At this time, the diet of Ukrainians has changed dramatically. As food there were used surrogates - food substitutes. Most witnesses mention surrogate products from grass, leaves (orache, sorrel, linden blossom), frozen potatoes, vegetable waste (stems, corn cobs). In the forest area, people survived because of mushrooms and acorns, also through the wild birds, animals hunting and fish catching.

Researchers distinguish "survival zones" during the Holodomor. These are areas where there were industrial facilities, quarries, and mines. At constructions, factories a small amount of food was given to workers. Hired labour was always needed. A large number of people tried to get such jobs in the mines of Donbass. To do this, you needed to have a special certificate from the village council or the collective farm, which was not issued to all. According to the memoirs of Holodomor eyewitnesses, most people survived due to nature and mutual assistance.


There are cases of saving peasants by heads of collective farms, accountants, and other employees of state organizations. Risking everything, including life, they violated the law and organized underground food supply, gave corn and products to the peasants by different ways of deceit.