We can only predict some disasters and only shortly before they occur. There may a few days warning for a hurricane or a few minutes for a tornado but some things hit us when we least expect it. I wouldn’t want to wait until I felt the first shocks of an earthquake to start getting ready.
Common sense dictates that we prepare as much as possible as soon as possible. Authorities tell us to have a two week supply of food in our homes. But this doesn’t work if the food chain is disrupted for longer than that or if people who have not prepared show up looking for help. Everyone should have a minimum of three months’ worth of food stored. This means at least 2, preferably 3 meals per person per day.
Storing enough food for the family is something that our great-grandparents did without thinking about it. It was just common sense. Since those days we’ve become accustomed to making weekly, sometimes daily, trips to the grocery store. This is not a very prudent thing to do. It wastes time, gas, and money since we’re likely to buy impulse items every time we enter the store. It also assumes there will never be an emergency that prevents us from getting to the grocery store or the grocery store getting food supplies.
I used to work in the automotive industry and our deliveries both from suppliers and to our customers was on a JIT system. JIT stands for “Just in Time.” That means that we weren’t keeping a large supply of extra parts in our warehouse that we didn’t yet need nor were our customers buying our products before they needed them. Our nation’s food supply works on this system as well. It’s a continual dance of products being delivered to the stores and customers buying those products. You probably have even noticed that sometimes the store is out of certain items. In those cases JIT was “not quite on time.” But imagine if the stores weren’t going to get any more products. Whatever was currently in stock were the only items available for weeks or months. Everyone in your area would need the same things but the supply would be very small and gone within hours. You cannot depend on our Just In Time system.
There are so many things that could disrupt the food distribution system. Weather related emergencies like hurricanes or tornadoes, epidemics, terrorist attacks, trucker strikes, riots, martial law, and the list goes on and on. Our food distribution system is usually highly efficient and cost-effective but it’s fragile.
Step 1 – Extend Your Pantry
Take a look at what you currently have in your pantry. These are the things you and your family are familiar with and will willingly eat. Your first step is to simply buy more of the things your keep normally keep on hand. Consider the shelf life of the items and don’t buy so much of things that they’ll go bad before you consume them. You’ll need to rotate your food so that the oldest is used first. FIFO (first-in, first-out) is the rule with food storage. My rule is that I replace everything I use with at least 1 identical item and with 2 if the shelf life warrants it. I also buy extra things like beans, rice, raw honey, and molasses and then repackage them for longer term storage. I freeze nuts and other items that would normally have a fairly short shelf life.
Step 2 – Long-Term Storage
You can purchase food supplies from many companies that claim a shelf life of 20+ years. This makes it very easy as the food from these companies can be purchased as individual items or in packages for anywhere from 3 day supplies to 1 year supplies. These can be the right choice if you can afford them and you prefer not to spend a lot of time thinking about your food supply and planning/packaging, and storing them.
I tend to purchase some items at the grocery store where I get a better price and then repackage them for long term storage. I use Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and buckets but I also use 2 liter bottles and gallon bottles that I wash carefully. I’m careful to use only plastic that is marked PETE and I throw in an oxygen absorber, and keep them out of the light.
I also purchase items that will make our food storage a lot more palatable. Powdered butter, milk, and ever items like powdered sour cream and powdered cream cheese will make adjusting to a new reality a lot easier. I use Thrive Life for my long term storage purchases. Clicking the bold text “Thrive Life” will take you to our Thrive Life party. On that page just click the “Request an Invite” line. This does benefit us but it also can be a huge help to you in preparing your long term food storage.
The most important thing about food storage is doing it! You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can develop a good supply of both short and long term food if you just take the first steps. In later posts I’ll go into detail about what things you definitely should store and how to store food. I’ll also post ways to cook your stored food if conventional methods like your stove and microwave are no longer available to use.