The Thrifty Food Plan
Ace has a good post reminding us that when Tom Ridge suggested every household have an emergency stash of food, water, and necessities he was ridiculed mercilessly for it. Ace then points out:
BTW, I grow weary of hearing about how the "poor can't afford to stockpile food." There are some truly with not a cent to their name, but most poor can buy, for example, rice, beans, tuna, and bottled water.
Most people, no matter how poor, have some crap in their closets they've never bothered to eat but can in a pinch. Olives, crackers, Uncle Ben's rice, hell, even some chopped clams for that chowder you never actually made... they're all sitting up there, gathering dust, but able to be eaten if you can't eat anything else.
And he's right. In fact, a few years ago food critic Jeffrey Steingarten did a piece about low-cost eating. From that I learned that the USDA has something called the Thrifty Food Plan which suggests food options and prices them out per week and per month.
And as for what you eat under this plan, well the USDA has a recipe book loaded with suggestions. On page 14-15 of the cookbook you see a sample menu under the thrifty food plan (based on the one found in their periodical, Family Economics and Nutrition Review, volume 13 No. 1). I think it may even rise above the level of Gitmo cuisine. And best of all? The sample menu given, which is breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack for a full week for a family of four, will run about $101.30 under the thrifty food plan (slightly more if the two kids are older).
For a full week of food.
And if you want to get non-perishable stuff like beans and rice, you can shave that down even more. After all, this is for an emergency, right? Bottom line, the ability to have a week's worth of food stockpiled is something that's available to most every person in America.
Posted by John Tant at September 8, 2005 08:32 AM
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|# September 12th, 2005 8:51 AM greee|
|Yeah, i agree. They should put a little money aside for scuba gear, too, so they can find the food after their homes are washed away or it is covered by 20 feet of water. What the hell are those 80 year olds in wheelchairs thinking?
It’s time all in New Orleans pull themselves up by their diving fins.
|# September 12th, 2005 9:08 AM BrianH|
I bet you were one of the people who riddiculed Tom Ridge for suggesting having duct tape and plastic available as part of their emergency kit weren't you.
By the way, who gave the LA National Guard the order to keep food and water away from the Superdome?
|# September 13th, 2005 8:31 AM greee|
Actually, no. Israeli citizens have been advised for years concerning the construction of a safe room during a biological or chemical attack; since I had both duct tape and plastic around my home at the time Ridge made his comments I had no need to make a trip to Home Depot.
The point of my post was that in a disaster of this magnitude and of this type (the failure of the levees) there are obvious limits to the efficacy of self reliance. I think my point still stands; the stockpiling of of food may be a good idea in many situations, but if you cannot access it due to a catastrophic event, all planning was for naught.
I have not heard or read of the incident you describe concerning the Superdome.
|# September 13th, 2005 9:06 AM JohnTant|
|Your point is fine as far as it goes but you aren't applying it very well to the facts on the ground, Greee. Where's the evidence, for example, that all those people who made it to the Superdome managed to bring personal belongings such as blankets, pillows, etc., but couldn't bring their food or water because it was inaccessible?
Edited to add:
So when you say your point is that if stockpiled food is inaccessible for whatever reason that the planning is for naught, I think that's rather like saying that if the sun isn't out, it's gonna be dark outside. But simply because an emergency kit may be inaccessible when needed doesn't really support an argument that having such a kit is ridiculous.
|# September 13th, 2005 3:09 PM greee|
You make a valid point about those going to the Superdome. In fact, part of the New Orleans disaster plan required those going there to bring two days worth of food (and arrive with a full stomach). The original post, to which I responded, was not limited to those arriving at evacuation centers such as the Superdome.
Just goes to show that, oftentimes, the more you think about something the less global the application of the initial observation.
|# September 14th, 2005 8:20 AM JohnTant|
|Greee, you said your point was that all the planning in the world for stockpiling food doesn't matter if the food becomes inaccessible. I agree. I also think that's like saying when it rains, you might get wet. :)
I also don't believe that the possibility of having that planning foiled is a good enough reason to fail to plan to begin with (which makes the application pretty darned global, in my opinion). And hence *my* main point, that there's little evidence that more than a small minority of people in fact planned for something like this. The original point of the post I linked was that the efforts of a Republican administration to bring awareness to disaster preparedness was met with merciless ridicule by more than a few actors on the Left. We then started hearing excuses about how not everyone has enough money to buy food for such a thing, which is what my post was refuting.