How To Survive During a Famine (Complete Guide)

It is everyone’s greatest nightmare, being trapped in an area with no food or water resources to sustain you and your loved ones. Before a famine strikes, you will generally notice a few warning signs, giving you time to prepare for your and your family’s survival. So, what are some helpful tips for surviving a famine?

Here are ten essential tips for surviving during a famine:

  1. Stockpile non-perishable food for reserves.
  2. Stockpile vitamins and hydration tablets for survival.
  3. Acquire the correct equipment to survive famine.
  4. Learn to grow your own food.
  5. Learn how to forage, hunt and fish your own food.
  6. Consider alternative food options for survival.
  7. Keep alert for news of relief aid.
  8. Harvest rainwater as a water source.
  9. Keep your stockpile a secret to avoid potential looters.
  10. Migrate to another area with resources.

If you would like to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe and fed during a catastrophe such as famine, please read on where I’ll discuss the above points in more detail below.

1. Stockpile Non-Perishable Food for Reserves

The best way to prepare for the famine is to stockpile various non-perishable foods. The foods I’ll mention below are not costly, and if you buy them in bulk, you’ll save a lot of money.

Here’s what you should stockpile:

  • Spices and seasonings: Spices and seasonings like chili flakes, salt, pepper, and dried herbs can transform a plain, stockpiled meal into something tasty.
  • Pet food: You should never forget your pets during a famine, and it’s a good idea to stockpile large bags of dry food and many cans of wet food for added hydration.
  • Lentils and beans: Lentils and beans are excellent and cost-effective protein sources. You can buy them canned or dried and in bags. They’re also versatile, and you can add them to soups, pasta dishes, and stews to make your meals more filling.
  • Pasta: Pasta has a long shelf life, and you can buy extra-large boxes of it to ensure that you always have a good carbohydrate source.
  • Rice: As another inexpensive carbohydrate convenient to buy in bulk, rice is a popular food for stockpiling. It swells several times its average size when cooked, so you’ll get countless servings from one large bag.
  • Sugar: Sugar provides plenty of energy, and you can use it to add to coffee, tea, and baking goods.
  • Coffee, tea, and malt powder: Famine doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your daily cup of coffee or tea. Coffee can help keep you alert when guarding your home, while fruit teas can provide vitamins. Malt powder makes a tasty hot or cold drink and contains healthy fat, some vitamins, and fiber to help keep everyone healthy.
  • Oats: You may not typically eat oatmeal for breakfast, but oats are a fantastic item for stockpiling as they’re very inexpensive and swell when you cook them. You can also add them to soups and stews to thicken them and make the meal more nutritious.
    Peanut butter: Peanut butter is an excellent protein source, and most people enjoy eating it.
  • Powdered milk and eggs: Long-life milk is an excellent option during the famine, but you need to refrigerate it once it’s opened, and you may not have power during this time. With powdered milk, you can make as much or as little as you want. Powdered eggs are incredibly inexpensive and have a very long shelf life.
  • Bread-making ingredients: Ingredients like flour, yeast, and baking soda will allow you to make bread and other filling carbohydrates during a famine. You can buy them in bulk and store them in airtight containers or the original packaging.
  • Various canned foods: Canned foods are a staple for any stockpile, and you can buy many different kinds to introduce variety during a famine. Consider buying a range of canned soup, meat, fruit, vegetables, beans, fish, condensed milk, and potatoes to keep things varied.

How to Survive During a Famine

2. Stockpile Vitamins and Hydration Tablets for Survival

When stockpiling your pantry for famine, the focus is on groceries with a long shelf life and not those that are highly nutritious. While it’s possible to eat a healthy and balanced diet using the foods in the section above, you might become deficient in some nutrients.

Forget about buying separate A, B, and C vitamins plus individual tablets for minerals, as these will take up too much space in your stockpiling room and will cost a fortune. Buying the largest container of multivitamins you can find is a much better solution. If you have kids or pets, buy them suitable multivitamins.

You can buy 500 daily multivitamin tablets from Costco, which will last you and another adult for several months, and help keep you healthy.

Hydration tablets contain electrolytes (potassium, sodium, and chloride) which help replenish your body when it’s dehydrated. During a famine, hunting for food, fishing, or foraging can take its toll on your body as there will be a shortage of targets.

Hydration tablets can help you get back to your usual self quicker.

3. Acquire the Correct Equipment To Survive Famine

Stockpiling enough non-perishable food for the famine is essential, but you also need the correct equipment.

Here are some essential non-food items that will help you to survive:

  • Large airtight containers: Large airtight containers allow you to store your dry groceries so that they remain fresher for longer. You can stack them and optimize pantry space if they’re all the same size.
    Can openers: You’ll use plenty of your stockpiled canned foods during a famine. Ensure that you have at least two can openers if your main one malfunctions.
    Off-the-grid cooking equipment: A famine strains the economy, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll have a constant electricity supply. That’s why it’s vital to have off-the-grid cooking equipment, such as a gas stove.
    Canning equipment: Canning equipment is vital during your harvest if you’ve opted to grow your own fruit and vegetables.
    Hunting and fishing equipment: Effective hunting and fishing equipment (including a hunting gun and a fishing rod) will allow you to search for fresh food.

4. Learn To Grow Your Own Food

If you’re currently experiencing a famine, it would be tough to start growing your food. However, if you already have a well-established fruit and vegetable garden, all you need to do is maintain it.

Start growing your food now, and consider planting fruit trees and vegetables in the ground. It’s best to focus on hardy and fast-growing vegetables that can withstand being watered infrequently.

When it’s time to harvest your fruit and vegetables, can or pickle them so that you have enough for the entire year.

5. Learn How To Forage, Hunt, and Fish Your Own Food

During a famine, there could be little or no food available in grocery stores, forcing you to rely on your stockpiled groceries and hunt forage or fish.

You can make things easier for yourself and increase your chances of survival during a famine if you already have hunting, foraging, and fishing skills. If you leave learning these skills to when a famine hits, the huntable food will have been taken by others when you’re ready.

Here’s how to up your foraging, hunting, and fishing skills:

Foraging

Foraging involves gathering edible items in your local area. You’re more likely to find such things in forests, meadows, or wooded areas.

This skill involves understanding what poisonous plants look like, which includes the following:

  • Plants with umbrella-shaped flowers. Most plants with umbrella leaves in clusters are highly toxic.
  • Waxy leaves. When leaves have a wax layer, it keeps them hydrated, but this wax is usually poisonous.
  • Plants with spines and hairs. Spines and hairs on plants indicate a well-developed defense system, and the plant is likely to have toxins to ward off predators.
  • Plants with milky sap. Some trees and plants have a milky sap that can irritate your skin and the delicate throat lining.

Hunting

If you don’t know how to hunt yet, it’s worth learning this skill in case you need it in a famine. The best way to learn how to hunt is to ask a hunter friend to teach you.

Other ways of learning about hunting are books aimed at beginner hunters or Youtube tutorials such as this excellent guide to creating a variety of traps for catching live game:

Fishing

There’s more to fishing than simply casting a line into the water. You need to learn which fish you’re likely to find in certain lakes and rivers, and you need to perfect your technique.

You can learn this by asking someone to teach you, or you could read or watch videos about fishing. The Take Me Fishing website is an excellent resource to get you started.

6. Consider Alternative Food Options for Survival

When a famine strikes, it’s challenging to know when it will end and how to ration your current food supplies.

  • Flowers: Edible flowers include lavender, roses, hibiscus, and pansies. They’re a great source of fiber and Vitamin C.
  • Insects: Although not an appetizing prospect, insects can provide protein and usually are prevalent, even during a famine. Easy-to-catch insects include grasshoppers, moths, and beetles.
  • Leaves: Leaves are usually plentiful, and examples of edible leaves are wild grapevines, red clover, dandelion, and nasturtium.
  • Small amphibians: If you’re running out of protein-rich foods, one option is catching and eating small amphibians, such as frogs and toads.
  • Acorns: Green acorns can taste bitter and can be toxic if you eat too many due to the high tannin content. However, once they turn white, you can eat them whole, roast them or grind them up.
  • Pine needles: If you have pine trees in your local area, most people won’t consider eating the needles as they contain few calories. However, they’re high in vitamin C and fiber, making them an excellent supplement to your current food stockpile.
  • Kudzu: Kudzu is a vine-like plant that looks like poison ivy but is edible (as long as you don’t eat the pods). Although it’s an Asian plant, it’s now common throughout North America. You can eat kudzu as part of a salad or add it to smoothies or soups.

7. Keep Alert for News of Relief Aid

During famines, charities and relief organizations, such as the World Food Programme and Action Against Hunger, often move in and distribute food to famine-stricken areas.

Ensure that you don’t miss out on relief aid efforts by monitoring local radio and television stations, talking to others in your community, and seeing if anyone moves into your area.

If the famine is particularly severe, receiving food from charities might be on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s best to keep up to date.

8. Harvest Rainwater as a Water Source

When there is a food shortage, it is often due to a drought or water shortage, making it difficult to manufacture or grow food.

Having limited access to water can make it challenging to wash and prepare food, so you should know how to harvest rainwater. This process includes investing in a large barrel and having enough sterilization products, like iodine and chlorine.

If you live in a low rainfall area, you might consider digging a well on your property to access the underground water. Well water contains bacteria and many minerals, making it undrinkable, so you need to treat it first.

You can boil the water for five minutes to remove the bacteria and then use iodine tablets or a few tiny chlorine drops to make it completely safe to drink.

9. Keep Your Stockpile a Secret To Avoid Potential Looters

As a human being, you care about your community and those around you. During a famine, however, people become hungry and desperate and will resort to stealing food from others to survive.

As sad as it sounds, even people you know well might change behaviors when faced with their and the survival of their loved ones. Letting others know of your resources may even endanger yourself and your family by attracting looters.

Since it is survival of the fittest, don’t advertise your stockpile to anyone but your immediate family. If hungry folks in your local area know that you have stockpiled food, they will target your home, leaving you hungry and feeling violated.

10. Migrate to Another Area With More Resources

If the worst comes to the worst and the famine goes on for an extended period, you might consider migrating to another area with plenty of food.

It will likely be impossible to sell your home or car in a famine-stricken area, and you’ll need to make a fresh start somewhere else. Keep your and your family’s passports up to date and think about where you would move if there were a famine.

Put money aside for airline tickets, and scout your chosen area before the famine happens.

Conclusion

No one hopes that a famine will happen, but if it does, your survival chances are greater if you’ve prepared by:

  • Stockpiling food and vitamins
  • Having the correct equipment
  • Learning how to fish, forage, and hunt
  • Considering food alternatives
  • Monitoring food relief efforts
  • Harvesting rainwater
  • Migrating somewhere else
  • Not advertising your stockpile.