FlipBoard

Welcome to our new Magazine format! All new content will now be brought to you in this easy, new format. All our older content can still be found by scrolling below. Simply click the ">" to start the magazine and navigate via your arrow keys.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to Get Prepared as a Teenager, by Jonathan E.

When I discovered SurvivalBlog I was 17 years old. My friend had given me a copy of the novel "Patriots" that he had picked up on our twenty-three day trip around the United States. After I had read the novel, I realized that I was so far behind on my prepping for TEOTWAWKI. Before had I had only focused on wilderness survival and when I went hiking in the woods. I never perceived how fragile our economy was and how easily it would fall apart with the slightest push. I had to do something about my preparations. This article is for those who are trying to get prepared and do it with the least amount of money possible.

INFORMATION

My family is middle class. My mom is a school teacher and my brother is the manager of a music store. I did not have a full-time job, but I was trained as a lifeguard and had all of my certifications. The first step in getting prepared is knowledge. Knowledge is almost free. The Internet and library is full of information on many topics to pertaining to TEOTWAWKI. You can find information on things such as gardening to canning to building up your stock of supplies. You can never stop learning and the knowledge that you have will only benefit you more when the time comes for it. As a lifeguard I learned lifesaving techniques and gained a job in the process. All of my training was paid for by the company as long as I worked for them for a summer. This situation does not only pertain to life guarding. Since I am a student in a high school I have the benefit to receive a free education. My school has a career campus where you can take classes to gain experience for when we apply for a skilled job. My school offers classes such as construction, automotive, welding, sheet metal, HVAC, medical, and electronics. These are free opportunities to gain knowledge that can benefit someone WTSHTF. If your school offers them, then take the courses while they are still free.

FOOD

This can be one of the costly items when it comes to getting prepared as a teenager. Luckily this is still the time in your life when family members will still give you money for the chores you do and sometimes just because they love you. My mom would gives me twenty dollars a week for lunch at school and twenty or more dollars for the weekend to have fun, since I do not currently have a job. During the week I would pack my lunch to save a few bucks. When the weekend came around, I would go to the local camping store and buy a couple of pouches of Mountain House dehydrated food. Whenever I went to visit my grandparents, my grandmother would give me a twenty dollar bill. Down the street from their house was a military surplus store. Here I would buy some MREs. For those of you who do not get extra money like I do, you could go to the grocery store with your parents and grab a couple extra large cans of soup or dried grains and slowly build up your reserves. Over time you can have a substantial amount of food in your supply cabinet.

DEFENSE

Defending your family is a big subject when you are a teenager. As a young boy I always wanted to gun and couldn’t wait to buy one. On my eighteenth birthday, I went to a gun show and bought a Remington 870 TALO edition [with a digital tiger stripe camouflage stock and forend]. Its the best gun that a teenager could buy to start out with. Its affordable and it has many uses. Unfortunately, some are too young to buy a firearm. So, what do they do? I started out with knives. This is particularly easy to do, because it is easier for parent to accept. Every young boy has a knife. It is a right of passage. There are so many different variations and prices so it can fit any budget. I started with a small locking folder, then bought a multi-tool, and then various sized fixed blades. I read books on tactical knife combat that I borrowed from one of my friends. Starting with a knife is wise, because then you can learn how to treat and respect your gear and when a firearm is absent, you will have the knowledge on how to defend yourself with an old companion. Another item that I bought was a

TACTICAL TRAINING

An early option that most teens and even adults can do is play paint ball and gain some tactical training. This is a fun and relatively inexpensive way to learn how to work as a team when having to be on offensive and defensive roles in TEOTWAWKI. Like a knife, it is more socially acceptable. So know one will ask questions. When my friends and I would play paint ball we would mostly play woods ball, since it is more realistic. You can learn many things during these games. We would practice tactical moves, concealment, flanking, escape and evasion, proper gear safety and cleaning, and we would even use practice knives. If your school offers sports programs then look into what there is. An important factor to consider during TEOTWAWKI is that you will be working a lot more than you are know and you will need to be physically fit. Take up playing football. This will help your conditioning. I ran track for two years and it put me in my peak condition. I learned about the proper running forms and better breathing techniques that will help you when you need to travel long distances after your vehicle runs out of gas. Wrestlers at my school are in peak performance and learn many moves that would help in hand to hand combat if you ever need it. The point of the matter is to stay in shape and get off of those videos games. Some fresh air does not hurt and you will need to learn how to stop depending on electronics for entertainment.

GEAR

A quick and easy way to get emergency gear is to ask for it. Christmas, Birthdays, and other holidays that your family celebrates. Just make a list of camping gear that you would want and ask for a number of things that you would like. If you have a dad that enjoys camping then just keep adding to his supplies and make sure you get quality gear. I would say this was the easiest way that I accumulated my gear over the years. Now I have a vast collection of items that will assist me in any situation. Garage sailing around the town on the Saturday mornings is also a quick and inexpensive way. I’ll get up a few mornings during the summer to get my hands on some sweet deals. There are plenty of older people in all communities that are cleaning out the attic and you can find camping equipment, old oil lamps, military items, knives, and plenty of strange items. Getting up early is the hardest thing though, since teenagers love to sleep in.

VEHICLE

Every teenagers dream is to get their license and to be on the open road. The feeling of being free and going where ever you want. Once, that license is in your hand then what. You will have to start thinking about the vehicle you will want to drive. Many teens want the fastest and coolest vehicle. If you are survival minded then why not get a classic? I got a 1965 Jeep CJ-5. My grandfather only paid $4,500 for it. It was in good condition with no rust and the best part about it was that it had no computers in it. This made repairing the engine an easy task whenever it would act up on me. It also gives you the know how on how to fix your car in TEOTWAWKI. Any old model car, usually before 1980, does not have all of the microprocessors found in more recent models. This makes them EMP proof and when you are driving around while everyone else is walking, then you have a big advantage over everyone else. If your parents do not think they are safe enough, then tell them that there are all sorts of aftermarket safety products that can be installed in them, such as a roll cages and five point safety harnesses. These vehicle are inexpensive and are relaibel once restored.

In the end time is the biggest factor. It will take time to save money for more expensive items, but if you are witty enough then you can most items for a lower price or even free. Building a collection of supplies might seem time consuming, but I have fun buying something new that I didn’t have before that will help me in the end. However you do it, have fun with it and do not think that because you are young that you should not be prepared.

Ultimate Survival: Private Island Retreat



We all like to day dream about the "ultimate" in survival preps--the stuff we'd buy if we were stinking rich and had unlimited funds. The really cool stuff. This is the first in a series of articles detailing the "ultimate survival" preps. Survival preps that run into the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars--basically how you'd do things if you had Bill Gates kind of money and price was no object.

First up is the retreat. With your survival retreat, we all know you want remote, difficult to access, defensible and self sufficient. And what could fit that criteria better than your very own private island?

Yep, you can buy islands. My favorite place to window shop is PrivateIslandsOnline.com--they've got a huge listing for islands for sale all across the world. Do some browsing. It's a fun time killer.

What to look for when island shopping.

When scouting out your island retreat, you'll need to take several things into consideration. As with all real estate, location is one of your prime concerns.

You'll need to be very selective in where you position your Survival Island, for a number of reasons. Weather is a major concern--tsunamis, hurricanes and so on could do serious damage to an island compound. Also, all Islands will fall into the territory of some country--many of which are poor and have strict anti-gun laws. Some of these countries are outright 3rd world countries, with governments changing every few years. The S might hit the fan fairly often in these unstable areas, and you want to avoid that kind of chaos if at all possible.

Even if your island is in the territorial waters of a stable, freedom loving country, you'll need to make sure that you're not too close to land, especially major metropolitan areas, docks and shipyards. For a land-based retreat, it's often said that you need to be more than one tank of gas away from major population centers. For ocean-going vessels, that single tank of gas could take them thousands of miles--so you will never be out of range of ocean going vessels. Instead, make sure that your island is out of the way and not visible from the mainland or highly populated islands.

You'll want a decent sized island--enough space to build your compound, nuclear war bunker and set up the necessary systems to keep the island running and self sufficient. You obviously want an island fertile enough to grow food on and a source of fresh water would also be ideal. Having native wildlife, good fishing, or fruit-giving trees would also be a benefit.

An island with only a single landing point, difficult approach and good visibility at the surrounding ocean could also be good in a defensive situation.

Building your island retreat.

Many private islands will already have some kind of buildings and construction on them--maybe a vacation home, a small resort, a plantation, etc. Others will have no construction at all. Either way, you will almost certainly need to have some serious construction done to turn the island into a self sufficient, defensible retreat.

Facilities-wise, you will need a large garden area or fields for crops. In some locations, a plantation or orchard could be wise. For power generation, look for a combination of long-life diesel generators and renewable wind/solar power. If your island had no source of fresh water, you will either need some fairly large rain-catchment systems and accompanying cisterns or a desalination station. A hardened bunker/hurricane shelter is also a must-have for any uber-rich survivalist. You will of course need some kind of dock, and an airstrip or helicopter pad for your airborne transportation.

Unless you have twenty or so children, you'll need a certain amount of manpower to keep the island running in top shape. Look for the same skillsets that every retreat seeks--a doctor, mechanics, an electrician, etc. Because of your Island location, you'll also want to make sure that you have people to run and maintain your off-island transportation. With your contacts and money, you should be able to put together a survival group of skilled, like-minded survivors. They will need bungalows or houses of their own.

As with all retreats, you'll need to make sure that you lay in a good store of parts and spares to keep your equipment up and running. Your likelihood of bartering for replacements its next to nil. Even pre-TEOTWAWKI, taking anything in for repairs is a time-consuming proposition. You will need to have workshops, tools and machines necessary to make any potential repairs.

With all that in place, you've got it about as good as you can get. Clear views of any approaching attackers. A big, built-in moat. Complete seclusion and privacy--unless you have helicopter riding paparazzi after you. A very defensible position. Remote location. Easy to quarantine yourself out from the outside world--handy for plagues, flus and zombie outbreaks. Your own castle with a gigantic built-in moat.

Defending survival island.

So, you've established a sustainable survival paradise. You could hope that your remote location and isolation will keep you safe. It's not like the Golden Hordes are going to be walking up to your front door. You might be that lucky. But probably not.

Unfortunately, even on a remote island, you'll still see lots of trouble come TEOTWAWKI. While you won't get the great masses seen on the mainlands, there will certainly be people who take to the seas.You won't be the only one thinking about riding out the hard times on a nice little hidden island somewhere. In some areas it will be worse than others. I would think the Caribbean would be especially bad--there are hundreds of small islands and a billion little boats, yachts and everything else. Regardless of your location, there's a great potential for pirates, refugees and desperate sea-borne survivors.

Let's talk fortifications. For your retreat itself, you'll want to follow all of the general advice that applies to conventional retreats. But, because it's your island, you don't need to worry about HOA codes, rules or being especially discrete. Your retreat can be a stone or reinforced concrete fortress. Want electrified barbed wire fences? Go wild--build a hardened fort if you want.

Scout out the approaches for landing vessels and build OPs, pill boxes and firing positions overlooking them. By day, you'll be able to see any visitors from miles off. That means that attacks will come under the cover of darkness. You'll need night vision--a must-have for defending your island fortress.

Consider a Viet Cong-style tunnel system around your little isle, allowing you to traverse around it in secrecy and without exposing yourself to enemy fire.

Weapons wise, you'll want long range and power. Any enemy will be approaching in a vehicle (boat or by air) and will be visible from miles off. You may also be dealing with fairly large ships loaded down with dozens of desperate pirates/thugs or starving people.

In US and other free countries, .50 BMG is what you want. And you're rich enough to afford a self sufficient private island, so you can afford some good stuff. A couple of guys in hardened positions with M2 Brownings and Barret sniper rifles would be quite the force to be reckoned with. If you were going to be tight on the cash, you could get a few semi-auto belt feds instead of the Brownings.

If .50 is not feasible for whatever reason, then look to .308 or similar high-power rifle rounds. Range and power.

Unfortunately for the ultra-rich island retreater, many island nations have very tough gun laws. Of course, enough money can open doors, but this is a definite consideration for where to purchase your island fortress. We're red-blooded, firearms loving survivalists.

Some of you might be thinking "Why don't I just declare independence and start my own country on my island? Then I could make whatever laws I want." Unfortunately, it's not so easy. This site explains the difficulties. If you had enough moola, you could certainly pull it off, but you'd need the money, manpower and firepower to back it up. And if you're not concerned with following the foolish laws of Island Nation X, you could almost certainly smuggle gear onto your island via your yacht, private jet or helicopter.

One unconventional weapon to consider is the old blackpowder cannon--they worked in the old days, and few civilian vessels would be able to stand up to a salvo of cannon balls.

Survival islands for the rest of us.
Ok, so you don't have $20 million bucks sitting in the bank, waiting to be spent on a lavish island TEOTWAWKI retreat. There are less expensive islands on the market. Most aren't very big--a few acres-- and don't offer the desired remoteness. Some are in the middle of lakes, others just off the coast, others in less-expensive countries. A typical remote-land retreat will cost several hundred thousand dollars anyways--a small island is a possible alternative. PrivateIslandsOnline has quite a few sub-$250K listings. Check it out.


What do you  think? Is a well-equipped remote private island the ultimate survival retreat, or do you have something else in mind?

Survival Skills Inventory


The main purpose of any inventory is to keep track of what you have and what you need. Knowing these two things can help you plan for or correct any items that may be lacking in your inventory. While most people have and keep a fairly good account of their survival gear, firearms, ammunition, and food and water supplies, they often fail to assess their survival skills. Skills can be an important asset in any survival situation.
The ability to do improvised or expedient repairs to your home in the event of catastrophic damage from a storm is just one example of where your skills can help you restore order and normalcy to your life after such an event. Knowledge, training and experience in any of a number of fields will be invaluable when needed. Carpentry, plumbing, or electrical skills are intangibles. You will always have them when needed and only need practice to keep them viable and useful. Even the most basic and rudimentary skills will be an asset.
Many types of injuries can be treated by learning basic first aid. Yet a large number of people do not realize that a band-aid won’t always fix the problem. The lack of proper emergency services may become widespread in a disaster or crisis and can be devastating if you are unable to handle even the simplest and most minor of medical emergencies with a degree of confidence. The ability to render basic first aid should be a priority for your inventory of skills.
Any failure of the infrastructure of your community can be equally dangerous to your survival. Should the municipal water system have problems, the need for drinking water can create major problems. Do you know how to treat your water with the proper filtration and purification techniques? This is a must have survival skill! You will need water in any survival situation.
Basic mechanical skills should also be included in your list. Simple things like being able to change a flat tire on your vehicle safely and efficiently may save your life. Being able to perform even simple tasks through the proper and safe use of your tools may make a big difference. An accident caused by the unsafe or improper use of any tool can only lead to further problems. In a crisis or disaster situation, the last thing you will need is additional problems.
Proper skills in the safe use of your firearms are also another priority. Improper use of any type of firearm can have serious or even deadly consequences. Training and practice in the safe use of firearms will help you avoid unintended consequences that could lead to additional problems of a very serious nature.
Gardening skills will also have a great benefit as well. If your food supplies run low, become damaged or are simply contaminated, can you raise your own? Can you build a simple cold frame or a raised bed for a garden?
Don’t forget cooking skills! The preparation of even some of the simplest meals will require basic cooking skills. Without cooking skills, you could waste important food resources that may be critical to your survival.
Even the simplest skills can be combined with each other to give you the edge in a survival situation. Alone or in a combination, you will ultimately need a variety of skills in a number of different areas to give you the best chance for survival. Take an inventory of your skills and you may be surprised at just how many you do have!
Got skills for survival?
Staying above the water line!
Riverwalker


A Survival Suburban Homestead: A Prepper's Twist on the Homestead Movement - Pt. 1, by D.M.T.

Swimming in a Sea of Humanity
A homestead will not survive isolated in a sea of desperate humanity.  Nor will man survive in a desert void of it. 
For many of us surviving in place (the suburbs) is going to be a fact.  With it carries tremendous risk and dangers yet imbedded within it, also a cornucopia of resources and individuals with critical skill sets and life saving knowledge.  Unlike urban areas, there is a small enough degree of separation between people, enough so to actually define and scratch out a living independently.  Current Homesteaders have proven it is possible to not only provide for your family on 1/10th of an acre, but to also support a larger economy with the surplus.  The question becomes, given marginal localized security, what can be done to assist in the re-emergence of stabilized society from a cascading chaos, which will be essential to survival in the suburbs?
Disasters are amplified by the weakness of civil society and the absence of the rule of law.  After a few days of living within a failed food and water supplied system and without a sizable government assistance response, people will begin to lose hope that assistance will come…  as this hope disappears, real desperation will set in and people will take extraordinary measures to fend for themselves and seek an outlet to vent their anger and fear.  
Violence and the threat of criminality will have to be addressed, before any homesteading can take place in the open, which it must for it to succeed.  Recognizing that looting and rampaging vandalism flares where authority is lost and history has shown repeatedly that where a community takes extraordinary measures to organize and secure itself, it can re-instate a semblance of authority and civil control.  It is from under this protective wing of security that the commerce of survival can begin to flourish.
While it is nice to have your neighbor’s complaisant agreement for mutual security, the quality and viability of such may leave much to be desired.  As such, other arrangements should be planned for and arrangements made.  Whether this is in the form of friends and associates you know and trust, or from an outsourced service providers, security and consequently authority surrounding your local homestead needs to be established and is not something that I would leave to others, as they may have very different agenda than your altruistic view.   
People have always been drawn together in desperate times, and history has continually shown where looters and pillagers gather strength in numbers, so too can communities and to do so communities will need two things; a belief in a better alternative to their plight and leadership who is determined and prepared, which can be accomplished by the following;
  1. An active and determined neighborhood watch (which is motivated by having the following at stake)
  2. Establishment of Individual homesteads throughout the neighborhood (individual stake)
  3. Create neighborhood community farming initiatives (a greater collective stake)
  4. Empowering others for widespread, parallel efforts in surrounding areas.
Clearly the better you know and trust your neighbors and they know and trust you, the faster and smoother neighborhood safety and security measures will naturally formulate.  It is unlikely that neighbors will be willing to formulate or support neighborhood cordon operation, establish roadblocks and conduct patrols until their individual stake and survival possibilities are strengthened, which is why homesteading teams should be created as soon as a loose security measures and agreements are initiated. 
Homesteading teams should be formulated and divided up into specific organizational groups to specialize and concentrate upon three critical components for each homestead; establishment of front yard gardens, rain water cistern catchment basins, and water treatment and purification systems (individual slow sand filters). 
Front Yard Gardens
Most suburban homes can easily accommodate gardens in their front and back yards.  I would initially prepare only the front yards collectively and allow the homeowner to prepare the back yards, which typically will be trickier, as private spaces tend to be more developed than public sided spaces of private property.  The front yards will also be easier to restore and therefore compliance will be easier obtained early on.  The same is true for neighbors who have vacated the area, having to explain to a returned neighbor that you’ve torn up their back yard will be more difficult to explain than if you just focused on the front lawn.   Additionally from a security standpoint front yards are vastly easier to observe, patrol and secure by the community.
Rain Water Cistern Catchment Basins
Rain water cistern catchment basins, can be readily developed and are far superior to a barrel system, as quaint as they are.  The most simple is an excavated pit or trench lined in plastic, which will be limited in size due to soil conditions and its ability to retain its shape.  A more effective basin is a simple wood framed crate, lined and sealed with visqueen (large plastic sheeting), which is partially counter sunk and bermed into the soil for stability and support.    The basic volume of these cisterns can be calculated, based upon their geometry, a simple box (LxWxH) and then multiplied by 7.4 (the number of gallons of water in a cubic foot) to derive the water storage volume.  A simple 4’x8’x4’ cistern will hold about 950 gallons of water, as compared to nineteen 50-gallon rain barrels. 
Slow Sand Filter
Having a firm grasp on the principles of slow sand filter is a critical component for water filtering and purification.  Slow sand filters use biological process to cleanse water, require little or no mechanical power, chemicals or replaceable parts, simple to use and operate and only require periodic maintenance.  It is recognized by the World Health Organization as being not only the least expensive and simplest, but also the most efficient method of water treatment.  The biggest drawback is in the lag associated with the start up time, about two weeks.  Keep in mind this is a biological filter (living organisms) and they have to be established.  This doesn’t mean that water can’t be run through the system to filter it (separate solids and particles), it just means it will also have to be purified afterwards through boiling or chemical treatment.          
Homesteading Armory
To accelerate the neighborhood homesteading process, ensure its success and for about the cost of an battle rifle (which I would need several to defend my property otherwise), you can amass a small collection of assorted basic garden and construction tools, supplies and equipment and seed stores in bulk that you can arm your neighbors with onto the road to self sufficiency.  (This list of supplies would incorporate the major elements associated with the project above).  These supplies are both a helping hand to your neighbors and a planned and concerted effort to create a safety buffer around your homestead.  The logic is the same as acquiring a small armory of firearms to arm your friends and neighbors who’ll join you at your retreat.  In this case, instead of arms, its gardening and farming equipment and supplies.   Weapons for personal and property security, gardening tools for food and water security. 
The next time you’re in a big box home improvement store, ask yourself how far will $1,000 would go in establishing these projects.  In the general example I’ve listed above, I estimated that each homestead would take about $200 in basic supplies, if purchased new, at retail prices…  with lumber being the largest component of that (for the cisterns).  That’s five homes, without putting any creativity into alternative supply acquisition.  By removing the lumber component from that list (I plan on having at least one as an example) you can stretch those supplies to include ten homes.  You may likewise decide that every homestead doesn’t need a slow sand filter and that a neighborhood one would suffice or that your community may already have the resources available, such as sand filtered swimming pools.  By generally observing (google map of your neighborhood) you can assess how many swimming pools are in the area…  then ask yourself what percentage are sand filters?  If it’s high, you don’t need to purchase sand for the slow sand filters…  What you’ll normally find is that if you’re resourceful , you’re really left with is visqueen, some basic hand tools and bulk quantities of seeds and in that case $1,000 really does go far, well enough to develop every house, along your average suburban street.  The point is to observe your suburban neighborhood and look at what resources are there and plan accordingly. 
Side note:  From observation of the basic outlined above example and for about $300, including lumber, you can acquire all the basic elements you would need to establish your own small homestead, which can be readily stored and placed out of the way, in the garage or shed.           
Community Initiatives
A follow on number of community farming initiatives should also take place after the individual homestead have been established, the most obvious being the cultivation of crops in formerly open public spaces.  Suburban areas are replete with communal public areas that can be integrated into co-opted farmed areas.  If none truly exist, it is possible to utilize the sidewalk green space and a four foot wide section of the crown of the road and to go down the center of the street’s length, boxing in the transported topsoil, which only needs to be about a foot in depth.  Parking lots can be developed the same way to great effect for even larger community parcels. 
Question of crops
The crops in open public spaces should focus on two types of crops; grain crops, due to the required foot print size and primarily large scale planting of basic root vegetables, as they are a dense nutritional source, that are naturally made into stews and stock.  The root vegetable crops should supplement the neighborhood homesteads and to attempt to feed the greater population by establishing a simple soup kitchen.
Directing humanity
A number of types of people will be drawn to these initiatives, those seeking work, those seeking food and displaced people looking to survive will eventually be drawn to such efforts, and should be integrated into the community initiatives, as labor is a major component to these endeavors and work for food will be recognized as established level of fair trade.  This is also an opportunity to empower others for widespread, parallel efforts in surrounding areas, furthering your physical and food security buffer.   Amongst those that these efforts touch will surely be skilled professionals with critical life-sustaining knowledge and skills that you may one day desperately need.     
With that consideration in mind, I would plan on storing a large quantity supply of grains, which can be purchased in bulk.  Third world food in bulk is cheap security to keep the masses at bay from your homesteading practices and occupied by laying the inroads to their own survival.  It can also be used as currency, to pay for services you or your community may sorely need, but are unable or unqualified to perform.  Beyond that basic rationale even in temperate climates, and depending upon the season, a simple crop will not come in for several months, and this food supply is to help sustain that population. 
This food should be stored in at least thirds (or more), two thirds in separate caches, and the distribution third, held in community trust at a food distribution point.  At no point should your homestead be the location point for public food distribution or seen as the storage facility.  Remember you are working at establishing anonymity by hiding in plain sight.     
Guerilla Gardening
While aspects of guerilla gardening should be implemented for food security, the majority of the efforts should be centralized and consolidated to aide in securing and protecting the communities efforts.  Decentralized and dispersed holdings will be easy targets for the desperate and have a poor ratio of labor to output rewards.  You should also have a reserve seed supply that is not utilized, but kept in reserve should the first plantings fail or fall short.
Community Nursery
Beyond the individual and community gardens several group projects should also emerge.  A simple yet critical community project is the community plant nursery.  Utilizing methods established in commercial nurseries would vastly increase the quality, volume and success rate of the community garden areas, as well as being a resource for surrounding communities (trade generator).  It also provides work opportunities for those that cannot perform manual labor. 
Community Chicken Coop
One of the most important projects in the community initiative concept I believe should be that of a  community chicken coop.  It’s an aspect of farming that is quickly expandable, yields quick results, is non-seasonal and can utilize many of the aspect found in intensive chicken farming, which makes the area utilized for this quite small.  A contribution of a brood of chicks would rapidly create this, and is one of the reasons why I believe every established homestead should have a rooster and a few hens specifically for breeding purposes.  The ramp up time, chicken availability and chicken feed being the critical determinants for this project.
Community Water
All of this will be to no avail unless large quantities of water are acquired.  A larger scale version of a roof based rainwater catchment is one that utilizes the street and its storm water collection.  Most streets in suburbia are designed to collect and direct a large amount of storm water.  Creating a makeshift culvert is a simple process and can interrupt the normal directional flow of water (prior to it going into municipal culverts) and redirected into large community cisterns or ponds.
Siphon Tubes
Transferring water supply will be a critical factor and having a supply of large diameter tubing will be an asset for siphoning, whether it’s for water transferring from a catchment area to a retention area or for irrigation purposes.  Like gardening, utilizing siphoning principals in the field is a little trickier than one would first assume, but centers on two critical points, the first that the final reservoir is lower in elevation than the supply reservoir and that the siphon tubing is primed (filled with water) before the tube is placed over the intermediate obstacle for it to start to reliably transfer water.   The key is to seal the supply end and fill the tube with water until you’re fully ready to activate the system. Otherwise you will need to utilize a siphon pump to start this procedure.  A third issue is to ensure the supply end tube stay submerged in the reservoir to remain operational. 
The value of the siphon tubes are that they tend to be very inexpensive, do not require precision to layout and utilize and can be relocated from one location to another based upon need and use (non-permanent installation).  To regulate flow into or from an area will depend upon the gauge of the tubing and the number of siphon tubes used.  Obviously, more tubes, greater volume of flow.  
A major concern with cisterns and ponds is their open nature as they will be breeding grounds for pests which will carry disease and debris that will rot.  Ideally these ponds or cisterns need to be covered to prevent this.  While circular shapes contain a large footprint/volume, linear shapes will be easier to cover as the majority of building materials are also linear in nature.  A Series of parallel deep and wide trenches lined in plastic are readily covered and will be a safer option than a larger circular open volume cistern. 
While not all of the water collected by the community needs to be potable, having a large water purification system in place will be a tremendous asset.  The slow sand filter system devised for the homesteads can be applied directly here at a much larger scale.  In fact these types of systems are still utilized at some municipal level facilities in a number of countries and as recently as the mid-50’s here in the United States.
Obviously communities and homesteads that are able to implement strategies of municipal utility and food supply replacement the smoothest will fare the best, which will be critical for social and civil restoration.   The upside is it is vastly easier to have a first world nation create third world infrastructures than it is the other way around.  The downside is that most people have no real causal understanding of the way our infrastructure works.  People are dependent upon strangers and a system they don’t really understand. By reversing this trend, by learning self sufficiency amid mounting uncertainty will make people feel more in control.  This will be even truer for the enormous desperate plight of people seeking any manner in which to survive in a catastrophe.  They will take a hand-out, but will need more and that more should be followed by a hand up, in the form of a means to contribute to their own survival.  By providing purpose, direction and motivation you can achieve authority and credible leadership to get a large number of people to actively and willingly participate in their own survival, which ultimately will assist you in yours, as otherwise they would become a threat risk.  One of the fastest ways to establish this authority and trust is to demonstrate competence in homesteading.  Competence you can learn and develop today when the practice is inexpensive and painless.  The harsh reality is that survival in the suburbs will require a community of people supporting and acting on mutually beneficial shared values and it will be wishful thinking expecting a differing result to let a crisis and societal collapse resolve itself.