Have a stockpile of nonperishable food on hand.
You need at least a few month's worth. More is better. Do not assume in a
disaster that you will be able to go to the corner grocery store and
buy your dinner. The grocery store may be closed, destroyed,
contaminated, or full of plague carriers or the walking dead.
Disasters that may cause you to need your food stockpile include:
Natural disasters -- hurricanes, blizzards, ice storms, floods, earthquakes, pandemics.
Economic disasters -- the banks suddenly collapse, and nobody can pay anyone anything and the economic system of the world goes "Pfft!" and your corner grocery store fails to open.
Lesser economic woes -- suddenly, everything costs twice what it did,
or gas is $10 a gallon, but your wages haven't gone up. Your food stash
will keep you fed until the economy sorts itself out.
- Lost your job -- it happens, unfortunately. During a
disaster, everyone in your area may be out of work. Or you may just be unlucky. If you've got food
on the shelves that's as good as money in the bank.
- Terrorism -- there are multiple ways that terrorism
could affect the food supply, from outright contamination of food to an
attack on your regional fuel supplies causing farmers to be unable to
deliver crops, or even harvest them
that there are some fairly significant food-related concerns with the
current economic crisis. One of the problems we're experiencing,
worldwide, is a lack of credit for businesses. This can conceivably
affect everything from spring planting (farmers need loans to plant
their crops) to freight shipping. Are we likely to see starvation in
the streets of modern Western cities? I don't think
there could be delivery issues, shortages, and very high prices on
certain crops. I am concerned enough about "high prices" to buy more
staples than usual now, plus a few of my favorite luxuries, simply to protect my wallet.
When putting together your stockpile, you should make sure to select
foods you will actually eat. For example, if you can't stand pinto
beans, don't buy them. Don't buy 500 pounds of wheat berries unless
you've got a mill, you know how to cook with whole wheat flour, and
enjoy whole wheat products. Freeze dried meals are arguably acceptable
for backpacking, but canned ravioli and beef stew will probably taste
better and are cheaper.
(Fairly experienced backpacker here. Freeze dried meals suck
. Okay? I do not have one single freeze dried meal in my pantry.
Remember, if you hate something on a regular basis it's not
going to taste any better on day 120 of a zombie siege. And profound hatred for your menu may provoke you into doing something stupid, like braving the zombies in a quest for better eats.
you buy food you eat anyway, you can rotate through it, eating the
goods that have been on your shelf the longest. (Also, if items you
purchase don't have "use-by" dates on them, write a date on them with a
My personal stockpile contains the following:
Canned goods -- canned vegetables, fruit, stews, and tuna fish
-- flour, rice, beans and lentils, yeast, baking soda, baking powder,
salt, sugar, dried fruit, coffee, powdered milk, corn bread mix, cookie
mixes. If you're not sure how to cook from scratch, now is a great time
- Spices -- extra supplies of things like garlic and red pepper and onion flakes.
(or generic) powder -- because if you end up working or traveling in
the heat and sweating a lot, the electrolytes are somewhat critical.
putting your stockpile together you want to think about likely
disasters in your area and how you're going to cook your food. If
you're worried about hurricanes, you may want to emphasize canned goods
because they're easy to cook and will survive getting wet. To cook
canned goods, just open them and heat the entire can over a fire.
Conversely, if you're thinking about blizzards as a likely problem in
your area, and you have a wood-burning stove, a bunch of lentils and
beans in your stockpile might be smart. You can cook them in a pot set
on top of your stove.
Also, avoid glass jars if a likely
disaster if one of the disasters likely in your area is an earthquake.
(Though glass jars do have the added benefit of being good for throwing
For storage of your stockpile, you can do the following:
- Put extra canned goods under beds or in closets, if you don't have a basement or large pantry.
should be stored in a freezer if you've got room. It, and all grain
products and dried fruit, should at a minimum be frozen solid for
several days. Then you can store it in food-grade plastic buckets. Do
check regularly for insect infestations and react aggressively if you
find anything. (I've never personally seen weevils in rice or dry
beans, but they can be a real pest in things like flour, oatmeal, and -- as I
discovered recently -- in raisins. Mmm, protein.)
- Spices need to be stored somewhere dark, cool, and dry
you have pets or livestock, provide for them as well. Note that dry pet
food doesn't store very well and bugs and mice love it. Consider buying
canned pet food for your stockpile.
Make sure you have a manual can opener handy, too.
don't need to buy all this stuff at once -- you can start simply by
watching sales and buying extras as money allows. Instead of two cans
of corn on sale, buy four. Or throw a couple of bags of lentils and
five pounds of rice in your grocery cart once a week. It adds up and
you'll quickly find you have a comfortable supply of food.
(With the current economic crisis, you may
to consider pushing your budget to get a comfortable stockpile on hand
as quickly as possible. Don't go into debt if you can't comfortably pay
it off, but you may wish to alter your budget a bit. One or two nice
meals out could pay for a month's worth of staples for a family.)
thing I don't recommend is going overboard and putting aside several
years worth of food. There are people out there who do this; I've known
some of them. However, I'm inclined to suspect that if the world's been
thrown back to the stone ages and you are now cowering in your basement
and living on your canned peaches that some of the several billion other starving people
in the world will probably take your preps from you. If nothing else
they'll notice you're not getting skinny, and they are, and realize you
have food. Then, the hungry torch-bearing mob on your doorstep will
make you wish for zombies.
Besides, a multi-year disaster is
extremely unlikely. More likely, you'll need to live off your supplies
for a few weeks or months while normal services and utilities are
The most probable long-term disaster spanning years
will be an economic one. If that's the case there will still be food,
and quite probably work, but your living standard may well go down.
Your food stockpile will simply serve to insulate you from times when
your income doesn't equal the cost of living, and may provide a few
otherwise unattainable luxuries.