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  • Writer's pictureSara Bowyer

Smart Tips For Emergency Food Storage

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

Photo by Annie Spratt
Photo by Annie Spratt

With everything going on in the world right now, we have heard a lot of talk about “being prepared.”

Everyone is talking about the possibility of food shortages again. However, I believe you should be prepared all the time. Even a natural disaster, such as heavy snow, fire, earthquake, could cause you to be without electricity and/or access to groceries for a time. Even the unexpected loss of a job or an illness can be eased with a little extra in your pantry. Being prepared is not just for “preppers.” In my opinion, being prepared is just as smart as putting away money in your savings account for an emergency.

When looking at how you can be prepared for the future, there are several things to consider.

First, ask yourself, what do I eat and use the most? It makes no sense to stockpile something you don’t like or use. So don’t run out and buy a case of spam if you don’t already use it!! Second, identify an area in your home to store food items. Some people might say, “I live in a small home with very little space. How can I build my food storage”. You can store food/consumables in the garage, under beds and couches, behind clothes in closets, tops/bottom of closets, on top of cupboards. I have items stored in 4 different places in my house. Take a look around. I bet you can find some space or even get rid of stuff that you don’t use to make room for food storage. Third, consider how much you need to store. Take a month and watch how much you use of each item. Then multiply that by six, and that is how much you need to store for six months. A two-person home will obviously need much less than a five-person home.

Food Storage Can Have Up to Three Layers

Layer one: Your kitchen pantry. This layer is the food that is in your kitchen. It’s the food you are currently eating and using. Keep a well-stocked kitchen pantry with basic staples like flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices and oils, canned food, rice, pasta, oats, etc.

Layer two: Short-term food storage. This layer consists of food that can last six months to several years. It is food your family eats regularly and might include canned fruit/vegetables, canned meats, dried meats, boxed meals and mixes, pasta/pasta sauce, peanut butter, dry milk, chips/snack, etc.

Layer three: Long-term food storage. This layer is food that can be stored for longer lengths of time if packaged and stored properly. This layer might include grains, pasta, dried potatoes, dry beans, freeze-dried foods, sugar, honey, salt, etc

In my house, I restock my kitchen pantry from the short-term storage (layer two). I use the first in, first out method, using the oldest items first. I restock my short-term storage from the grocery store or places I buy from in bulk. My long-term storage stays the same; those items can last up to 25 years if stored properly.

Another big concern in a time of crisis is water. Most sources would say that you need 1 gallon of water per person per day. You can buy water cubes that hold 5-10 gallons of water if you have the space. They stack and can be put easily in a closet. You will have to rotate the water every six months to keep it fresh unless you have a very strong filter to use with the water like a Berkey.

Another option is to put a small amount of chlorine in the water to keep it fresh longer. At the very minimum, consider buying either gallon water bottles from the store or cases of individual water bottles.

Prepping for an emergency may seem overwhelming. However, there are many sources that will give you a list of things to buy each month, and at the end of the year, you will have everything you need for your family in case of an emergency! But start small. Begin with your kitchen pantry and make sure it is fully stocked. Then move to short-term storage and focus on one or two items you use. Consider buying one extra item for your short-term storage each time you go to the grocery store.

One final note. There is one essential item we all need in an emergency—a united community. Of course, everyone will have different ways to prepare, and not many people can do everything that is needed in a time of crisis. But if we come together as a community, we can share and help each other out. I believe we live in just that kind of community!!! And I have no doubt that if a crisis were to happen, the people of Munds Park would come together and rally around each other!!! I feel very blessed to be able to live here and try to never take that for granted!!

Meet me back here next month as I will discuss the proper way to store food/water for the short and long term and what non-food items you should also have stored in case of emergency.


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