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Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 13:21:31 -0700
From: Geri Guidetti <>
Subject: Update: Will Labor Day Be Too Late?

I am writing to you early this summer because I expect that events surrounding the year 2000 computer crisis will begin to unfold rapidly after Labor Day, a short time from now. I believe these events will accelerate quickly this fall and begin to negatively impact our lives and businesses in many ways -- this year, and then peak some time next year. I sense that we really have only this brief "moment of time" left -- from now until early September -- to prepare ourselves, and to help others prepare for what appears to be a long time of troubles. It may be too late after September. I'll tell you why, below.

Will You Have Enough to Eat and Drink Next Year?

Whether or not you have enough to eat and drink next year may very well depend on what you do between now and Labor Day. Why? Because it will become increasingly obvious to all Americans between Labor Day and December 31st that it's too late to fix all of the computer systems critical to life as we now know it, and that it is too late to prepare even a substantial fraction of Americans for the risks this poses to their well-being. Once these truth's sink in for even 20% of the population, preparedness will turn increasingly aggressive. There will not be enough food, not enough seed, not enough water to stock American homes for even a few weeks of supply disruptions.

It is generally agreed that the average supermarket has about 2-3 days supply of basic food items in the store itself. Computer and telecommunications dependent, just-in-time stocking has done away with big warehouses behind each store. The backs of supermarkets are essentially no more than the store's temporary staging areas for goods delivered daily by truck from regional distribution centers.

How much food is available in the entire U.S. pipeline? Processors to distribution centers to trucks to store shelves? On May 21st, John Koskinen, Chair of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, reported on a meeting with food industry representatives. He claimed, "...our food supply system typically includes a 60-day inventory. Mike Heschel, a VP at Kroger Co., one of the leading U.S. food retailers, told the U.S. Senate, "At any given moment, Kroger typically has about 35-36 days of inventory in the system. In some categories, we have up to three months of inventory in the system." Kroger calls their inventory "safety stock" which provides a cushion in times of unusual demand such as severe weather. They go on to emphasize, however, that "...unless there is widespread hoarding or excessive stockpiling, 1/1/2000 will be a routine shopping day." (During winter storms in which "safety stock" cannot be delivered to the backs of stores for several days, the shelves are bare within two days. If trucking is down in Y2K, it is irrelevant how many days of inventory lie in regional distribution centers. The stores will be virtually empty in two days. If electricity is down, the store will be closed within one day -- after the emergency generators run out of fuel and the refrigerators/freezers die. January first should not be a problem. It's the next 365 or more that I am worried about.)

Then there's that warning against hoarding and stockpiling. There is every reason to believe that there will be widespread stockpiling this fall -- until it is stopped by authorities -- because so many people are completely unprepared. If stockpiling isn't stopped, there will simply not be enough supplies available for the current, daily needs of Americans! There simply is not enough food in the nation's inventory for everyone to stock up for even a couple of weeks of interruptions. There might have been if folks had prepared gradually over the past year, but it is too late for that. If you don't have the food you need by Labor Day, you may lose your right to stock up, at any price, even if you could find enough.

How likely are we to have real food shortages? The truth is, we are only one growing season, one harvest, away from food shortages, even starvation, in any year. If anything interrupts the flow of oil, gas, electricity or water to this nation's "factory farmers", food processors, distributors and transporters, we face food shortages or worse. Modern agriculture depends on oil -- oil or gas for fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides; oil products to run tractors, combines and trucks. It's literally oil to fork. The senior programmers are already telling us that it is too late for all oil and gas companies and refineries to become compliant. It is too late for several foreign oil suppliers on whom we depend. I get telephone calls from customers who work in the oil and gas industries. They are moving to rural farm land. They have bought our seed and books. They know. Our government and military know and are making contingency plans.

What Does The Military Have To Do With It?

On April 23, 1999, a full-page ad appeared in USA Today. Headline: "What Can You Expect At Midnight, December 31, 1999? A National Guard That Won't Miss a Beat....As we approach the year 2000, you will hear more and more about the millennium bug...As the millennium draws closer, America's National Guard will meet the challenges of Y2K with the professionalism and devotion America expects of us. The Guard has fought fires, floods, hurricanes and two world wars. We're your neighbors and friends in towns and cities all over America. We'll be there to answer the call of our country and communities; today, at midnight on December 31, 1999 and into the next millennium. Being Americans at their best."

And from the National Guard's own web page: "So, what can Americans expect some of the difficulties to be? Well, they range from minor inconveniences to major disruptions....Large segments of our nation's electric power grid could fail, causing massive blackouts. Water distribution systems could fail. Distribution of vital petroleum and natural gas could be hampered if electronically controlled pipelines malfunction. Even our financial well-being might be affected if automated payroll systems malfunction, banks close and ATM cards fail to work....All of these possibilities, and many more, might affect our lives for months, if not years, into the 21st century. The "Millennium Bug" is a global problem of immense dimension." (Emphasis is mine. Please note "...for months, if not years..." This is a far cry from the president's Council and FEMA's insistence that we need prepare for the equivalent of a winter storm or a long weekend.)

A Department of Defense memorandum entitled, "DoD Year 2000 (Y2K) Support to Civil Authorities", addressed to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and virtually all of the Defense agencies and heads, and signed by the Department's Y2K point man, John Hamre, defines the Y2K transition period as "1 September 1999 through 31 March 2000" and the Department's response priorities during that time. It notes DoD's recognition that Y2K responses will be unique: ".... past DoD responses typically have been applied to localized acute situations, most of which have not been simultaneous. By contrast the Y2K problem has the potential to involve a large number of events that occur over broad geographic areas, within a short time frame." What will its priorities be during the Y2K transition?

Priority 1 National security issues. Among the assignments that would take priority to Y2K responses are ongoing or imminent military and intelligence operations, conduct of nuclear command and control, support to the National Command Authority and maintenance of Defense and commercial infrastructures essential to support these missions.

Priority 2 speaks to resource allocation, including "...the Reserve Components....Responses to requests for consumable or irrecoverable resources in this category must be approved by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff or his designated representative."

Priority 3 "Maintenance of domestic public health and safety. Such activities may include ..Maintenance of emergency services (e.g., fire, ambulance, police, hospitals, and related communications)...Maintenance of air traffic, rail, port, and ship navigation systems (e.g. Air Traffic Control System....Food distribution...Support to public information dissemination (press, television, and radio))."

Priority 4 "Maintenance of the economy and the Nation's quality of life. These activities include, for example: Support to other Federal Agencies...Support to local mass transit systems..".In case of "multiple, systemic or seemingly equal priority requests" from FEMA and the State Department for domestic or foreign disaster assistance, decisions will be made by the Secretary of Defense...

It closes with: "This policy memo is the first in a series designed to ensure the Department's ability to effectively respond to the many and varied demands that may be placed upon it during the Y2K date transition period. I solicit your active and continuous support as we prepare to meet these potential challenges."

Well, domestic public health and safety, including food distribution, made it to Priority 3. I expect water falls under this priority, too. We can only live without water for 3 days. Water, and waste water treatment, are two of the scariest, most unaccounted for systems in the Y2K readiness puzzle. (As I wrote this, a customer called. In his city of Van Nuys, California, 4 million gallons of raw sewage has just flowed into Balboa Park through a manhole cover. Cause? The water reclamation plant was conducting a Y2K test. It failed. They are using tanker trucks and big vacuums to suck up the sewage. I have just confirmed that his story is true. Sadly, it is likely a mere hint of things to come.)

Current survey data, and the shocking lack of data and regulatory oversight, point to disruptions in safe drinking water and defective waste treatment for many communities even if there is electricity available to pump it! One estimate is that 30 million Americans will be without water in Y2K! Given that you can only live for 3 days without water, please make an alternative water supply your top priority. If there are more water and other problems than a mobilized National Guard can respond to, you will essentially be on your own. You'll need a bare minimum of one gallon a day for each member of your family. How many days you may need it for is entirely unknown. Personally, I would not be without at least 3 weeks worth per person. We are planning for much longer in our home.

Just after Labor Day, many more Americans will begin to learn the truth about our vulnerabilities from some key trigger event(s), from stories that surface from businesses testing faulty "repaired" systems, from contingency plans being discussed in state capitals, or from the minutes of meetings at utility companies in communities across America. Once they do, the "dominoes thinking" by the general public will begin in earnest. It will be like assembling a gigantic, 1500-piece jigsaw puzzle. At first, it will be very slow going. The straight, outer edges of the puzzle will be assembled, and the magnitude of the challenge will begin to sink in. Then a few pieces will be found that fit together correctly. Then more, until patterns begin to emerge, key areas of the puzzle are assembled, and their interrelationships with other areas become more clear. Soon it's easy to see the big picture. Soon. But it will be too late for them to prepare. The inevitable public panic, ensured by the poor handling of the truth by our "leaders", will begin. Runs on banks and stores may, to maintain the peace and day-to-day supplies, have to be controlled. Life is likely to be very different this fall and winter from anything we are used to. God bless us all.

As for the future of The Ark Institute, the availability of our Non-hybrid Seed Survival Packages, books, and free educational publications will be in as much jeopardy for Y2K disruptions as any other prepared business, family, institution or individual in the U.S. We have upgraded or replaced computers and software, and have an alternative electric supply, but we have no real control over book publishers, paper and ink production, miscellaneous vendors, the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, gasoline supplies, etc. Come winter and spring of the year 2000, I expect we will either be insanely busy getting our non-hybrid seed and books out to the growing number of distressed families and communities, OR our work will be so interrupted by failed infrastructure and services that we are unable to respond, in a timely manner, to requests for help. We expect we will have plenty of non-hybrid seed -- vegetables, corns and wheat available. Getting it to those who need it may be the difficult part.

We are preparing for the worst, as the risks of not preparing or under-preparing are simply too high, in our view. If difficult times emerge, The Ark Institute will shift to contingency plans and "survival mode" as will thousands of businesses and prepared Americans -- until we get to "the other side" of this time of troubles. Please rest assured that we will be trying, despite the challenges, to be available to all of our customers -- by computer, telephone and traditional mail -- to fulfill our mission of disseminating educational materials and non-hybrid seeds for self-sufficiency. Please note that I have informed our staff that this may require hand addressed mailings to all of our customers. We expect the Post Office computer systems to have difficulties, perhaps preventing the forwarding of mail. If you expect to change your address in the next few months, let us know if/where you want us to send our Updates or other correspondence. Please note that The Ark Institute does not share, sell, or rent its mailing list to anyone, so your location information will remain confidential with us. Period.

One early impact of the impending events on the Institute will likely be on my free gardening and food preservation seminars. I expect I will not be doing any after December of this year unless Y2K effects are unexpectedly minor, and until I judge it safe to travel again. In fact, I could foresee a few scenarios that would force me to give up doing seminars as soon as October of 1999.. I will continue to do as many of these as I can this summer, and will post the latest series at the bottom of this letter. Please take advantage of them now, if you can. They will all continue to be FREE for the remainder of this year. Encourage as many in your community to attend as you can, as the more knowledgeable your neighbors and friends are, the better your entire community will do in a moderate or worst case Y2K scenario.

Are You Ready?

If anything in the year 2000 disrupts or prevents the timely planting of crops for seed -- seed to grow our food for 2001 -- then there will be global food shortages, perhaps worse, in the year 2001. Virtually no one will have stored food for two years. Local communities need to have the non-hybrid seed and know-how to raise their food locally. Prepared individuals and families will be resources to their communities.

The Ark Institute is available to you now, to help you prepare before the great panic begins. We have excellent supplies of our Non-hybrid Seed Survival Packages -- all new, fresh seed this season. It will store 3-5 years or more! Details are included. It is excellent seed stock that you will be able to depend on next year and not only feed your family and friends, but save the seed for the year 2001. Non-hybrid vegetable seed is your only intermediate and long-term food security solution. You can only store so much food, and then you must find more. If a moderate to worst case scenario is realized -- and 10% of computer experts believe it will be a worst case, 45% a moderate case -- then you must have the means to continue to feed yourself and your family, perhaps year after year.

We have added important new self-reliance books to our list, including a package of three excellent books on food preservation. Please, learn how to do these things this year and become a resource for others next year. We'll help you all we can. Greater self-reliance will be a blessing for so many. You can play an important role in that. Please click through to the Institute's web site at: Finally, I see our seeds as being similar to the "loaves and fishes" of the Bible. A mere handful of seeds can be "miraculously transformed", enabling you to feed many, many people. The seeds will multiply, and you can give them away. Small miracles. Do that! Become an important resource, a botanical ark for your community in the year(s) ahead. We have plenty of fresh seed now. We are growing the same seed packages in Ark's gardens right now, and the plants are beautiful! We are already harvesting preserving our snow peas for next year. We are currently shipping our seed packages and books the same day we receive your order. This will not be the case once the panic begins. Please, if you are not prepared as well as you would like to be, now is the time. Thank you, and may God bless you in the challenging times ahead......Geri Guidetti

Geri's Upcoming Seminars -- More to be Announced this Summer!

June 26 & 27, Hara Arena, Dayton, Ohio. Y2K Preparedness Expo. Geri will speak for one hour, at 12 Noon on both Saturday and Sunday. Free lectures by preparedness experts all day, 9-5. Call 888-850-9066 for more details.

July 6 & 7, The Hyatt Regency Columbus, 350 North High Street, Columbus, OH This will be a FREE, multi-hour, intensive presentation on Survival Food Gardening and Preservation by Geri Guidetti, and then Food Storage by expert Jim Rhoades from PermaPak Foods. To assure that we will have a room large enough to seat all who want to attend, you must register by calling 888-320-3663.

July 15 & 16, The Westin Hotel, 50 South Capital Ave., Indianapolis, IN This will be the same as the July 6 & 7 seminar, above. Again, please register to assure we will have reserved a room and seats enough to fit the crowd. This has been a very popular seminar. Call toll free: 888-320-3663.

September 18 & 19, in Wisconsin Dells, WI. Geri Guidetti will make an hour-long presentation "Terminator Seeds: Their Threat to Global Food Supply" at the Wisconsin Natural Foods Associates (WNFA) Convention. I am scheduled to speak on Sunday at 8:10 A.M.! For more information, contact WNFA at 1102 S. 89th Street, West Allis, WI 53214-2823 414-774-8995

December 4 & 5, Y2K Preparedness Expo, Cincinnati, Ohio. More details will be posted at The Ark Institute's Web site on this one. Or write to Ark for details. Given the uncertainties of life at this late date, I would not recommend that you save all of your shopping for preparedness items for this Expo.

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