My now in-laws are experts at food storage- always experimenting with wheat and beans- these are so much more nutritious too. My mother-in-law did a workshop for the ward and it really opened my eyes to what food storage was and what it can mean to a family. For them it was a way of life- they never knew where that next job was coming from, and had 4 kids and their own parents to feed.
I learned that there are 4 parts to Food Storage:
1. 3-month supply of everyday foods
2. 1 year supply
We started with water- watching for sales on jugs/containers and even some bottled. We also know that in certain emergencies, our hot water heater can be cut off from the system and used. The church also sells water filters and tablets- we got those for our 72-hour emergency kits. Once we had all those, we knew we just had to keep those rotated so we do that with the General Conference schedule which is also when we do 72-hour kids updates (clothing, food, etc…). Besides replacing bottled water, the refilling is basically the only part to worry about.
We also started to put away part of our paycheck each month- we saved $1000 for an emergency fund (and cover any deductibles that might need to be paid) and then a separate fund for an 8-month expenses savings. If ever the emergency fund needed to be used (broken down cars, appliances, etc), then we'd rebuild that before going back to the 8-month fund. I use an account on ING Direct- I can open a different account for each type of fund and see them all at a glance. I can also direct deposit and put it away first before I even have to think about it- then I work with what's leftover. But that's more with budgeting and a totally different topic!
I really didn't get into the food part until a few years ago- it hit me that I have 4 boys and in a matter of years, they are going to be eating constantly! This is when my sister and I started learning how to coupon and save on items we needed to stock up on- 3-month supplies mostly. Not everything on that link is what your family will use- only buy and store the things you will eat! Make a list of your favorite recipes and the items you need- that will also give you a more personalized list. Learn what the best prices are for those items and stock up when they are on sale. If you can get one or two extra at a time when they are on sale, then you will soon have a good 3-month storage. Last year we had 3-4 months where we were out of work, I was so glad we had this to live on.
There is a site I came across that really started to help me accept long-term food storage, because it was practical and taught how to use it on a daily basis- called everydayfoodstorage.net. I started trying things out at home- I made a potato chowder completely from food storage items for my son's blessing gathering. She also has a book that really spells out what to get and how to use it. That lead to the bean butter cookies I recently did for my son's class- and the kids loved them, not one complaint. Another site that is helpful and breaks it up into smaller steps is foodstoragemadeeasy.net.
Here in Hawai’i, we are always 1 disaster away from something big and the recent tsunami warnings have really hit this home for me. We had a glimpse for a short while of what a dock strike would do- nothing would be coming in or out, or whenever something happens around the world it sends prices sky-high. We can count a little on local farmers, but at that point demand would be so high that they'd hike prices as well. I don't say this to scare you into doing Food Storage- it's just something that we have to be realistic about because we’re living in this vulnerable state. Food prices are also increasing everywhere- so many of us will need to go back to basics. These items are good for you and can save you money- a little more effort to prepare, such as bread, but you can do it for pennies instead of dollars. This has been a great source of comfort to me- knowing I can feed my family if something were to happen with work or certain disasters.
"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear" (D&C 38:30) is a scripture that comes to mind and there is also a talk from 1995 by Elder L. Tom Perry, who talks about four ways to be prepared, and Food Storage is one of them.
Lindsey is a wife to her high school sweetheart (soon to be 10 years) and mom to 4 boys ages 8, 5, 3 and 20 months. She enjoys all things Disney and helps families plan their trips as a Disney vacation planner and sharing with others how to live providently by using coupons and budgeting wisely.