1. Salt: I don’t mean one-pound boxes of table salt. I bought two, 80-pound sacks of salt. Why so much? Because if I don’t have a refrigerator or freezer to store my vegetables in, I will likely rely on lacto-fermentation and that requires salt. I will likely never use so much but I have family, friends and neighbors who will quickly run out of this staple and I want enough to share. Check out a food co-op for the best prices
2. Curing Salt: This is very different from table or pickling salt. Curing salt is designed for curing meat. Two pounds will cure as much as 200 pigs. If my freezer wasn’t working, I would have a lot of meat to process. Having this much curing salt on hand is good insurance. I will have plenty for my personal use and lots to share with others.
3. Canning Jars and Lids: Assuming you already have canners (you do already have canners, don’t you? Well, don’t you????) I can guarantee that you will need more jars and lids than you have. A case here and a case there and your volume adds up quickly. They are multi-purpose and reusable for decades. I toss a few boxes of lids and rings in my cart every time I shop. If you really want to be resilient, get Tattler Lids https://reusablecanninglids.com/ and learn how to use them. Unlike metal lids, Tattles can be reused dozens of times. In addition to the lids I stocked up on several hundred rubber rings. There is a learning curve to using them so practice now.
4. Foraging Books: Make sure you get a couple of books that are specific to your location. You need to know what’s edible and how to prepare it. I love Tom Seymour’s Foraging New England but it won’t do any good if you live in Texas.
5. Herbal Medicine Guides: Rosemary Gladstar’s books are excellent. https://www.sagemountain.com/. Her website is an excellent resource. You aren’t going to fix appendicitis with herbal concoctions but you might be able to reduce the misery of a child’s earache or address a rubbly tummy or skin irritation. If you know of a local herbal healer, it might be wise to make her acquaintance.
6. Perennial Food Plants: Now is a good time to see what you can add to your outside space that will provide food if the market is not taking credit cards. Asparagus, rhubarb, berry bushes and fruit trees are all pretty and provide more food than you might expect. Many common ornamental plants are edible. You can eat day lily buds and sedum, hosta and dahlia bulbs.
7. Cast Iron Cookware: If your electric stove becomes a large, unattractive doorstop, you will likely be cooking over an open flame or on top of a wood stove. Only cast iron can take the abuse. Lehman’s https://www.lehmans.com/ has a good selection.
8. Lighting: Lighting can mean candles, hurricane lamps, flashlights and solar lamps. The important thing is to have some means of seeing well enough to work after the sun goes down. It’s also an important component of keeping up spirits. Sitting in the dark is scary and demoralizing.
9. Soap: You could, of course, learn to make soap and stock up on the components like lye and oils and someday you may be glad to know how to do that but during the bottleneck, you will likely have enough to do without devoting hours to soap making and weeks to letting it cure. Put aside a couple of dozen cakes of this inexpensive and precious commodity while you can. Stick it in a suitcase or other out-of-the-way place and forget about it.
10. Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living: https://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Country-Living-Carla-Emery/ If you have only one book on your shelf to provide instructions for anything you may need to do like butcher a chicken or make wine or bake bread, this is the one to get. I like having full book shelves but I used my copy of this book so much that I finally broke down and got a new copy when the spine had given way and I was holding the pages together with a rubber band.
This list could have been 1000 Things To Get Now. I tried to focus on things that are relatively inexpensive and easy to get as well as a few things that would benefit your larger community. What would you put on your list?