As Americans we are used to the almost unlimited availability of any product we might desire. If it’s not in a local store it is available on the internet. The Pandemic has severely disrupted the world-wide supply chain and the impact is beginning to be felt locally.
Shortages of manufactured goods might not have an immediate effect on the individual but can have a huge effect on businesses. A recent example from a manufacturer illustrates the problem. They had a product assembled and ready to go except for a small, high quality spring that was made overseas. The spring was suddenly not available and thousands of the products now sat useless. The same issue can happen to spare parts for machinery and equipment.
Shortages of expendables have a much greater impact on the individual, especially food. We might be able to do without some household supplies but we cannot do without food. Food shortages are already noticeable and are predicted to worsen in the fall of 2020. The food sourcing and distribution network is world-wide and even in the United States is very regional.
Some examples are meat shortages due to large meat processing plants being shut down and crops left in the fields and on the trees due to a lack of trained people to harvest. Disruptions in the distribution network tend to have a ripple effect which further compounds the problem. Add hoarding to that and shortages become very real.
What can the individual do to adjust to this new reality? Here are a few suggestions:
- Garden if you can, not only for immediate needs but also for food preservation for later use. If you do not have a garden plot, look for community gardens where space is shared.
- If you cannot garden stock food supplies that will support limited menus. Freezing is ideal for preserving quality but always prepare for power outages. Canned and dried foods are better choices.
- Stock key ingredients for cooking and baking rather than focusing on easy to prepare or ready to eat.
- If cooking depends on having power, have an alternate method such as a propane stove.
Be alert, be aware, be prepared.