Teach by Example: Turning Friends and Family into Preppers

My husband and I have a couple of dear friends who live in the next county.  For ages, Hubby and I have been dropping subtle little hints about our prepping strategies.  Usually, we’ve gotten comments from them like, “Well, we live in a really small place, so we don’t have the room to store anything,”, or, “When we buy a house, we’d like to …” Now, my family used to live with 3 children, two dogs, and a cat in about 850 square feet with NO outdoor storage.  Although it was really hard, even there, we’d managed to set aside some basic provisions, so I never felt like their space argument was a compelling one.  And I always told them that now’s as good a time as any to get started.  You don’t have to have your own place.

Fortunately, one of these gals, my best friend’s mom, has a green thumb.  Both those ladies have worked VERY hard for a productive garden, and despite all the land that we have here, they’re doing a lot better than us in that department.  (Neither my husband and I grew up gardening, so we’re having to learn EVERYTHING from the beginning.)

This past summer, these dear friends of ours had quite the zucchini bounty.  (Who doesn’t when you plant zucchini, right?) They asked if I wanted some, and I said, “Heck yeah! I’ll use some fresh and then I’ll dry some.” Both these friends stood in my kitchen and watched while I put zucchini into my dehydrator, and late that night, they got to try some “hot off the presses”.  I ended up giving the whole batch to them because they loved it so much.

After that experience, I started hearing questions.  “That didn’t look too hard.  What else can you dry?” “How would you store the stuff that you dry?” “Can you dry herbs from the garden?” “What kind of dehydrator should we get if we wanted to get into that?”

Many times, I’ve heard Jack Spirko from The Survival Podcast say that gardening is “a gateway drug to prepping”.  I think he’s DEAD on, and in the case of my two friends, it’s definitely the truth.

So this past weekend, the gals were over for some family events, and Sunday evening, I sat down with the two of them to help them order an Excalibur 3900 Deluxe Series 9 Tray Food Dehydrator, a whole library of books,  and a good selection of dehydrated veggies and fruit from Emergency Essentials.

Now, I couldn’t be more thrilled to hear these dear friends trying to figure out how they can start to provide a little more food security for themselves.  I happen to think that food/water security should be the first area on which to focus when you start your path to preparedness.  After all, most of us are much happier people if we eat three squares a day.

I also have to admit that I am the tiniest bit jealous of the Excalibur.  Last year, I bought an American Harvest food dehydrator.  Since I’d never dried food before, I didn’t want to lay out the $220 for something I wasn’t sure I’d use consistently.  Now that I’ve dried so many things in my dehydrator though, I know that I want an Excalibur, so there was a fleeting feeling of envy as I helped my friends purchase theirs.  Maybe they’ll share with me though.  A girl can hope, right?

Like my family, these friends eat mostly fresh, unprocessed foods.  So the purchase from Emergency Essentials is going to get their long-term food storage started (since they have minimal space), and it’s going to be an experiment for me.  As I’ve commented on my blog before, I intend to experiment with these dehydrated and freeze-dried products to see if I can 1) save some money and 2) provide a little more food security for my family in a shelf-stable way.

I realize that I’ve digressed just a bit here, so I want to come back to the main point of this story.  If you’re a prepper and you want to convert family and friends, share information, by all means, but don’t shove it down their throats.  Don’t harp at them.  Don’t act like a crazy zealot! Lead by example, and when possible, appeal to their more practical side.  (If you have friends and family who are always impractical, I can’t help you with that one!) Eventually, you’ll turn them into preppers without hardly trying!

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