Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Case For Food Storage

Regarding the 100+ pounds of pasta I purchased the other day. . .  Before you think I went waaaaay overboard with my purchase, let me explain why I did what I did.

Just in the last few days, it was reported in the news that buyers for Walmart, Gap and JC Penny are forecasting the price of clothing will be up by at least 30% by next spring because the price of cotton futures are going up at an alarming rate.  It was leaked to the press that according to Walmart's "secret" study, inflation is already here and the price of everything is going to go up.

When my husband and I started to stock up on storable food around the summer of last year, we did not tell anyone about it for fear that people would think we were a bit wacky.  But we could see the writing on the wall and read the tea leaves, so to speak.  Though I want to keep politics out of this forum, we felt that everything our President was proposing to do was not doing Jack for the economy, and if it continued, we were in for some dire straits.  We know from studying history that if and when things deteriorate, it will happen quickly, before you realize what is going on.

So we started to squirrel away extra food in our "food storage pantry" (an unused walk-in closet).  I started purchasing extras of spices, pasta, rice, canned goods, etc. when  they were on sale.  Though we are nowhere near the point where I feel comfortable, I am confident that we already have enough to weather several months without ever having to purchase anything and still be able to feed my family fairly well if it came to that.

When we started on this journey, we thought we were the only ones feeling this way.  I certainly have not heard of it growing up.  But I had the misfortune or luck perhaps, to weather Hurricane Ike two years ago.  Our house was not damaged, but we lost power for 6 days.  Many of my sons' classmates did not regain power in their homes for close to a month.  But the power situation was really not that big of a deal compared with wondering if we had enough food.

A quick trip to our Walmart Supercenter the morning after the hurricane hit changed our perspective FAST.  The rows and rows of shelves in the grocery aisles normally stocked full of food were picked clean.  You could not buy ANYTHING.  It was really surreal to see people wandering around those empty aisles trying to find some food.  We had food in our house to tide us over; I was there to try to buy more food "just in case."  Since then, I've learned that grocery stores only carry enough food on their shelves to last 72 hours under normal circumstances. So naturally in times of crisis, the shelves get stripped clean. Because the stores had no food, there were lines of people trying to get free MREs at PODs (points of delivery) set up around the city and county by the local governments.  It was an eye opening experience and my husband and I came to the conclusion that we never wanted to be in a situation where we had to rely on our government for our next meal.

After I started researching about storing food, I realized we were not unique.  I learned that the Mormon Church teaches it as part of their religion to store a year's worth of food in their homes.  We are not Mormons, but it made sense.  I also started noticing ads on the radio for commercially packaged "food storage." We weren't so wacky after all. . . In fact, it appears that there are more and more people out there experiencing the same worries and the desire to be prepared.  Most of us have insurance policies on our home, car, life, disability, so why not for the ability to eat our next meal?  Having extra food stored in your home does not have to cost a fortune, and it will give you a peace of mind.  Wouldn't you rather be prepared and not have to use it, than not having it and then having to beg, steal, borrow, or even kill another for the next meal because you were unprepared?

It does seem like a daunting task when you begin, but if you focus on reaching a goal in increments, it is not so hard.  Aim to get enough to feed your family for two weeks, then a month, then 3 months, and so on.  Staples like pasta, rice, cereal, wheat and beans will keep indefinitely if kept dry and away from extreme heat, and not that expensive to purchase.  There are resources online to help you reach your goal.  So before you think I was crazy to buy that much pasta, think it over and get your food storage started.  I promise you will not regret it!

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