My previous websites were about taking action against Brexit and celebrating Europe. Although I am still protesting Brexit, it seems prudent to make my own plans to try to minimise the huge downside to a no deal hard Brexit.
That a British government is frightening it’s own citizens (and others) with talk about food shortages, is untenable. But pretty much everything the Conservatives are doing is despicable – and I say that as a former Conservative voter. Never again !
Putting politics to one side, I’m concentrating on the practicalities here.
Dale Berning Sawa wrote a piece in The Guardian about stockpiling food in event of a No Deal Brexit, calling it a No Deal Brexit Survival Guide
The reality, is that ALL food originating outside of the UK would be affected. Firstly, by panic buying as Brexit got closer and then, by the actual Customs delays.
Most of our imported food comes either by ferry through Dover or via the Channel Tunnel at Folkestone. Docks in Southampton and Tilbury would be affected too. They wouldn’t get a free pass on trade regulations required by the WTO.
On 22 July 2018, the new Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab MP, told Andrew Marr on his TV show that the stockpiling story being out in the public domain was ” unhelpful” but he didn’t deny that the government is making plans to stockpile food.
The simplest way to decide what you should stockpile, is to examine the contents of your food cupboards, fridge and freezer. You may be shocked by the amount of food that you eat which is imported. Even items made in the UK, can rely on foreign ingredients. Pasta sauce is usually made with Italian tomatoes, for example.
Once you know where your food comes from, you can think about stockpiling it. A good website to keep the price of your stockpile down, is MySupermarket – really really useful for comparing prices and showing the offers. Discount stores such as B&M, Home Bargains, Poundland, Poundshop and Poundstretcher can save money, but they can also be beaten by supermarket special offers so do compare prices.
Stockpiling is an added and unwelcome expense, so it makes sense to get the products at the best prices.
It’s important to remember that if you have to pay more for fuel or fares to get a special offer, you aren’t saving money ! It’s helpful to stick to stores on your normal routes eg going to work/education, taking kids to school/activities, and visiting family & friends. Doesn’t matter if you only go past that store once a month, you can still vacuum up offers which work for you.
Family packs for singles and duos can be made to work by trawling around supermarkets and discount stores or Lakeland for freezer bags which can be labelled. Then the packs can be broken down into individual portions.
If you live in or near the country, it might be worth exploring the ideas of buying meat, poultry and game locally. Or perhaps you can support a local farmers’ market or box scheme.
You can go to a Pick Your Own farm in many areas, to buy fruit to freeze, bottle and make pies, puddings, cakes and jam with. Apples, plums, damsons, greengages, pears, cherries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries.
Going on a foraging course or two could help you identify edible plants such as sorrel, samphire and wild garlic. You really need to be accurate about wild garlic, because other similar-looking plants are poisonous.
Young nettles (wear gloves until cooked) can be used as spinach in any recipe. If you see a dandelion ball, capture it and use tweezers to put the ‘parachutes’ into a pot of soil or used growbag. Use the young leaves in salad. (Older leaves become bitter).
Blackberries aka brambles, can be picked from hedgerows in early Autumn. For safety’s sake, don’t pick any growing near a main road and ideally, wear a hi-vis vest.
In spring you’ll see wild shrubs with beautiful-smelling clusters of tiny white flowers. These are elderflowers and not to be confused with wild parsley, giant hogweed and the like. These can be used to make elderflower cordial. Later, there will be dark elderberries in clusters, which can be mixed with other fruit for pies, crumbles, syrups and jam.
Growing herbs from supermarkets can be planted into bigger pots. Given a bit of a trim so they don’t keel over, and watered when they look dry, many will grow happily in your garden all summer.
If you live near the sea, why not fish ? No licence needed at the moment.
If you have a decent sized garden you could make some (raised?) beds for vegetables and plant soft fruit bushes. Lidl has some great offers on plants.
You could freeze and bottle surplus veg and sell it or swap with neighbours.
The big question, is whether Brits CAN learn to grow, forage, fish and cook more of their own food. That’s not Digging for Brexit. It’s survival.
It’s not just food that might need stockpiling. Think of all the chemicals used in cleaning products. It’s unlikely that they are all made in UK with 100% UK ingredients.
I’m starting to experiment with old-fashioned cleaning remedies. Salt, sodium bicarbonate, soda crystals and distilled malt vinegar can be stockpiled and aren’t likely to disappear completely from shelves. Another idea is to switch to bigger sizes of products right now, which can be more economical and stockpile those.