I would like to talk to you today about a subject that has occupied a considerable amount of thought and action on my part in recent months. The subject is Food Storage. No, I don't just mean the preserving of garden foods or owning a well-stocked pantry, although both of those play a part. I am talking about the stocking and rotation of a long-term food and water storage system.
Why store food and water? There are several reasons for this, some of which are practical and others for emergency preparedness. My family recently experienced a financial downturn of a considerable nature when my husband lost his job last September. As you can imagine, money has been extremely tight. Having some food storage helped us enjoy some of our favorite food items at a time when we couldn't afford to buy them from the store. This has been extremely helpful.
Another reason for having a good food storage is to be prepared for emergencies. Gone are the days when most people lived on a family farm which provided for their needs and when communities were largely self-sufficient. We are dependent on a fragile network of circumstances that provide for our welfare: inter-state trucking of goods, the banks, foreign trade of commodities. If something were to disrupt any one of these things (further economic downturn, national emergencies, natural disasters), the results could be disasterous. Stores would sell out of goods quickly and then what? It's good to have a back-up system of one's own so that our families can be cared for in case of these emergencies.
It is also just darn nice to have a full larder, plus a great supply of all the basics. It is much cheaper to buy in bulk than to buy smaller amounts at the grocery store. In fact, I prefer eating organic, but the cost is prohibitive for me at the local health food store. Buying in bulk has reduced this cost so that I am able to afford my staples free of pesticide and herbicide residue. Isn't that great? I'm living greener and cleaner! Also, no more running out to the store because I've run out of one of the basics: flour, salt, rices...When I have a good storage system going, I only have to shop for fresh fruits, veggies and meats. And in the summer when my garden is going, I only have to shop for meats. How great is that?
One of the things that has helped me save money with my storage system is learning how to largely cook from scratch, rather than buying pre-packaged foods (it's also healthier). Once I learned the ropes, cooking from scratch really is no more time consuming that using ready-prepared meals.
How does one begin a food storage system? There are several great sites one can check out to get an idea of amounts/per person...Check out this site: Food Storage Made Easy. This site is full of helpful, simple and fun ways to go about building your own personal safety net for food. It's amazing how much one can do by investing small amounts of money, such as $11/week, consistently towards storage.
As for coping with natural or national disasters, a good site to check out is the American Red Cross Disaster Preparedness. They have a lot of great ideas for having a family plan to prepare for different contingencies.
Although I have at times freaked myself out over what could happen in the future during these unsettled times, I do not advise living in fear or becoming a survivalist. I am a contingency planner and I like to know that my loved ones will be alright if everything went to heck. But I love to live in the blessings of the day and give thanks for all that is right with the world. I like to enjoy myself and have fun. But what peace of mind I have when I know that we are prepared for the worst while living for the best!
Blessings to you and yours,