• Food security shopping in Iceland

    by  • October 9, 2008 • Personal • 4 Comments

    Food Security Run In Iceland Final-1

    Download the PDF here

    I spent $100 (ISK 10,000) to buy a two month basic food supply. Today, in Iceland, the Krona stopped trading on the international markets. People are talking about an Argentinean-style financial collapse. I do not think that Iceland will experience food security issues, but it would be deeply ironic for a disaster preparedness advocate to be caught hungry in a financial collapse. So I went shopping. I thought I would take the opportunity to prepare a one page guide to emergency food shopping – what to buy when you want to have some buffer in a disaster.

    This diet would be a lot of flatbread (chapatis – I am Indian) and a can of tuna every two days once the cheese had run out. Most of the calories are from carbohydrates and oils. At 2200 calories it is not a hunger diet, being both protein and calorie sufficient for an adult male. Iceland does not furnish cheap lentils, and I could not find powdered milk, but adding those items increases protein supply substantially, as well as allowing for tea. It does assume both refrigeration (it is winter) and energy to cook with, and you might want to add yeast to make western bread.

    This is far from a perfect emergency food purchase. It lacks variety, and bags of flour do not store perfectly. However, in general, the lesson is simple: buy carbs, fats and protein in about these ratios to survive. Do not bother counting conveniences. The cost is sufficiently low at the moment that a relatively lavish basic diet for 90 days could be had easily for $500 per person. Scenarios in which this might be useful include financial collapse, pandemic flu and other unknowns. You can learn more online – look for “Mormon food storage” for example. I hope you found this interesting and useful.

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    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


    4 Responses to Food security shopping in Iceland

    1. evonne
      October 10, 2008 at 7:17 am

      useful, yes, but not as helpful for the celiacs among us. for those who cannot have wheat/gluten, substitute quinoa and rice for the flour and pasta. buy dry beans for extra protein, add nuts if you can, especially if you’re vegan and need to skip the tuna and cheese. also go for agave over sugar if you have the choice and the extra $2.

    2. October 10, 2008 at 11:07 am

      And live in a place where they sell agave :-)

      I’m not sure I could find a pint of agave in Iceland for a fistfull of 5000 ISK notes. Well, not right now anyway…

    3. Kári
      October 10, 2008 at 7:44 pm

      FYI, agave syrup is readily available in health food stores in Reykjavik…not exactly cheap though

    4. Sasha
      October 12, 2008 at 4:01 pm

      Someone told me long tme ago that a bottle of honey can help you survive for a month. Not sure if this is so but honey is a great food, healthy, you can even use it for healing burns and other injuries. Throw on the supplies few candles, they are very useful in power outages. Also here were I live its quite common to buy a sack of potato, sack of onion and cabbage (before every winter) of which you make sauerkraut – its quite easy, shred it, salt, and let it ferment in a warm room. From potatoes, onions and cabbage you can make a lot of healthy food. Its not even preparedness its just eating healthy, I assume vegetables are cheap there…

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