Why Should I Store Food and Water?
If you are new to the idea of prepping and self reliance, the idea of food and water storage may be a foreign concept. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that food storage was the norm for much of the country. The convenience of running down to the nearest supermarket with its vast array of fresh, canned, and boxed foods is a recent phenomenon, with the first true supermarkets being opened in the 1930s. Even today, families in remote areas recognize the value of storing enough food to get through periods of severe weather. For city dwellers it is largely a lost art. Let’s briefly discuss three great reasons to store food and water: to feed your family during supply disruptions; to provide free unemployment insurance; and, to save money.
Feed Your Family During Shortages
In America, crop failures and famines seem like ancient history, or at worst isolated emergencies. In reality, our time of plenty is a small blip in the course of history and two factors can quickly land you in one of those isolated emergencies.
The first is our dependency on people across the country (and really the world) to do their job so that food shows up in our stores. Any number of things can disrupt our food supply; natural disasters, civil disturbances, workers’ strikes, and contamination, to name just a few. To show how events hundreds of miles away can affect your family, here is a personal story. In February 2010, the American Southwest experienced a record cold spell and hundreds of thousands of Texas households turned up the heat. This spike in demand overwhelmed the natural gas pipelines heading west, resulting in outages in Tucson. My neighborhood, at the very end of Tucson’s delivery system, had no natural gas for heating or cooking during one of the coldest weeks on record. It is not hard to imagine a similar scenario with our food or water supply.
The second factor is the “just in time” delivery system used by supermarkets. Supermarkets have limited shelf and warehouse space, perishable goods have a limited shelf life, and maintaining high inventories both increases waste and ties up huge amounts of cash. To combat these problems, supermarkets arrange deliveries just before their supplies run out, or just in time. As a result, the average supermarket has about three days food supplies on hand. That is three days of normal demand. We’ve all seen runs on necessities before forecasted weather emergencies. How long do you think the supplies will last if the city is expecting an extended food shortage? Have you seen the videos of the Black Friday chaos when Christmas season opens? It will be worse than that when food is at stake.
Free Unemployment Insurance
Between 10% and 25% of all Americans were unemployed or underemployed during the recent financial meltdown. Some were eligible for government unemployment insurance, had savings, or had families to help them out. Some were not so fortunate. If you lost your job or were injured and unable to work for six months, how would you feed yourself and your children? Even if you have savings, wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to drain them each time you went food shopping? Your emergency food supply is unemployment insurance. Insurance that you control without worrying about the whims of State and Federal bureaucrats. “But it isn’t free,” you say! “I still have to buy it.” Yes, that is true, but you are going to buy food anyway, so it isn’t going to cost you extra over time. A good emergency food storage plan is made up of the foods you normally eat (or mostly so). Expensive freeze dried foods and $10 MREs are nice, but the cost adds up and, believe me, you don’t want to eat them every day. So buy a little more of the foods you already buy and get yourself some free insurance.
Food Storage Saves You Money
Remember we said you are storing the same foods you normally eat? When you store food you have two money saving advantages; you can buy in bulk and take advantage of sales. This is especially powerful if you learn how to can and bottle food. Blueberries, for instance, run $3 or $4 a pint in our local stores, but can found for as little as $1 a pint when they go on sale. You will regularly rotate your stock, so when you see a great sale, buy what you need and move the old stuff to the pantry. Additionally, food prices aren’t getting any lower, so your food storage acts as a buffer against inflation. You’ll still pay more when you rotate, but since you are buying in bulk and on sale you won’t pay as much.
These are just three of the many benefits of food storage. If it helps, think of it as an investment. You can put the money in the bank if you prefer, but greenbacks won’t feed the kids when the shelves are empty. Invest in yourself first and put some food away for a rainy day. You’re family and wallet will thank you!
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