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How to Maintain a Food Storage

07/20/2011

Image credit: R.B. Boyer

As I mentioned on Monday, I’m starting a food storage.

Stockpiling food may seem alarmist, and of course the food supply chain where I live may never become so disrupted that I’ll need a food storage. But given the global crises that face us, I think it’s wise to be prepared for such a disruption. The Red Cross recommends storing at least two weeks’ worth of food.

Please don’t mistake me for someone with a lone survivalist mentality. In the event of a major catastrophe community will be crucial, and holing up in the middle of nowhere, alone, will be a very bad idea. Either way, you’re going to need to eat.

Location

Choose a place that is kept cool and dry year-round, such as a shed, a root cellar, a basement, a spare bedroom or an unheated closet. It’s also a good idea to keep some supplies in a backpack in case you need to vacate your home on short notice.

Financing

Buying all the supplies at once–whether it’s for two weeks or two years–is a daunting prospect. But it isn’t necessary to buy everything in one go. Instead, add a few items to your food storage every time you go to the grocery store.

What to Stock

Focus on the essentials. Any food guide can tell you what’s required for a healthy diet. And food storage calculators such as this one will help determine how much of each staple a person needs to survive for a given period of time (that one calculates a year’s supply).

It’s also important to consider stocking supplies other than food, like water and medical supplies. This is a comprehensive list of all the supplies a household might need during an emergency.

Maintaining Your Storage

Keep an eye on expiry dates, and eat the food whose dates are near. Also, inspect your storage periodically to ensure  that the cans and containers are intact, and that nothing has been damaged or eaten by pests.

If an emergency does occur, eat food stored in the fridge first, frozen food second, and food from your storage last.

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