Posted on July 30 2018
Considering a Black Autumn event, what's the best gun to buy? (We get this question all the time.)
What if wheat--the grain you use to make bread--became your greatest AND CHEAPEST weapon?
While writing Black Autumn, Jeff and I spent a lot of time wondering about how we would stop a thousand-man gangbanger army. The answer: we would need an army of our own.
If you want to buy an army today, that's going to cost you. A LOT. The average American solider in Afghanistan costs at least $850,000 a year. Safe to say, none of us can afford much of an army going that route. Even if we gather together all our gun-competent friends, assuming we can even get along during the Apocalypse, we're still not talking about enough of an army to stop a healthy mob.
However, AFTER a collapse, an army might be much, much cheaper. Assuming a Black Autumn event, food and water would quickly become very, very desirable. Even highly-skilled people would trade hours for bread and water, especially if they had families to feed.
One of the tricks to preparing for disaster is to find things cheap NOW that will be very valuable LATER. Simple things like water purification tablets (chlorine), 55 gallon rain-catchment barrels, ammunition, cheap booze and wheat, can be purchased now for next-to-nothing, but might be extraordinarily valuable after a collapse.
Many people think of gold or silver as hedges against a collapse and that might be true. But precious metals might also take a long time to establish their value and a market for trading--time we might not have. Food and water would be valuable right away.
Could you buy a man's services for a day in exchange for a loaf of bread, post-collapse. The answer: almost certainly. You'd probably have a line around the block.
So, what does wheat cost now? Purchased in large quantities it's about $.27 a pound. In other words, $531.00 a ton. At 2,000 calories per day, if an adult ate only wheat, he would have to consume 480 gut-wrenching (but life-sustaining) pounds of wheat per year. Taken another way, in pure wheat, it only costs $130 to feed a man for a year. If my math is correct, that's a hell of a lot less than $850,000.00.
Of course, you need to arm that man and burn some ammo training that man. You probably have to burn some gas getting that man to barricades or to training grounds. (Picky, picky.) Also, someone should probably turn the wheat into bread, since that's basically free if you have fuel and a stove.
Storing wheat can be a problem, but it keeps for at least 40 years. Jeff and I recently ate 40 year old wheat and it was delicious. Here's how to store wheat, from cheap to expensive:
- 55 Gallon Drums. Watch classified to find used food-grade 55 gallon drums. Buy them cheap, wash them and store your grain in those drums. Be sure to add oxygen absorbers or flood them regularly with CO2 to kill bugs and remove moisture.
- Used Grain Bins. Follow Craigslist or the classifieds of a nearby rural area. Find a used grain silo and put it in your bug out location.
- Plastic Water Tanks. Buy 1,500 gallon plastic, food-grade water tanks and bases (about $2,000 per tank, which handles about 10,000 pounds of wheat. Flood them with CO2 every three months or so.
- 6 Gallon Buckets. At about $6 a bucket, these add up fast, but they're convenient for storing in the basement. Flush with nitrogen, dry ice or oxygen absorbers when sealing to keep weevils out.
Humidity can be a problem if you live in a place that's muggy. In large quantities, you may need to ventilate wheat to maintain relative humidity if you're storing it in a large container. Here's an article on how to do that. If you're storing wheat in buckets, the humidity shouldn't be a problem.
If you're using wheat as "Apocalypse Money" don't forget to store yeast too. Wheat's worth a lot more if you turn it into bread. Unfortunately, yeast needs to be repurchased annually (or you can make it from grape skins.)
Any way you slice it, bread and wheat are phenomenal storage resources. You can buy an army, feed your family or help others survive. Every prepper should be knowledgeable about storing and baking wheat.
It might even become your favorite gun (unlikely though it may be.)