On survival and preparedness websites, there are lots of posts related to food storage. Topics include subjects such as what is the best survival food, issues related to growing/harvesting your own food, how best to preserve food, etc.
But what about this… how much is enough?
Survival food storage is an insurance policy of sorts, against emergency, disaster, or worse.
The amount of food that any one person chooses to store is a wide ranging thing, and is related to one’s risk tolerance, one’s resources, one’s perception of a disaster’s likelihood, one’s motivation to store food, and more…
Common sense tells us that short term disruption scenarios, or ‘garden variety’ emergencies, are probably more likely to occur than some of the greater disaster scenarios, so one might think that preparing for ‘ordinary’ disaster is good enough.
On the other hand, although a SHTF scenario may seem more unlikely to some, the fact is that should it occur, it will impact you in a much more severe way. And having not prepared for that, will or could be life threatening.
So, how much is enough?
For a car-kit, a 72-hour-kit, a bug-out-bag kit, the generally accepted rule-of-thumb is 3 days worth of food, for each person.
The idea with this, is to have enough food that would cover the reasonable amount of time that it might take for you to get from point-A to point-B. The presumption being that point-B will have the food and supplies that you may need.
For a food supply at home to ensure against most of today’s ‘expected’ disasters that might come your way, a good round number is a solid 30-day supply for every member of the household.
The reason I say ‘expected’ is to cover things that would not surprise us terribly, like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, winter snow/ice storms, and other geo-physical events. These events are regional, and recoverable generally in a reasonable amount of time.
For a food supply at home to ensure a greater supply for those disasters which may not recover in a reasonable amount of time, the next step up is a solid 3-month supply for every member of the household.
While a 1-month supply is very easy to collect, a 3-month supply will require a little bit more effort. However it’s still very easy. When you’re building your food storage, concentrate on bulking up on the foods that you normally eat. I’ll leave it at that for this category (up to 3 months).
The next step is a big one.
Once you’ve stocked up a 3-month supply of food (at least 2,000 calories per day per person), and if you feel the necessity, you need to focus on 1-year.
A 1-year food storage plan will cause you to start thinking more seriously about shelf life, the types of foods, how they’re stored, how they’re preserved, the variety of food, the foods that are more fitting for long-term storage, a balanced approach, food rotation techniques, and more…
Stepping up to a 1-year plan is more difficult in that it will require you to do some research to decide what will be successful for you, and the right way to go about it.
So why would anybody want a 1-year supply of food? Isn’t that way over-the-top?
Unfortunately, many people today will think that you’re a bit ‘crazy’ if they know you’ve stored a 1-year supply of food. It’s too bad that this is how it is… sad really. By attempting to be responsible for yourself, you’re potentially looked at as a nut case.
So… don’t tell anyone.
Again, why would anyone need a 1-year supply?
…to survive a SHTF scenario.
Could it happen?
Is it likely to happen?
…maybe, maybe not.
The question you should be asking yourself instead is,
“Is my life worth a 1-year supply of food?”
Well, is it? What’s your life worth?
You might ask, “What is a SHTF scenario, and how would it affect my ability to get food from the grocery store or from an organized relief effort?”
A SHTF scenario is one where some, or many, of the interwoven systems that enable our modern-day living, will break down to a degree where life as we know it becomes social chaos. It is a collapse scenario where food will run out of the grocery store, not to be re-stocked. A scenario that affects more than just a local region, and is sufficient in magnitude to last for a long time… long enough for people to starve and become desperate.
It may seem very unlikely that a SHTF scenario would ever occur, and one would never need to keep a 1-year supply of food. But the thing is, we get lulled into a sense of security because it’s never happened to us before. Therefore, it will never happen to us…
It is a risky proposition to assume that everything will always remain as it is.
So, is 1-year enough?
Maybe. But in a worst-case scenario, I do not believe so. Here’s why…
If we had to become truly self-reliant (for whatever reason – which is beyond the scope of this article), a major source of food will be whatever we can grow ourselves. I wonder how many people who have stored 1-year of food will be successful the following summer growing a garden of food which produces enough to keep them going for yet another year? If they fail, in any way, they’re potentially in big trouble…
It seems to me that in order to provide yourself a cushion for problems like this, a 2-year supply of food should be quite adequate. This is why it is so important to start experimenting with gardening (and its problems), and food preservation techniques, BEFORE you need to rely on it for survival. Don’t expect that your first crop is going to be entirely plentiful.
So we’ve come from a 3-day supply of food, all the way to a 2-year supply of food. How much survival food is enough? It seems to me that 2-years will be enough to store ahead of time. If you can’t manage to procure enough of your own food during the 2nd year following SHTF, then perhaps you weren’t meant to be part of the recovery ;)