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Our Food Storage 101 article on our website was so popular, we decided to expand it into a blog series! Over the next several weeks, we will walk you through the whys and hows of food storage, whether you wish to have a week or a year of food on hand.
Why Should I Store Food?
There are many reasons why people choose to practice some form of food storage, and none of them are wrong. So many people are concerned right now. Since I began working with food storage in 2007, I have seen many reasons to choose to stock a deep pantry.
- You wish to be prepared for a hurricane, a snow storm or an extended power outage.
- While you might currently have a stable job, you know that unemployment is over 10% nationally, topping 15% in some areas. A recent Gallup poll showed that under-employment was at 19%. You aren’t currently dealing with unemployment, but you’re concerned it might be around the corner.
- You’re looking to wisely invest your tax refund, knowing that currently the rising price of food is outpacing the interest rate, so the purchase of bulk food at a discounted price is a doubly wise investment of your funds.
- You are a family facing unemployment or struggling through under-employment, or you are facing the end of your unemployment checks.
- You don’t wish to have to purchase food on a credit card if you’re unemployed.
- You currently know a family who is forced to choose between food and housing or food and heat due to a limited income.
- You’re not particularly interested in food storage, but you’ve decided that buying in bulk is the best way to cut your whole-foods based budget.
- You have food allergies, and you know that you would not be able to sustain your family between the offerings of a food bank and food stamps should something happen to your income.
- You have food allergies, and you desperately need to bring down the grocery bill.
- Due to being self-employed, you would not qualify for food stamps in an emergency.
- You hate shopping and would rather shop less, or you live miles from convenient shopping locations.
- You wish to leave the food at the food bank for those who are less fortunate than you.
- You’ve read about the potential looming food shortages from the floods in many countries and droughts this year. Multiple countries have suffered flooding or freak snow and freezing weather in the last few months, and their effects on the price of food has been in the news.
- You’ve met a family who sustained themselves with their food storage after a job loss or other tragedy. If you are a forum member, you know that last year we sustained ourselves for eleven months on food storage while my husband went through unemployment.
- You see the need to not be a burden on others should an emergency occur, so that those who are less fortunate or can not prepare can utilize the food banks without you also needing to go there. This creates less of a burden on the safety nets meant to help families through a crisis.
- You are trying to return to a more sustainable food production cycle in your own family, beginning a homestead or a hobby farm.
- You are looking to unplug from a modern life-style.
- You wish to save money by only purchasing fresh and in-season.
In 2009, our family sustained a major hit in the form of income loss when my husband, along with 90% of his co-workers, were laid off. Three months prior, everyone in the company had taken a salary reduction in a move to delay those lay-offs. We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know the day. Thankfully, we had one year of food storage in place when the lay-off happened.
For a year prior, the Lord had been gently nudging us to get storage in place, and when my husband called on the way home, letting me know he had been laid off, I was very thankful that we had listened to the nudges He had given us. Instead of having to go to the local food banks, we were prepared. This was especially helpful, as our local food banks were seriously short on food at the time. Due to our food allergies, the children and I wouldn’t have been able to consume the majority of what they distribute. My husband volunteers regularly at the local food bank as a member of a service-oriented, philanthropic organization and he saw first hand the severe shortage they were under. The longer people are able to go before turning to a food bank, the less strain is placed on their resources.
Having food allergies means that three of us can not accept just any food, and that further limits our options when times are tough and money is tight or non-existent. The month after the lay-off, I had only $136 to feed my family of four for twenty-eight days then $125 to feed us for another twenty-eight days. The extremely tight budget continued for months. I did this by relying largely on my food storage for my grains and staples, some meat in my freezer, eggs from the chickens in my yard and my root cellar for vegetables until the garden kicked in.
Our one year of food storage lasted for eleven months and one week. We had about one week’s worth of food left in the house when my husband landed his new job. We were very thankful for our storage. We did not have to purchase any food on credit through the whole unemployment, and because we were able to keep our grocery budget so low, we never missed a house payment. We were never forced to choose between food and housing.
It wasn’t many years ago that all families stored food based on the natural yearly cycles of agriculture, when preserving food was normal during harvest. This provided food throughout the year. Many people now see the wisdom in returning to this way of life as part of their journey into traditional foods and a more natural lifestyle. There are many reasons why families begin a food storage program, but for traditional foodists and those with food allergies, there is little guidance available on how to go about it without using foods which do not fit into the traditional foods lifestyle. Dry milk, spam and powdered egg whites abound on food storage websites. How do you prepare without these items, since so much in food storage information seems to revolve around powdered milk, dried eggs and whole wheat berries?
Many people begin their food storage journey in a haphazard, slightly panicked way because they see an immediate need but they don’t know where to start. How do you go about it in a systematic way to avoid buying mistakes and how do you avoid problematic foods? How do you keep your wits about you to avoid wasting money, especially if you’re feeling panicked or worried about the future? A few simple steps can help you plan your food storage purchases and avoid buying mistakes.
In this series, we will cover aspects of food storage from multiple angles, including resources to help you begin your own deep pantry and journey to a more sufficient lifestyle.
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This post is part of Monday Mania.
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