Leslie Probert
Don't store just a little food ... keep going!

Some people buy a few cans or a case or two of food storage then divert their attention to other things. At least they’ve done something, right? Here is some "food for thought" that can provide motivation to keep going with food storage and be better prepared with a long-term supply of food.

At first for me, food storage seemed too hard and I wasn’t excited about figuring it out.

One day I saw a news report of a major disaster affecting many people. For some reason this time I saw with greater clarity how vulnerable we all are and how critical having some stored food would be.

At that time I had three young children. For the first time I could see how I would feel if my family were caught in this disaster. I had done nothing to prepare. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been counseled to store a year’s supply of food (or as close to it as possible) and I had let my questions about how to do this paralyze me. Where was my faith? In a disaster I would ask myself, "WHY had I scrimped and scraped all these years to have everything matching in my house when now we are starving? I was warned to be prepared." I could envision my children crying because they were hungry and my guilt would be unbearable. I did NOT want this experience. It jolted me to tackle my food storage dilemmas and get going. I made food storage a greater priority than home dÉcor.

When it comes to storing food everyone chooses how much to store. It’s easy to see advantages in having a large supply of food in case of job loss, reduction of income, illness or injury, transportation strikes and natural disasters. A large quantity of food can be shared with others. One LDS Japanese single adult expressed her gratitude for having followed the counsel to store a year’s supply of food. She wrote of the happiness she felt from giving her food to a nursing home for the elderly after the devastating tsunami last year.

It is a great feeling to be self-sufficient. Depending on others to take care of you when you can do something more to care for yourself is a pitfall. In some situations there simply may not be enough food to take care of everyone who needs it. The peace of knowing you could take care of yourself and your family and even have something to share with others is very comforting. Having that peace of mind makes the effort to store food worthwhile.

For people on a budget, purchasing expensive shelving systems and gourmet meals can be a trap, leaving fewer funds for purchasing food. The first priority is to get as much food as possible. Simple shelves work well. Money can be stretched to purchase more food when inexpensive grains and beans are included in your food storage plan. Even purchasing a grain mill becomes affordable.

How do you plan food storage? The simplest way is to find recipes you want to eat and to store the ingredients. For ideas on how to do this see past article "4 simple steps to planning food storage."

Consistency is the key to reaching food storage goals. Consider creating a food storage purchasing calendar. Then see how much of the items assigned to each month you can buy. (See past article "Set up a calendar to simplify buying food storage.") It’s fun watching your food storage grow. Following a calendar is also a great way to remember your goals and stay focused throughout the year. It’s surprising what you can accomplish, even when on a budget, by making consistent monthly purchases. It’s also very motivating.

Leslie Probert, a graduate in home economics from Brigham Young University, has been a popular speaker and is co-author of "Emergency Food Storage in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition" with over 400 fast, creative recipes.

Email: foodstoragechick@gmail.com