5 Lost Survival Lessons I Learned from the Amish

Ryan Dotson
By Ryan Dotson June 26, 2017 10:02

5 Lost Survival Lessons I Learned from the Amish

There are dozens of potential SHTF scenarios that we face these days.  One of the scariest is a loss of our power grid. Whether this happens due to hackers, an EMP blast, or some other factor, a complete lack of power is a scary scenario in our modern times.  Estimates have shown that any modern population could look at as much as a 90% mortality rate after just one year without power.  Fact of the matter is that most people do not know how to live without power.  Whether it is the lack of heat, air conditioning, lighting, or cooking appliances, a lack of power makes a huge difference in survival.

However, there is one group of people living amongst modern society that have chosen to live without electricity.  This is the Amish.  Day in and day out for hundreds of years they have preserved food, lit their homes, worked the land, and cooked their meals without any need for electricity.  They use manpower, hand tools, wood stoves, and animal power to live a relatively comfortable life.  For those that wish to survive a long term loss of power, the Amish are the best teachers for which we could possibly ask.  In this article we will cover specific lessons we can learn from these amazing people.

#1. Use of Non-Power Tools

One thing you will notice immediately about the Amish is that they take good care of their tools.  I have to admit there have been times I forgot and left my tools out in the rain or did not put them back in their proper place.  You will never see this in an Amish community.  They treasure their tools from an early age and maintain them to a meticulous level.  Their axes, awls, shovels, plows, anvils, and hammers are all kept in pristine condition.

In addition, many of their animals are considered tools in the Amish community.  Horses in particular are vital to their farming and transportation efforts.  Again, their animals are carefully cared for so that they live a long life and perform at an optimum level.  Toddlers are taught to saddle and train horses as well as rig them up to plows and wagons.  The horses are part of the family in the Amish community and are trained better than just about any other horse you will find.

Related: Tools You Will Need When SHTF

#2. Homeschooling

If you spend any time within the Amish community, you will quickly learn that their children are everything to them.  Homeschooling is always a challenging venture, and doing it well in a community without the internet is even more challenging.  What you will find is that the Amish have successfully kept their children at least one grade level above modern children of comparable age. In addition, they have been able to incorporate both religion and farming technique into their lessons.  These children are able to contribute to the farming needs of their communities while also learning everything they need for the future.

#3. Hand Sewing

One of the realities of living without electricity is that you will need to make and mend your own clothing.  I know plenty of skilled seamstresses, but few can accomplish much without a sewing machine.  In the Amish community, children are taught to sew as toddlers.  Within a few years they can spool thread, weave cloth, and design and sew clothing.  In addition, they can mend any clothing that is damaged during the rigorous activities required in the Amish community.  Their clothing is thick and designed for abuse.  They use simple fasteners such as buttons and Velcro. This is just one of the 25 skills you can trade after SHTF.

#4. Primitive Farming

Farming is the lifeline of the Amish community.  However, they have to do so without all of the heavy farm equipment that everybody else uses to maintain a farm.  Normally the Amish sew fields of corn, beans, wheat, hay, barley, potatoes, tomatoes, and grasses for grazing animals.  Everything is done with horse-drawn equipment, and a great deal of the crops are sold to outlying communities to fund other projects.  Crop rotation is a huge part of Amish farming to ensure that nitrogen is always available in the soil for their crops.

One interesting part of Amish farming and general life is that rarely does one person have the skills to accomplish everything they need to accomplish.  Instead they specialize in one area and closely network with other people within the Amish community.  This allows them to work their fields quickly or raise a barn in one day if needed.

#5. Plant Identification

As we recommend for any survivalist, living in a primitive community requires knowledge of plants.  It is vital to know the plants that can feed you, heal you, or kill you.  The Amish have their farming practices to feed them, but they are also prepared to survive on wild edibles if needed.  From the age of a toddler, the Amish can walk into the woods and come out with a meal whenever needed.  They can identify the types of trees ideal for fires, for building, and for cooking.  They know the trees ideal for an axe handle or for a longbow.  This would help them survive even if their crops failed.

In Conclusion

When things go south, you better bet that the Amish community will be mildly phased.  This group of incredible people have been able to thrive while resisting the urge to give in to modern society.  In many ways they have better prepared themselves for a full life than the rest of us.  There is so much we can learn from a society such as this.  If each of us can just take a few pages out of the book of the Amish, we all will be better prepared when SHTF.

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Ryan Dotson
By Ryan Dotson June 26, 2017 10:02
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21 Comments

  1. pigfamer June 26, 14:12

    i am so sick and tired of listening to a long dawn out video with to much bull crap , get to the point show what your selling ,

    Reply to this comment
  2. Homesteader June 26, 14:21

    In the mid-80’s, I had the good fortune to visit a Mennonite farm in Pennsylvania. Even the barn was so clean, I wouldn’t have minded living in it. Having raised animals of nearly every description, I can honestly say, I don’t know how they keep them so clean. Even the pig sty was immaculate. None of the typical barnyard odors anywhere. The man’s two oldest sons were working their newly-acquired dairy farm. An “English” neighbor had retired and sold it to him.

    His wife and daughters fixed a huge meal with beef, pork and chicken plus several vegetables, breads, and desserts. Everything on the table came from one of his two farms. It was amazing.

    With so many Amish/Mennonite communities scattered around the world, maybe it’s God’s plan for the next world to be Amish. They seem to be the only ones truly prepared for whatever is coming. We all can definitely take some lessons from their playbook.

    Reply to this comment
    • JJ June 27, 12:55

      Be careful there….there are different sects of Amish and Mennonite.
      The girl and boy across the street are of a weird one.
      Car/truck, tans in tanning bed, whitens teeth, sculptured nails, and many more behaviors I classify as vain.
      Oh, mobile phone too!!!

      Reply to this comment
      • traveler June 27, 16:02

        Could be rivkenskeltr,the time when teenagers are allowed to try “English ” ways to decide if they want to stay or go out in the world. No one forces them into the life but to leave is to be completely cut off.

        Reply to this comment
  3. Wannabe June 26, 18:20

    I wonder what their religion is like. Do they believe the Bible or is it a different book? Guess I should research it because all I hear about is their primitive living.

    Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader June 26, 20:41

      Their beliefs are close to those of Protestants but it is their lifestyle that actually separates them from the rest of the world. They’re interesting people, if you can ever get to know any. I went to school with two Mennonite girls. I could not get more than a word or two from them in the two years they attended the school.

      Reply to this comment
    • NJP June 26, 21:24

      Absolutely believe in the bible. It is their daily substance.

      Reply to this comment
    • JB June 26, 22:47

      The big difference in their religion is that they don’t believe you need a big church that costs a lot of money. They have their services in open areas, such as someone’s yard that cost no money. They lead a very simple life that would include nothing materialistic. Otherwise, I agree, much like a Protestant.

      Reply to this comment
    • MCM June 27, 21:45

      Amish are Christians. Yes they believe in the Bible. They believe in self sufficiency, in a simple life style, family life, and low pre-electricity technology. Most of them get a basic education. They are learning practical skills and are trained at an early age to be able to provide for a family. They are encourage to marry.

      When they reach a pre-determined age they have to decide if they want to keep being Amish and keep the life style or to go and live among the rest of us. They are easy going with non Amish.

      Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady July 22, 15:54

      They follow the Bible closly.just have their own way of seeing things to do with modern stuff. Very moral hardworking folks that usually read the Bible as a family at some point in the evening.
      Teens must choose the total way of life including relifion, community, and hard work or leave without future contact. During the deciding time they can try out the modern gadgets and lifestyles. A girl who chooses to remain even if she comes back pregnant, is accepted and the child is welcomed into the community. They are a warm, loving but strict living group.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Linda S June 27, 13:55

    I live near a fairly large Amish community & I fear you’ve done a bit of generalization. Some Amish treat their anials very well; some not so much. Rather than home schooling they have their own small schools. They use propane to cook & heat water. They use phones & ride in cars, they just don’t own them. They use snaps & hook-and-eyes but not buttons. They use treadle sewing machines. In short, they are just like us – some are kind, some are austere to the point of rudeness, They shop at Walmart and, yes, I’ve even been behind an Amish buggy in the drive-thru at McDonalds.

    Reply to this comment
    • CD in Oklahoma June 27, 20:12

      It’s interesting how much this author doesn’t know about the Amish.

      CD in Oklahoma

      Reply to this comment
    • Nuts June 29, 13:12

      You are spit on Linda about how some care for their animals. I’ve seen a lot of photos of abuse of these “tools”. I’m also sure they are not all that way. Good things to remember.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Dean June 27, 16:15

    I lived near a amish community in maryland, we would drive to PA and vistung the amish stores. Bulk food super cheap. Its where i could find every specialty i needed and bulk pectin. Good people i have seen amish home built over stalls for there horses below and you talk about beautiful woodwork. As a homesteader i have much respect for them, but if you arnt born into a debt free amish home its hard to get there. I hope to afford my children that opportunity. And im not givin my tractor up, its outlived 2 horses.

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  6. MCM June 29, 14:56

    There are over a thousands different Christian denominations all believing they are right and everybody else is destined to hell. How about growing up a little.

    Reply to this comment
  7. dance June 30, 00:12

    I’ve lived around Amish for 53 years. Hard workers, thick beliefs and ready to help the “English” as they call us. However, there’s ALOT in their culture that’s not typically seen or heard about. They can be super heretical in practice as well. I’m not going to address the negatives (as in with any culture or religious belief) BUT rather point out that the Amish WILL be effected by the power grid going down. They shop at groceries stores (I was shocked when I first entered an Amish home when I was 12 years old to see a box of Frosted Flakes!) they sit in cars to get to work or go on vacation, they buy cloth manufactured by big factories to make their clothing, they don’t make their own shoes or sewing needles or make tools… They buy them from the English. They do not use electricity BUT are allowed to use propane. The huge tanks beside their properties are delivered, maintained and filled up by…. The English! Their refrigerators are powered by this gas AND SO are their lamps and their stoves. They depend on the grid much more than you would like to believe. YES, they will fare better than the urban dweller and the suburbanite – however, the rural communities where they live along side the ENGLISH, will be just as prepared for any grid down situation. As pacifists, they do not believe in defending themselves- they do own guns but only for hunting or to kill a sick/injured animal. If “gangs” would ever trespass on their farms, they would be helpless unlike their neighbors who are armed to the ‘T”. Oh, and their horses are taken care of by English vets who travel to their farms in trucks. Without the grid, the Amish will have primitive practices but are more tied into grid then you can imagine. Grid down? No vets for the animals, therefore, no plowing in the fields. Grid down? No delivery of propane, therefore the food in the freezers and fridges spoil. Grid down? No way to get to work (if it is still available) and no way to buy EVERYTHING we buy at the hardware stores to replace our supplies that have run out and the tools that are broken. The Amish won’t be phased by a grid down? I think not

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