Anyone prepping for corona?

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jacob
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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by jacob »

It's still possible to access institutional food and have it shipped directly. For example, https://www.foodservicedirect.com/ ... you just have to take delivery of 25-50 pounds at a time which isn't a problem if you have a couple of 5 gal buckets to put it in. It might be possible to split a bag with a neighbor. Compare to WMT delivery prices before hitting the order button insofar you're getting regular retail sizes.

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by Alphaville »

Not sure if helpful here but I bought a case of RedPack tomatoes directly from the producer via Amazon. They’re not cheap online, but they’ve been rated better than San Marzanos.

https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advic ... st-article

Anyway I’ve also been getting consistent deliveries via Amazon and Costco and Walmart. I’ve figured if someone can command producers to fill their orders it’s them.

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by black_son_of_gray »

@Augustus - How long do you figure that your couple hundred pounds will last you? I'm trying to figure out what is prudent, too...

A coarse rule of thumb that I've been using is that 1lb of rice/pasta/oats, etc., is equal to 1 day's calorie needs for one person. It's probably a little under for most people, but adding in veggies, sauces, etc. makes it about right. I don't care to do the exhaustive, detailed calorie accounting, but I'm sure we've got 2-3 months of calories stored. We get most of the fresh/green stuff (the nutrition) on a rolling weekly basis. Assuming we can keep getting fresh produce, we've probably got 3-5 months. For now, I think I'm comfortable with that.

One way to think about this is analogously to a cash emergency fund, and with similar reasoning: an X month emergency fund is typically matched in size to the length of time it takes to find a comparable new job after losing one. Although maybe that doesn't apply when a quarter of workers lose their jobs all at once. Or e.g. if a quarter of food production/distribution breaks down...

Or, previously I mentioned it in terms of insurance, which is perhaps a useful paradigm too. Where I think "insurance" breaks down is that over-insuring something typically doesn't come at someone else's expense, but it might with respect to food hoarding. Of course, it might not, depending on where you get the food from. If the sourced food comes from institutional suppliers that are sitting on excess, h/t to @jacob for the link, then stocking up might shift burden from the retail supply chain and benefit everyone. Hard to know the current state of the system though. An assortment of odd, troubling headlines is unfortunately all I've really got to go on...

jacob
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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by jacob »

One pound is 454g and staples (rice, pasta, bread, most beans and lentils) are ~300kcal/100g except soy beans which are closer to 400kcal as they also contain fat. 1500kcal/day is a weight loss diet, but you're not gonna die on that. For a stronger systems breakdown, the downside of this plan is that these also requires substantial amounts of water and fuel to make them edible. Cooking beans on a coleman stove in freezing temperatures is barely doable with a pressure cooker. This then becomes the next weak link. Ditto electricity for freezer food. Leveling up would be cans and freeze dried food. This is (much) more expensive (and takes up more space) and perhaps not the greatest culinary experience to eat in rotation. However, prepper companies do sell these in package deals, e.g. a 6 month supply. Those are likely out of stock currently, but CostCo used to have such "deals".

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by RealPerson »

jacob wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 4:28 pm
Cooking beans on a coleman stove in freezing temperatures is barely doable with a pressure cooker.
Here is a possible solution: https://www.sunoven.com/ There are DIY designs as well.

There is a creek with very clear water across the street from my house. We can filter and boil the water. For your household maybe Lake Michigan or other sources close to your house?

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by fiby41 »

Re food being destroyed, prevention and distribution:
There is a minimum support price that will be paid at harvest that a farmer can look up for the previous years before selecting a crop to sow. Although soil and climate have more bearing on which crop he'll select but MSP prevents extreme decisions like everyone cultivating cotton, sugarcane (cash crops) instead of wheat, rice (food crops.) This also reduced the chance that the farmer will destroy the crop later or migrate to work in a factory.
If the market price turns out to be above MSP, they can sell on the open market. If it's less, the government buys it at MSP. This is then redistributed to below poverty line families as food subsidies and remaining is sold on the open market at a loss.
Food Corporation of India plays a role in this by managing procurement, storage in godowns, maintaining buffer stock depending on time of the year and transportation.

Jason

Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by Jason »

We gave in and ordered 50 lbs of pizza dough. Like we're starting a fucking Papa's John's. Not to mention 50 fucking pounds some poor UPS guy/gal has to lug around. I believe it was Milton Friedman who said "If the government took control of the Sahara Desert there would be a shortage of sand."

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by jacob »


Alphaville
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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by Alphaville »

jacob wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:29 am
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ty ... g-n1193256

It's official now.
read earlier, he did it to request help from the federal government

so, quick brainstorm: essential industry, risk of death, federal help... send in the army?

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by Alphaville »

Augustus wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:39 am
China and other countries are also buying a ton of our grain.
i’m buying rice from thailand, italian pasta made from canadian grain, and lentils from india + france

i think it’s a little too soon to say to hell with markets, though i understand your concern.

a reduction in cattle wouldn’t be an utter disgrace. cattle is meant to eat grass anyway, and can live for a very long time, so it will not go extinct, there will just be less beef, and less beef... would free up grain and soybeans from finishing operations.

pork and chicken, on the other hand.... that has me worried.

pressure will shift to the oceans (e.g more tuna).

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by Alphaville »

But it doesn’t take 70% of the workforce to produce our food. Big Ag is largely mechanized.

Produce is a different story, but curbing immigration is more likely to hurt our supply of produce than sending office workers home.

The food that’s being destroyed right now is the perishable stuff. Which is, I agree, unfortunate, tragic even. It‘s not however the end of grain production. We produce an overabundance of grain, which can be stored for long periods.

Apparently the farmers are happy about it the China buys: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2020/03 ... 584998222/

Which allows them to continue operations into the future instead of running out of cash and relying on subsidies.

As for cattle: it’s terrible that we’re letting fresh beef go bad, but cattle grazes in the range before it’s sent to be fattened on grain and processed. Rotting beef does not equal cattle extinction. It does means herds will be reduced with less demand, but cows are not going away forever. And again, cattle eats more grain that we do. Less cattle = more grain.

https://news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/0 ... estock-eat

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by Alphaville »

I don’t think anybody is disputing that disruptions cause further disruption. What I started disputing is that China will starve us of grain while our supply chains readjust.

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by Riggerjack »

They sent everyone home and shut the restaurants, and as a direct result of that
... Articles are being written.

Ag mostly works on futures contracts, is my understanding. Some people will always be Mavericks, and try to speculate. When speculating in commodities, crops will sometimes be plowed under. Happens in some crop nearly every year.

But this year, government coffers are being used like a piniata, and hundreds of millions of people are both at home with time, and looking for news with more than the usual interest.

It's a journalism bumper crop! Both suppliers of stories, and consumers of stories are way up!

Remember that the purpose of journalism is to sell you a sense of being informed, not to inform you. Informing you would take more effort on their part, and yours, with no additional payout. That's why they have so many sources of journalism, so customers can sort themselves to the channel that fits their interests and attention span. But even when the high brow journals publish "think pieces", the informational bar is still pretty low.

Gell-Mann amnesia is real, and the basis of journalism.

Consider how the NYT covers early retirement, for a sense of how relevant that story about destroyed food is likely to be. But it is timely...

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by Riggerjack »

Many of those futures contracts are with processors who normally run wholesale packaging. Just because restaurants are closed, doesn't mean the cannery closes. It just means there will be an excess of wholesale packaged goods from the production lines that couldn't convert.

#10 cans instead of 10 #1 cans... Yup, that's a disaster. :?

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by Alphaville »

China’s great famine occurred due to the piled-on failures of a command economy. One wrong thing after another, in the name of ideology and against invisible conspiracies.

Which is precisely why we need to let markets operate.

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by Alphaville »

Augustus wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:57 pm
You mean like, letting people out of their homes? I think markets operate like that, people going outside, that kind of thing.
No, I meant like selling grain to China ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by jennypenny »

Is everyone eating down their stockpiles or still shopping while there is food available? I'm trying to figure out if the contagion risk is bigger/smaller than the future food shortage risk.

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by jacob »

Alphaville wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:43 pm
Which is precisely why we need to let markets operate.
Unfortunately, the markets have operated themselves into a "muscle-bound" structure of just in time delivery that sends half the food in one direction (restaurants) and half in the other direction (retail) in the most efficient way possible. Margins can be so thin that it's economically better to plow things under. That's the market operating right there.

I had one of these delivered the other day https://www.foodservicedirect.com/gener ... 74187.html (Note how it says hotels & restaurants at the bottom of the bag). There's plenty of flour if you're willing to take 25lbs+. There's also flour if you're willing to take shipments in ridiculously small 2lb bags https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Brand-Hap ... 07Z78Q8TB/ ... What's missing are retail sized bags. There's no easy way to repackage/reship at scale without someone paying that cost. And people are not hungry enough to pay this yet.

This is basically the toilet paper problem all over. It's also the reason why there are still hungry people in the world despite producing more than enough food for everybody. Getting all the food eaten is distribution problem that the market can't solve. The market solves for maximum profit under the circumstances... which is a different problem.

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by Riggerjack »

I'm still shopping. I like fresh eggs, and dislike chickens, so I am still buying. Also, because I am out and about, I buy a fresh bag of coffee to add to the backstock to replace what I have used. I'm not increasing my larder, but I am replacing what I use.

Also, Costco is doing a great job of adapting to the new normal, from sterilizing carts as they are rounded up, to plexiglass barricades and wide spaced check out, and streamlining checkout for minimal contact. You hold your card, they scan it with the hand scanner. Receipt prints at the end of the line, cashier doesn't touch it. And Costco customers are masked at a much higher rate than home Depot customers, in my experience.

Masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing, and the rarity of infection make me feel safe enough to shop. If/when infection rate climbs, I'll clamp down on shopping. By then, hopefully, the garden will be producing. And there's always sprouts...

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Re: Anyone prepping for corona?

Post by theanimal »

@Jenny- I am still shopping but I think my risk of contagion is far less than your neck of the woods.

ETA: I've had the same experience as RJ. Very impressed with Costco and almost no contact. They are still printing and handing the receipts at my location. Otherwise there is no contact from entry to exit and plenty of space.

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