Start growing a vegetable garden. You can also do indoor potted gardens in city areas. Or, consider moving out of the city to the country, if you can.
Buy seeds to start a garden. You can also collect seeds from your produce, once you have started your own garden.
Remember to check the facts with your nursery about how to protect your growing food from gophers.
Remember also that zucchini, pumpkins and other squash are over-abundant yielders. Hard-shelled squashes such as butternut and pumpkin last a very long time in storage, with no need to can or otherwise preserve them. Squash are generally easy to grow, even for beginners. Tomatoes: Ditto. Lots of fruit on those vines and easy to grow.
Stock up on canned foods, spagghetti, etc. If you have limited storage space, don't forget about the space under your bed and couch. You can simply put a dust ruffle on the bed, lift it up, and ta-da! You've got lots of hidden storage space for canned foods et al. (I've been stocking up on spagghetti and canned tomatoes, myself).
Store lots of water, juices and soup stocks. Obtain yet more liquids from canned foods.
Start canning your own fruits and vegetables.
Buy a dehydrator or turn on your oven to 250 degrees to dry your own fruits and veggies. These can be stored in the most compact way, are nutrient-rich and can be rehydrated at any time. Dried fruits can make tasty fruit compotes and pies, when stewed with water or juice to rehydrate them.
Check out this website for solar gadgets such as a solar oven/crockpot combination, solar generators, and more, all sold at a mere ten percent above wholesale cost. Generators and solar cooking gadgets can come in handy to keep you warm, charge up your computer, etc, all without any dependence on the grid. Check this out: www.kensolar.com
Buy a grill or small hibachi(s) which can be used even in cities, outside on your fire-escape steps or balcony.
And don't forget about all the free items on Craigslist! Free firewood to keep you warm and to cook your food. Free this, free that...
More ideas? Please post below!
Thank you so much for brainstorming as part of the solution!
And let's all remember: Be prepared, but don't worry. Trust Fate. All will work out better than we think. The horror stories are usually in our heads, but rarely does reality match those horror pictures which we are so good at dreaming up.
I don't want to offend anybody's accurate sensibilities of concern and much worse. Please don't get me wrong. I know terrible things could happen if we have a Depression, and don't think I am unrealistic in that sense. But I also want to point out a positive slice on it, to give us hope.
Hope= independence from the money system and the grid, at least where cooking and heating are concerned (grills, solar cooking gadgets, solar generators, knowing where to forage for food locally). Given those abilities to survive and that independence, there will be less looting and other such crimes. Please post this to blogs and pass word along!