Author - Brian Neville

Seed Vaults

When you think of “Svalbard”, that is, if you ever think of Svalbard, you probably think of polar bears, ice and snow. Svalbard is in Norway, only 810 miles from the North Pole and not terribly accessible. However, there’s interesting stuff going on up there. In fact, since 2008 Svalbard has been home the Global Seed Bank. The purpose of the Bank is to protect the genetic diversity of seeds from all over the world in case of a […]

Home Canning: Ensuring Safe Food Storage

There was a time when colorful jars of home-canned fruits and vegetables lined most everyone’s basement shelves. Canning was a normal part of the harvest season – those jars of preserved summer crops made the budget stretch and added a little warm weather flavor to the root crop drudgery of the late winter months. Because modern food storage is so inexpensive and easy, many families have stopped canning food – especially in the last generation, and the oral tradition […]

Freeze-Dried Philanthropy

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when we are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder
“May you live in interesting times.” – ancient curse
A lot of us are very good at disaster planning. We know how many calories every member of our family will need at every meal, we can cook anything over an open fire and know how to dig a latrine. We’re ready for the worst and if we’re being honest, we […]

Helpful Disaster Response Apps for Smartphones

Recently the Red Cross released its new Hurricane app that offers real-time alerts and information about what to do to prepare for hurricane season, what to do in the event of a hurricane and how to recover after a hurricane. Maybe the most interesting application is the one touch “I’m Safe” button that lets users broadcast that they’re safe via social media channels. During the massive chaos in New York City after 9/11 and New Orleans after hurricane Katrina […]

Drying Food as Part of Your Food Storage

Drying food is the oldest method of food preservation. That’s because it’s so simple. As harvest and hunting season approaches, drying is a great way to prolong the enjoyment your fruits, vegetable and meat into the winter months. Though dried food is probably not the best plan to feed your family in emergency, it’s one more survival skill you can learn to supplement your emergency stores and reduce food costs. Here are some drying methods and safety instructions:
Solar drying
Solar […]

Building a Root Cellar

We’re starting to think about how to safely preserve the summer harvest to sustain us in the long winter months – or in a food shortage. It takes about two days of power outage for everything in your spare freezer to go bad. Root cellars, a normal feature of old homesteads, keep root vegetables and other produce cool, dark and dry for long periods of time. (Here’s a list of what to store, how and for how long.) If […]

Dig into Your Stash: Fast Meal Foundations for Summer

It used to be that dehydrated meals were strictly for emergencies or for use in the field by the armed services. Army green boxes of dehydrated food or envelopes of “heat and eat” dinners were bland at best and mysterious at worst. Fortunately for the rest of us, advancements in science and technology often move rapidly when it comes to the needs of the armed forces. NASA and the military have been hard at work on techniques to preserve […]

City Chickens

As people become more interested in self-reliance and preservation, the urban farming movement continues to gain momentum. We’ve written about urban gardening and urban bee keeping as great ways to sustain your family and even generate some trade. Now that the weather is nice and you’ve got your tomatoes in and your hives out – it’s time to expand your enterprise. It’s time for chickens.
Why chickens?
Allow us to convince you that chickens are a worthwhile addition to your sustainability […]

Travel Food and Freeze-Dried Meals

Recently a reader told us that they use our freeze-dried meals to get through the unhealthy, expensive airport food gauntlet when they travel. We thought that was pretty clever since it is generally easy to find hot water – often at no charge. So we did some in-depth thinking about the perils of airport food and how to avoid them.

Restrictions. Travel restrictions severely limit what you can bring with you, which pretty much eliminates all the good stuff in […]

Underground Shelters

As we watched the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster unfold last year, most of us had the same reaction – we couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Emergency system after emergency system failed, and failed so quickly that there was no time for science or technology to catch up and prevent total disaster – a level 7 (the maximum) on the International Nuclear Event Scale. It was almost like watching a sci-fi movie, except, unfortunately, it wasn’t a movie. It […]