I have a friend who is also a Facebook “influencer.” He has been warning people for weeks that they need to stock up, that instability and uprisings will likely interrupt the supply chain, causing shortages of food and necessities.

Until last week, I thought it was overblown. But then, I grew up with a pantry mentality.

My parents had only one car, which my father needed to get to work. We lived in Canada in the 1960s, when blue laws meant that grocery stores were not open on Sundays, and only open a half day on Saturdays (and some closed on Wednesdays–don’t ask, it has convoluted historical roots.) So shopping for a family of seven was inconvenient, and a big deal.

Once every two weeks, in the wee hours of the morning, my parents would load us up into the car, drive us all to my Dad’s office (across the river in Detroit), and then Mum would take us home so we could get to school. She’d do the shopping during the day (often with a kid or two in tow) and then, at the end of the day, load us all up again, to go pick my Dad up. Grocery day was grueling and an inspiration for any mild-mannered prepper. If you were going to need it in the next two weeks, you bought it that day.

From there, my parents moved to Copper Harbor, in the far north of Michigan. The closest grocery store was 37 miles away, and any major shopping was 50 miles away. Again, you didn’t go often and you bought enough to last. Pantry Mentality.

I know that urban dwellers have the option of fresh, civilized marketing on a near daily basis. Even when I lived in the city, that has never been my reality. I gardened for most fresh produce. And, since I always worked, grocery shopping was in the evenings, or left to the crowded weekends. And in Northern California, there was always the possibility of disruption from earthquakes. I kept things on hand for a longer haul.

How long could you go if the stores were closed…or empty?

I’m thinking I could go weeks, maybe even a month, though the menu would be pretty limited by the end. During the summer months, when fresh is a walk to the garden, we could go longer.

Though (with fingers crossed) I don’t think our current crisis will result in shortages, it’s time for people to pull their heads out of the sand and consider emergencies. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it should be that we need to be nimble and creative about provisioning. Many of us are a ________ (insert your personal relevant crisis–blizzard, power outage, hurricane, wildfire, pandemic, earthquake, plague of frogs, and yes, even an insurrection) away from food insecurity. A deeper pantry could be the difference between soup kitchen and a big pot of soup, in your kitchen.

So, while I’m not anticipating Armageddon, my friend isn’t all wrong. Stock up. Be prepared.

(Note, I’m posting this while Congress debates Impeachment. I may change my tune by the Inauguration.)