Emergency Prep Modules

Food Storage Intro

Food for thought (no pun intended):

You can survive for about 3 weeks without food.

You can survive for about 3 days without water.

You can survive for about 3 hours without shelter (i.e. extreme cold).

Consider the above when prioritizing your preparation efforts. Shelter will be covered as a separate topic in the near future. For now, our goal is to cover food and water storage. There are 3 basic components of food and water storage:

  • Short Term- This is your three-month food supply. Begin by storing enough food to feed your family for one day. Store food that is part of your normal diet. Multiply that amount of food by 7 to build a one-week supply. Once you have a week’s supply, you can gradually expand it to a month, and eventually to three months. Rotate these items regularly to avoid spoilage. You should also have a short-term supply of medications, hygiene items, and any other necessities for your family.

  • Long Term- This is your year supply. Gradually build a one-year supply of food that can last for a long period of time. Focus on foods such as wheat, rice, pasta, oats, beans, and potatoes that can last 30 years or more when properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry place.

  • Water Storage- Store drinking water for circumstances in which the water supply may be polluted or disrupted. According to the Red Cross and Civil defense, you need to store a minimum of 14 gallons per person for a 2-week period (this is 1 gallon per person per day of drinking water). In addition to this, you will need additional water for cleaning and sanitation purposes. But for now, consider this a starting point, and once accomplished, keep building on this.

Water Storage:

Our goal this year is to work on long term food and water storage. Short term food storage is as simple as buying a little extra each time you are at the store. The hardest part of Food/Water storage is getting started. It can be so intimidating that many never even get started. Remember, it was not raining when Noah built the Ark. The idea with food/water storage, and emergency prep in general, is that it is never really finished (until you need it). You are constantly adding to, rotating, and restocking it. And in this case, something is better than nothing. So you might as well start now so you have at least something for that “rainy day”.

Water is the first item covered in this 52-week storage program. The water storage plan included in this program will supply 1 adult with a two-week supply of “drinking” water (based on 1 gallon per day). But...your two-week water needs extend beyond drinking water; consider water for cleaning, hygiene, and cooking demands. Water is one area you will most definitely want to add to aggressively. All the information covering water is contained in the “Week 1” and "Week 11" food storage modules.

Food Storage:

As you begin your food storage, consider these three food storage methods.

  • Storing “staple” foods: This is what our 52-week food storage program is all about. This method stores items that have longer shelf lives (20-30 years), but require preparation and cooking. These items are often packaged in #10 cans and 5 gallon buckets. This will most likely constitute the bulk of your long-term (12 month) food storage. This method works well if you know how to cook with your food storage. If you don’t know how to cook with your food storage, then 400 lbs of wheat won’t do you a whole lot of good. So as part of this program, we encourage you to take some time to learn how to cook with your food storage. Remember, all the food storage in the world means nothing if your kids won’t eat it. There are several good books on ‘cooking with food storage’ out there and I will also include some recipes as we go that work well with this food storage program.

  • Storing extra food you already use: In addition to the above program, make sure you have an abundant supply of the items you commonly use that are simple to prepare, such as mac-‘n-cheese, dried or canned fruits, vegetables, and soups, pastas, Raman’s, pancake mix, whatever your favorites are. These expire much sooner than your long-term storage supply, but the point here is to rotate through and replenish this before they expire. These items will constitute the bulk of your short-term (3 month) food storage.

  • Storing freeze-dried meals: These meals are usually packaged in Mylar packaging or #10 cans and can have a storage life of 20-25 years. These meals require water only and taste surprisingly good. They are a great supplement to your existing long-term storage supply and are very portable, making them a great addition to your 72-hour kit and are convenient to use on those backpacking or camping trips. These meals supplement to your short-term supply as well as your long-term supply.

This 52-week food storage plan is based on the storage needs for 1 adult and covers the LDS Church’s minimum recommendations for a year supply. If used solely for 1 year, it will keep you nourished, but probably leave you hungry, or in my case, “Hangry”. So I strongly suggest you supplement this food storage program with the above mentioned methods. For families, make your own adjustments for the number of people you are preparing for this year. As a general rule, a child (age 6 and under) requires roughly half the food storage that an adult requires. Building a year supply of food for an entire family can be quite overwhelming if you are doing it all in one year. Consider repeating this plan for several years until you meet your family’s storage needs. It is important to remember that you should not go to extremes when establishing your food storage. For example, it is not wise to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. Develop it gradually so that it will not become a financial burden.