What do you say when people think you’re crazy for being a Prepper?

We hear, all the time, we are crazy for preparing for hard times ahead. Many people believe because we live in the best country in the world nothing, as bad as we think, will ever happen here. When we disagree, they look at us like we grew two heads. They think we’re lunatics and need to be locked up in the looney bin. So, what do you say when people think you’re crazy for being a prepper? How can you get them to consider we might be right?

First, no amount of explanation can get through to the really stiff neck people who simply refuse to accept all the signs of decay in our country. For these people no amount of reasoning will persuade them. However, if you mention our fears concerning where our country is headed and the person seems to listen…you might be able to plant seeds of understanding by telling them what you believe and what you are doing to prepare.

Tell them about our loss of freedoms little by little through the years and the intrusion of the government into our daily lives. Ask them how we are supposed to sustain the increase of national debt and how long can we continue to over spend?  How long can a decreasing amount of working people support and increasing amount of people who don’t work and expect increased welfare and support? Never in the history of our country has there been more people collecting support from the government than those working and paying taxes. This alone can damage an already weak economy, much less all the other problems.

Next, we have a group of activists, raised in our country, who wish to bring us down to the level of third world countries. They believe Americans have too much and our lives are too cushy. They push the idea of equality for all people and put down the wealthy…even those who worked to build their businesses through hard work and fortitude. They want everyone in the world to live the same…except them of course. They want to rule the world from their lofty places and fancy mansions.

Add the above problems to the fact, whether we want to accept it or not, there are people in our world who hate us and want our country to fall. They hate our free market system, our freedoms and most of all our faith. These people have vowed to destroy us and our way of life. Many of them already live in our country. We never know when they will decide it’s time to push their beliefs and begin our destruction.

Anything could tip the scales and bring devastation in our nation. If or when any major event happens, our country could totter. From there it wouldn’t take much to make it collapse. If that happens, even those of us who have prepared will have a difficult time. Those who have not will suffer greatly and many will die.

If people will listen at all, tell them your preparations. Most are practical things everyone can do to make themselves more independent. Share the idea of heirloom seeds, canning more of their own food and raising a vegetable garden. Having three to six months or more of food is a great start. It’s important to gather seeds, canning jars and lids, gardening needs, along with medical supplies, guns and ammo, etc. while we can.

Most of all, encourage them to prepare their hearts. We must come to realize we cannot help everyone. That in itself will be challenging. But knowing you may have to defend yourself from those who would steal your provisions will be very hard. However, it could make the difference between life and death for you and your family. You must be prepared to make the difficult decisions. Being a Prepper is challenging, but we are sure you’re up to the task.

You can visit us at: FleetotheMountains.com

Urban Preppers Consider Several Garden Produce Options

Window Herb GardenUrban life often limits the amount of garden space to the number of pots you can fit on a balcony or window sill.  With these kinds of restrictions, growing everything you want to put in your food stores is impossible.  For those reasons, any people purchase prepacked foods in cans, boxes, and foil packets.  But that does little to soothe the minds of those who would prefer to put up fresh grown produce, free of chemicals.

Organic foods purchased in grocery stores or markets are expensive compared to other commercially pre-packaged foods.  When you spend that kind of money on organic foods, the tendency is to want to eat it right away, not can or freeze it.

There are things you can do to get the quality produce you want without breaking the bank.  It will take a bit of research and networking, but it can be done.  Prepare to contact growers in January or before planting season starts to strike up a deal.   Now is a good time to start.  The earlier you contact growers, the better your chance of getting what you need.

Who or what is a grower?  A grower is anyone who uses their land to produce food. Blooming Hill Farm Anyone.  That means it could be a homeowner with 1/8 acre to 5 acres of land or someone out in the country on hundreds or thousands of acres.  The keys are knowing who the growers are and what you want.

Start by getting a “what is in season” list within the region you are willing to travel.  You can get these from county agriculture extension offices, garden clubs, and some local nurseries may have information to share.

DollarPlan your budget according to what you wish to put up for a one year supply.  If money is tight (and when isn’t it?) try to skim off a few percent of the dollars to spend on produce and canning or freezing it.  As the price of everything continues to rise, it will be difficult to budget exactly what you need.  Over time, you will find your food bill goes down as the amount of stored goods increases.

The first year you might spend a little more on jars if you just starting out.  To justify this, buy cases of jars instead of eating dinner out.  Skip the movies this week and buy two more cases of jars.  Before you know it, you will have enough jars to line your shelves.

Find growers who may be willing to grow what you order.  These producers often sell Vegetable Farmanimal as well as fruits and vegetables.  Perhaps you will need to pay them half up front and the other half when you take delivery.  Take the time to get to know them to get the best possible price.  Get a receipt that explains exactly what you are exchanging.

Some growers may allow you a share of the produce in exchange for your labor.   You apply for a part time non-cash paid job.  Get it in writing.  Be sure to spell out how many hours you will work per week, how much each hour is worth, and how many pounds of each produce you will get in return.  This requires you to do pricing research well in advance.  Take into account the wholesale price and the retail price of the products you want.  If you are lucky enough to get such a deal, make certain you work hard on the farm, work every hour you agree, don’t complain, and are always on time.  You will want to be invited back year after year.

Small Garden PlotIf by chance you and your friends have yards of any size, get together and form a co-op of your own.  Even the tiniest sliver of dirt next to a house or sidewalk can make excellent gardens.  Take out the grass and put in fruits and vegetables appropriate to your region and available sunlight.  By devoting the yards to specific produce, using bio-intense methods, and sharing, everyone in the co-op will get a variety produce.

Orchards Often Offer You Pick Opportunities


Lastly, “You Pick” farms offer great prices on perfectly ripe fruit.  Bring your bushel baskets, boxes and bags to pick all the produce you want at reduced prices over markets and stores.  Usually you pay “per pound”.  These are also good places to offer your labor in exchange of produce.  If you are going on a weekend trip, perhaps adding a you-pick farm to your sight-seeing might be a welcome alternative to tourist traps.

By combining all these resources, preppers should be able to find enough produce at reasonable prices, the cost of time, or nearly free.  Most importantly, it takes planning many months in advance.  The rewards are worth it.

Here are a few links to get you started.

Illinois “What’s in Season” Chart

Texas Produce Availability Chart

 Pick Your Own Farm Directory (Incomplete)

Stocking Stuffers or Gifts Preppers Give; Part 2

How many of you are like us?  We hate shopping.  Period.  We do almost all our shopping online, mostly at Amazon.  Seriously.  The only other stores we enter are farm stores, hardware stores for home maintenance, grocery stores (there’s only two to choose from), and sporting goods stores (for camping and outdoor stuff).  We’re just not shopping types.  So when the holidays roll around, we either give gift cards, cash, or order something online and have it delivered.  Mostly it depends on the desires of the gift recipient.  All that’s left is the stocking stuffers, and they are super easy too!

A previous article, Disaster Recovery or Gifts Preppers Give; Part 1 about gift giving was important because everyone needs to be prepared, even those who don’t believe in “prepping”.  That book offers up a way to get them thinking, and maybe get their brains working in that direction.

Another way to help the unprepared prepare in a kind way would be to give them stocking stuffers or small gifts that will be perceived as thoughtful, kind or silly, rather than pushy.  Who doesn’t want someone to care about them at the most important level?

The important thing about all these gifts is that they will get your reluctant preppers to think about things in a different way. Many of the items they will use up right away. Even so, likely they will buy more of them and will have them on hand. When a world changing event does happen, they now have a different way of thinking and will grab those items on their way out the door.

Here is a list of stocking stuffers and small gifts we will be including this year for family and friends.

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The Prepper Movement Isn’t New

Thanks to a few outspoken radicals, the prepper movement has been relegated to the league of irrational fanatics alongside children’s beauty pageant parents and obsessive hoarders. In reality, the majority of “doomsday preppers” are common-sense folks who take it upon themselves to protect their families from the tribulations of life. The movement isn’t a new phenomenon. Decades ago, citizens were much more self-reliant, and centuries ago, the self-sustainability of the prepper movement was simply the result of daily life. As modern Americans become more reliant on technology and less capable of completing the basic tasks required for living, it’s time for the true prepper movement to show its colors.

No fear-mongering here, just a refresher on the history and direction of the common-sense prepper movement.

Farmers: The Original Preppers

The idea of becoming self-reliant for food, shelter and healthcare might sound foreign to some, but it’s been the norm for most of human history. Consider early American farmers. These original preppers lived in remote fields and didn’t have the means to travel long distances in case of an emergency. That meant they had to maintain a sustainable lifestyle right where they were. Rather than driving to the mall, these early citizens made their own clothes. Without a grocery store in site, they relied on goats, dogs, pigs and chickens to hunt and eat. In that context, it makes sense why people would buy e-collars and train their dogs to hunt for food.

Photo of family canning their own food via Wikimedia Commons

Anyone who calls the prepper movement a new phenomenon isn’t familiar with history. The prepper movement is a return to the self-reliance that helped farmers and other citizens get through literal and figurative storms. You don’t need to shun modern culture to join the movement. All you need is the willingness to get your hands dirty and prepare for life’s common tribulations.

TV Preppers and the Lure of Fame

Much of the perception of the modern-day movement can be attributed to TV shows like Discovery’s “Doomsday Preppers,” which profiles the most extreme survivalists. Many of the shows subjects believe that the end of the world is imminent. Their rational tips and behaviors are overshadowed by ridiculous survival machines and loud-mouth hollering. These TV personalities may have a started out as rational preppers, but it’s clear that the promise of fame outweighs their desire to accurately represent the movement.

Photo by Nomadic Lass via Flickr

Fear-mongering preppers are grabbing headlines, too. Outsideonline.com profiled Scott Hunt, a prepper who is preparing for, among other things, a food shortage. “It would only take nine days of hunger for the women to begin prostituting themselves,” Hunt said. It’s the kind of outlandish claim that people remember, and when they remember it, they associate it with the prepper movement.

The Need for a Real Prepper Movement

Photo Of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, U.S. Navy Photo by Gary Nichols

The real prepper movement is far less irrational and far more practical. Millions of Americans wouldn’t know what to do in the face of a hurricane or tornado. Hurricane Katrina was a sobering example of how mother nature can ravage entire communities. Residents of New Orleans probably wish they had been more prepared to live without a grocery store for a few days. No one is blaming residents of New Orleans for their unpreparedness, but reasonable preppers hope to spread the word that a little planning can go a long way in the face of these disasters. With an accurate message, the prepper movement doesn’t seem so outlandish. As we continue to depend more on technology, the skills and principles that first-generation American farmers employed don’t have to become completely obsolete.



Hold onto Your Vision

By Donna J. Benson

It is easy in our times to lose hold of your vision of hard times ahead as weeks, months and years roll along. Many preppers give up or burn out thinking all their preparations are for nothing as things continue to hold together. Yet all the signs are here and getting worse…we are ripe for a fall…collapse could come any time. Believers and non-believers understand the path we are currently on is not sustainable. So we prepare.

As a Christian, I found a Bible verse that greatly encouraged me.

Habakkuk 2:1-4 (GW)
1 I will stand at my guard post. I will station myself on the wall. I will watch to see what he will say to me and what answer I will get to my complaint.
2 Then the LORD answered me, “Write the vision. Make it clear on tablets so that anyone can read it quickly.
3 The vision will still happen at the appointed time. It hurries toward its goal. It won’t be a lie. If it’s delayed, wait for it. It will certainly happen. It won’t be late.
4 “Look at the proud person. He is not right in himself. But the righteous person will live because of his faithfulness.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (GW)

16 Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval.
17 They equip God’s servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things.

These verses inspire us to stay the course. They tell us our vision will happen…we just need to continue to prepare…stay the course and it will come to pass. God has given this vision to too many people to ignore. They differs some, but all agree we are headed for collapse and major difficulties. Most point to food and gas shortages, rationing, starvation and eventual martial law as our country implodes. Or outside forces could invade our weakened country, the results are the same. The cities and metropolitan areas will be the hardest hit. Rural regions where many grow gardens and can year to year will have an easier time (as far as food goes).

So I add my voice of reinforcement. We must continue to gather supplies, seeds, and equipment. Anything we can do to bring our families to self-reliance needs to be done. Each day brings us closer to the end of our nation as we know it. Do what you can now and do not lose heart. Stay the course, don’t lose heart.


Preppers Paradigm: Re-Evaluating Your Health and Conditioning

Mexico recently surpassed the United States as the most obese nation on the planet, according to a report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. The near 32 percent obesity rate in America means that the epidemic touches every faction of the population, including preppers. Buying firearms, canned foods, batteries, generators and even Roadpost.com satellite phones are all necessities in the minds of the diligent prepper. But few take into account the only means of conveyance they’ll have during a world changing event: their own bodies.

Whether you have to squeeze into a small space, hike several miles into the woods or run from whomever and whatever, your physical conditioning will determine your level of success. Though it certainly wouldn’t hurt, you don’t necessarily have to be an Olympic-level athlete to be ready for anything. But making subtle changes to your everyday routine should be a vital aspect of overall preparations.

Wean Off Of Medications

An astounding 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and nearly half take at least two, according to a report published by the Mayo Clinic. It is never a good idea to simply stop taking a medication that you’ve been on for a long time. But you can always ask your doctor about gradually lowering the dosage while trying to find natural alternatives.

For those who take daily blood pressure medication, for instance, garlic is an excellent alternative. Allicin, an ingredient found in garlic tablets and raw cloves, has been found to lower blood pressure by 10 percent in three months or less, according to a report in the U.K. Daily Mail. Cooking the garlic destroys much of the allicin, so eating it raw is the only way to reap the benefits.

The New York Times reported in August that one in 10 Americans are on some kind of antidepressant. Pharmaceutical-grade St. John’s Wort and 5-HTP are natural alternatives that can be used while weaning off your prescription.

Do A Little Exercise Daily

It should be no surprise that 8.3 percent of Americans are diabetic, due to the overall obesity rate. While insulin is used to treat most types of diabetes, the best natural remedy is exercise. A study published by the American Diabetes Association found that cardiovascular disease causes 75 percent of diabetes-related deaths in the U.S. You can improve cardiovascular health significantly with 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day. This can include a brisk walk, a bike ride or a trip to the gym for the highly motivated prepper. Losing weight also reduced new type 2 diabetes diagnoses by nearly 16 percent over an eight year period, according to the study. Again, you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, but doing something is better than nothing.

Change Your Diet

Physical Health infographic: physical activity, good nutrition,The saying goes, “You are what you eat.” An adequately prepared prepper cannot be made of McDonald’s, candy and cupcakes. Make subtle changes that you know are benefiting your overall health and well-being. Eat more low-fat meats like chicken breast and fish, as opposed to pork. Replace soft drinks with water, and coffee with green tea. You don’t have to do anything radical, but subtle changes will go a long way when your body needs a little something extra.

About the Author:  Joel Johnson is a military veteran with 8 years of service and spent over three years deployed to Iraq. He used the skills that he learned in the infantry to prepare for what is coming. He is a father with a love for football and his children.


Should Preppers Take Vacations?

Vacationing In New York City
Taking vacations allows you to meet people from around the world, broaden your way of thinking, and provides memories for the rest of your life to share with family and friends.

One way of thinking is that the prepared should remain close to their preps because they need to protect them, continue prepping, and of course be near their preps should some event happen.  It sounds reasonable, right?  After all, isn’t that why people prepare?  So they will have what they need when they need it?  Really?  All the time?  No summer vacation nor a trip to the city to take in a Broadway show?

Since you all know we believe in preparing you might be wondering why all the questions about going on vacations.  There’s several reasons.  Let’s talk about them in a serious manner.  They are important to you, your family, and are important to the image society has of preppers.

Everyone needs time away from the normal routine and environment.  Everyone.  Even if it’s just a few miles and a few days.  It gives us time to regenerate our mind, soul, and energy.  The longer the vacation, the more regeneration happens.  If you can take two or more weeks of vacation, do it.  When you come back you will be fresh, see things in a better light, be more productive, and feel less body stress.

It’s good for your job and your prepping activities to take time off.  The consequences of not taking time off is burn out and health issues related to stress.  When burn out happens, work is delayed or even stopped.  Not fulfilling your goals, either at work or home, may be stressful for many people.  Think of it this way, if you are burned out at work, how can you avoid thinking about work at home?  Burn out effects not only the employee but also the employee’s family.

Being irritable all the time is no way to live.  It’s no way to work or prepare either.  Irritable people are difficult to tolerate even for short periods of time.  Family members, especially children, won’t understand the outbursts and complaining.  Co-workers will avoid the irritable employee every chance they get.

Stress can be habit forming.  By that I mean the brain functions in specific ways related to how you live.  People who live with stress all the time find it more difficult to relax now and later.  Relaxing actually must be practiced to be good at it.

Taking vacations, two to three weeks are best, helps you manage stress now and in the future.  Certainly as prepared people, we expect there will be stress in the future.  We need to be able to deal with it in the most effective manner and so do those who will be living with us through that situation.

Highly stressed and burned out people present themselves differently to society than relaxed and replenished people.  In the workforce, stress and burn out is “expected” and sometimes confused with a dedicated employee.  But a prepared person with the same levels of stress and burn out are viewed differently because the unprepared don’t understand the prepared person’s behaviors.  Because of this, they call us crazy and other less kind words.  They don’t understand why we do what we do, because at times it is stress added to the already stressful life we lead.

There’s a fine line between being prepared and being afraid.  Prepared people live their lives just like everyone else, they are just ready for an event.  Afraid people are also prepared, but they don’t leave their homes or preps for more than a day or two “in case” something should happen.  Living that way is not living and contributes to increased stress levels for all members of the household.  Just take a leap of faith that the event won’t happen during the two weeks you choose to go on a trip.  Plan how you will get home if it does.  Then have fun with your family.

So, preppers, become more productive at home and work, enjoy life more, handle stress better, and present yourself in a better light to society.  The memories you create with your family and friends during vacations will go a long way towards keeping you together, happy and healthy if an event happens.  Do your duty to the prepper movement by taking regular and long vacations.  Unplug.  Disconnect.  Enjoy life outside the routine.

ABC News
ABC News
The Energy Project
Success Under Stress
New York Times
Wall Street Journal


Police Violence and Steroid Abuse

Editor’s note:  I wrote this article six weeks ago and then just let it sit.  I had to think about it and what it means.  It was necessary to be certain there was no “knee jerk” reaction.  If you don’t want to read it because it is not specifically a prepper story, simply choose something else.  However, being prepared means to prepare for all aspects of life, including dealing with society.

This is an editorial.  It is our duty to post this.  This article is not suitable for children without parent supervision.  It has nothing to do with being a prepper except that preppers could get caught in these unfortunate circumstances.  It is not a hate law enforcement post.  We need law enforcement at the local and state level to be tip top.  It is a call to action for society to demand a new protocol for how citizens may interact with police officers who are no longer acting as law enforcement officers but instead are committing felony assault.

These topics come to the surface when discussing causes and remedies for the situation:

  • What causes police officers to act so aggressively well past the need to subdue a suspect?  
  • What would happen if your local police force had members who used illegal steroids?  Would not those same officers experience ‘roid rage?  
  • With today’s technology and video recorder phones everywhere you look, it is increasingly more difficult for law enforcement officers to commit unlawful acts in public and get away with it by explaining it away.
  • How would the courts view a situation where the accused is someone who came to the defense of a police beating victim?

Consider the following:

Over the past few decades, several stories have surfaced regarding law enforcement personnel involved with anabolic steroids. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently led Operation Raw Deal, considered the largest international steroid investigation to date. The operation discovered several links to current or former law enforcement officers. This was predicted almost 20 years ago by an article in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin that stated, “Anabolic steroid abuse by police officers is a serious problem that merits greater awareness by departments across the country.”1 In addition, a story on the television program 60 Minutes in 1989 titled “Beefing up the Force” featured three police officers who admitted steroid use and claimed that their resulting aggression got them in serious trouble.

In the past year, a book titled Falling Off the Thin Blue Line was written and published by former Texas police officer David Johnson, who describes his addiction to steroids and speaks about the prevalence of steroid abuse in the law enforcement community.2 Recently, investigations into illegal steroid purchases revealed the names of several officers on pharmacy distribution lists, garnering national media attention. Unfortunately, agencies looking for methods to confront steroid abuse find few examples of effective policies and practices. This article summarizes the Phoenix, Arizona, Police Department’s experience in this area over the past several years and suggests policy and testing considerations for anabolic steroids in the law enforcement community.  ~~ Police Chief Magazine

Sure, we all understand that police officers are always on high alert and have to be hyper-vigilant when it comes to  apprehending a suspect.  But incidents of abuse must not be tolerated by anyone.  How should citizens intervene when police officers have gone wrong?  How should citizens stop an act of unnecessary violence when they see it happening?  These are questions we should be asking and demanding answers.

As it stands now, people are afraid to step into the situation for fear that police officers will arrest them, shoot them or beat them to death.  Calling more police doesn’t help.  By the time the other officers arrive, the beating or shooting has already occurred.  And that is the problem.  By the time anyone can do anything about it, someone is already beaten or dead.

Considering you don’t know which police officer might be using ‘roids, there may be nothing you can do to assure your safety if a police officer stops you for even a traffic violation.  For a ‘roid raged officer, all you would have to do is blink and its all over for you.  We should not have to be afraid of our police officers because they have illegal drug use, rage or panic issues.

The inspiration for this post came after clicking some of the links on this Facebook page about small town out of control police officers.  Be warned, what you will see is ghastly.  Think twice and preview first if your children are present.

Zombie Apocalypse?

I get all sorts of crazy requests.  This one sounded fun, or funny, I’m not sure which.  I had to post it because it’s amazing how quickly the rest of the world doesn’t mind talking and preparing for the zombie apocalypse, but to prepare for a real event possibility is considered silly.   In any event, if you are prepping for zombies or some event, at least you are going to be one of the prepared ones if a world changing event happens.

Here is a flyer asking for people to join up with zombie preppers to make a T.V. show.  Enjoy.


Aeroponics or Hydroponics?

Hydroponics can take a variety of forms.While most preppers also garden to make the most of their food dollars and be prepared, there are very few “ideal” locations in the world to produce food.  Actually, there is no one place in which all varieties of foods we like to eat are produces.  Tropical foods don’t grow in cold climates or even sub-tropical climates.  Foods raised in the colder climates don’t produce in sub-tropical or tropical climates.  Arid and semi-arid climates are more restricted in the types of foods that will grow.

While some plants are dependent on the short to long day cycles to produce good eats, others are not so particular.  Maple trees produce sap that is cooked into syrup. In the fall when the sap flows to the bottom of the trees to store in the roots over the winter.  The best peach, apple and pear trees grow in cooler zones.  People like to say you can grow them in southern parts of Texas, but they are just little rocks.  Give me an Illinois pear, Missouri apple, and a Georgia peach any day.

Probably few people would agree that trees are best grown in an aeroponic or hydoponic system.  Since both systems use no soil and trees need large amounts of support for the massive root systems, so let’s just move on to smaller plants.

Aeroponics is a system in which the plants root system is exposed to the open air at all times.  The plants are misted on a set schedule with a nutrient rich water system.  This is one system that NASA has experimented with in preparation for long term space travel.  The advantages are that plants are less likely to get diseases, humidity levels are high, moisture is controlled, and nutrients are absorbed efficiently.  One disadvantage is the sprayers frequently clog as the nutrients accumulate on the mist heads and in the lines.  Another disadvantage is that the humidity level is high.  Attention needs to be paid to the humidity levels to be sure they remain at appropriate level.

Hydroponics is a system in which the seed is germinated in a planting medium and the roots dangle into a bucket or other container with nutrient rich water.  Attached to the system is an aerator to keep the water oxygen rich.  (An air pump for a fish tank can be used on small systems.)  Advantages are that the root system is submerged in the water and always have exactly what it needs, it can be done as individual plants or in a multi-plant system.  Individual plant systems are closed environments which provide less opportunity for disease.  Multi-plant systems cost less over time to operate but if one plant is diseased, there is a risk of other plants getting the disease.  It’s like going to the public swimming pool, except no chlorine.

Both systems offer the advantages of no soil, no soil related issues such as certain bugs and diseases, and no need for the same chemicals (organic or not) needed for soil gardens.  This isn’t to say that there will be no problems with plants from time to time, but it might be that there are fewer.

Both systems can be implemented in a greenhouse.  Most people wouldn’t really want to use a room of the house for the aeroponic system because things will constantly be wet from the misters.  Both systems need a controlled environment to prevent freezing during cold months.

Before choosing one system or the other, do your homework!   Choose plants that are best suited for your choice of soil-less gardening, your budget, and the amount of time you will have for maintenance.