One of the biggest hurdles for a mutual assistance group to get past will be allocation of survival resources.
The two most common problems regarding survival resources will be:
- Do we combine all the incoming basic load supplies into a common storage system?
- Do we have all members remain responsible for their own basic load of supplies?
Depending on the mutual assistance group makeup, there are a couple of ways to handle allocation of survival resources.
Survival Resources and the Diverse Group
If the mutual assistance group is diverse with several or many families, I suggest everyone bring a baseline set of supplies.
Members would be responsible for their own food stocks and feed themselves. Medical supplies and personal equipment can also be maintained within the individual families. If there is a need for additional survival resources by other mutual assistance group members, it would be up to the family to decide whether to share.
Note, there should still be community production efforts, such as agriculture, water collection, firewood collection, etc. Community efforts should be divided fairly with respect to distribution.
Survival Resources and the Big Family
If the mutual assistance group is one large, combined family, you may be able to combine supplies. It is still a good idea to secure everything, especially food.
Just as with the diverse group, you will have communal tasks and production of resources. It may be more difficult to get family to participate with chores, just because family rarely likes to take orders. Even so, crops, meats and other sundries should be doled out fairly and evenly.
Bartering for Survival Resources
Survival is far more than wandering the hills eating wild plants and bugs or living in a bunker until the war ends. There are extremely few people who can live totally self-contained. Even the most rugged of mountain men must ride into town to trade their furs for supplies or purchase feeds, building materials, parts, tools, etc.
The goal of a mutual assistance group is to create a self-reliant community of sorts. But for the skills and supplies not on hand, a way to obtain them must be found.
This is pointed out to get you thinking about surpluses. If you have extra of something, you may be able to barter with neighbors or in a community somewhere. In a world where food is in short supply, having extra may be better than holding precious metals.
The trick to bartering for survival is to establish a fair value of the items in hand. For example, a basket of fresh vegetables may be an even trade for a slab of fresh meat. A day of labor may be a fair trade for a couple of meals.
I’m not going to discuss bartering in-depth, but there are some things we suggest you do not do. It is never a good idea to trade ammo, weapons or other dangerous items with strangers. It is also not a good idea to offer toxic, contaminated food or equipment to an unknowing trade partner.