Saturday, August 1, 2009

Food Storage

In my opinion, food preparation is the first area that one should start with- and not just because I did it that way. Think about it. What are you going to "defend" with your guns? Your ammo? What are you going to cook with your solar oven? air? So, start with a plan. If you searcht the internet, you'll find lots of sites that offer a package deal that includes what they think should be included in a year supply. Then there are other places that will sell you just what you want. You can find bulk food in other places too. Keep these sources in mind when you develop your food storage plan. Most experts will agree, and so do I, that a food plan should be divided into at least two sections, a 3 month supply and at least a year supply. Why not just get a year supply (or more) and call it good?l Well, generally foods that store well (beans, wheat, rice, oatmeal, etc.) are not foods that we normally prepare and consume on a daily. Your family may used to eating canned foods (green beans, wet soups, chili, etc) that will not store longer than a year. By having 2 distict sets of food storage, you can give your family time for your stomachs to get used to eating beans every day. Also, it will give you time to learn to cook with the other foods, if you haven't already (more on that in another post). So, get the three month supply first- why? It's easy and cheaper than taking on the year supply task. What you do is this: every time you go to the grocery store, just buy 2 extra cans of whatever and put that away for storage. You will quickly build your supply and your budget really won't even notice. Try to get foods that your family is used to consuming. Also, this is a good time to go through coupons to save. Also, keep in mind that many stores will price match- that will save you from going to many different stores and wasting gas. After you lay up your 3 month supply, you'll need to start working on the "at least a year supply". There are lots of recommendations of how much you'll need and many arguements for the different types of food. If you are a typical American, then your "core" of supply should be grains and legumes. What are legumes? Beans and the like. Here is a good food storage calculator to get you going. For instance, the calculator gave me this result: Suggested amount (person/month) 25 lb. Wheat, white rice, corn, and other grains 5 lb. Dry beans and other legumes This is only a start as you will surely want to add other items like dried vegatables, fruit, sugar, honey, salt, potatoes, flour, baking powder, yeast, milk and more. This list can get complicated really quickly. That's why I recommend building a spreadsheet or two. I have created a spreadsheet which is really a list of lists including other items for preparedness (see the tabs at the bottom). But, I also recommend my friend's food storage spreadsheet. His includes a good calculator and estimates the costs as well. You have the option of figuring out the amount kids will eat as well- which is roughly a half of what an adult eats. But more is better in my opinion. I've got enough to feed my family for a year based on their current ages, but my goal is to have several years stored based on their adult ages. You also need to plan on feeding unexpected or expected guests. Do you have family that will retreat to your place? Will a distant cousin show up on your door step asking for food? Remember charity in your planning. So where do you get 1500 lbs of grain? Warehouse stores like CostCo and Sam's Club are a good start. You can go online to places and get it. If you know a Mormon, you can ask nicely and see if they will take you to a cannery where you can even can your purchased food in #10 cans. Or you can go to their website called and mail order food at a slightly higher rate (still very cheap compared to commercial sites). That's it for now. Looking forward to comments. Oh and here's a photo of my bulk food. I used 5 gallon buckets (more on storage methods later).
The next post will continue on the food storage theme.


Vicky said...

Hi Jimmy,

Just happened upon your blog tonight in my search for beginning to stockpile supplies. My head is spinning - it's hard to know where to start!

We have no basement or cool area to store supplies and we live in the South. I've read the other suggestions - closets, under beds, etc.

We also have a VERY limited budget. DH lost his job last year and we're still regaining a foothold after that (got a new job after 5 months). We have 2 very young children.

We do have a small bit of land we can garden and a pond, so that should be helpful.

Any ideas where to start?

Jimmy the Screwdriver said...

I'm sorry to hear about the job loss. I recently changed jobs so, I know how the searching can be.

I suggest that you first eliminate any "extra" spending. This may seem obvious but, I'll through it out there. Cancel your cable/sat/TiVo. Cancel your cell phone. Cancel any gym memberships. Cancel any spendy activities (ie. movies, eating out, coffee, smoking...).

Just because you are canceling these things doesn't mean you can't have fun. Do free or cheap things like going to a park. Playing at friend's houses. Working on your garden. Serve others.

Next, start on a 1 week supply of food, then a 2 week, then a 3 week and so on.

After you cut out all the extra spending, you'll be suprised how much "extra" you have for saving and building a food supply.

As for places to store food, we consolidated our kids clothing and hijacked one for our food storage! I put a lock on it so they don't get into it.

Click on the links in the article above to get an idea of what you need to purchase.

My prayers go out to you and your family. You can do it. Stay positive.

Becky Powell said...

I came across your blog today and I really like it. I'm surprised you haven't heard of Shelf Reliance with their free food storage calculator - it's amazing!Much better than the "basics". I like your post about getting the 3 month and 1 year supply as different plans. I suggest that too. I'd like to share more with your about Shelf Reliance. You can e-mail me at and check out my blog on food storage at