Why The Need For Food Storage?

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Jarhett's picture
Jarhett
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Why The Need For Food Storage?

I read this site numerous times a day, and one common thing that I read daily is that everyone is storing food.  Why does everyone feel the need to store food, and how much food are you storing? 

strabes's picture
strabes
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

the debt/credit system that runs our super-inflated, efficiently globalized economy is dying.  everything depends on it, including the overabundance of food and the smooth delivery to our grocery stores.  the world that's coming requires you to be self-sufficient and not depend on the global ag industry, trucking industry, consumer goods industry, banking industry, utility and power industries, car industry, water industry that are all necessary for you to casually drive down the road to get milk and bread from aisle 5.  

we never really think about it...we simply get an urge for milk, drive to the store, and voila, it's there. we don't bother to consider the millions of people and the massive systems behind getting that simple urge fulfilled.  those systems are in question as debt/credit and the banking industry collapse.  

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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

The best advice I have heard is to buy some cases of scotch if you are a scotch drinker.  If things do go haywire, you have something to barter with.  If not, you have some scotch to consume.  Seems like a win either way.

BSV's picture
BSV
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

Along the lines of what Gadfly is saying, why not put in a large vegetable garden? You'll have tasty food that far surpasses the quality and taste you'll find in a supermarket. Then, if TSHTF, you'll have a ready food supply. If it does not, you'll still have tasty vegetables. This will require a bit of planning and canning, of course.

If you live in an urban area and have limited space, you can grow a surprising amount of vegetables in containers.

RNcarl's picture
RNcarl
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

Well,

 

For me, is is something I can do that has little down-side risk and large up-side benefit if TSHTF.

Here is how I see it:

I buy some extra canned goods etc. each week that are "on-sale" and figure that I will achieve about a six-month "supply" that gets perpetually rotated to keep the food fresher longer. The eventual goal (in three months) is to have about a one year supply of canned and storable food. This food is like a "savings account." I have invested an amount of cash in today's dollars in a commodity that will increasingly become more expensive to acquire with no return on the investment other than eating the food. Now, as to whether to buy all at once or add over time, I think the same theory of "dollar-cost-averaging" applies to this purchase the same as investing. If you believe that there will be some deflation over the next 12 months, in theory, food you buy today and store will have cost more than food you buy next month. But, by building the "account balance" over the course of a few months, you can dollar-cost-average to hedge the expense. Now, if on the other hand, food becomes more and more expensive, waiting to buy will cost more over time. The gain in that case is less than in the first scenario but, it still spreads the cost. Lastly on this point, if you can afford to buy a year's worth of food all at once, then go ahead. The chances of food becoming LESS expensive in the next 12 months is a long shot. I have to add a little at a time so I don't scare my wife.

Most canned food has a "freshness" date of at least a year. If the food is in sealed cans that remain intact and kept in a cool dry environment (basement) they should really keep longer than that.

I must have a practical reasoning to this "hording" of food.

Let's say that this "recession" is short lived, 18-24 months and everything returns to "normal." What have I lost be storing this years worth of food? My wife will laugh at me, and we will not have to buy "staples" from the grocery store for a long long time. We will still reap some benefit because, like death and taxes, food prices will continue to rise. However, having a filled pantry is an easy way to combat one of the first things that will happen if TSHTF.

For some history, my parents were depression adults, (well, my dad was, mom was a depression baby) as a kid growing up, we saved everything. Replaced faucets went into the garage "just-in-case" balls of string, balls of rubber-bands and even small pencils were kept. Nothing went to waste. My father did some remodeling in our home and he made sure there was room for a pantry that was like 6'X6'. It was always filled with canned goods that were rotated. We bought on sale and stored. I never understood the rational behind this until now. I noticed my friends with younger parents had very little "food-on-hand" while kids with "older" parents like mine always had a stocked pantry. Some even did canning.

 

Jarett, I don't know where you live but if you live in an area where it snows a lot, have you ever seen the phenomenon where when the weatherman forecasts a large snow storm, the grocery stores always run out of milk, bread, beer and cigarettes? Folks think two things, first, "oh my god, how will I get to the store
in the snow storm." and "What if the grocery store remains closed
because of the storm." So, more people shop at the same time (night before the storm) and empty the shelves.

Grocery stores need to have continual restocking of their shelves. If there is a disruption in the supply chain, (TSHTF) store shelves will empty quickly. Depending on how long the disruption lasts, it may take a while to get the food supply returned to normal.

 

I believe, we are in for hyper-inflation. So, I want to buy (with today's dollars) as much necessary items as I can now. Also, I don't trust that the banks are very solvent. So in another way, instead of stuffing the mattress with federal reserve notes, I am buying a commodity that I know has true value.

 

HTH - C.

BSV's picture
BSV
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

RNcarl makes good sense but -- I think -- does not go quite far enough. What about sustainability? It is one thing to stock up on food and essentials and ensure rotation of stock for freshness. It is another thing entirely to develop a means of sustaining food production long term.

In a crisis, store shelves could empty with astonishing speed. If that happens, those of us who have stocked up on food and essentials will be okay for a while. If things return to normal in a few months, all will be fine. But if conditions worsen, what then?

A good long term plan must take into consideration not just stockpiling food and other essentials. It must contemplate a sustainable long term food supply. Please examine your fingernails. If they don't have any dirt under them, perhaps you might want to consider taking up vegetable gardening...

Um, my fingernails are dirty and I'm a retired businessman. I take this stuff very seriously.

RNcarl's picture
RNcarl
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

Yes BSV,

I didn't address sustainability. the question asked was why stock-up.

Even as I was typing, I knew there was something missing. I have a garden, and will be doubling its size this year. Life will get harder. It's now 2:30am EST and I am still reading and learning. I have to work in the morning. Not only will we have to be good at our "work" we will have to learn how to sustain ourselves. This is a lost art. 

I actually sensed something happening last summer. So, I made a "real" garden not just a few tomatoes in pots on the deck. Can I be 100% self sufficiant where I live now? No. Can I off-set 50% perhaps.

Stock pile now, grow food to be eaten/bartered in the summer, you now have extended the reach of your supplies.  Network with other folks. Add supplies that you can barter with. It has all been discussed here before.

Thank you for pointing out the need for sustainability. I'm not there yet. But I will be.

BSV's picture
BSV
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

Good on you. You will be fine. I'm exhausted too. It's 1:48 a.m and I need to be in bed. I am a Red Cross volunteer on the financial side and they expect me to show up in the morning, fresh as the proverbial daisy. So I'm outahere. Night, night, all.

strabes's picture
strabes
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

any experts out there on food storage?  do you think something like the 1yr supply of dehydrated Mountain House food is a simple solution to emergency food storage?  I eat loads of that stuff (love it) on mountaineering trips, but wondering if it would suffice if I had nothing but that for a year?  I'll no doubt store more than this, but it's a 1-stop shop and it stores for 30 years...sounds great to me instead of running a more complex rotational plan.

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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

we have kept a good supply of basic foods, fuel, alternative power supplies, water filters etc on hand for many years now. Nothing spectaculer  but enough to get by for a while. The reasoning is the same as my grandmothers, you cant assume that everything is going to be the same or better tomorrow. For most of human history keeping a stock of goods is realy the norm, what is strange is the modern attitude that somebody or something else will ensure our wellbeing and that super markets will always be there to provide. Its the same attitude that stopped people saving and buy everything on credit against future earnings. We also make sure there are good longterm warm and wetherproof clothing and sound footwear for all the family.

Doug's picture
Doug
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

Chris and Becca discussed a vacuum packing process at Rowe, but I don't know where they get the bags or the machine to suck the air out.  Anybody know or can point to a thread where that is discussed?

JAG's picture
JAG
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

I think a good way to approach storing food is to try to create a food buffer. By that I mean that you don't just buy food and place it in a closet and forget about it. Instead you create a system where you establish a reserve of your basic food staples, and you use those staples in your daily "normal" life, replacing them as you use them. This has a few advantages:

-It keeps your food stores fresh.

-It allows you to buy in bulk and take more advantage of sales, saving money over time. 

-You learn how to cook with your available food storage so that if the time came that you had rely on them, you could do so without making drastic changes to your lifestyle and diet.

-But most importantly, it changes your psychology. You don't have to decide whether or not to spend $X on food that you might use during an emergency (that may never come). Instead, you are spending money on food that you know you will use, and your doing it in a manner that will ultimately save you money.

 Besides, this is a great time to make these purchases, Your dollar may not be worth as much in the years ahead. As someone who recently lived through the ravages of Hurricane Ike, trust me you don't want to be buying food and supplies when everybody else is trying to do the same. In that situation, your emotions get the best of you and you make dumb "herd-like" decisions.

Jeff 

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joe2baba
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

the s might not hit the fan. things might just go on the way they have for most of your life. then again things always change in ways that are difficult to predict.

one reason to stock up on food is the same as people are buying gold and silver. it is very likely that food will become more expensive. your return on investment over the  course of a year could be in double digits especially if you rely on produce from california where the drought is causing farmers to cut back on the amount they plant.

even if you live in a city there are things you can do to mitigate some of the negative effects that many anticipate.

the biggest thing you can do is buy locally. support your local farmers market. the average american meal travels 1200 miles. THINK ABOUT IT.  the distribution network could possibly shrink significantly. my guess is that there will be farmers continuing to farm there will be food but it will be more localized. there has been a double digit increase in the purchase of seeds, some suppliers are running out. one thing i know about gardeners they always grow more than they can use. there will be a great deal of sharing. many good things will happen in terms of community.

we are living the chinese curse.............."we live in interesting times"

 

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

The wife & I (she's at least on board for this much) have been buying an extra US$20-25 of canned food & bulk rice/lentils/oatmeal/etc. each week for about a month now.  It's all marked out by expiration date and sorted into separate boxes accordingly.  In another few months we will have (when combined w/the 90-day plan of food we ordered from a "survival food"-type biz) about a 6-month supply of food.  Nothing fancy, and I'm sure after a few weeks we'll be saying "UGH -- Fakitty tofu-chicken stew *again*?!!!" but as somebody's sig line here goes:  'hunger is the best seasoning.'  And if TS*D*HTF, we can always eat it as it "comes due" or donate it to a soup kitchen.

Something I've never seen mentioned vis-a-vis these discussions is nutrient supplementation -- i.e., having a supply of *quality* multi-vitamins (which don't require refrigeration -- i.e., no liquid formulations) equal to your food supply (i.e., 6 month food supply, then 180 multi-vites) AND a quality "green food" supplement.  Green foods are basically powders composed mostly of dehydrated green veggies (kale, spinach, etc.) and algae, often with other added nutrients as well.  They will go a looong way towards keeping your body and digestive system balanced and happy when/if SHTF and you're eating a fairly monotonous diet which doesn't necessarily contain 6 servings of fruit/veggies a day.  Certainly if you have a nice phat veggie garden you'll be okay.  But if TSHTF in November it's a looong way until your first fresh-from-the-garden veggies come to the table (what -- asparagus in mid-March [depending on your climate of course]?).  Having canned veggies/fruit will obviously help in that situation, but a green food powder will also help stretch your supply of canned produce.

I haven't laid in the multi-vites yet (still eliciting opinions from people [a] at the health food stores and [b] a friend who works for a certain natural-health-products company) but wife & I use the Garden of Life "Perfect Food" powder.  (I/my friend have no financial interest in GoL.)  NOTE:  if you have grass or wheat allergies, peruse the labels of all green food products with care -- many contain wheatgrass or alfalfa and could prove problematic for you.

And then there's acidophilus -- which'll help keep your intestine's friendly flora happy and vibrant (and could prove key if you're possibly drinking dodgy water or eating a less-than-complete diet).  Another should-have item.

Viva! -- Sager 

Mr. Fri's picture
Mr. Fri
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

I question the need for food storage as well.  Yes, I think it's wise to have a few month's food in rotation for shortages but to have a year or two might be overkill.  Any gang with guns will wipe you out in a few minutes.  In less you live waaaay out in the country it won't be useful to spend your time getting too much food.  In our case we are further handicapped because we live in central Texas and houses here don't have basements. 

Norbody's picture
Norbody
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Re: Why The Need For Food Storage?

Plant a garden or join a community garden.  Learn how to grow and preserve your own food: dehydrate, can, freeze, cold storage. The food you grow is better tasting, more nutritious, and satisfying in many ways.

When paper money cannot be traded for food anymore it is hard to cook and so are other hard assets.  In 1943 over 40% of our produce was grown in  victory gardens.

Grow Grow Grow your garden!!!

 

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