. 

That’s right; there are armed security guards at my local grocery store. Planning for chaos at the grocery store isn’t only for the tinfoil hat wearers anymore; it’s a sober business decision now.

And those of us with home pantries should still be cautious.

All is not well in American farming.

Aside from the catastrophic drought, American farmland is increasingly controlled either by foreign entities or non-farmers with suspect motivations like Bill Gates. As in any other field, centralization makes for easier control, and American farms have been trending toward centralization for a while now.    

The government has also become increasingly interested in home gardens. The People’s Garden Initiative has just been expanded.

Tom Vilsack, then Secretary of Agriculture, founded the first “People’s Garden” on February 12, 2009, Lincoln’s 200th birthday. It was called “The People’s Garden” in reference to Lincoln calling the U.S. Department of Agriculture “The People’s Department.”  The project initially began as a resource for urban dwellers to start their own community gardens. It was a way for people who would not otherwise have access to space and resources to grow their own food could get started and, once started, get advice on things like pollination and compost.  

Tom Vilsack

Personally, I think anything that helps urban dwellers maintain a connection with nature is great. 

But just within the past year, the USDA expanded the program and now encourages everyone to register their gardens. 

I find the timing of this very curious. 

I love the thought of empowering people to grow their own food…but the federal government doesn’t need to know about what I can and can’t grow, sorry.  

Our food production system is slowly being consolidated into fewer hands.

The hands that are still there are being more closely monitored. History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes, and right now, our political and economic situation rhymes with precursors to very ugly, painful time periods.

Most people reading this probably have plans for producing and acquiring food. Where do you store it? Do you have places on your property that aren’t immediately obvious to anyone glancing through?  

I was strangely fortunate in my home purchase. My house is literally an old homesteading cabin with some upgrades slapped on. But not only do I have a true, old-school root cellar with a dirt floor, but the entrance is also extremely inconspicuous. That’s all I’ll say about that.

(How do you build up your emergency food supplies? Read our free QUICKSTART Guide to find out.)

Root cellars come with a few surprises.

There are some things I’d like to warn people about, in case you are considering building your own root cellar or planning on any kind of underground storage.  

Rodents. Can’t say it enough. Rodents. It’s not just me; I’m not a great housekeeper, but I’m not terrible either. My cat keeps them out of my house, but she can’t get to the root cellar. I actually talked to someone responsible for maintaining an old homestead as part of a historical display. We were taking a tour. I noticed the cellar entrance on the property and asked about it. 

The employee told me that it was too disgusting to tour. They just could not keep it clean and pest-free enough for the general public. Both of us mused about how impressive humans’ immune systems must have been back in the day.

You have to plan for mice with your root cellar.

store food secretly

I do use my root cellar for canned goods. I’ve used it for veggies as well, but I pack them in damp sand, cover the tops loosely, and check on them regularly. I also go through copious amounts of mousetraps. I just buy them 72 at a time from Victor. Some people like the electronic ones because you don’t have to handle dead mice afterward, but then you’d need to stock up on batteries too. Also, electronic mousetraps typically don’t work as well in very humid environments, and cellars are pretty humid.

I think the old-school metal snap mousetraps actually work really well. The problem a lot of people have is they add too much bait. If you cover it with peanut butter, then the mouse can just nibble around the edges and avoid the springing mechanism. You just want to put a little bit of peanut butter (or cheese, or whatever) right at that little keyhole so that the mouse has to work for it and springs the trap. 

People have gotten creative with food storage

People have been getting creative with food storage for a long time. In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book The Long Winter, the Wilder brothers built a false wall to conceal the amount of grain they were storing. Pa was able to spot the difference between the indoor and outdoor dimensions of the house, but the rest of the townspeople couldn’t. However, I’d still put money on the presence of mouse turds mixed in with all that seed wheat, and if you’d like to avoid that sort of thing, now’s the time to think about it.

(In case you’re wondering how they keep mice out of commercial grain storage, they typically use aluminum phosphide to kill the rodents. This used to be available to anyone holding a pesticide applicator permit, but states have been making it harder and harder to obtain aluminum phosphide as a private applicator, which is why, for most of us who don’t run a business storing grain, it would be better to simply do our best to keep mice and rats out of the general area.)

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Who knows how the events of the next few years will actually play out?

I would love it if our problems got resolved without a violent sacking of the countryside, but we don’t have any guarantees of that. For now, If you’ve been able to build a pantry, maybe the next step is thinking about concealment and how that would play out in the long term.

What do you think? Is hiding your food storage something you’ve considered or focused on?  Obviously, don’t give away too much information publicly, but let’s talk about it in general terms in the comment section below.

About Marie Hawthorne

A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.

Marie Hawthorne

Marie Hawthorne

A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.

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  • While *not* having to go to the grocery store during suspect times, odds are that someone will notice a neighbor from the apartment building, small subdivision etc. isn’t going grocery shopping. So maintaining some sort of blending in should occur. Unless I could pull into my garage, shut the door, and monitor windows, I wouldn’t bring home more than a bag or two.
    Furniture/bedding can be used to obscure supplies.

  • About those pesky rodents…I have used the TOMCAT Snap Trap Mouse Traps for years! (Bait with a small dab of peanut butter in the VERY back to force the mouse to step on the trigger pan.) They last a very long time, and can be re-used over and over. The best part…you don’t have to touch the parts where the mice die. Bonus!

  • Interesting points about the mouse traps. I have rats in my urban garage that could be used to pull plows! And I’ve seen rodents crawl on to the bait from the other side of the trap, taking the food without tripping the kill bar. Rodents in my humble experience are smarter than some people!

    Speaking of which, we have an entire couple of generations of people well accustomed to living on the public dime. They have no idea how to provide for themselves. Rest assured that a mother with hungry children will do anything it takes to feed them, and won’t give a rat’s whiskers if your children are hungry too. If the Great TP Scare of 2020 hasn’t taught us how people will behave in a crisis, I don’t know what will!

    • A few years ago everyone in our area had a problem with rats….they got into our house, my daughter had one on her closet shelf…it was awful. What we did was put the traps in a lane of canning jars so they had to access from the front. Worked like a charm. One night we snap trapped 14. Our little Maltese cross would chase them and she even helped hubby do one in one night in the living room.

    • If I had rats like that, I’d be investing in a high power Air Rifle. One capable of getting a pellet up over 400 fps.
      Then I’d shoot the wee buggers.
      Air guns don’t have a loud report, so you don’t have to worry about nosy neighbors.

      • Bemused Berserker,
        We had one year a problem with rats in the barn. They would also raid the compost pile. We stopped using that, and then they started to come out to my wife’s bird feeders, the one the deck over looks.
        Benjamin Marauder .22 air rifle, and hollow point pellets (900fps) took care of that.

      • I look at those rats and mice as a potential found source. Same with all of the birds that we have around lol! I do not want to starve.

        • You might want to do a little research on rodent diseases. Also things they are immune to and may eat or carry could be detrimental to humans.

  • Just read that Bill Gates was giving a speech at the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy.
    He said,
    “We’re going to have a hung election and a civil war,” he said.
    “I admit that political polarization may bring it all to an end,” added.

    I fear he is right.

    The moment bullets start to fly, I expect the JIT/BAU system to fail.

    Concerning food, I expect not only flash mobs like at the Philly WaWa, but robberies in grocery parking lots, and I would not rule out home robberies. I expect to see this more in the cities as demand for food will create a new market for criminals.
    No cash bail cities and soon to be states will likely see the worst of this crime.
    Gun sales have been at record highs. I expect more and more people to purchase firearms in the coming months.

    • The civil war is all but guaranteed.
      If they steal this one, which they are working hard at, the real people might finally figure out it’s time to kill the commies, and it’s on.

      If they do NOT steal this election, that they are working so hard at, THEY will do their darndest to burn the country to the ground like they did all thru the Trump admin in places like portland etc. as punishment for not letting them steal it….. and it’s on.

      Americans can stick their stupid fool heads in the sand all they want, it only makes their problem worse. They are not going to ‘fix’ their problem at this point without violence, it is far far too late for a peaceful solution.

      How MUCH violence is going to be needed now, well that remains to be seen.

      Here’s another twist. When america does how shall I say, ‘publicly announce’ it’s civil war, the rest of the world has been waiting for that distraction and all her outward enemies are going to take that chance to attack too. America is going to get slammed from all sides, from enemies hoping she’s too distracted to hold them off. What if the external attack is the catalyst to finally make america STOP fighting each other, get along, and once again as a UNITED COUNTRY, go after her enemies.

      Next 10 years is going to suck, You may have one or two more years left of quasi peace and freedom, then it’s on.

      Cancer is easiest to eliminate at stage 1, when it’s just starting to take hold. Stage 4, when it has metastasized and spread, the bodies odds of survival fall drastically. Socialism / Communism is cancer. America is at about late Stage 3.

    • Perhaps no cash bail state will, depending on the law and judges. Quite easy for a judge to determine a food thief is a threat to society and toss him/her in jail.
      Some won’t be stealing food to feed him/herself or kids but to sell for drug money.

      • I agree. They’ll probably steal, then sell your food. Bill Gates et al are itching for a war. Who makes money in a war? Guess who.
        I keep thinking about the people who survived the plague and the middle ages. What did they do? I’m surprised that anyone survived.

    • I agree. The record for New Gun Purchases will be broken as this progresses. People will become desperate in their attempts to obtain a weapon.

  • My house had mice when I moved in and I had to clean mouse droppings out of drawers, etc. The mice multiplied, and ran all over. I heard them in the bathroom cupboard tearing up my paper towels for bedding for their babies. I heard them scrambling in the walls. They FILLED my pantry with droppings, and it took me days to clean up the mess. Mouse traps did not work. I killed one mouse and then somehow they got the bait without triggering the trap.
    Then I noticed they tore into and ate my freeze-dried food and nuts and other things in mylar or plastic bags. I threw out the spoiled stuff and put the rest of it into glass jars. I moved paper towels etc. to places they weren’t getting to. Somehow, I no longer have mice all over the place.

    • Yes! Our house was vacant for 8 months when purchased it (buy the cheapest house on the block then fix it up!) so we had tons of droppings everywhere. As city dwellers this creeped me out, I got over it quickly when they were in my dishwasher…gross. But a few cats did the trick quickly. Haven’t seen a mouse in 15 years!

      • Bought my place out in the country 2 years ago just before I retired. The folks that sold it had feral cats, they raised cows and horses. Have seen the cats catching mice, rats, snakes, etc. I feed them dry cat food to supplement their diet and keep them hanging around. They do a really good job.

    • We had a next door neighbor who was a hoarder, not of food but of all sorts of other junk. He produced all the rats and mice for the neighborhood. There was no way to keep them out of our place.

      If the rats and mice stayed in our house, we knew we had a problem—what were they eating? What food had been left out? When we found the food source and took care of it, then the vermin left on their own. We learned to keep all our food either in mouse and rat proof containers, or in places where they couldn’t reach. Once we made that a practice, we wouldn’t see any rats or mice for months at a time.

      Once that hoarder neighbor moved away, we saw no more rats and the mice learned that our place left them hungry.

    • I switched to glass jars as well, and it does cut down the mouse problem big time. I also by surplus ammo cans (metal not plastic) and use those for rodent proof storage.
      Almost everything I’ve stocked up is not in its original packaging.

      • Good point about the metal ammo cans for storage, or any other metal containers for that matter. Mice and squirrels do a whole lot of damage.

    • How to fool the mouse: Put bait on the trap for a few days and don’t set it. You’ll have better luck. Our mice, evidently, were smarter than the average mice, (apologies to Yogi Bear). After a few days we started catching them.

    • When using canning jars, be sure to leave the rings on tightly! I freeze dried some food, then vacuum-sealed it into canning jars. I assumed that the sealed lids would be fine. Nope! A mouse managed to break the seal on a jar of freeze dried yogurt and had a little feast, then left a few turds on top of the remaining yogurt powder for good measure. Back onto the jars went all my rings! Any food in mylar is kept inside plastic bins as well. I hate to let our cat into the basement, but right after the mouse evidence, I made an exception for a few days in a row. Haven’t seen one in ages now. Even left some plastic bags of food out pending longer-term storage and no issues so far.

      • Yes, let your cat have intermittent ability to investigate all areas of your home etc. They mark their territory and leave other scent trails that rodents dislike. Although when they become very hungry, “Fluffy”, may need more urgent access.

  • Rodents-miserable creatures! I live in an area where they naturally have many underground nests, hence our rattlesnake “problem”. I am pretty clean as a housekeeper-but mice literally threw a frat party one night in my kitchen and back bedroom (where the CANNED food was). The cocker spaniels, true to their heritage, had a field day chasing them all over the house. I made my call to the pest service at 8:01AM the same day. Mice had followed my plumbing lines into the house. UGH! So, I know when SHTF and the pest folks are no longer out that I will need traps. Thanks for the info. Sad to hear about root cellars, because I have always wanted one. My grandma’s old Victorian, which was huge and had a full underground basement, was where she kept canned foods. Its was “finished” so the walls and floor were cement all around. I guess it was really swanky in 1898 when it was completed. Literally had rooms for storage, etc. It also had an iron “hook” where they used to hang the dried meat, which was wrapped in muslin. There were mice down there but everyone blamed the weekly coal delivery. I would kill to have that house now! What’s old is new again. I advise everyone to go quiet on their preps-especially in urban/city areas. This country get stranger and stranger and the people in charge aren’t the most stable. I could see hiding canned goods in hidey holes, but nothing that is chewable. What about seeds? For those who garden, a resevoir of seeds is a good thing, but may also be confiscated. I’d suggest some cheap small glass jars-even mini jars from craft stores. Be sure to label them!

    • Investing or acquiring in one of the small, Terrier, breed of dogs can be very helpful to aid in rodent control. Of course Rat Terriers are stellar rat killers. But so are Fox Terriers, etc.

  • Be careful about who you permit to enter your home, including trades people. Don’t store lots of food where they can see it. Don’t store food where it can be seen through a window or door.

    Have a small stash of food that is not too well hidden, as a decoy. If someone finds it they may search no further.

    When it hits the fan, be careful about your trash. Folks may go through it and find food containers, etc. and will realize that you have food.

    If there are breadlines, food distribution points, etc. where you are instructed to go for rations, go, at least occasionally. Even if you don’t need the food, go anyway. Otherwise someone will start wondering why you aren’t going when everyone else is. Be the “grey man.” Blend in. If you give this food away, make sure it goes to someone you can trust and don’t do it too often, and don’t do it from your home.

    Gradually lose weight, along with everyone else. In times of food scarcity heavy people stand out. Wear baggy clothes to seem thinner than you are. Act tired and weak when you are near authorities.

    Avoid strong smelling food before going out in public. You don’t want to smell like a pizza place when everyone is only eating bread and watered down soup.
    Same for cooking odors. Don’t let the smell of bacon waft into the corridors of your apartment building.

  • I don’t have anything to add just yet about hiding your stash (give me some time to think about that)… but I do have something to offer that works like a charm for baiting mouse traps.

    Instead of using peanut butter or cheese, go and get yourself a jar of jam… The type that has pieces of fruit in it. Take out a piece of fruit and stick it firmly into the trap.

    This is sticky, and as soon as the mouse so much as touches it… SNAP! You will not have mice cleaning out your trap without setting it off. As a matter of fact, you will probably be able to reset the trap with the same bait several times.

  • A suggestion on mouse trap bait. I love the old metal snap traps and found that if I glue a bottle cap to the trigger paddle and then glue some sunflower seeds to the cap, there is always a kill as the mouse has to struggle to get the seed. Best part is the bait is reusable. Just be careful when gluing not to interfere with the catch mechanism working.

    • My neighbor told me to put some bird seed into the peanut butter. The mouse pushes and tries to get at the seeds. It’s worked for ground squirrels (that are making holes around everyone’s foundations).

  • Keep your grains in a five gal bucket and put the lid on securely. Add oxygen removers (metal filing and salt) to the bucket. For rodents get the flip and slide mouse trap. Shawn woods on you tube has several videos on mouse traps including the flip and slide.

  • People are busy bodies ,just look at this socialist networking sites: Twatter, TicTard, FakeBook the top 3. They rat each other out for the tiniest of things for their flash in the pan moment of attention. Let’s not forget everyone has a hi def camera or 3 on them at all times now, with the means to flash and send that picture, live even, anywhere in the world they want to ! You ARE being watched, you WILL be watched, and the moment one of these entitled SOB’s thinks you have something they don’t, like food or water, they WILL cry, get their loser friends and come try to take it from you. If they don’t think that will work, they’ll try to get the government to take it from you. It’s the crab mentality.

    THIS is why I preach time and time again, KNOW who and WHAT your neighbors are, and be prepared to take care of a problem BEFORE it is trying to kick your door in at 3 am with 2 of it’s loser friends.

    Secondly, YOU will NOT survive alone !! You have to sleep sometime, so unless you want to live the life of a nomad, you are going to need people you can trust, in your little compound.

    Your drunken friend tells great stories at the bar, he’s a blast to have around !!! But is he someone you can really trust when the chips are down? Is HE the one you want to put your lives into their hands? Also, is he going to expect YOU to take care of HIM now too? You know, because you ARE friends, and all that…

    Just like nobody likes to talk about who will do what, when a death hits the family, it IS something that WILL happen, and the events MUST be taken care of, best to have a plan in place beforehand. This is no different really.

    Peace, and be safe.

    • Remember, you can reverse their tactics back at them. You have the same capabilities. Record these types in return. There may not be law to hold people accountable for their criminal actions at the time. But eventually, identifying them may bring justice when it returns in some form.

  • Rodents are a huge problem. The disease they spread is the main problem. We as a society are relatively ‘clean’ now so the rodents are, dirty but fairly ‘clean’ from a pathogenic point of view. When polio, Hepatitis, TB, Bubonic Plague, and all those 3rd and 4th world bugaboos start coming back after the fall, THEN the rodents will be come MUCH more than just a food ruining problem.

    They are also very hard to get rid of. If you see 1 scurrying around, there are probably 10 or 15 you DON’T see.

    Snap traps and the likes do work, are not perfect but do work. They are mechanical though and eventually can and will break and wear out. If you look on you tube, there are literally hundreds of videos on how to trap critters using methods, that some are VERY ingenious, and also Very simple. A 5 gallon bucket of water, with a loose stick, they crawl out on the stick after a food niblet, it spins, drops them in and they drown simple.

    sooner or later your batteries will wear out, or get used on the radio etc. The plastic this or that wears out, snaps, crumbles etc. LOOK at some of these unique ways to make traps and start looking around where you live for ways to emprovise. When it hits the fan, expect NO niceties to be around anymore.

    Getting rid of the dead critters. If they are carrying cholera / etc now, you might need to burn them. Also, rats, rabbits, can be COVERED in ticks and fleas, lice etc. So when you go to pick up that trap, all those things are now smelling YOUR warm body and heading to YOU, or swimming out of the drowning bucket, on the lip waiting for the next host to boink up onto.

    Stock up on soap, not just for cleanliness but to break the surface tension so they drown. A few drops of jet dri or dawn and most these bugs sink, not float to the edge. just saying.

    • The resulting, visible vermin like fleas, etc. Can be drowned by the similar method. And again, breaking the water surface tension is imperative. Many simple household staples have antiseptic, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and are fairly cheap. White vinegar for one example, can be used in various scenarios to at least take out some of the lower level bacterias, microbes, virus entities. There are many more common herbs, plants, etc. With varying degrees of natural, protection, offerings built within. Combining various ones together can increase effectiveness. Yet, some caution is advised to not create something toxic.

  • I am most concerned about Martial Law and the govt. Coming for my food. I have 7 to feed and I’ll be damned if anyone is going to take my food. I have ideas for hiding places in my homeand have started using some of them for barter items already. I have a pantry stocked that we need to find hiding places for. My kids are thinking about putting in false walls. I wish they’d get to it! I’ve got metal garbage cans to keep the rodents out,and most of my food storage is in cans or glass. They already got to 40lbs of pasta I had to toss. I’m being more careful now.

  • I live in a fairly quiet, middle-class neighborhood and most neighbors keep to themselves. When I grocery shop I have been in the habit of putting my purchases in the back of my van which then requires me to leave my garage door open while I bring them in the house. I recently started putting my groceries in the back seat and on the floor between the driver’s seat and the back seat so I can close my garage door before I take my purchases inside. That is one way I am “hiding” what I have. My house is small and has limited storage options so I am open to creative ways to hide food once it is inside. I’m thinking about getting some storage footstools for the living room as a start…great article.

    • Box springs, couches, lamp bases (especially big ceramic types), kick space under kitchen cabinets, in between the quarter panels of older vehicles, heavy outside planters, the eaves of your roof, add an extra 4” sewer vent somewhere it’ll look legit.
      These are off the top of my head and they all have challenges but seem doable.

  • Re-rodents. I have used a killer bait called first strike with great results. I know poison is bad, but this stuff is not all bad. My pets don’t find it appealing but the rodents do.
    Another get rid of rodents trick is to 50/50 or so mix baking soda and corn muffin mix together and put that around in feeders. The rodent gut can’t burp or pass gas, and the stomach acid in the rodent mixes with the soda and they gas up and die. Good luc all.

    • Keep in mind, other animals that get desperate from hunger will find and consume the poisoned rodents. It may be someone else’s pet. Or when things get very difficult and many scavenging animals start to look good as a food source. And those poisons may come back to haunt you.

  • I have limited space to try to store much n I can not store every single possible thing, but do my best n share that info with no one.
    Where I do store my stuff, I have lined the entire area with boric acid powder sprinkled liberally with cinnamon, cloves n bay leaves. I have also placed containers of an essential oil dilution of primarily peppermint, clove n cinnamon essential oils to deter vermin etc at the entrance n about 30” apart around the perimeter.
    It smells great, btw, which is why I also do this inside my van, n should keep any critter or insect from doing much damage n taking up residency.
    As far as appearing as others during a food shortage n losing weight, I have tried hard since the first if July to gain 20 extra pounds while still working out to build muscle strength n bought larger sizes in some frumpyish clothing at thrift stores, so that my weight loss in the future will be more pronounced even at a minimum.
    I can only do so much n accept that. I can not cover every possibility.

  • for mouse control in your pantry.. plastic pails with lids. these DO NOT have to be food grade if the contents do not touch the plastic. if you are buying bulk grains/pastas. ect to store in plastic, buy mylar bags for liners. O2 absorbers will extend the shelf life too.
    if it comes to that, these same plastic pails can be buried, (make sure you are not seen) and the site camoflaged to make it harder for looters to find.
    be sure your home protection,…NOT ADT ect…. is well stocked and skill honed regularly…YKWIM.

    • Be advised, the desperation of starving animals should not be underestimated. Most rodent varieties possess teeth that continue to grow throughout their lifespan. And they can and will burn through storage items that seemed impenetrable. Plastics are nothing to starving mice, rats, squirrel and various other rodents. Metal is a safer bet.

  • Well thought out article. I have a hidden space under my staircase where I can store several weeks worth of food. I would leave some items in plain sight as a sacrifice. Lazy thieves don’t want to spend a lot of time in one place.

    • The problem I see with anything, metal or any other material, is the ability to seal it completely. Most filing cabinets still have a lot of cracks and crevices that vermin can squeeze into. You’d be amazed at the size of a hole or crack a mouse can squeeze through.
      I use surplus ammo cans, the metal kind, not plastic. I also buy the bigger cans like the P154. Used to store 120 mm mortar rounds, it can hold a 50 lb bag of flour or other staple, and there’s still some room at the top of the can. Surplus cans run from $10 to $30 depending on the size, but as long as they’re not rusted through, and the O-Ring in the lid is intact, they seal up completely.
      Cans that I use to store foodstuffs in, I spray paint the inside with several coats of Appliance Epoxy Enamel. Once it’s cured, it’s nearly impervious. I also line the can with a plastic bag to keep the provision from being in contact with the metal.

    • Yes. I have one in the garage where I store bird seed, dog food, and dog treats. Only problem I had was when pantry moths showed up which I determined came from the feed store as pupa on a bag. A pantry moth trap and quick vacuum of any live or dead moths took care of that. I replace the traps once a year.

  • I’m so depressed. I took all my stored food, my firearms, all my ammunition AND my covid vaccine card on a fishing trip and, wouldn’t you know it, a bear jumped out of the woods and capsized my canoe. I lost everything.

  • I had to giggle about the “False Wall” for provisions, mainly because I built our False Wall for munitions. And that’s all I’ll say.

  • A good fictional account of a futuristic famine and demand on farmers and preppers in general is Your Sins and Mine by Taylor Caldwell. I’ve mentioned it here before. The earth has revenge and farmers are caught in the middle of throngs of hungry people … A think-worthy piece.

  • When I travel (most of my travel has been in the developing world), I keep a wallet with enough cash for the day, while the rest of my money and ID is hidden in various places under my clothing. Because someone has got my wallet, they think they have everything I had on me. I think I may need to start taking the same approach to food.

  • I have a tiny decrepit little shed way out in my woods, about a half mile from the farm buildings. It’s decrepit looking because it’s old and built patchwork out of crap material. We have used it for four generations as our sugar shanty to boil sap for syrup. There’s old metal sheets, piles of pallets, stacks of wood, pvc tubes that hang off spiles piled up, old unusable evaporators, a tire swing hanging off a maple tree limb 10” in diameter and a junked 19?? GMC ton truck.

    In the pile of pvc spile tubes (6” pipes 36” long) eight pvc tubes double capped and randomly arranged throughout the pile are filled with vac sealed and mylar bagged food of various kinds. One has a cabelas four season tent, MSR multifuel whisperlite stove/fuel bottle. One has a greased and vac sealed Winchester ‘94 32 spl. with 100 rounds also vac sealed. All the tubes have O2 absorbers.

    Rodents from mice, pack rats, porcupine, opossum, chipmunks, squirrel as well as bear have never molested my cache. The pile sits right there in the open. Nothing. But the shanty itself gets the crap beat out of it by them. Especially by the porcupines. Jeez!

  • Things have changed we are not unarmed Ukrainians Marie Hawthorne. That changes things drastically. Are we supposed to hide both our food and our guns? So that they can take us to camps if they so decide because our guns are all buried.

  • I use diatomaceous earth to ward off both rats and mice. Just sprinkle it all around where you don’t want them. Surpringly, it continues to work.

    • I had forgotten about diatomaceous earth n you are right about it, thank you!!
      There are many useful n helpful comments here n thank you all for them.
      The OP has the best community!!

      • Indeed….we use it for pest control for other kinds of peststoo…..rodents are not currently a problem for us, because we have an abundance of hawks and owls in the area.

        • Yes, also rodents cannot regurgitate air. Baking soda, alka seltzer and various substances that produce the need to expell gasses can kill them or repell them.

  • Ah, the joys of rodents. If you have a largish bucket, preferably with sloping sides…a stainless steel milk bucket is perfect. Pour about an inch of animal grade molasses in the bucket. You can purchase this from grain bin type feed store, the ones that put grains in 50lb bags.
    Next, find a small board or piece of kindling long enough for a ramp. The ramp can be from the ground to bucket lip or span across something of similar height.
    The vermin will find their way into the bucket! Think of a large rechargeable glue trap they can’t pull back to the nest.
    Yep, it’s kinda disgusting fishing their drowned bodies out of the molasses but it works and it’s cost effective.
    Just don’t wait too long to pull the bodies out.

    • Another method is to smear some peanut butter on the ramp. Across the top put a bear can with a dowel through it secured to the bucket. Put a dab of peanut butter facing up. Put a few inches of water into the bucket. The mouse will climb the ramp, see the peanut butter, jump onto the can which will rotate dropping the mouse into the water. After the mouse drowns, toss it outside for any of the wild life to enjoy.

      At one site I worked at a fox was waiting in the morning for the free food to be thrown out the shop door. True story.

  • True, but what do you do when you need work done and you have a LDS level pantry? I’m pretty sure I need an extra “Book of Mormon” to explain away my pantry. Seriously though you can’t hide a years worth of food in a small cellar when there’s rows of shelves stacked with canned foods, buckets and sacks of potatoes? I’m pretty outgoing but I don’t tell my neighbors about my pantry or preps. For that matter the neighbors can tell when I bake fresh bread even when the doors and windows are closed! This tells me that everyone will smell that roast pork……

    • You gave me an idea. Build a false wall and put a bookshelf in front of it. Put several Bibles, Books of Mormon, some math books and maybe an English book on it and no one will be at all interested.

  • good article, I recently put a sticky trap in the garage, I thought was a mighty rat hunter, till I realized it was a baby possum in my trap…as for hiding of food this is something everyone should think through, perhaps a buried cache would be safest as anything found at your residence could be used as evidence against you in a Holodomor type situation.

  • Actually most people know that Mormons have good supply of food storage as part of religious practice so to speak
    Better use those Hilary for president banners or democratic president autobiographies on your book case instead????
    That’s more likely camouflage of nothing to see here…

    • Fireswamp,

      True statement about LDS and food supply.
      What most people do not know is despite their sunny disposition, quick to smile, inviting homes, Mormons have no problem with firearms. Or the use there of.
      I was close friends/prom date of a Mormon, and have been to Provo.

    • I see many people assume that very, common, forms of concealment is a safe bet. Unfornately, desperate individuals, and groups of sociopaths will have no problem knocking your walls down or locating various forms of your concealment with ease. And their abilities will increase with experience. Much more creative thought and imagination must be employed. You must approach it with the mindset of your enemy or desperate starving irrational individuals. Think the unexpected.

  • If we get to the point the government tries to mandate giving up food in your pantry, we are in a lot worse off place.
    Take, what? A third of the country said, “No,” to the jab. Another quarter only took it for the Biden admin blackmail, “NO JAB! NO JOB!” mandate.
    That is easily over 50% of the country.
    And when it comes to food, you could likely add another 20%.

    And who is going to do the door to door food confiscation? While I would not rule out a possible Holodomor event, there are similarities and there are differences.
    Who will go willingly to try to confiscate food not knowing if they will be greeted by a hail of bullets? LEOs? NG? Or get shot in the back from the neighbors? Not just one or two but 20 or 30 to that 13 man food confiscation squad.
    ROL fails, who are the ones doing the shooting? Criminals? ANTIFA? BLM? Proud Boys? Anti-Semites/racists? NG? LEOs? Feds? Who is the good guy? Who is the bad guy? How do you tell the difference through a scope or irons sights? How he/she is dressed? If it is a nun with a AK, shoot or dont shoot?

    That is a whole lot of bad that is the stuff of nightmares.
    Or what Selco went through.
    Could be coming to a neighborhood near you.

    • Perhaps study histories and first hand accounts of civilizations and/or individuals that have already experienced it through time. Back to the dark ages and beyond. Knowledge is wealth. Study infrastructure and tactics of cartels, etc. They are very brutal hierarchies that rule by absolute, brutal, homicidal force. Their soldiers are ruled by fear of decapitation, dismemberment, etc. They will shoot first and maybe ask questions later. You may be confronted with that level of insane force. Like living inside an inescapable vacume or the Television Series, “The Walking Dead”. You will have to train yourself to respond accordingly. Feelings certainly will not matter.

  • If we get to the point the government tries to mandate giving up food in your pantry, we are in a lot worse off place.
    Take, what? A third of the country said, “No,” to the jab. Another quarter only took it for the Biden admin blackmail, “NO JAB! NO JOB!” mandate.
    That is easily over 50% of the country.
    And when it comes to food, you could likely add another 20%.

    And who is going to do the door to door food confiscation? While I would not rule out a possible Holodomor event, there are similarities and there are differences.
    Who will go willingly to try to confiscate food not knowing if they will be greeted by a hail of bullets? LEOs? NG? Or get shot in the back from the neighbors? Not just one or two but 20 or 30 to that 13 man food confiscation squad.
    ROL fails, who are the ones doing the shooting? Criminals? ANTIFA? BLM? Proud Boys? Anti-Semites/racists? NG? LEOs? Feds? Who is the good guy? Who is the bad guy? How do you tell the difference through a scope or irons sights? How he/she is dressed? If it is a nun with a AK, shoot or dont shoot?

    That is a whole lot of bad that is the stuff of nightmares.
    Or what Selco went through.
    Could be coming to a theater/neighborhood near you.

    • I agree that it is less likely that “someone” will go door to door to get your stash of food
      Also less likely to confiscate your guns (that is way more easy to track with licensing and registration etc)
      They don’t have enough people to do that ( think about basic logistics-they can’t even go door to door during hurricane evacuations)

      That being said More likely they’ll find ways to encourage/force you to comply ( omg recall because of some contamination …can’t guarantee safety of item)
      Molon labe!!

      • Read the book Execution by Hunger and you will have a better understanding of how this works and how the communists will implement it in your location.

        Also read:

        Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland Paperback – Illustrated, April 24, 1998

        This will help you understand how your kindly neighbors will be the ones doing the dirty work. Especially the really dirty deeds.

  • Thank for input on this important topic of protecting your pantry from multiple threats.
    I live in the redoubt where the wheat country meets the forests. Our mountain valley of neighbors are very close knit. All of us have been putting 55 gallon barrels of hard red winter wheat away buried in the forest around our properties. Personally I’ve been mylar vacuum sealing 5 gallon bags of wheat and then placing them in the red plastic drums. The lids on the red food grade drums make a fantastic seal to keep water and bugs out. After I have the mylar bagged wheat in the drum, I fill the empty space with lose wheat berries. Once you have this filled there is no moving it. We dig trenches to place the barrels half to three-quarters in the ground. I also have the drums separated in groups of three. I’m assuming we will be overrun and that we will melt into the hillside. I like Jonathan Hollerman’s take on responding to marauders. We have 25 barrels and several barrels of salt blocks and sugar. I check on them about every three months. No bugs, no rats, no bears. Keeping the barrels slightly above ground let’s the winter freeze penetrate deep into the wheat killing any weavels or bugs. Generally Pallouse wheat is bug free. They use some effective bug sprays on it.
    As for the state of world right now, I can see we all see the writing on the wall. I spent three years in Afghanistan and two years in Iraq. One of my years in Afghanistan was spent with the Polish Airborne (Descente!). I became close with one of their battle captains through a Bible study on our little FOB. He let me know in 2008 that the Polish were there to do two things…1) support the USA and 2) prepare the Polish officer Corp for the coming fight with Russia. They knew back then that this fight was coming. All of the current officers in Poland have had their baptism of fire and know how to operate under fire. I almost feel sorry for the Russians. The Polish are meat eaters. I hope this info about the Polish is sobering to you and yours. They’ve known this fight was coming. Now you know as well. God bless you and yours. Proverbs 11:25-26

  • After reading about the Holodonor article I don’t wonder why Ukrainians hate Russia so much. Anyway,I keep quiet about my stored food. I hide it best I can but I have a small home.

  • In Minneapolis a few years ago the Pillsbury grain warehouse folks accidentally poisoned the neo-retro art center next door; fumes from the exterminators’ chemicals travelled thru underground tunnels and up into the art studios. Somebody died and the art center closed. Be careful with poisons.

  • My father’s tale of how they dealt with rats in the old days:

    My dad was a straight shooter, a son of Dutch immigrants who grew up on a farm in Iowa. He told several interesting accounts of his childhood and one account about a rat infestation was particularly interesting.

    His family’s farm was invested by rats one fall, as were most of the neighboring farms. They had a corn crib and when they would get corn out of the corn crib, they had to tie their pant legs closed to keep startled rats from running up their pant legs, biting and clawing them. That part, actually, is not that uncommon for farmers as I understand it. But this one year in particular the rats were everywhere and causing severe damage and losses.

    My grandpa hired a Mexican itinerant farm worker who claimed he could get rid of all the rats on the farm, for a small fee. They paid the fee and he spent a couple days trapping rats, which he accumulated in a cage. After he had “a dozen or so” rats in the cage, the worker started a torch (an Acetylene Torch, I imagine) and used it to singe and terrorize the rats in the cage. Some of them had smoke coming of their their fur. He didn’t kill any of them, but when they were good and scared he released them. The next day all of rats had left their farm and didn’t come back any time soon.

    I’ve never heard of this from any other source but I believe it’s a true story. You should never do this today because you will be likely be arrested for animal cruelty. I searched the internet to find collaboration but only found videos of people being stupid and cruel. One video showed a flaming rat running into a house and catching it on fire.

    This is a good story to know if hard times come. You may be creative and find a more humane way to put a good scare into the rat population. Or you might just try this anyway in an attempt to save your family from starvation. In any case, it’s good to understand the social nature of rats and see evidence that it can be used to your advantage.

  • I crazy glue sunflower seeds on the release paddles on my Victors. Never have to replace the bait. Just be careful to not block the release part. The mice seem to like both the seeds and the glue.

  • We have found Nutella is the best at catching mice in the Victor traps. They come into the kitchen behind the stove and really go for the chocolate. I’ve had to put all my tea kept in a drawer in metal Christmas tins.

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