Ozarks Self Reliant Living University

The Ozarks Self Reliant Living University, held in the Missouri Ozarks, was originally schedule for January 23rd and 24th, 2016. But because of the massive snow storm in the eastern half of the U.S. that weekend, it took place January 30th and 31st. This is an annual preparedness seminar you’ll want to attend if you’re within driving distance of southern Missouri.

Event organizer Mike Slack was my guest on DestinySurvival Radio, and he filled in more of the details than I can relate here. Though the event was postponed after our conv ersation, Mike says everything was to be the same as before.

By the way, if you’re reading this post after the event has taken place, I invite you to listen to the DestinySurvival Radio episode linked below to find out what an event like this is all about. Plus, Mike and I talked about what to do if you want to conduct your own expo for fellow preppers.

Ozarks Self Reliant Living University took place January 30-31, 2016, from 9 AM to 5 PM each day.

Saturday it was at the Faith in God Church near Koshkonong, MO. Sunday it was at the Next Step 7th Day Adventist Church, West Plains, MO. As unusual as such an arrangement sounded to me, Mike said it’s been done in two separate places like this for several years and has worked out fine.

Seminar topics covered include…

  • Surviving Disaster with Nothing
  • Self Defense
  • Tiny House Homesteading
  • Ham Radio Communications
  • Stocking Your Medical Bag
  • Staying Healthy with the Right Foods
  • Medicinal Uses of Hemp
  • Energy Self Reliance
  • GMO’s and Heirloom Seeds
  • Seed Saving
  • Preparedness 101–Social, Financial, Working Together as a Community
  • Cherokee Traditions and Self Reliance
For the full schedule and roster of guest speakers, click here for the OSLU flyer for 2016. The flyer was printed before the date of the event was changed to January 30-31.

For more backgroundon OSLU, hear my conversation with Mike Slack by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for January 14, 2016. (Right click to download.) For inquiries about this or other events organized by Mike Slack, call (417)264-2435. Or e-mail mike65807(at_yahoo.com. Replace (at) in the address with @ when e-mailing.

Mike says it’s worth the drive to attend one of his events. You’ll get info you’d get at bigger expos. You’ll meet with like-minded preppers. And you’ll get to see some beautiful country.


Preparing Veterans for a New Life

A podcast came to my attention about HirePatriots.com, an organization geared toward preparing veterans for a new life. This is a little off the beaten path of the usual topics related to preparedness, but I know many vets are into preparedness and survival.

And there is another preparedness connection I’ll mention below.

Transitioning to the civilian way of life can be difficult for vets. It calls for a different way of thinking from that which has been learned in the military.

As if that weren’t enough, exposure to the horrors of war can leave a person altered for life. There could be mental changes, physical wounds, or both.

Enter HirePatriots.com. They provide helpful programs for vets and their families, such as:

  • One day jobs board–Veterans are connected with businesses or individuals for temporary employment to help make ends meet.
  • Full time employment–Veterans get help with resume writing and other aspects of finding employment.
  • Business Startup–Veterans get help with developing a business plan, setting up a Website, marketing, and other skills involved with starting their own business.
Hire Patriots believes in the hard working, self disciplined character of veterans because vets are not only good team players, but they know a thing or two about self reliance. If you are one, you know about that already.

There is also a specific preparedness angle to what they do. One of the projects they’d like to bring to fruition is the creation of sustainable communities throughout America.

In the podcast I mentioned above, Steve the underground prepper–a veteran himself–interviews Mark and Tori Baird, founders of HirePatriots.com. I encourage you to listen to the interview with HirePatriots.com.

If you can help Hire Patriots with a tax deductible financial contribution, or if you or someone you know could use their help, check out their site at HirePatriots.com.


Help a Fellow Prepper – Be an Ant

Want to be part of a unique network of preppers helping other preppers? If you’d like to help a fellow prepper, be an “ant.”

A.N.T.S stands for Americans Networking To Survive. It’s a survival network of individual preppers called “ants.”

They work together to provide other members basic supplies during disasters. In a nutshell, they do that by relaying buckets of supplies, called supply pods, to any member that needs them.

The network founder is Timothy French, and he’s this week’s guest on DestinySurvival Radio. Listen in and find out how you can make a difference in the lives of other preppers and how other preppers can help you.


Discovering A.N.T.S.

In late 2010 I learned of Tim French and his organization from Donna Miller of Miller’s Grain House. I did an interview with him for DestinySurvival Radio, but that’s been over four years ago. If you’re curious, view what I wrote about that first chat here.

Recently I heard Tim interviewed by Joe Alton, M.D., a.k.a. Dr. Bones, from Prepper Camp in North Carolina. I was glad to hear A.N.T.S. is still around, and I thought it was high time to get an update.


Doing the Show

The A.N.T.S. site is loaded with so much information, I began to wonder why I should talk to Tim French at all. You’ll find general information there, of course; but there’s also a thorough historical timeline as well as an informative FAQ page, to name a couple of the site’s great features.

On the other hand, I realize you may not have heard of this unusual network. Or you may just need to hear our conversation so you know how Tim himself explains things in a way that clarifies what A.N.T.S. is all about.

Thus, this week’s DestinySurvival Radio show.


Daring to Do Something Different

As a firefighter, Tim became involved in relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He saw deficiencies in how things were handled, and believed there had to be a better way.

Some of the same problems arose in the aftermath of the massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010. That’s when he decided it was time to put A.N.T.S. together.

There’s an organized way of carrying out the network’s tasks, spelled out in guidelines and job descriptions. A clever set of terms and definitions centers around ants, the insects. Icons on maps indicate general locations of members or drop points for supplies.

While all of that may give the appearance of complexity, Tim says A.N.T.S. is a simple network of preppers helping preppers. There’s no corporate structure or office.

The mission is simple: To provide members with basic supplies during a disaster.

All members are volunteers who provide help at the local level. The goal of A.N.T.S. is to have at least one member in every city and town.


Doing the Work

A.N.T.S. isn’t a mere theoretical construct. They helped fellow members during Hurricane Sandy and the big tornadoes in the Oklahoma City area. It wouldn’t be a surprise to hear ants have helped other ants after the recent flooding in the Carolinas.

When a disaster happens, as quickly as possible, members supply one another with supplies requested by members in need. If a member hasn’t been heard from, other members will check to see how they’re doing.

That sounds encouraging, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you like to be helped by people in your area who know the lay of the land and what’s happening in the immediate situation?

A.N.T.S. strives to help members before other relief agencies arrive on the scene. However, members may not be able to provide help until after rescue teams have made the way safe. For example, roads may need to be cleared in the aftermath of a storm.

Two levels of guidelines describe how A.N.T.S. should work. Level One guidelines are used for disasters where people still have communication capabilities outside of a disaster area. Level Two would be used in an extreme scenario, such as after an EMP, when all communications have been lost, except for shortwave radio.

Tim described the functions volunteers can perform. They are…

  • Camp Ants
  • Trail Ants
  • Com Ants
  • Donor Ants


Deciding on the Goodies

Supplies given out in a time of disaster can include clothing, food, shelter supplies, and medical and hygiene items–enough to get a person or family through two weeks. The supply pods are 5-gallon buckets containing such items.

All supplies are provided by A.N.T.S members. The best way to be sure adequate supplies are available to meet a given need is to recruit other ants.

A.N.T.S. won’t bring the goods into a disaster area until they know exactly what’s needed and who needs it. That way supplies aren’t misdirected and won’t go to waste.

By the way, you’ll be glad to know A.N.T.S will never ask for your money. It’s the ants themselves who make the system work.


Digging Into the Ant Hill

No demographic information is kept on members. Your OP SEC won’t be compromised.

A.N.T.S. is all about helping fellow Americans in a time of need. It hasn’t quite taken hold abroad.

People with disabilities are encouraged to join A.N.T.S. as well. As with any other ant, it’s up to the individual to choose what they can do.

The number of member ants around the country fluctuates, but Tim says it’s roughly a thousand. Interest was greatest in 2012 when people thought certain catastrophe loomed.


Don’t Count on Group Think

As I was looking over the info about A.N.T.S. before my visit with Tim, it occurred to me that churches would be ideal forgetting involved with the network. While that may indeed be the case, Tim emphasized the point that A.N.T.S. deals with individuals, one to one.

In other words, if your church decided to become involved with the network, A.N.T.S. would help individuals within the church. They wouldn’t bring supplies to the church as a whole.

In a disaster, you might get help from an ant who is a fellow church member, or the ant may be someone else in the local area. As an ant yourself, you might be called on to help a fellow church member or another ant who is not part of your church.

The same principle applies to prepper groups, too. Individuals in your prepper group may become part of the network, but the group itself can’t be defined as an ant.

There’s more on groups and colonies in my conversation with Tim.


Do It Because…

Below are six reasons to join A.N.T.S, taken from AmericansNetworkingToSurvive.org.


  1. It cost nothing and you do not have to disclose your location.
  2. Having one member in every city and town will allow us to transport supplies without traveling far from home.
  3. When disaster strikes, relief agencies will bring supplies, but they will be supplying everyone. A.N.T.S will be looking for you.
  4. If you are traveling away from home when a disaster strikes, you will have a member close by to bring supplies to you or your family.
  5. Supplies are not wasted and will only go to members if requested.
  6. In an interview with Amanda Ripley, the author of The Unthinkable: WhoSurvives When Disaster Strikes – And Why, Craig Fugate, the head of the Federal Emergency Management stated:
    “To avoid “system collapse,” the government must draft the public. “We tend to look at the public as a liability. [But] who is going to be the fastest responder when your house falls on your head? Your neighbor.”


    Don’t Miss This

    I encourage you to hear my visit with Tim French by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for October 8, 2015. (Right click to download.) Between what I’ve written here and what Tim and I talked about, you should have a decent picture concerning A.N.T.S. But you can always get more info or contact Tim by going to AmericansNetworkingToSurvive.org.

    Do you know anyone who is a member of A.N.T.S.? Does it sound like something you’d like to become part of?

    Are you anant yourself? I’d love to hear about your experience with the network.

    Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.


Easy Cheesy

Have you tried making cheese at home? It’s not difficult. At least it doesn’t have to be. In fact, follow the steps in the article excerpt below, and you’ll realize it’s easy cheesy.

The article comes from the March/April, 2015, “Backwoods Home Magazine” (Issue #152). Below the exerpt is a link to the full article. It’s brief and straightforward, and you’ll be making cheese in no time.


farmer’s cheese

By Leach Leach

Making cheese is one of the easiest and most satisfying tasks that you can accomplish in the homestead kitchen. While there are many wonderful cheeses out there to try, I recommend a simple farmer’s cheese to get your feet wet and familiarize yourself with the basic process. The great thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t require specialty ingredients; it can be made with either store-bought or farm-fresh milk, and it is ready to eat within a few hours. I also love the fact that it can be flavored with any number of herbs and spices to suit your personal taste.

You will need:

1 quart whole milk (cow or goat milk will work)
juice of 2-4 large lemons
1 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper
herbs and spices to taste

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine.
http://www.backwoodshome.com 1-800-835-2418.


Want to explore more homemade cheese possibilities? Get a copy of Home Cheese Making.


Keyhole Gardening for your Survival Garden?

Let’s face it. Gardening can be challenging, especially if you don’t have good soil or live in an area that doesn’t get much water. Could keyhole gardening be your survival garden solution?

“Backwoods Home Magazine” for March/April, 2015 (Issue #152), includes an article describing one gardener’s experience with keyhole gardening. Consider it a mini primer.

Keyhole gardening lets you.

  • Grow plants in difficult soil conditions
  • Use compost easily
  • Conserve water, especially in drought
  • Grow food intensively in a compact area
If you’re curious, check out the article excerpt below. A link to the full article is included as well.


Build a keyhole garden

By Katelynn Bond

One of the hazards of living on the side of a mountain in northern New Mexico is that I live on a rock. And I don’t mean the ground has a lot of pebbles and stones in it — it is solid rock with just a dash of topsoil to keep you guessing. After an interesting experience with the yard and a sledge hammer, I am pretty sure that my rock goes straight to China, which means that nothing grows in it except well-established trees, scrub oak, and the occasional cactus. Any gardening that I do has to be above the ground and it has to conserve water as well.

After a number of years of different kinds of container gardens failing in one way or another due to our climate, summer water concerns, or my sporadic travel schedule, I got serious about finding a way to garden on top of my rock to help our family be more self-sufficient.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine.
http://www.backwoodshome.com 1-800-835-2418.


Here’s more on keyhole gardening. It’s a 10 minute video on one charity organization’s efforts to teach families in Lesotho how to garden more efficiently. Can we learn from this for our own survival gardens?



Find gardening supplies and seeds for your survival garden on the Survival Gardening page in the Prep Mart.


Emergency Responders – What Can We Expect When Disaster Strikes?

What can we expect from public officials and emergency responders in the aftermath of a disaster? I spoke to Janet Liebsch about that a few months ago, and, because it’s such an important topic, this week on DestinySurvival Radio I’m replaying the conversation she and I had.

In our original conversation, which you can read about here, Janet and I spoke about two things. The Shakeout earthquake drill scheduled to happen last October and what we can expect from emergency responders in the aftermath of a disaster. We spent the bulk of our time talking about that second subject, and that’s what I want to focus on today..

Not that earthquake preparedness isn’t important. It is. But I wanted to narrow things down for this week’s program and be sure you and I have a handle on how things might go in the wake of a catastrophe.

When might first responders come to our aid? Could martial law be put into place? I hope what follows will put some worries and fears to rest while helping you know better how to prepare.


My Informative Guest

Janet Liebsch is co-founder of FedHealth and co-author of IT’S A DISASTER! and what are YOU gonna do about it? She’s also Executive Vice-President and Disaster Specialist for the U.S. First Responders Association, and is the Arizona state moderator on American Preppers Network.


Order Out of Chaos

Many in the general population expect to see FEMA come to the rescue in the wake of a disaster, such as when there’s an earthquake, hurricane, flood, and the like. On the other hand, I’ve heard of some in the prepper community say, “Don’t need ’em. Don’t want ’em.” Does that ring a bell?

But should we expect chaos? Martial law?

Who can say for sure? Much depends on the nature and scope of the disaster. And, while FEMA has been roundly criticized for not arriving on the scene in a timely manner, would you believe their actions are by design?

As Janet explained, there’s a structured system or chain of command which keeps FEMA at a distance. If local First Responders become overwhelmed, the state governor’s next step is to ask for assistance from the federal government. There has to be a reason for a state of emergency to be declared.

You could consider this to be a safeguard mechanism. FEMA can’t just come in on their own. In fact, their hands could be tied up in red tape, making timely assistance difficult. Janet went into some detail in our conversation on how all of this works.

The bottom line is that you and I must be prepared to ride out what could be a long wait before outside help comes along. That’s partly because one of the first things officials concentrate on when a disaster happens is restoration of infrastructure–roads, bridges, buildings, etc.

Fortunately, there’s National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD). It consists of nonprofit groups, churches and faith based organizations, and people in local communities who know how to coordinate resources and get them where they need to be.

Meanwhile, FEMA continues to evaluate how to coordinate the private sector and public sector to function efficiently once a disaster happens. They have much to consider. Often the private sector is quicker at getting supplies and help to where they’re needed.

But you and I should be as prepared as we can be, and that involves more than storage food, blankets, flashlights and the like. For example, you and I would do well to make insurance a key part of our prepping strategy. How well are you or your business insured with coverage to help out with specific natural disasters?

Here’s something else to keep in mind. Stringent rules pertaining to federal relief funds are in place. Much of those funds may not come as grants, but as loans, which have to be paid back. These funds aren’t designed to make you whole or put everything like it was before. A staggering number of businesses never reopen after disasters.


Our Response to the Responders

Janet was quick to make the point that First Responders in our local communities are looking out for their community first. If you and I have questions about what will happen in a crisis, she recommends we get to know our local firemen, police, etc. We may find they don’t want federal intervention or martial law any more than you and I do.

In his book, Urban Emergency Survival Plan, Jim Cobb also recommends finding out what local officials have planned when disaster strikes. In so doing, we can better define our own preparedness plans.


Find Out More

Hear my Conversation with Janet Liebsch by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for February 26, 2015. (Right click to download.) Also, check out the additional resources listed below.

If you have any thoughts on what you’ve read here or heard in this week’s DestinySurvival Radio, feel free to leave a comment below. Could you ride out the aftermath of a disaster for three days or more?


Additional Resources

  • See info on what to expect in disaster aftermath here.
  • The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster site is ww.nvoad.org. They have links to their members on the “Help Where it is needed most” tab, along with other helpful information.
  • A helpful resource to find reputable relief organizations helping with crises is www.aidmatrixnetwork.org/maps/.
  • To get It’s A Disaster! …And What Are You Gonna Do About It?, click on its title. That’s where you can download a free mini e-book, or order the complete book in print or electronic form.


A Missouri Conference Addresses the Dangers of GMO Foods and the Benefits of Organic Farming

Many of us as preppers are keenly aware of concerns with GMO foods. We’ve heard about the benefits of organic farming and gardening. And we see the need to support those who produce locally grown food. These issues came together at the annual conference held by the Missouri Organic Association, February 5-7, 2015, in Springfield, MO.

How much do we really know about genetically engineered crops? How safe are glyphosates (the weed killing chemicals in Roundup and similar herbicides)? Aren’t modern farming practices supposed to guarantee safe, inexpensive food? The government and mainstream media tell us everything’s OK. Do you believe them?

My guest on this week’s DestinySurvival Radio was Sue Baird, Executive Director of the Missouri Organic Association. (My thanks to Mike Slack, a previous show guest, for putting me in touch with her.) During our conversation we talked about that conference and other topics. It promises to be of special interest to those who want to grow, and perhaps sell, organic produce and livestock. We also talked about the dangers of GMO foods and the use of glyphosates in crop production.

You certainly don’t have to be from Missouri for this kind of conference to be of interest. In fact, as many as 40% of the attendees aren’t from Missouri. Also, if you come across this post and show after the conference has past, you’ll still glean good info from my visit with Sue Baird. Check out my notes from our conversation, listen to what we talked about, and explore the Additional Resources below.


A Note About MOA

The Missouri Organic Association (MOA) is a nonprofit organization seeking to educate farmers and consumers about the value of producing and eating locally grown, clean, organic food. While the majority of members consists of farmers and producers, the number of consumers is growing. In fact, the GMO plenary at this conference was specifically meant for you and me as consumers.

MOA is growing. Sue Baird has been instrumental in revitalizing the organization in recent years. And the annual conferences draw in new members, especially as people wake up to the value of wholesome, safe food.


A Note About the 2015 Conference

This conference offered 54 hands-on workshops and 73 vendors to provide information and products on a wide variety of topics for farmers and gardeners. Such a meeting is a great place to network, too.

You can find out specifics about workshops and sessions at http://www.moaconference.org, but broad categories at the 2015 meeting included…

  • Grain farming
  • Raising livestock and poultry
  • Growing vegetables and fruits
  • Marketing
  • Food policy
  • Consumer education
  • Cooking
The big attraction was the GMO plenary held on Friday, February 6th. It featured world renowned scientists and activists who shared vital information about the dangers of GMO crops and glyphosates.


A Few Notes on the GMO Plenary

Would you believe the use of Roundup has doubled in the past five years? Weeds have developed tolerance to it, which was obviously not the intended outcome.

Glyphosates have been portrayed as harmless. Now there’s real scientific evidence to the contrary. What are they really doing to our soil and environment? Our food supply? Economics? Animal and human health? The featured speakers at the GMO Plenary were there to enlighten conference attendees on these areas of interest. Panelists included…

  • Dr. Robert Kremer–a soil microbiologist, who has done years of research for USDA and is an adjunct professor for the University of Missouri and knows the negative impact of glyphosates and GMO’s on soil
  • Robyn O’Brien–a leading advocate in the fight for GMO labeling
  • Dr. Brian Baker–Founder of Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), on the effects of GMO crops on the environment
  • Jim Gerritsen–President of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, who filed a lawsuit which went all the way to the Supreme Court concerning contamination and cross pollenation of non-GMO crops
  • Steven Druker–Executive Director, Alliance for Bio-Integrity, an attorney who initiated a lawsuit against the FDA for the lack of risk assessment of GMO’s on human health. He’s author of Altered Genes, Twisted Truth.
Sue mentioned a few more presenters, such as a plant pathologist, an MIT researcher to speak about glyphosattes and autism, and others.

As it happens, it may not be science that swings a number of farmers to grow organically. Money could be a big factor. It’s expensive to buy GMO seeds and the chemicals to put on the fields. When crop prices are low, Sue says that’s the time to get the message to farmers that there’s a better way.


A Few Notes on Organic Certification

Sue and I talked for a while about the steps farmers must go through to be certified as organic growers here in the U.S. I won’t try to spell it out here, but there seem to me to be plenty of safeguards to assure that something labeled as organic really is. She has a thorough knowledge about this process because she’s a certified organic inspector who helps determine whether a farmer is truly an organic grower. Sue mentioned there are those who figure out ways to get around the system, but they’re heavily fined when caught.

We also talked about small growers who sell to farmers markets. Can they call themselves organic growers? It’s possible to be organic in practice without being officially certified as an organic producer. Small producers who want to claim they’re raising organic food would do well to stay informed, keep good records, and play fair.


A Note About Listening

Hear my conversation with Sue Baird when you listen to DestinySurvival Radio for January 19, 2015. (Right click to download.) Get more info about the Missouri Organic Association’s annual conferences by going to http://www.moaconference.org.

Plus, take time to check out theAdditional Resources below. Read the articles, watch the video presentations, and I think you’ll agree with me that what we know about the negative impact of GMO seeds and glyphosates is nothing short of frightening.


An Additional Note

There are other organic associations around the country. If there’s one near you, support it.

And, by all means, support your local growers. Why should so much of our food come from as far as 1,500 miles away? Find out about farmers markets in your area. Get involved with CSA, community supported agriculture, which enables you to support local growers by buying produce directly from them. To connect with local growers, start with the farm map feature at http://www.missouriorganic.org.


Additional Resources

Sue Baird graciously provided links for most of the following material. You can see her in the Show-Me Ag interview below. Bookmark this page, then come back to view each video.







Previous posts on this site feature other resources and documentaries, and include…