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Future Food – Not One Solution, But Many, for How to Feed the World

INFOGRAPHIC - Future Food - Not One Solution, But Many, for How to Feed the World

When you think of “future food”, what comes to mind? Most information I've seen on the subject talks about lab grown “meat”, eating bugs, 3D printed foods and other synthetic options. It's all about mass production and convenience. I think these ideas are missing some important pieces of the picture, and I'd like to offer an alternative food future.

Some friends and I had a conversation about the future of food recently, and it got me thinking. Our conversation started with a discussion of lab grown “meat”, which just got another investment from an industrial farming company. I'm not a lab meat hater. It's a little creepy and incredibly resource intensive, but less nasty than some things they're growing in labs.

The thing is, what these lab food people don't understand is that in a healthy ecosystem, we are part of that ecosystem. Right now, the focus is simply on creating product to meet demand. People being isolated from the reality of food production is a big part of why it's as screwed up as it is. We need to connect people to their food again.

How do we do that, and feed the world? Everything is so interconnected that there is no easy fix. That said, if we keep doing what we've been doing, things aren't likely to get better. We're already seeing weeds and insects becoming resistant to herbicides and pesticides. Deforestation and lack of clean water are critical problems. Too many people are hungry, too many people are fat. It's time for a different approach. Let's start with a little background information.

Feeding the World

Right now, there are over 7 billion people in the word. By 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates there will be nearly 10 billion people. Most of that population growth is expected to happen in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where resources are already stretched. By 2025, two out of every three people are expected to live in the city.

As of 2017, about 800 million people are chronically hungry. 2 billion suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. At the same time we have people starving, obesity in increasing worldwide. Around the world, roughly one third of food grown is not eaten. It's wasted, lost, tossed for not meeting cosmetic standards – getting food from field to table is a challenge. Producers may be forced to sell low because they can't store product, and then buy high when they need it out of season.

Weather extremes don't help the mix. We've been blessed with an unusually stable stretch of weather for decades, but lately things are a little more active. Hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires – it's tough to produce a crop when you're fighting just to survive.

The global challenges facing food and agriculture identified in the UN Future of Food an Agriculture analysis include:

Challenges to Food Stability and Availability

  • Sustainably improve agricultural productivity to meet increasing demand.
  • Ensure a sustainable natural resource base.
  • Address climate change and intensification of natural hazards.
  • Prevent transboundary pests and diseases.

Challenges to Food Access and Utilization

  • Eradicate extreme poverty and reduce inequality.
  • End hunger and all forms of malnutrition
  • Improve income-earning opportunities in rural areas and address the root causes of migration.
  • Build resilience to protracted crises, disasters and conflicts.

Systemic Challenges

  • Make food systems more efficient, inclusive and resilient.
  • Meet the needs for coherent and effective national and international governance.

Future Food – Urban Agriculture

From an biodiversity/security standpoint, distributed small polyculture production is much less prone to be wiped out by any one event (like the Irish potato famine). We need not one solution, but many. Since urban areas continue to grow, to keep food local, some food must grow in urban areas. Keep your food production close to your population and you reduce or eliminate transportation costs. In developing countries, food storage is an important issue. Creating low input options for food preservation, such as solar dehydrators, would greatly expand food availability.

Vertical Farms

High rise aquaponic and aeroponic gardens and farms are starting to make an appearance in urban areas. Food grows vertically instead of horizontally. In most cases, vertical farms are completely indoors, with all light, water and nutrients provided artificially. Improvements in computer monitoring and robotics allow much of the work of tending these gardens to be done automatically. LED lighting is also making vertical farms more cost efficient to operate.

Greens are the easiest plants to grow because of modest light and space requirements. Pests and disease problems are limited due to the isolation of the plants. The initial cost of vertical farms is high, but lower labor costs and shipping costs help balance those costs. Since the environment is strictly controlled, climate changes have little influence – unless the power goes out.

Aquaponic Farms

Aquaponics is a hybrid of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (raising plants in nutrient rich water instead of soil). The fish poop feeds the plants, the plants clean the water for the fish. Instead of one crop, growers get two. Aquaponic growing ranges from small home units to large commercial operations. Sometimes plants are grown inside with the use of grow lights, sometimes they're grown outside or in greenhouses.

One champion of aquaponics was Will Allen, and his organization, Growing Power. Will promoted urban agriculture and aquaponics for over two decades, earning worldwide recognition. Unfortunately, Growing Power demonstrated the “why” better than the “how”. Overextended and out of money, the organization closed its doors in late 2017. It's a good reminder that it takes more than good intentions to succeed.

Successful food production models must also be sound business models. Small food producers need to control costs and avoid the temptation of attempting to do more than they can do well. Lean manufacturing principles can also be applied to farm production. See “The Lean Farm” for additional information.

Community Growing Spaces

Schools, retirement homes, rehabilitation centers and youth centers are all prime areas to develop multi-use food growing areas. Volunteers from the organization can be teamed with paid growers/managers who establish work protocols and production goals.

In addition to the fresh food produced for the facility, gardening provides work skills and therapeutic value, and also strengthens the community. Gardening has been successfully used for rehabilitation therapy as well as being an integral part of school curriculum. Gardening has a number of proven health benefits. (See “Dirt Therapy” for more information.)

High End “Garden to Order”

Right now, many high end developments include amenities such as private exercise areas or pools – but what about private produce? As public awareness grows about problems with the food supply, I believe a niche market will develop to cater to high end consumers. Residents would have the option to work in the garden or simply place their orders for fresh produce.

The same smart stocking expert systems that now track your refrigerator contents and make shopping suggestions could pair with other expert systems. Running low on fresh salad greens? Smart stocking let's you place your order with the groundskeeper, and your order is ready for pick up as you get home from work. Need meat or seafood to compliment what's grown on site? Put in your request and smart stocking scans available vendors in the system and places your order.

This same concept may also be expanded to include online ordering options. With amazon.com and other online retailers pushing into the grocery space, there may be a space for premium options. Sure, some items can hang around in a warehouse for weeks, but truly fresh produce is best within days or even hours.

Personal Urban and Suburban Gardens, Small and Large

Not everyone has a green thumb, but almost everyone could grow something. With self-watering containers and LED grow lights, micro-gardens are easier than ever.

A single tomato plant can produce 20 to 50 pounds of tomatoes or 1600+ calories. If only o.5% of the population of the United States grew a single healthy container tomato plant, that's over 2 billion calories of food. Container plantings are especially well suited for salad greens and fresh herbs. With a growing interest in small space gardening, seed companies have developed varieties specifically suited to container culture. Some good veggies for containers include:

  • Lettuce and other salad greens
  • Radishes
  • Small carrots
  • Bush beans
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers – Hot and Sweet
  • Bush Squash
  • Potatoes

In the U. S., lawns cover 40 million acres. These lawns are mowed, trimmed and fertilized – to produce nothing but uniform green space. If we shifted even a small portion of these lawns into food crops – enough to provide 1 million calories per acre – that output would be roughly equal to the total calories produced by all wheat and potatoes grown in the country. (For comparison, an acre of wheat yields roughly 5 million calories per acre. An acre of potatoes yields roughly 15,000,000 calories per acre. So 1/15th of an acre of potatoes per acre would meet that mark. You could have your green space and your food.)

Community gardens make open public spaces available for growing gardens. Typically anchored by a strong core of volunteers, they provide extra growing space for those in urban areas. Plots are commonly rented for a nominal fee each season. The garden may also provide some tools and/or basic infrastructure such as raised beds.

Future Food – Rural Agriculture

Smallholders Instead of Megafarms

We had more than 6 million farms in the U.S. at the end of WWII. Now we have less than 2 million. Despite the push for every larger farms, numerous studies indicate that the productivity per acre of smaller farms is higher than that of larger farms. Small, diversified farmers typically grow many different crops on the same piece of land. This means more calories of total production. They also utilize crop waste as animal food, and animal waste as crop fertilizer, closing the resource loop.

Farm subsidies in the U. S. and Europe allow farmers to produce agriculture commodities at a loss. These commodities are then dumped in foreign markets, undercutting local production. The World Bank and IMF have made the problem worse, supporting projects that boost exports while driving subsistence farmers off the land. Increased bio-fuel production has exacerbated the issue, destroying rainforests that could be preserved for both wildlife and food crops.

Another benefit of small farms is the preservation of genetic diversity. A megafarm must grow standardized crop varieties that are well suited to mechanized production to maximize profits. Because small farms often still rely on hand labor, they can grow crops not well suited for mechanized agriculture, including crops that mature over a range of time. Generational farming (where a farm is passed down through generations) often provides the opportunity to develop landraces specifically adapted to a particular area. These landraces (locally adapted crop varieties) may have unique disease resistance, cold tolerance, bloom times or other adaptations. Small, diverse, seed saving farms act as living seed banks.

Permaculture and Perennial Agriculture

The term “permaculture” comes from a combination of “permanent” and “agriculture” or “culture”. Permaculture design elements include human care, earth care and return of abundance or surplus. Planting is typically done in polycultures, or mixed groups of plants. These plantings go together in guilds, where different plants fill different niches in the ecosystem. There are varying heights – groundcover to tall trees – and varying functions – food, soil enrichment, pest control, etc.

Annual crops have a place in permaculture, but the bulk of plantings focus on perennial crops. Perennial crops help prevent soil erosion, which is a huge problem with our current agricultural system. Permaculture also shapes the land with swales, keyline plowing and other features to help trap and collect rainwater. This can transform dessert into an thriving oasis, or recharge depleted aquifers. With clean water being such an endangered and essential resource, improved water management is critical.

Perennial crops also tend to weather climate changes better. We've been blessed with an unusually long period of relatively stable weather, but all good things must come to an end. Perennial crops get a jump start on the season compared to annual crops. They're already in the ground and growing while the annuals are still waiting to be planted. With heavy rains and even flooding, a properly designed perennial planting will be well anchored and divert excess water efficiently around the landscape. It may set a crop back, but is unlikely to destroy it completely. In dry conditions, trees can create their own microclimate through transpiration. Smaller plants take shelter under larger trees, creating a whole new protected ecosystem, pulling moisture from below ground to create an oasis. A permaculture polyculture is more productive and more resilient.

Future Food – Changing Eating Habits

There are over 300,000 edible plant species. Of these, just 15 crops provide 90% of the world's food energy intake. Rice, wheat and maize (corn) account for two-thirds of that 90%. This is a recipe for disaster. If some disease or insect wipes out one of these crops, people will starve.

Our limited diets contribute to another problem – micronutrient deficiency. The FAO estimates show just over half the world's calories come from cereal crops. These crops are often lacking in micronutrients. With a more biodiverse food supply, we could address that problem. Many traditional diets have been displaced by modern convenience foods, including cereal grains. We need to relocalize food supplies and get back to traditional foods.

There's a lot of disagreement about the healthiest diet options – vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore. From a carrying capacity standpoint, vegetarian and omnivore diets that include animal products from land unsuited to standard cultivation are the most sustainable. In a perennial permaculture system, both meat and plant products can be harvested from what would typically only be used as grazing land in conventional agriculture. This further expands the carrying capacity of the land.

Ocean farming and fisheries, properly managed, can also contribute huge volumes of protein and other nutrients to the food supply.

What You Need to Do

Grow Something

Even if it's only a pot of herbs or greens in a window, if everyone grew something, it would make a huge difference in the food supply. A single tomato plant can produce 20 to 50 pounds of tomatoes or 1600+ calories. If only 0.5% of the population grew container tomatoes, that's over 2 billion calories of food.

Encourage community growing spaces

Whether they're in schools or other institutions, or standalone gardens, community gardens build connections between people and from people to their food. People who are good caretakers of their herds and crops appreciate the food on their plates at a whole different level. We need to reconnect people and their food.

Petition lawmakers to allow food growing to replace grass

Many urban and suburban residents have had their gardens ripped out due to local zoning laws. This has to stop. Edible landscaping can be beautiful as well as functional. Public park space could also include space for edibles.

Support Local Growers and a Fair Price for Farmers

If you can, buy direct from growers and pay a fair price. The push for cheap food is destroying small farmers. my friend, Scott Terry from North Country Farmer, shared this in an online group the other day (early Feb 2018):

“In case you haven’t heard, the dairy industry is blood bath right now. There has never been a more depressing time in rural American dairy country than right now. To add insult to injury, Agri-Mark sent out milk checks this week to their farmers without a letter explaining the reason for the even lower price they got They did include a paper with a suicide prevention hotline number in the envelope . Farmers are a little pissed.”

Sam Crandall of Northern Marsh Farms replied:

“Yep, everything farm related is down…unless you're subsidized. Judging by the price of feed I'm guessin' corn is doin' flippin' great. I've had more people trying to buy my pigs/pork for $0.30-$0.50/lb. I'll let my pigs die of old age before I sell that low.”

I know budgets are tight and it's not always easy to make a connection with a grower, but if you can, do it. CSAs and bulk purchases can often make fresh food more affordable for you while still paying farmers a living wage. Be careful at farmers markets. Sometimes you're supporting local growers, sometimes not. Amber shares more on this in her article “The Truth About Farmers Markets- And The Lies Behind The Produce“.

Eat a Variety of Foods

Expand your food choices. As mentioned above, there are thousands of edible plants, but we get most of our calories from just a few. Make it a point to try something new each week. Eat less grain and more vegetables to boost your micronutrient intake. Try different cuts of meat, especially meat on the bone and offal. Make bone broth and schmaltz. Add fermented foods such as homemade kraut to improve digestion and nutrition.

Learn about foraging and edible wild plants. Many of those weeds that pop up in your garden rival high priced imported superfoods for nutrition. You can begin learning about wild edibles in the Weekly Weeder series on the Herbs and Wildcrafting page.

Join Us in Growing the Future

There's a lot more information I could share, but this article is already crazy long for a blog post. If you've stuck with me all the way to end, thanks. If you'd like to do even more, please share the post and help get the word out.

I'm also starting a newsletter specifically dedicated to gardening, in preparation for the launch of our food growing courses in early 2019. With your subscription, you'll get free access to the Common Sense Home Garden Planning Kit, which includes:

  • Seed purchase log
  • Planting and Germination record
  • Seed Starting and Transplanting Calender
  • Customizable seed sowing schedule
  • Seed longevity chart
  • Seed germination rates after storage
  • Plant spacing chart

You'll also get regular updates throughout the year with gardening tips, and the opportunity to share your ideas for the gardening courses. I want to make sure these courses meet the needs of our readers. This is different than your regular CSH subscription, but you are welcome (and encouraged) to sign up for both. (You can sign up for the main list here.)

Free Garden Planning Kit with Excel Templates

References

M. Ahearn, J. Yee, and W. Huffman (2002). “The Effect of Contracting and Consolidation on Farm Productivity,”

V. Uzun (2005). “Large and Small Business in Russian Agriculture: Adaptation to Market,”

Z. Lerman, R. Sutton (2006) Productivity and Efficiency of Small and Large Farms in Moldova

Destroying African Agriculture – The World Bank and the IMF are the real culprits behind the current food crisis

Small Farms Are More Efficient & Sustainable – Organic Consumers Association

The Cost of the Biofuel Boom: Destroying Indonesia’s Forests

Staple Foods – What do people eat? – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios

The post Future Food – Not One Solution, But Many, for How to Feed the World appeared first on Common Sense Home.

This Article Was Originally Posted at commonsensehome.com Read The Original Article Here

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Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman

Learn to make your own homemade weapons so you’ll have a fighting chance in a survival situation where all you have is nature.

 [You Get One FREE] Weird Little Knife Drives TSA Crazy!

How to Make Homemade Weapons

Why Should You Learn to Make Homemade Weapons?

Let’s say you got lost in the wild, and you somehow forgot or lost your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT (or whichever is the best survival knife for you). What do you do?

While your situation is most likely not quite as bad as Tom Hanks had it in Castaway, let’s face it. The only way you’re gonna get out of this situation in good shape is to let out your inner caveman.

Let me explain. Our very primitive ancestors lived in a time when every day was a survival situation. Any tools or weapons they needed had to be made from scratch.

So, should you be unlucky enough to have only the shirt on your back while you’re lost in the wilderness, you’ll have to follow suit. Let the training of your inner caveman begin.

Today’s lesson: how to make DIY weapons in the wild with only the resources nature provided you.

How to Make a Knife | Homemade Weapons

Having a knife, any kind of knife is probably one of the best things to happen should you suddenly find yourself in a survival situation. You can use it to help you find food, build a shelter, and defend yourself against wild animals.

So it’s highly fortunate nature is waiting like a momma at a craft table with lots of materials you can use to create one.

1. Stone Knives

Bone, shell, bamboo, wood, or even an old aluminum beer can may work to perform the puncturing function of a blade. You know you’ve seen these a million times when you’re out hiking.

They’re easy to crack or break or shape into a fairly sharp point which will do in a pinch. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to use a chicken bone or an expertly-shaped aluminum can point to skin, chop, baton, or any of the other necessary functions of a survival knife.

This is where the stone comes into play. I’ll start by saying making a knife out of stone isn’t easy, but it can be done.

You’ll need three things: a core rock, a hammerstone, and a pressure flaker. Remember, you’re going to be smashing these together in true caveman fashion.

So, having stones you can reasonably grip in each hand is going to make your life a lot easier. Although, it’s definitely an option to stand poised over one rock smashing down on it.

You, with a two-hand grip, pounding until you’ve chipped away at it a bit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

2. The Core Rock

rock formation background | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

The core rock is what you’ll be making into a blade. Find any large stone, preferably made from obsidian, slate, chert, or flint with a relatively flat side.

In case you weren’t a rock collector in any of your previous lives, here’s another way to decide if a rock meets the requirements for good knife-making material. Tap or click a rock together with another rock and listen for a ringing sound (like glass).

The more rock sounds like glass, the better it is as a material for your core rock. If you can, choose a rock which is already a bit sharp to reduce the amount of time you’ll need to shape it.

3. The Hammerstone

The hammerstone is a medium-sized, spherical rock, preferably made of granite. It will be used to smash, chisel, chip and shape the core rock.

You’ll be using it to chip off pieces of the core stone and to narrow the edges to a blade shape.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Edge | Knife Sharpener

4. The Pressure Flaker

The pressure flaker, or flaking tool, is a rock with a sharp point to help you refine the blade’s edges. You’ll use your flaking tool after you’ve thinned the edges of the stone with the hammer stone to make the “blade” sharper.

When you start making your knife, you’ll want to be sure to wet the core stone to shorten the time it takes to shape it into a blade. Begin by striking glancing blows near the edge of the core rock with the hammerstone.

Chip away at the core rock until you get the general shape of a blade. Then, use the flaking tool to refine the edges you need to sharpen.

You can also use a stone with a rough surface such as a sandstone to sharpen the edge. Use some rope, cloth, or leather to lash the base and create a handle.

If you are having troubling shaping the rock into a knife, you can opt to create stone blades instead. Check out the videos below to learn how:

Part One:

Part Two:

How to Make a Spear | Homemade Weapons

south african zulu spear | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

We’ve talked about how to make a spear using your best survival knife in a previous article. The same principle applies here.

Even without your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT or whichever survival knife you normally bring with you, you can still make a spear using your newly made stone knife. To make a spear, you’ll need to find a five-foot-long stick tough enough to endure repeated short or long-distance throws.

  1. First, pick the end of the stick which has a more rounded tip and use your stone knife to start shaving to create a spear. Once you’re done, be sure to heat the spear over some hot coals to make your spear sharper.
  2. As an alternative, you can also make a spear by tying your knife onto a stick. Find a stick which is about an inch wide.
  3. Measure about 2 inches from one end of the stick. Mark the point, then split the stick into two until you reach the 2-inch mark, creating a sort of Y shape.
  4. This will create a space where you can stick your stone knife before you lash it on with some twine, cord, or rope. To lock the blade in place, put some moss or lichen in the remaining space.
  5. If you haven’t had time to fashion your knife out of stone yet, you can also use broken pieces of shell or glass or splintered bamboo or bone and secure it to the end of your stick.
  6. If you find a way to split your stick without a knife, you can insert the splintered bone or bamboo into the wedge and tie it off like you would when turning a knife into a spear.

How to Make a Weighted Club | Homemade Weapons

While sharp pointy tools are all well and good, you can never go wrong with a blunt homemade weapon. You can use it for hammering or bludgeoning something such as a weighted club.

The weighted club could be one of the deadliest ancient weapons. To make one, you’ll need the following: a piece of wood around 14-16 inches, a medium-sized rock, and some rope.

  1. Once you have all the materials, you’ll need to wrap some lashing 6-8 inches from the end of the stick.
  2. Split the same end until you reach the lashing in order to create a V-shaped notch. The rock you picked out should be shorter than the length of the split.
  3. Insert the stone then lash it securely (above, below, and across the stone). The lashing on the stick above the stone clamps both sides of the split together providing the first point of security, so it’s especially important to create a good, tight lashing above the stone.
  4. You’ll want to make sure you bind the split ends securely so the stone won’t fall off whenever you use it to hammer or pound on something.

This video from Wannabe Bushcrafter will show you how to make a bamboo knife:

Now, hopefully, you never find yourself in a situation where making homemade weapons is going to be a necessity for survival. But, if you do find yourself in such a quagmire, this little bit of information and inner caveman training may be what saves your life.

Which of these homemade weapons do you want to make? Tell us your progress in the comments section below!

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 11, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

This Article Was First Found at survivallife.com Read The Original Article Here

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5 Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

Know these home remedies for chigger bites, or better yet, avoid the bug's bites in the first place with helpful tips included here!

RELATED: Top Ways to Deal with Insects [Especially Mosquitos]

In this article:

  1. What Is a Chigger, Exactly?
  2. Where Do Chiggers Live?
  3. Identifying Chiggers Bites
  4. Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
  5. Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

What Is a Chigger, Exactly?

Chiggers are members of the arachnid family. They are extremely tiny, and my guess is you won’t even see them as they jump from the tall grass onto your skin and/or clothing.

Adult chiggers are about 1/60 of an inch and have eight legs. The larvae are red, wingless, six-legged creatures which measure less than 1/150 of an inch.

Because of their red color, you might be able to spot the larvae when they cluster together, especially on white clothing.

What Is the Arachnid Family? It is a large group or class of invertebrate animals where the spiders and scorpions belong.

Where Do Chiggers Live?

Chiggers reside in tall weeds and grass, berry patches, and wooded areas. They could be in your backyard, by the lake, or your favorite hiking trail.

They are most active in summer and fall afternoons – the warmest part of the day.

Identifying Chiggers Bites

Only the larvae bite humans and they tend to choose warm, moist areas of the body.

Chiggers also have claws which help them grab onto your skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva.

The saliva contains an enzyme which breaks skin cells down to liquid form. Your body responds by hardening skin cells around the saliva, creating a tube (cyclostome) through which the chigger sucks the dissolved skin cells.

Chiggers can stay attached and feeding for several days before falling off.

When the chigger falls off, you are left with reddish bumps. You may notice a bright red dot in the center—this is a remnant of the tube your skin formed in response to the chigger's saliva.

The bumps may look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives. Bites generally appear in groups and get larger for several days to a week.

While many insects bite exposed skin which is easy to get to, chiggers like to bite in folds of skin as well as places where clothing fits tightly on the skin. Most chigger bites occur around the ankles, waist, armpits, crotch, or behind the knees.

Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

Just remember, no matter what, DO NOT SCRATCH THE BITES! I know, easier said than done. But, breaking the skin on a chigger bite can lead to infection.

Here are 5 home remedies to help with the itching and swelling.

RELATED: Spider Bite? Here’s How To Treat It

1. Vicks Vapor Rub

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Vicks Vapor Rub can put an end to itchy chigger bites immediately and will even reduce the risk of blisters. It’s the cooling menthol in it which relieves itching by affecting itch receptors in the skin.

Steps:

  • Take a hot shower (use antibacterial soap.) Pat dry your skin with a soft towel.
  • Take a small amount of the vapor rub and add some table salt to it.
  • Mix well and apply to the affected area.
  • Repeat if the swelling continues (otherwise, there is no need to repeat the process)

2. Cold Compress

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A cold compress can help reduce the itching associated with chigger bites. Its numbing effect helps reduce the sensation of itchiness.

Steps:

  • Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth.
  • Apply the compress to the bites for 10 minutes. Repeat if needed to relieve itching.

3. Baking Soda

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Baking soda is another effective remedy to reduce rashes as well as itchiness. It acts as a natural acid neutralizer which helps relieve itching and reduces the risk of infection.

Steps:

  • Add 1 cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with cool water.
  • Stir well and soak in this water for 15 minutes and pat your skin with a soft towel. (Do this once daily)

Another remedy using baking soda:

  • Prepare a thin paste of 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a little water.
  • Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with cool water.

Note: Do not use this remedy more than once or twice a day. Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.

4. Oatmeal

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Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties providing instant relief from itching–one of the common symptoms of chigger bites. It is recommended to use colloidal oatmeal, meaning oats which are ground into an extremely fine powder.

(You can accomplish this yourself by grinding regular oats in a sealed Ziploc bag, using the backside of a spoon to crush the oatmeal.)

Steps:

  • Add 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal to a bathtub filled with warm water
  • Stir thoroughly
  • Soak in this mixture for at least 15-20 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day

5. Olive Oil

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Olive oil can also be used to get relief from the irritation and inflammation. It is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which reduce itching and facilitate healing.

Steps:

  • After rinsing the affected area with water, apply olive oil to the chigger bite.
  • Reapply several times a day.

Another option using olive oil:

  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply on the affected area.
  • Repeat a few times a day.

Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

As summer and fall are prime time for chigger bites, it is best to take the following precautions:

  1. When hiking, stay in the center of the trail and avoid brushing up against vegetation.
  2. Wear long sleeves and long pants when going into the woods.
  3. Apply mosquito repellent on your hands, feet, and exposed skin on your arms before going outside.
  4. Shower immediately after being outdoors and use antibacterial soap.
  5. Wash your clothes in hot water.
  6. Resist the urge to scratch because breaking the skin on chigger bites can lead to a possible infection.

This video from Online Pest Control will show you tips to avoid chiggers and ways to get rid of chiggers:

Chigger bites much like other insect bites aren't only discomforting, they can be dangerous too. Many of these insects including chiggers carry diseases in some cases.

The best way to deal with these bugs is to avoid them or control them with our tips here. But, if you're so unlucky, you also now know the best home remedies to chigger bites!

Have you had to deal with chigger bites before? Tell us how, including more useful tips which worked for you in the comments section below!

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9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

Arm yourself with a survival stick, get savvy with it, but first, find out why as you read on!

RELATED: Deadly Parasols | Umbrella As A Self-Defense Weapon

In this article:

  1. Survival Hiking Stick
  2. Survival Stick for Support
  3. Fetching/Reaching Things
  4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense
  5. Balance
  6. Gauging Depth
  7. Carrying Gear and Supplies
  8. Club
  9. Fishing Rod

Survival Stick: An Underrated Multipurpose Tool?

The Survival Stick in History

A walking stick or a survival cane were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries as a decorative show of power and a defensive replacement for a sword. Yet, the truth is our ancestors have been using them for thousands of years, and for good reason…

…They work! Even the animal kingdom is smart enough to know just how useful these are:

(It may be hard to see, but this gorilla is holding a walking stick to gauge the depth of the water as she sloshes along)

A walking stick is not a new or revolutionary idea. In fact, the use of a walking stick predates history and its use continued on for generations including this present time.

Yet, it is one which is more often than not overlooked. When most people think of a walking stick, it is usually paired with a top hat or seen as a crutch for someone with a walking disability.

Far too few people even realize how important a walking stick can be, especially to someone in the outdoors. We will dig a little deeper into the many uses of a survival stick and maybe safely say, it could be the first multi-purpose survival tool.

Practical and Survival Uses for a Survival Stick

Walking sticks are also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles and hiking staff have quite a few different uses:

1. Survival Hiking Stick

Hold the survival stick in front of you and you can use it to clear your way by parting brushes and branches or leaves and thick tall grasses. You can also use it to clear spiderwebs, especially if you're not too fond of spiders.

Other insects, animals, poisonous plants, and even animal dung can get in the way. Use a survival stick to inspect or poke at those things if you are unsure, and never ever your hands or your feet.

2. Survival Stick for Support

Hiker in Caucasus mountains is crossing mountain river | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | hiking staff
Making your way through an uneven terrain will be more manageable with a walking stick for support. Whether you're going up or down, use the walking stick to either slow you down or hold you up.

You can use your walking stick like breaks to keep you from speeding down or use it to latch on to a rock or crevice when you're climbing up. Besides for yourself, you can also use your multipurpose stick as a support for your tarp emergency shelter.

3. Fetching/Reaching Things

It happens–a supply or gear falling on water, mud, puddle or in an area you dare not walk into. You can fetch or reach for those items with a stick.

It also happens where you need an item over a physical barrier and only a stick can fetch the item for you. You can also reach for fruits, nest, or other food sources up a tree or high structure with a stick.

RELATED: Unusual Weapons From Around The World And How To Use Them

4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense

To use a survival stick as a weapon, make sure it's a sturdy stick with a finished look and not just any stick you found along the way. You can use it to defend yourself from an attacker whether it's human or animals.

I would suggest to train yourself in some form of martial arts using a stick like a baton as a weapon to have a better handle at it.

You can also fashion a spear with your stick by tying a survival knife on one end. Don't throw this spear though or you risk damaging or losing your knife and stick.

Hold on to your homemade spear and only use it to thrust at your target.

5. Balance

Hiker is crossing the river in Sweden | Hiker in Caucasus mountain | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | survival hiking stickWhen you're crossing a log bridge over a stream or you're going through the stream itself or other bodies of water, a walking stick can help you balance so you don't fall over. If you're walking through a muddy or rocky waterbed, a walking stick will help you up.

If you're up for it and if the body of water isn't too wide across, you can also use a long stick like a pole vault to cross over so you don't get yourself wet.

6. Gauging Depth

Relative to crossing bodies of water, a survival stick is handy in identifying dips beneath the waters which could cause you to stumble. You can also use the stick to identify where it's safe to take the next step.

You can also use this simple trick with the stick when you're traveling in deep snow, marshland, and even the dessert.

7. Carrying Gear and Supplies

Use your survival stick to help you carry gear and supplies. Pack your supplies with a shemagh, tie it tight to one end of your stick then place the stick over your shoulders in hobo fashion.

You can also carry more supplies with your survival stick. Even today, a carrying pole is used by indigenous people all over the world to carry heavy supplies you never thought possible.

Hang bags of supplies or jars of water on either side of the pole or stick, putting a stopper like a notch or tie on both ends so they don't fall off. Place the center of the stick over your shoulders and balance your load to your destination.

8. Club

Man carrying blue backpack | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | walking staff weapon
Use your survival stick like a club to knock obstacle down. A pillar of rocks or other objects may be on your way and a sturdy stick can help you safely knock those.

If you are in a building with glass doors or windows or inside a car, you can break the glass with a stick. Make to knock over pieces around your entrance or exit with the stick, too.

9. Fishing Rod

You only need to bring a fishing kit and your survival stick will make a good fishing rod. Tie a line on one end of your walking stick and fish away.

A DIY fishing pole is actually effective and many a fish has been caught this way.

As you guys and gals already know, I am a stickler for carrying things only if they have multiple uses. This guy managed to fit almost an entire survival kit into a walking stick he built from scratch, for under $20.00.

Check out this video from SOS 2054 I found, and find out for yourself, too:

A humble walking stick will indeed surprise you with what it can do for your defense, convenience, safety, and survival. Since you know now the practical and survival uses of this primitive multi-purpose tool, it won't surprise me if it lands a top spot on your list of survival tools for camping, hiking, or SHTF.

What other uses can you think of for carrying a “survival stick”? Let us know in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

Check out How To Purify Water | 5 Water Decontamination Techniques at https://survivallife.com/how-purify-water/

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**Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

This Article Was First Found at survivallife.com Read The Original Article Here

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