Food and Water


You don’t have to read much in the peak oil area to hear the statistic that food travels on average 1500 miles to reach your dinner plate. We don’t know where this statistic came from, and therefore don’t know that it’s accurate, but it makes intuitive sense. We do know that, unless you’re an unusual person indeed, your food is much more worldly and well-traveled than you are. In the years to come, cheap energy will no longer be available to ship food across the globe, so most of our food will come from much closer to home.

You can begin preparing now:

  • You can begin eating lower on the food chain (more vegetables, fruits, and nuts, and less meat, cheese, and dairy). In the future, the former will be more available than the latter and will require considerably less energy to produce.
  • This sounds contradictory, but we would all do well to become more omnivorous. If you wouldn’t be caught dead eating canned soup, get over it. If you can’t stand sea food, dabble in it anyway. In the years to come, we will all need to become more flexible. We will need calories, and we won’t always be able to control how we get them.
  • You can support farmers in your area by shopping at a local farmer’s market or signing up for community supported agriculture
  • You can learn to can fresh foods when they’re available so you can enjoy them later in the year.
  • You can learn to grow your own fruits, vegetables, and nuts.


Even those who are doing an excellent job predicting the difficulties we will have with our food supply are underestimating the challenges we will face getting clean, safe, drinking water. The problem is nearly universal but not uniform. In some regions, it is already acute and well-known. In others, the water table is dropping dangerously, but most are still unaware. And in a lucky few pockets, there’s still a relatively generous water supply.

Here are some things you can do now to improve your water security:

  • Plant only native vegetation that doesn’t need any additional watering. it hurts to say this, but if you need to water it to keep it alive, it probably needs to die.
  • Consider capturing the rainwater that falls on your house or apartment. Right now it’s probably just running off. You can use the captured water for washing and limited irrigation. If you’re careful and prudent, you can also drink it.
  • Get to know your water supply. Most of us don’t have any idea where our water comes from. Go find out, and tell your friends.
  • If you have a voice in such things (and you do even when you think you don’t), advocate for low-flush toilets and waterless urinals where you work, live, learn, play, and worship.
  • Develop a new respect for clean water. Understand how precious it is.

If you’re one of those fortunate enough to be building a house new, you can design it to trap rainwater.