The following article is an excerpt from My Best Survival Products: Survival Preparedness Guide, Second Edition. It has been contributed by fellow prepper Luke Lichterman. It has been published with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of PreppingToSurvive.com.
Food Storage, (Long-Term or Short-Term?)
The food you eat gets from the farm to your table, by moving from link to link along the “food supply chain,” which is a highly complex, delicately balanced and extremely fragile logistics system.
Any international or national event, which causes the breakage of one or more links of the chain will disrupt food deliveries to stores, leaving you with little or nothing to eat, and at the mercy of anyone with morsels to sell at extortionate prices.
To protect your family and to keep them well fed and healthy, you need to begin storing food now for later, when the food supply chain is disrupted and food is no longer available or affordable.
You know the size of your family and how much food they consume every month, so you already have data to use in deciding your food storage requirements, but keep in mind that more is always better than less.
The decision about how many months to prepare for is yours to make, and there is no “right” answer. There is no way of knowing how long any disaster aftermath will last, but being prepared for a short term 30-day natural disaster aftermath is a good place to start, until you wake up on the thirty-first day of a manmade aftermath. At that moment, you’re going to wish that you had made long-term survival preparations.
Surviving through a long term manmade aftermath means being able to make it through at least the first, most dangerous and challenging year with some remaining food to use for barter; seeds and implements for a survival garden, guns and ammunition for hunting and defense and tools and plans for building the rest of your life.
Getting ready for that first year is going to take determination, planning, time and money. You’re going to be forced to decide which preparations you can make for yourself and then actually begin making them. You must also make buying decisions for the things you can’t make or which might be more cost effective to buy
Food Storage, (Make or Buy?)
This is about getting you prepared to survive through the aftermath of a natural or manmade disaster. This is NOT about getting you involved in an expensive and time consuming new hobby called “Prepping.”
There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of websites (4) and blogs which go into infinitesimal detail about how many cups of some ingredient are needed to make “X’ quantity of something which then needs to be stored in some kind of container, for some period of time, before it’s even needed.
When you look at the amount of food your family will need for even three months, let alone the amount needed for a full year, the practicality of doing it yourself becomes highly problematic.
Not only would the cost of food, purchased piecemeal in small quantities be astronomical, when you add; energy costs for cooking, jars and containers for canning, purchase prices for dehydrator and vacuum packaging machinery and supplies, miscellaneous other kitchen equipment and the value of your time, it becomes apparent that doing it yourself is simply not cost effective.
Beyond the upside-down economics of DIY, there are the questions of durability, longevity and safety of home packaged foods over as few as 10-years. On the other hand, most professionally packaged long-term bulk foods have shelf lives up to 25-years, with per day costs for 3 servings of food for 4 adults or 2 adults and 4 children for 12 months as low as $1.50 per person.
Whether you make it your self or buy it, “More is better than less,” is true for a couple of reasons: First, you don’t want to see your family run out of food before relief arrives, commerce resumes or your first year survival garden is ready for harvest.
The second reason is that, along with ammunition and tobacco, there will be no commodity in greater demand for barter than food, especially if it’s packaged in small, unbreakable Mylar pouches. Those folks who had stockpiled gold, or have other hard goods you may need will be eager to trade handsomely for even a small amount of your good food.
In addition to having your own food you should be working in-community with like-minded neighbors who are also prepared; for aid, assistance and mutual defense. A large stockpile of food guarantees that your family will be in an advantageous position within any alliance you join.
(4) There is no better resource for non-commercial “Prepping” advice and information. If you want to do-it-yourself, this is the gateway to ALL the self-help instruction you will need:
Next in the series is Hunting and Defense.
© April 2012, L. J. Lichterman