When I first became interested in prepping and homesteading, I read everything I could find on the subject of food storage. There is so much information out there on this subject. I became overwhelmed before I even got started. I am not a big fan of the food storage lists you see all over the internet because every family’s needs and situation are so different. Over time, I have developed a common sense approach to food storage that makes sense for our family.
How to develop a common sense food storage plan that works for your family….
Start by asking your self a few questions. What are the most likely natural disasters in your area? Is your job very secure, or are you likely to lose it without notice? Do you have a second income stream in case you or your spouse are sick or injured and can’t work for a while? Are you fairly self-sufficient, or do you still get the majority of your groceries from the grocery store? Also, consider the state of the country and the world as well. How concerned are you about the economy and the possibility of war, terrorism, or pandemics affecting your area.
Considering all of these factors should help you determine how much food storage you need. Think about worst case scenarios here. How long would you likely have to live off of your food storage before you could resupply?
Also, take into consideration the different types of food storage. Short term food storage like canned goods and boxed foods that are easy to prepare without a lot of water or electricity are ideal after a natural disaster or short term power outage. Long term food storage that is packed in #10 cans, 5 gallon buckets and mylar, is best when planning for job loss, illness or injury. This type of food will last for years and be there when you need it unexpectedly.
If you are doing a lot of cooking from scratch, you will also have food storage that falls in the middle between short and long term. Things like home canned or dehydrated foods. A well stocked pantry that you are using daily is essential to any food storage plan.
Our common sense food storage plan:
- We felt that we needed to be prepared for natural disasters, such as hurricanes here in SW Florida. A typical hurricane could take out the power for up to two weeks here. We decided to be prepared with one month of canned and boxed foods that could be easily prepared without using a lot of electricity or water. This is not the type of food we use every day. It is mostly convenience, heat and eat type of food. We watch the expiration dates and use it or donate it before it expires. My thinking on keeping this type of food on hand may change when we move to our off grid homestead in a couple months. We will be conserving water and using alternative cooking methods there on a daily basis anyway, so we will probably just rely more on category 2 types of foods.
- In the event of serious illness or injury, job loss, or other serious financial crises, we would rely on our every day pantry. This consists of home canned and dehydrated foods, as well as foods we use regularly when cooking meals from scratch on a daily basis. We do almost all of our cooking from scratch and try to use homegrown foods as much as possible. We also keep herbs and spices, flours, and cooking oils in our everyday use pantry. We have a garden for fresh vegetables most of the year, chickens for eggs, and goats for milk. We decided it would be best to have a 6 month supply of every day types of foods on hand at all times, in case one of us was seriously injured or ill, or we had a long term loss of income.
- Long term storage foods are what will help you get through an economic collapse, pandemic, war or other indefinite crisis. This type of food is the backbone of your food storage and includes things like whole grains that you can grind into flour, rice, dry beans, pasta,sugar, and honey. Don’t forget to include essential fats like oils for cooking in your long term storage as well. I also consider things like chickens for eggs and meat, dairy animals like goats or milk cows, and our gardens etc when I look at our long term food storage. We like to keep a one year supply of staple dry goods, and foods we can’t produce ourselves, on hand in #10 cans and 5 gallon buckets. We also produce as much of our own food as possible. We try to have a variety of food sources producing on our homestead year round, and we preserve as much of it as we can. Being self-sufficient is what will really get you through an indefinite crises.
I hope this helps you plan out your own food storage. Feel free to share your input in the comments below, or on our Facebook Page.