Lisa Bedford appears to be your average stay-at-home mom of two, driving her kids to archery practice in an SUV and selling Pampered Chef kitchen tools on the side. She hollers for 10-year-old Olivia and Andrew, 8, to come to the table and do math problems while she mills wheat to make her own bread. Dad is at work, and the family’s four dogs, one cat and the turtle in a glass aquarium are napping.
It’s Bedford’s T-shirt that gives her away: “Survival is a mom’s job,” it says. The T’s are for sale on her Web site, thesurvivalmom.com, where she gives practical advice on preparing families for the worst.
Bedford began stockpiling canned food, laundry detergent and toilet paper almost two years ago, converting a spare bedroom into a giant pantry. The silver shelves are stocked better than a convenience store, with pyramids of canned food, sacks of rice and wheat, and boxes of cereal, oatmeal and pasta.
All four family members know how to shoot guns, and they practice regularly at the shooting range. And in the back of her SUV is a 72-hour emergency kit – a plastic container filled with power bars and beef jerky, blankets, medicine, tools, water-purification kit and flashlights. She knows how to get out of the city in a hurry, using old country roads instead of what would likely be crowded freeways.
“If we ever have to bug out, we’re ready,” Bedford says. She even has the kids’ textbooks downloaded on her Kindle.
The 49-year-old woman isn’t one of those wacky people with a bunker in the backyard who thinks the world is coming to an end. The only camouflage in sight is Olivia’s headband. Bedford worries more about the fallout of a shaky economy than about a terrorist attack, civil unrest or a natural disaster.
“I just feel a general uneasiness about what is happening in the world today,” she says.
And no, she says, she’s not a Mormon; she attends a non-denominational church. (Some religious groups, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have long recommended that members store a year’s worth of food and supplies, not only in the event of an emergency but also for hard times.)
Her husband, Stephen, works as an electrical contractor. These days, jobs are fewer and farther between. Lisa, a former teacher, homeschools her children and, before the economy turned sour, booked as many as eight home parties a month to sell kitchen gear. Bookings now, however, have dropped to two or three a month.
Lisa has friends who have lost their jobs and homes. And seeing how the government handled Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she didn’t think she could depend on anyone but herself to help her family in the event of a disaster.
She’s not anti-government: “Just because I have a lot of soup stored up is not an indictment of President Obama.” An American flag flies outside her home.