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Oh, I'm Actually Supposed to be Prepared for This!?

October 15, 2021

Given the past year, I really started thinking more about self-sufficiency, gardening, and disaster preparedness. I’d always kind of laughed at the idea of “prepping” just for the simple fact that I never thought it was necessary, especially, to the point of obsession as seen on many tv shows. However, I realized during the situation last year that my family and I were not prepared for a crisis while conversely primed for disaster scenarios. Let me explain! 

My family is very prepared for life’s many mini-crises related to child care, education, and loss of immediate income. The adults in my family have a very vague plan on where we would go and call should something bad happen. However, a global crisis that left people out of work for months at a time...Nope! So, thus began my journey into learning more about prepping, gardening, and self-sufficiency. 

I was totally unaware that there is a government website--, dedicated to disaster preparedness, and that it gives a timeline to creating a prepared home. There is also an app one can download that allows you to check off all the items you have, as well as get weather alerts and information about the areas one lives and works.

The issues I came across on my journey are:

1) The information lacks diverse voices. I found several Black and POC groups online, but very few in book form. When looking online, I had to be very specific and intentional with what I searched for or else it was down the rabbit-hole of conspiracy theories and madness.

2) Many of the most popular resources assume an abundance of time, money, and space. I was taken aback when reading many homesteading/ self-sufficiency guides because the expectation seemed to be ½ acre of property or more, two incomes, and a side hustle.

3) Preparedness books are very similar. They assume one lives on acres of land with extra properties miles away from where civil unrest and terroristic threats are likely to occur. They assume and/or require that you-- your household or neighborhood, have or will have gun training, hunting skills, an abundance of self-defense training with a cache of weapons stored in the most optimal locations just in case the zombie apocalypse kicks off.

4) Most books and resources do not do a good job of saying where all this stuff is supposed to live in your home, nor how much everything should cost.

To date I have only found a handful of  books that have helped me feel confident about my journey to being more prepared and self-sufficient:

Well, I know where all my stuff can go without cluttering up my home! This book is a gentle preparedness tool. It’s written like a decluttering handbook, with ideas on how to prepare while saving space...and not looking like a lunatic! What I like about this book and others like it, is that it begs the questions: what are you preparing for; what are your needs right now; what hazards are you most likely to face where you are; and what is feasible for your home given your lifestyle?

This book provides container gardening ideas for actual small spaces! It also gives gardening tips and a practical guide to starting one’s garden.

It has colorful pictures. No story, reading many disaster prep guides has been overwhelming and confusing, to say the least. This book was really good at showing what you might need, and what it is going to look like. It reminds me of a DK illustrated reference book!

I appreciated this book simply because it acknowledges that not everyone has access to fields, forests, and even backyards in order to forage. It tells you what to look for in farmers’ markets.

Sade with blue mohawk avatar


Sade has been with Nashville Public Library since 2007. She started as a Page, and worked her way up. She loves reviewing books, movies, and restaurants. You can usually find her watching terrible movies and reading speculative fiction and comics. Sade is currently a librarian at the Edmondson Pike Branch Library.

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