If 2020 has shown us anything, it is that preparation is absolutely necessary for survival. But just how much preparation do we need to do? The answers vary widely.
The American Red Cross recommends having a two-week supply of food and water for each member of the household. In contrast, preparedness advisors recommend having a three-month supply of food for every member of the household. We agree with the preparedness advisors and believe every family should have at least three months’ worth of food stored.
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However, we don’t think you should stop at three months’ worth. That is the minimum amount. Since we face the possibility of dire climate events on a global level (seems to happen every few hundred years) and major national disasters that could disrupt the food supply chain, it is wise to store enough food in your home to help you survive a year.
When weather proves disastrous
2020 has been a bad year. But shockingly, it is nowhere near as bad as 536. Before the bubonic plague or the Spanish flu, the world went through what historians consider the worst year ever to be alive due to disastrous weather. We’re not talking about hurricanes–we’re talking about an extreme weather event that brought the world to a halt.
According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night–for 18 months. […] Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 35°F to 38°F, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved. The Irish chronicles record ‘a failure of bread from the years 536–539.’”
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This time, also called the Dark Ages, was shrouded in mystery until just a few years ago. Now, scientists believe the devastation of 536 was caused by a major volcanic eruption and climate changes. The extensive spread of volcanic ash left a heavy dust veil disrupting the atmosphere and “causing unseasonable weather, crop failures, and famines worldwide.”
We would be foolish to dismiss the events of 536 as something that only happens once. Every year, we see how extreme weather can cause major upheaval for communities. Moreover, scientists already believe, “The world faces a future of floods, famine, and extreme heat.” Plus, while we now have famine prediction models that track and predict weather patterns, shifting ocean patterns, and changing climates that will lead to droughts and famine, no one can predict precisely when the food will run out.
Other large-scale emergencies that require food preparedness
It’s easy to think we won’t face famine and that we’ll be able to get food whenever we need it, but the pandemic of 2020 has proven that is not always the case. As grocery stores emptied and meat shortages caused confusion for Americans used to getting what they want, when they want it quickly, it also led to a worldwide famine of Biblical proportions according to the United Nations.
Many large-scale emergencies require food preparedness, such as military conflicts. If you read any stories about those who remain in territories under siege, you’ll hear stories of how quickly the food runs out. Additionally, there is a possibility of a total power grid outage or a financial depression–both which will make getting food difficult, if not impossible.
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These types of national or global emergencies will upend our food distribution and make it difficult to feed the members of your household for an extended period. A long-term food supply may be the way your family survives.
What food to stock to survive a full year
The key to stocking food for a full year is to choose nonperishable foods with a long shelf life. It is also wise to stock up on freeze-dried meals. Ideally, the type of food you stock should be able to last on your shelf for more than a year. Here are some suggestions for basic items for long-term food supply:
- Dried beans, lentils, and peas
- Protein bars, granola bars, and fruit bars
- Canned soups, fruit, and vegetables
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Powdered drink mixes and powdered milk
- Nuts and dried fruits
- Beef jerky
- Instant soup mixes
- Baking essentials (flour, baking soda, sugar, salt, yeast, etc.)
- Evaporated or condensed milk
- Cereal (including hot cereals such as oatmeal)
- Packaged, processed foods
- Canned meats (tuna, chicken, Spam, etc.)
Don’t just purchase food and forget about it. It’s important to check for expiration dates, even with nonperishables. For example, canned goods have a “best by” date. While the food can last beyond the “best by” date, its quality will decrease over time. Try to maintain a first in, first out rotation rule for your food supply, and look for food storage that lasts up to 25 years.
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Why buying a long-term food supply kit is wise
Stocking a year’s worth of food for your entire family may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. There are several different long-term food supply kits available. Instead of building your long-term food supply one product at a time, you can purchase an entire pre-made kit. These kits are designed for long-term emergencies, from three-month kits to kits with a year’s worth of food. The meals in the food storage kits average 2,000+ calories a day. Plus, they are in stackable buckets that you can easily store for up to 25 years.
Where to store your long-term food supply
You’ll also need to consider where you can store a long-term food supply. You do not want it mixed in with your regular pantry goods. Instead, you need a separate space. Ideally, your food stock should be a cool, dark space, such as a basement. If you don’t have a basement, consider using a closet for your long-term food supply. If you are short on space, consider storing food under your bed.
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How much to store for a full year
Another consideration is how much food you should store for a year. Since you are stocking food for potential disaster scenarios, it is important to stock food based on the number of calories each family member needs per day. This number will vary from one person to the next. You can use a BMI calculator to learn each individual’s Basal Metabolic Rate, which you can then use to determine daily calorie needs. As Outdoor Life explains, “They’re [calories are] the energy source that keeps us alive. More plainly stated, calories equal survival.”
Why variety is essential
Don’t fear, friends. Leave that to those that do not prepare. And stay alert, now more than ever.Finally, your long-term food supply should contain some variety. When choosing food or complete kits, look for variety. Since you will only be eating from your food supply during an emergency, we can assume the situation will already be bleak. Having to eat bland food or the same food day in and day out will make life even harder. Round out your basic long-term food storage plan with freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, and meats. Keep sprouting seeds on hand too for a constant supply of fresh greens, which take only days to grow.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply