Friday, November 06, 2009

Food Storage

Part 3 in an Emergency Preparedness series. Read part 1 "Emergency Preparedness" and part 2 "72 hour kits"

Being prepared for a house fire, for sickness, for temporary evacuations and short term emergency situations is good common sense for any household manager. The true test of emergency preparedness however, is if the household is ready for anything--and I mean anything--that may befall it.

We live in a crazy world with natural disasters around every corner, unemployment at the highest since the Great Depression and governments in turmoil and upheaval. Even our own government is not as stable as it once was; now with the largest deficit ever, our armed forces spread thin across the globe and voters either violently opposed to one another or entirely apathetic about changing the course of our nation. To some this is a scary world. To those who are prepared it is manageable.

Many, many families are losing jobs and getting paychecks slashed. They are having to choose between food for their family, electricity for their furnace and payment on their mortgage. I've been there (read my post Ominous). I know how scary it is to make those kinds of decisions. Thank goodness I had food storage to fall back on, to lighten my burden and carry us through 6 months of unemployment and an additional 7 months of underemployment. I have a great testimony of the importance and prudence of a carefully calculated food storage supply.

Food Storage is not just for people who may get into financial straights. Families around the globe have used their food storage to feed themselves and their communities during times of natural disaster and political unrest; soothing heavy hearts and empty stomachs in hard to reach places that government doesn't have the immediate ability to assist (Louisiana, Samoa, Indonesia, etc.).

The best Food Storage plan starts out simply; by buying a few extra items each week. So you'll need 3 cans of tuna this week? Buy three extra for your food storage. Canned Vegetables on sale this week? Buy as many as you can afford. Gradually work your way up from an extra week supply to an extra month supply to an extra 3 month supply. As it grows you will start to feel like this is money in the bank. It is actually better than money in the bank because it is right with you and isn't loosing value (due to inflation you could say that it increases in value over time. Those beans that cost you 50 cents a can may cost 75 cents next year and during an emergency situation they may be priceless!).

As you slowly stock up, only buy things your family does and will eat. Even if it's cheap if no one is going to eat it it is a waste of money and space! Try to balance your storage by including fruits, vegetables, meats and beans. This is generally easy to do if you follow sales because sale items rotate. One week vegetables will be on sale and a few weeks later fruits and then meats and so on.

Don't forget the basics like salt, flour, sugar, yeast, baking soda, spices. These items also go on sale regularly and are easy to store in their original containers or in plastic bins. Try to include toiletries in this supply as well as cleaning products like bleach and vinegar and detergents. It would be a shame to have 3 months of food and only one weeks worth of TP!

You may soon run into the problem of where to store all this extra food and supplies. Once your cupboards are full take a look at under bed/furniture storage space, attic space, garage space. Be creative but make sure that the food is in a spot with a fairly consistent temperature, never too hot or too cold and out of the elements. Also make sure that it isn't too hard to get to, you want to be able to use these items and rotate them. It is like you have made yourself your own store--use it and replenish it!

You should also consider a more extensive emergency water supply. If you have the room to fill more 2 liter soda bottles with water (like for the 72 hour kits), continue saving, filling, and storing them. You could also buy a water storage barrel or two. These can be filled and stored outside and would be essential if your local water system broke down or was contaminated (a common occurrence with natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.).

If you have these items in place--and hopefully it's not already too late--when you hit hard times head on, when the un-thinkable happens, when the world is falling down around you you will be able to find some peace in knowing that you won't go hungry, that you can help your neighbors and that you have been wise, sensible and prudent.

For more information on building your food storage visit
Provident living
Food Storage Calculator
Simply Living Smart

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