Hi! I’m James Talmage Stevens. In 1974, more than 35 years ago, I published Making the Best of Basics—Family Preparedness Handbook. Since retiring in 1999, I have often been cajoled by many of my friends, and former distributors and retailers to return “Basics” to the marketplace. It’s not what I had planned for my future, but neither were the economic conditions this country has faced since the disastrous 9/11 event.
I grew up in a lifestyle that included preparedness and self-reliance in Greensboro, NC. A yard garden, in-home food production and food preservation were facts of life in my youth. Everything went into a bottle. In fact, it was after my 8th birthday when I found out how all those fruits and vegetables got into the bottles in the basement storeroom. It was at that time my parents decided I was old enough to tend the garden, to pick the vegetables, and to participate in the canning and bottling. Until then, I thought food grew in bottles in the dark of the basement!
The first edition of Making the Best of Basics was a self-published family undertaking, collated around the kitchen table. Those first 1,100 printed copies of “Basics” sold in a few hours. The next printing of 5,000 sold out in 8 days. For the next few months of printings and revisions, the printer was working overtime. When the then-new, greatly revised, and updated 10th edition of Making the Best of Basics was introduced, I returned to the in-home production and food storage industry full time during 1995-1999. My wife and I were frequent participants in preparedness trade shows and industry events around the country. We presented seminars and workshops on preparedness, and I was a keynote speaker and a guest on more than a hundred TV programs and thousands of radio talk shows throughout the US. A nationwide Christian TV channel ran my preparedness video twice nightly for most of 1999!
The 11th Edition of Making the Best of Basics is being written for the 21st Century. Now it appears the need for self-reliance may be even more important tomorrow than today––as we face the newest problems of natural disasters such as weather-related conditions, people-caused disasters such as the dipping economy, increasing political polarity problems, unprecedented stock market and investment corruption, losses, and business failures, and personal disasters such as job loss, divorce, death in the family, accidents, and the effects from the previously-mentioned natural and people-caused disasters.
Recognizing the growth and influence of the Internet––for both good and bad––I’m planning to utilize it also. I want to find out what is most needed for you as you seek reliable information about family preparedness, and then deliver what you want so you can become adequately prepared for the uncertain future we all face.
‘Til next time…
James Talmage Stevens
P.S. I’m looking forward to sharing new information and resources with you in future posts…