Discounting outside forces such as civil unrest, looting, mob rule, or a foreign military takeover/marshal law... just talking basic survival using stored goods, barter with neighbors, gathering of wild resources taking into account depletion from others in the neighborhood, I'd break it down into 2 categories.
Relative comfort: My wife and I could quite comfortably survive for about 6 months. With the onset of spring, things would get significantly easier. We would probably have to relocate to a stable food source that would be hard to exhaust (Mississippi or Crow river or a deepwater fishing lake).
Base survival: Maybe 2 years, maybe indefinitely. Hard to say what agricultural resources would be available (seeds) and how wild resources would sustain massive foraging. Eventually odds are, lacking modern medicine, an illness or injury would be crippling or fatal to our efforts. As far as water, shelter, heat and ability to procure more of same, we are definitely set for long term (those antique saws and axes hanging on my wall aren't just for decoration. Just sand off the paint and they're functional as tools). We know how to make some of the basics. Salt, Vinegar, concentrated alcohol, tools from base metal, wild sugar, wild sources of key vitamins. Would really come down to how society reacted to a total breakdown of civil order and commerce (prepared for that too, but far too much randomness in that equation to be sure!).
You bring up a question that often troubles my mind. Meaning I had not realized how co-dependent we have become as an AMerican society on grocery stores, police and government to keep commerce flowing.
It makes me rethink still having 10 years left on the house to pay off.
Rethink what foods are really important.
Which animals on the farm are really important.
And would like a more reliable water source. The current well is just fine as long as there is electricity or a generator.
We back up to a protected reserve where deer and turkeys are plentiful. SHouldnt eat much of the fish here due to the absurd levels of heavy metal and other toxic material dumped into the mill rivers around here. Know how to fish, not ready to kill bambi but dont mind if others do.
3/4 of the family can swing and ax effectively.
All sums up to not enough skill or resources but would do a heck of a lot better than most around here.
Just passed up a chance to get my firearms training . . . hopefully next time the class is offered.
One step at a time in the right direction . . right??
LOL, yes we would be forced to go organic ,and forced to provide just for ourselves. lol.
YOu can start making changes-- improve the sandy soils by adding all the organic material you can. My gardens around the house suck up water because we back filled with sand to help remove the water from around the foundation. This gives me some idea of what you are dealing with. It leads to the next question . . . are we all on land that is "fruitful" if managed for that, or has been land been built on that would not have been if one was self sufficient. ANd I mean this in a thoughtful way, not to point at anyone, or make light of it . . . our "modern ways" have allowed the poor land to be built on . . . and it has also pushed farm land into pushing up houses. I see acreage that was grassland for dairy cattle covered with HUGE houses with a garagea and acres that need mowing every week. ANd few or no food crops. Makes me really sad.
Something eating out crops or livestock is a normal problem really. We just are not used to dealing with it I suppose. That is why humans bred guard dogs ( anatolians, maremmas, great pyrs, and MANY others) ; we have lost old ways of making fencing and how to work with neighbors to decrease the predators like fox, coyote and such. I"m one for a happy medium, but that is because I get enough food-- I do think my perspective would be challenged if it meant the fox ate and my kids went hungry, versus the other way around. I do treasure the hundreds of acres that we abutt for the wild life as they have plenty of good area that really does provide for them: a river, grasslands, open woods, closed canopies woods, etc. Many types of habitat that supports a wide range of wildlife.
I tried planting squash this year and tomatos, but it is really hard to turn woods into tillable land. I better understand the huge effort put into creating tillable land-- and it should NOT be made into house lots, ot should be kept for vegetable crops.
Sorry I get ranting-- just frstrated to see people not getting enough food and yet the land sits idle here. Growing a beautiful lawn is very important here.
THose that are on Fed assistance have my attention too. IT is a complicated subject certainly, but I do think a hand out is not a hand up. IT shoud be a short term intervension to a better set up , one that includes self reliance. I do think people become apathetic on assistance and forget that they are capable.
I struggle to see a way to improve the food options of those in my community. In the first place many dont want fresh foods. THe second is storage and distribution. The third is growing the vegies. I think I need to think differently, and accept small steps, Getting food to those that do want it and perhaps the others will follow at some point. WE all benefit when everyone is healthy from eating good food.
I digress. I need to feed my family first. THe extras can go to others.
Since this has become a "prepper" thread which I find very interesting at a philosophical level (God forbid practical), I'll share some info on a topic I am particularly expert at... MARKSMANSHIP.
I was trained as a sniper, I currently train civilians and LE in tactical marksmanship.
The best training aid you can buy is an air rifle. Add a pellet trap and shoot in the basement. Read up on some fundamentals or attend an "Appleseed" event.
The best practical training program is called "appleseed". I recommend every LE officer I train to attend one. Google it, my internet is not cooperating. I'll try to link it if the Inet cooperates later. It is low-cost, will require a one-weekend commitment and about 500 rounds of .22 rimfire (they have loaner rifles) and will teach you to shoot like a US marine.
Forget handguns. They are fun and useful for personal defense, but in a survival situation a rifle will be your friend. The colt .45 didn't win the west, the Winchester and Sharps rifle did. Proficiency with a rifle will give you a skill that 95% of Americans do not possess...the ability to take game and standoff hostiles at distances of 200-600 yards. Even a $150 mosin-nagant will give you this capability and make a fine hunting arm for big game. A shotgun is also quite useful for hunting and defense. Feel free to ask any detailed firearms questions. I'll be happy to answer.