Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Three Month Supply

Provident Living's website encourages us to "build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet."

At Safely Gathered In, we believe in having a three-month supply of non-perishable food.  This ensures that you will not lose your food storage if your power goes out for an extended period of time, which is probable in any natural disaster (goodbye, freezer food!).  Also, if you have planned your three-month supply to only include non-perishables, you can truly live off of your food storage alone without ever visiting the store for anything.  Of course, this can make getting a three-month supply a bit more challenging, but it's definitely doable.  Yes, I do have a good amount of food in my freezer, but this is a supplement to my non-perishable three-month supply.  I do not plan to rely on my freezer food in a disaster.

How do I do it? First, check out our article on how to plan your three-month supply.  You don't have to plan out 12 weeks of different dinners, breakfasts, and lunches!  You only need some favorite meals, and you just stock up on three-months' worth of those meals.  Click on the article link above for more information.

What do I store?  Think of the meals that you and your family like to eat.  Most of these meals can probably be turned into "food storage friendly" meals - i.e., they use only non-perishables.  Canned chicken can be used for fresh; canned veggies/fruits for fresh.  Cream can be replaced (in some cases) with evaporated milk. For meal ideas, check out our food storage recipes page.

How can I afford it?  Many people (including us!) are on a very tight budget.  Getting your three-month supply isn't something that most people can do in one day, or even a week.  Buy a few extra canned items every time you visit the store.  Watch for sales, and stock up when the items you need hit rock bottom prices. Do not go into debt to collect your food storage.

Why three months?  Three months is a good amount to food to (hopefully) keep your family afloat during a time of crisis.  If the main breadwinner in your home loses their job, you could live off of your food storage for three months and use your grocery budget for bills.  For a natural disaster, quarantine, etc., three months of food can be lifesaving.

Won't all that food go bad?  Rotate, rotate, rotate!  I know, it's easier said than done.  Organizing and rotating food storage is actually the hardest part for many people.  You should be eating a food storage meal once every week or two.  That way, it gets rotated and the food won't go bad.  How do you ensure you are rotating correctly, though?  And how do you make sure you replace what you've eaten?  Well, we've come up with 5 food storage rotation methods - check them out and find which one(s) works for you!  Methods: sticky note, color-coded stickers, rotating shelves, two-column method, and rubber bands.

Does my longer-term supply count towards the three-month supply too?  For me it does!  Abbie wrote a great post on how she stores her longer-term storage in a way that gives her easy access to it, so she can eat through it and rotate it regularly.  Check it out!


Cheryl said...

I have a friend that uses sticky notes on her buckets. When she opens something the sticky note gets stuck to the grocery list to replace it. Love that idea.