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Featured Article #35: Food Storage Emergency Preparedness

Food Storage: having all you need when you need it

In a Recession you naturally consider what excessive wants you can live without, but food shouldn’t be one of them. In fact, it is essential to maintain all your daily needs, whether they are food, water, clothing, or shelter. Food storage is the preparation necessary to have all you need when you need it. You should prepare for anything from the 72-hour emergency, to a couple months, or even two years.

Sure, manage your budget to live within your means and out of debt; start saving some money toward a rainy day fund; but rather than stuffing paper under your mattress like resulted from the Great Depression, be sure to organize at least some of your savings toward inevitable future necessities, by building up your food storage. You can rotate through your food supply if you do it right—by simply buying food that you like to eat and know how to prepare. Don’t be afraid to advance your knowledge on subjects such as grinding wheat and being able to make bread. Food storage will prepare you in ways that extra money could not. You may have daily needs beyond what is suggested here, but here are the basics:

Basically the goal is always to have enough water, a few meals, and a change of clothes:

72-hour emergency for one person (even your college student can prepare one)

Fill one trash bag (to keep things weatherproofed) with all food necessities: plenty of water (1 gal/day), a few cans of soup/chili/stew, a can of fruit, a good box of strike-able matches, a roll of toilet paper, and another trash bag (for the actual trash). You should also include utensils (can opener, etc.), a tool with a knife, and a small first-aid kit (containing bandages, anti-septic, head-ache medicine, and other basics you see fit). Store it in your food storage area such as a pantry or closet.

You may want to have a backpack handy there with your food storage as well, or available in your car where it may be more useful with other accompanying survival items: an emergency blanket, granola bars, a flashlight, batteries, extra clothes and walking/hiking shoes.

Two month period for an average family

You will need plenty of water (16-gallon jugs of water and also 8 24-packs of 16-ounce water bottles or any equivalent). Plan on it. You will not regret having enough water.

You will need meat and/or protein (like 20 cans of tuna, 12 cans of meat [chicken or beef], 20 cans of beans [whichever kind you like], 2 bottle of peanut butter [or 2 16-ounce cans of nuts], 12 cans of chili, 16 cans of ravioli/stew/soups).

You will need fruits and vegetables (like 20 cans of mixed vegetables, 40 more cans of your choice, and also 30 cans of fruits of your choosing).

You will need grains and cereal (like 20 packages of instant rice/pasta/or potatoes, 16 boxes of cereal, 2 20-pound bags of rice, 6 24-ounce spaghetti with 6 16-ounce cans of sauce, and 4 24-ounce tubs of oatmeal.

Thank goodness for bottled and canned goods.

Basically you will want to have items for a balanced diet. That means you may want to include dry milk with your cereal. I know I suggested that as much as possible you only store food you will eat or drink—because even in dire need you might not eat certain things—but I think you would agree that dry milk mixed in water is better than straight water for your cereal. It wouldn’t hurt to rotate your food storage before items expire—instead of dashing off to the grocery store as soon as supplies are low—just to test out whether your food storage is edible enough to survive off of.

One or Two year food supply

If you have prepared a 72-hour kit and storage for a two-month period you have the foundation for proper food storage. You are better prepared than the vast majority for to survive over several weeks. Now you just need to incrementally build on that base so that when your own financial struggles extend for a year or more, like our current economy has already inflicted on many, you will be sustained during those times. At least have two weeks of fresh water per person stored.

Building food storage of one or two years will depend largely on your tastes. You should focus on forming a healthy base of foods that can be used to make a variety of meals. One-gallon cans may preserve a large amount of grains, legumes, oatmeal, flour, pasta, and powdered drink mixes (chocolate milk, dry milk, juice), and the like. Include a tub of Crisco for baking and some cooking oil, sugar, salt, pepper, and maybe some other spices/seasonings of choice.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons, is a leading organization on food storage. One reason they are so capable of mobilizing relief efforts in times of crisis is because its members are prepared for the general welfare needs of their own families and so they can then help others. The church has great storage facilities that have provided many supplies to peoples of the world, in times of need. Its members are encouraged to prepare themselves and to turn to their own food storage first, if possible. When the hurricanes hit in New Orleans and people were scrambling for food, the Mormon’s “helping hands” organization was gathering to bring food to the people, but helping others needs be met was only possible because they were prepared and their own basic needs were already met.