With such a fragile system keeping the store shelves stocked with food, it’s absolutely paramount that you not only learn to grow you own food, but that you also learn to forage and be able to identify edible plants in and around your city. Such skills are lost to the current generation so it’s important to learn these skills before SHTF since you’ll likely be the only ones that will know how. We gotta keep this knowledge and wisdom alive!
The Universal Edibility Test
The “Universal Edibility Test” is a popular but controversial subject found in many books on survival. Those who support the notion claim that the test is a reliable way to tell if something is edible or toxic. It consists of exposing the item being tested to a person’s skin and mouth (a very small amount at first) then a period of time elapses and the person is checked for any possible symptoms. Then the process is repeated several times with a larger and larger amount of the substance each time. Those who oppose this method, including experts consider it dangerous, because even a tiny amount of some substances that might be “potential foods” could cause a severe reaction leading to illness and even possible death.
In some versions of the “Universal Edibility Test” there is an added step, called the “scratch test” which takes place before the substance is ever put into the person’s mouth. The skin is scratched lightly and a small amount of the substance is rubbed in, and then there is a period of waiting to see if there are any reactions such as inflammation, itching, etc. which would indicate the “potential food” is not edible, at least for that person.
Despite what you’ve been told or have read, the test is not adequate and not worth using. Study the various food sources found within your vicinity and study it well! Better to be safe then sorry.
If you think through the “grow your own food” aspect of a survival strategy all the way to its end, that is, if you picture the situation when a major disaster has struck, and there you are with your beautiful, well-stocked garden available to keep you and your loved ones going while others are scrabbling and scavenging, it does not take long to realize that those others will eventually see what you have, too. And not only will they see the lovely vegetables ripe for the picking, but will have no difficulty imagining the well-stocked shelves inside your house, where your months of survival planning have produced a veritable treasure. So how then to keep your garden and shelves safe from the hordes of hungry people?
Guerrilla gardening is one answer. The idea is to spread out your survival planting instead of gardening in neat rows in one place. You might end up with 50 or a hundred spots where you’ve planted a small plot. Most people would probably not be able to differentiate cultivated edible plants from weeds — if they see them in a forest setting, for example, or in a park or a small plot in a vacant lot mostly covered with debris.
If you’ve managed to plant fifty or a hundred of these mini-gardens and a few of them are discovered and raided, it won’t be as much of a setback for you than if your nice, neat home garden were raided all at once by a hungry mob.