Before You Store Food
Ask anyone with a healthy long term food storage plan in place, and planning is generally the one thing they’ll say they wish they would’ve spent more time on when they first started storing food.
Fortunately, you can learn from their mistakes and avoid costly errors that many make when first starting out.
When planning a food insurance policy, several fundamental questions must be asked before spending any money or taking any action.
For your convenience, FoodWaterStorage.com has compiled a list of the most critical questions pertaining to long term food storage strategies. Just start with the first question and work your way down the list at your leisure. This list assumes that the reader has no prior experience or knowledge of long term food storage strategies.
The purpose of this list is to help you start considering some of the logistical aspects of your food insurance policy and get you started on your way to actually begin storing food.
How many individuals is this food insurance policy for?
Do you have a family you need to support? Elderly parents, a significant other, friends, neighbors, and even pets are all great examples of other parties you may wish to include in your food insurance policy. Some good Samaritans will purposefully store a little bit extra just in case an unexpected guest(s) show up in a time of need. In any case, the first step you need to determine is how many adults/children/animals you’re planning to support. Use this calculator to get a general idea of how much food you’ll want to work towards storing away to cover you and your family.
When you have a final head count for your food policy, the next point you’ll need to consider is any special dietary or allergy considerations.
For example, wheat is commonly advocated as a prime long term food storage component, and for good reason! It’s cheap, plentiful in most parts of the world, and there’s dozens if not hundreds of derivatives that can be made using wheat (ranging from highly nutritious wheat sprouts to bread and just about everything in between…). But did you know that an estimated 15% of the population is affected by wheat insensitivity? While this insensitivity isn’t fatal (except in extreme cases), it wouldn’t make sense to store up hundreds of pounds of wheat if it’s going to make you or your family sick and miserable.
Another point to consider is to store what you eat and eat what you store. America is the fattest nation in the world and largely because so many people don’t know or care about the foods they eat. Fortunately, many Americans are taking more of an interest in the food they consume and whole foods such as legumes, grains, etc., are making a comeback. It’s important to acclimate your body to these types of whole foods before something unexpected happens and you turn to your food storage. It also makes sense to become accustomed to cooking with the food you store in order to practice first in, first out which is a system of consuming your oldest foods first to avoid waste.
After any special dietary considerations have been mapped out, you’ll want to consider 2 factors we all wish we had more of: a place to store the actual food and a budget.
Let’s start with space first; having a long term food storage plan isn’t limited to any particular socioeconomic class. Anyone with a bit of common sense and a desire to protect themselves and their loved ones from the unexpected should have a long term food storage plan in effect. So whether you live in a studio apartment or suburban McMansion, don’t let size and cost discourage you from starting up your food insurance policy.
You’d be surprised how much food can be stored in a closet or under a set of stairs when organized properly. FoodWaterStorage.com strongly suggests you find a space and dedicate it solely to your food insurance policy. Start small at first and as you grow your emergency food supplies, you can expand accordingly. In later articles we’ll look at several methods of organizing your long term food storage to give you a good idea as to what a few hundred pounds of food looks like when stored in a organized fashion.
Having a set budget will ensure that your food storage preparations don’t stall out and consistently grow. Start small by spending anywhere from $20 or more based off what you can realistically afford each time you go grocery shopping.
Set this money aside or start a specific bank account to track every dollar you save and spend on your food insurance policy. Depending on where you live, $100-$200 will get you a few hundred pounds of food (if you’re buying bulk foods). We’ll talk about strategies that are designed to save you money when you’re building your food insurance policy in later articles as well.
As we’ve mentioned several times, remember to start small and be consistent. For most people, buying a years worth of food at one time simply isn’t a feasible option because of cost. So take the slow & steady approach and add to your long term food storage stock little by little, and in a few months, your food insurance policy will begin to grow and give you the satisfaction and peace of mind that comes from knowing you and your loved ones will have something to eat when calamity strikes.
Diversifying your long term food storage strategy is essential.
As with any type of prudent risk management and investing strategy, you’ll want to diversify your long term food storage stock. By this, we mean not only should you eventually have bulk food and some canned food stored away, but you’ll also want to acquire other type of shelf stable food or meals in the event you you need to leave. For example, if for any reason, you or your family is forced to leave your house behind for a period of time, it’s unrealistic to take hundreds of pounds of food with you. However, it would be a practical and prudent idea to have some freeze dried or dehydrated meals stored away that can quickly be taken with you. Whether it’s a few cases of MRE’s or some gourmet freeze dried meals, having a 2-3 week supply of on the go food for each member of your food insurance policy is a terrific idea.
These meals also tend to be more lightweight and thus, more portable than other common long term food storage methods (such as bulk grains, rice, etc.). In addition to the added benefit of mobility, these shelf stable meals often have a shelf life of 5-20 years depending on what type and brand of meal you purchase.
So take some time, consider the points you read about in this article and feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need any additional help. After you’ve done that, check out the pro’s and con’s of the 3 most common types of long term food storage methods.