Wednesday, October 2, 2013


How many times have you seen on TV "Prepper" shows or on a blog page, someone carefully storing away their beans and rice in "Mylar Bags" and those "Food Safe Buckets"?   I've never had much understanding of this methodology or way of storing food for my family.  If the World goes to Hell in a Hand Basket tomorrow, you would certainly consume all your carefully stored supplies long before a twenty year "Shelf Life" expires.

More to the point, what if "SHTF" lasts twenty years???  Unless you're extremely wealthy you couldn't afford twenty years worth of food storage, and unless you have a warehouse to store it in, you don't have the space necessary.  I recently did some browsing on the website of a popular freeze dried food company, and they were selling the stuff at seven thousand dollars for one person for a year!!!  Who can afford that?  If you have a family of four, that's twenty eight thousand bucks.  And have you ever eaten that crap?

My wife and I have made it our mission instead to create for ourselves as much of a self sustaining life that's possible here on our one acre, and yes we do have some food storage, but we don't have any intentions of storing twenty years worth.  Here are a few tips for trying to create a food storage plan for yourself  that won't break the bank, and still provide palatable meals for your family even if "SHTF" lasts decades.

1.   A reasonable goal to try and achieve is 18 months worth of stored food.  This is based on  a program of trying to produce your own food over the long term and 18 months will get your family from one good year of production... on through Winter... and a full "Bad Year" of drought or other natural disaster that might ruin your production... Then back to eating fresh from the garden that next Summer. (Consuming and rotating through our stored food as we go.)

2.   Which brings me to the next pillar of our food storage plan.... Storage takes a back seat to production!  Learn how to garden NOW.  Before something bad happens to our world, and you find yourself up a creek without a paddle.  Grow and produce everything you possibly can given your circumstances, then concentrate on the "Inputs" that you can't possibly produce on your own, like salt, or corn starch.  It's amazing with a little research what you can make at home.  I've made my own ketchup, molasses, maple syrup, and even "cooked up" a few bowls of my own version of "Wheaties" before.

3.   Use your resources to set yourself up, for the long term.  Rather than spend that seven thousand Dollars on one years worth of freeze dried food, invest in home canning supplies, a good smoker or maybe a solar food dehydrator.  Having these things in place, and knowing how to use them, will serve you better than empty food storage buckets twenty years down the road.

4.   Don't get discouraged by the challenge of your task.  The numbers can be overwhelming, and your family's nutritional needs in an "SHTF" scenario can be tricky to figure out, so start small and set "Incremental" goals.  You might try and store a month's supply at first, then set your goal at 3, months, 6 months etc., but... Keep in mind in your long range planning that you'll need to store a pretty large amount of food.
(I calculated the numbers in the chart above using a number of different sources, and
used several different methods.  It's not designed to scare you, but you should
always keep in mind that the task of storing your own food is quite a challenge so...

5.   Don't let ""Expert"" opinions guide you down the wrong path for your own family.  By all means, do your homework, and build upon the work of others, but don't take someone else's opinion literally (Including mine).  For example, the Church of Latter Day Saints, an organization which has been "Into" food storage for hundreds of years recommends that you would have to store 900 lbs of wheat (Family of 4, kids over 7 yrs old, 18 months)  In contrast, I only listed 243 lbs in the chart above.  I just don't see how anybody could eat that much wheat.  Calculated from my bread baking recipe it would mean that the "Mormons" plan on  eating nearly 4 loaves per person per week.  Heck, with that much fiber, I wouldn't get anything done except sitting on the toilet.  (Too much info., I know, but realistic none the less.)  

6.   Don't lock yourself into one method of food storage!  In my chart above, I calculated that you would need over 3700 pints of fruits and veggies (Based on USDA guidelines, and "Padded" some to accommodate additional requirements in an "SHTF" scenario 
The thing that you have to remember is, that you can get your food from lots of different storage options.  First of course is eating fresh foods, right from the garden.  Then might come dehydrating your fruits and veggies.  How about a root cellar?  You can store hundreds of pounds worth of food there with a lot less work.  In contrast, storing all your fruits and veggies in pint canning jars, would require over 49,000 canning jar lids in a 20 year long "SHTF" scenario.

Meats can be smoked, salt cured or even "Jerked".  Fruits can be dried, Heck, some veggies like carrots can simply be left in the ground with a nice "Blankie" of straw or leaves.... Ready to harvest all Winter long!  And yes, some things like beans and rice can be stored in buckets.  

7.    DO NOT RELY ON YOUR FOOD STORAGE AS A HEDGE AGAINST GAINING A LEARNING CURVE, OR "STARTING UP"!!!  I can't tell you how many times someone has told me that their stored food is for IF something happens, and that it will give them time to get their food production "Up and running".  Look I planted my first garden in 1973!!!  I'm still learning!!!  Each year I learn new techniques, and ways to trim more labor off of my gardening chores. There are lots of new techniques these days, and yes... some of them work quite well.  

Imagine the world has gone to Hell in a Hand Basket, and you have to heat with wood.  Try to visualize cutting, chopping, splitting, and hauling from the woods something like ten cords of wood every year.  Oh, and you have to do this without fossil fuels.  No chain saw, log splitter, or vehicle to haul in.  You have to do this all by hand, by axe, hand saws, and carrying it all on your back!  Now tell me you'll have time to "Learn" to produce all your food, "Learn" to can, dehydrate, smoke, and otherwise preserve that food so that you won't starve the next winter.  The time to learn and do is now... BEFORE you have to watch your children slowly starve to death!!!

The key is to develop a program of food storage NOW.  Creating a sustainable long term production, and storage "System", should give you the ability to feed your family over the long term... Ten, or even twenty years.  Not just a couple of years worth of food that you can barely get past your taste buds in your "Doomsday Bunker"!!!  You should be experimenting, learning, and finding out what works best for your family, and in your climate, Before "The end of the World as we know it" happens!!!!

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