Beating Food Challenges: Bartering and Lifelong Learning

As we wind up our “Beating Food Challenges” series, we’re amazed at the new roadblocks that have arisen just since the first post.

Yes, challenges in the food supply chain.

The most obvious were caused by Hurricane Sandy’s devastation on the U.S. east coast.

Sadly, a number of lives were lost during the treacherous storm. Many people were injured, and others became ill in the following weeks. Our hearts have been touched by news reports and videos.

Additionally, countless homes and other buildings were destroyed. But to add to the distress in the area, grocery stores and food warehouses were also damaged. Roads and bridges were washed out, causing shipping delays.

Challenges in the food supply chain.

And then there are world events that threaten to limit international exports and imports. Severe weather around the world. Wars, uprisings, financial collapse. The writing is on the wall.

Challenges in the food supply chain.

We hope you’re finding ways to expand your own food source, storage, and production options. Our family has sure been giving some extra attention to those aspects in the past weeks.

Today we’re completing our series with some thoughts about bartering and a challenge to be a lifelong learner, continually adding to your repertoire of knowledge and skills.


Becoming a barterer

Bartering, or swapping goods and services, was once a very common practice among neighbors and community members.

It kind of fell out of use in many areas due to the availability and affordability of necessary items and services.

But recently, bartering has become popular and even trendy in some places. We think it’s a great idea, and we think it will literally be a lifesaver in the coming years.

We encourage you to take some time to evaluate the products and services you can use for bartering. This may include things you produce in your home or on your farm, extra supplies or equipment you can part with, and services you can provide for others.

Then think of some of the things you’d like to receive. Start looking around your neighborhood and your greater community. Look at advertisements, too; you never know when someone might take an item or service in lieu of cash.

Ask yourself two questions: Who has what you need? Who might need what you have?

While an older friend or relative may be your best source of tips for bartering, here are some online resources we’ve found. Some have lists of suggested bartering items.  See what ideas you can adapt in your own community!

Bartering at the Savvy Survivalist

The Barter Economy: Coming Soon to a Backyard Near You at

Bartering for Goods and Services on the Small Farm or Homestead at Small Farms

Edible Exchange at The Barter Group

Great Bartering Websites at Pakalert Press

The Trading Post on Facebook


Becoming a lifelong learner

No matter how much you already know, there’s room to expand your knowledge and your skillset.

Besides, science tells us that perpetual learning will keep our brains functioning well in old age. We like that concept!

We happen to enjoy learning, and always seem to be researching the next new skill or project. And we highly recommend the practice! Whether you’re improving your abilities in an existing field of expertise or learning something totally new, you’re increasing your chance of smooth sailing when times get tough.

Learn some new ways to raise, preserve, or store food. Learn some new skills (or hone some old ones) that you could use for barter. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to provide for yourself and your family when

Cruise the Internet for new ideas and info. Become familiar with your local library and used book stores. Watch for book swaps and freebies. Keep your eyes open for classes and workshops where you can learn from someone who already knows what you want to learn.

Here are a few resources, including some we’ve repeated from our series introductory post:

We’ve reviewed a number of helpful publications here at Rural Living Today.

We read Extension publications as well as articles and blogs at GRITMother Earth News, Backwoods Home, and Hobby Farms.

Storey Publishing produces some great books about gardening, livestock, food preservation, and other homesteading topics.

Lots of bloggers post ideas and tutorials for doing all sorts of things. Some of our favorite blogs are listed on our Resources page.

Well friends, that’s it for our “Beating Food Challenges” series…for now! We’ll still be talking about the topic from time to time, and we’re always glad to hear your ideas, tips, and comments!


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