How Much Food To Store?

Sharon January 6th, 2009

On this subject I’ve got some prior writings, so we’ll start with those:

 1. Getting a two week basic supply up:

2. Why two weeks really is not sufficient:

3. Very super cheap beginner food storage with help from a mouse friend:

But rather than tell you how much food to store (although I’m still going to suggest a 3 month minimum if you can manage it), I thought I’d talk rather about different strategies as embodied in different quantities and approaches, what they can do, and what the downsides are – because everything has costs and benefits.

So here are some possible approaches and quantities:

1. The “I want some Extra Food, But I Don’t Want To Pick a Time Frame or Feel Like I Have to Buy One Particular Thing” approach.  This way of going at it says “I’m just going to buy an extra of all the storage-ready things, or can as much of my garden as I can, but I’m not going to set formal goals for myself or try and calculate how much I have.

Pluses of this strategy: No pressure, minimal planning, you are sure to get food you’ll eat since you are buying what you eat anyway.

Downsides of this strategy: If you normally eat things that aren’t storable, you are probably getting a somewhat unbalanced menu, you don’t get the economic benefits of narrowing down what you want and buying in bulk, and you don’t really know how long it would last you.

Who this might work best for: People without time and energy to approach this another way, people intimidated by thinking in terms of big sacks of grain, small families of adults, people who aren’t very worried about the future.

2. The “I want the Two Weeks that FEMA/The Red Cross say I need” folks.  This way says “At least at first, my priority is to get two weeks of food so that we can endure a short term crisis caused by a hurricane, ice storm, etc…”

Pluses of this strategy: You know you have a supply, it isn’t very costly to build up this much, most disasters so far really do involve rescue in two weeks, it doesn’t take a lot of space to store this much food, you are probably mobile with it - you don’t have an investment in anything you can’t stick mostly in the trunk of your car.

Downsides of this strategy: More costly, since bulk purchasing probably won’t be an option unless you have a large household, Quite a few disasters, including a couple in just the last few years have involved longer periods than two weeks, so it might not be adequate, Doesn’t provide much of a cushion for an economic crisis (ie, job loss), for such a short time you might not feel motivated to rotate/eat what you store, store what you eat, and thus a shift to “emergency food” may be more disruptive than you expect. 

3.  The “Three Month Supply Strategy.”  This is my personal minimum recommendation, particularly if you are really integrating it into your daily diet (ie, rotating, eating and maintaining) because it allows you simply stop shopping for a while, if, say, you have an economic crisis and can’t afford to, or a major illness and don’t have the time.  It also fits with existing government guidelines for quarantine measures in the case of an epidemic – that is, the US and Australian governments, among others, are assuming that you might have to be housebound for 3 months at a time, but they don’t have any good plan for how you might actually eat during that period.  So perhaps you should ;-) .

Pluses of this strategy: Three months is much less overwhelming and intimidating than a year’s supply, storage is probably manageable for people in all but the very tiniest homes and apartments, cost is fairly manageable for many people – even on food stamps it should be possible over time.  This quantity really is the first at which economies of scale can be used, getting lower prices for cases and bulk quantities.  If you integrate this into your daily eating, this also means no major dietary shift if you have to rely on this.  For those in moderate climates, three may be sufficient to cover one mild winter season or summer dry season.  Shopping frequency declines because you don’t run out as often.

Downside of this strategy: If you have to leave or evacuate your home, you risk a major economic loss, accumulating three months of food, even very gradually can be too expensive for low income households, requires you to make space to store and manage food, requires you to rethink menus and adapt your eating to eat what you store, etc…, takes time to manage, particularly if you plan to home preserve some or all of it.  Shopping frequency only can decline if you have some kind of powered vehicle or help getting everything home – this can be tough on people living in dense cities who don’t like carrying 50lb sacks of lentils on their bikes or on the bus.

 4. Six months supply: This is a nice, solid amount of food.  It does require some real space to maintain and store it, but it gives you a lot of options, including eating your stores down during mildly inconvenient times, just to save money.  If you keep this much, you’ll almost certainly be living the “food storage lifestyle” :-) , that is, your diet will involve a lot of these ingredients.

Pluses of this strategy: You have a lot of food, and can weather  a lot of long term crises, particularly economic ones very well.  You should have to shop only rarely – once a month or less for non-perishables.  By the time you have this much, you should probably be able to produce a fairly varied diet from food storage.  This is the traditional quantity for those in cold or very dry climates with a long season in which nothing grows – you’ll be able to get from one growing season to the next.  Since food prices have been even more volatile than energy prices in some ways, the odds are good that you’ll be saving money in the longer term, prepares you for major societal upheaval if you worry about that sort of thing.

Downside of the strategy: Costs a fair bit to accumulate, may well be out of the range of many people. You then have a large investment in food and could lose it in a flood or fire.  Requires a considerable amount of space and maintenence.  If TEOTWAWKI never actually happens and you don’t eat your food down, you may feel rather silly.  When people ask you how much food you have stored, you’ll probably be embarassed ;-) .

5. “Everything but the kitchen sink… 1 year or more.”  This is the strategy of prudent nut-jobs all over ;-) .

Pluses of this strategy: You have a giant, wonkin’ quantity of food.  The zombies can come – you are all set.

Downside of the strategy: You have a giant, wonkin’ quantity of food.  You may get bored waiting for zombies ;-) .

 More seriously this level of food storage means that you almost never have to shop (the grocery store is your pantry) – you can reduce trips out for anything other than perishables (and may not that depending on what you’ve got growing or preserving) to once a quarter.  Assuming you can come up with the money to keep your home, you could stay tight even through a bad growing season and an extended job loss.  In a shorter term situation, it allows you to feed more than yourself, allowing for extra guests, and generosity without fear of deprivation.

The downside is that it takes time, money and energy to manage and accumulate.  It is a fairly tough thing to transport, so if you have a fire or a flood, you’ll lose your investment.  It is probably best suited to people who are unlikely to evacuate.  It takes space to store, which is fine if you’ve got it, but since you pay for floor space, might push up your housing costs.  And if you don’t pay attention to it, you will lose some of your investment.  Is cheapest if you do some of the putting up yourself, which takes time and some equipment.

So what’s your plan, if any?


47 Responses to “How Much Food To Store?”

  1. AnnaMarie says:

    I’m a long term storage kind of gal but I have the space and I’m going out of this house feet first.

    We’ve been without a vehicle for a bit more than a week and other than buying fresh milk at the corner store (we could have used dried) it hasn’t been an issue. We have the stores to wait out the vehicle repair.

    I tend not discuss quantities, especially online, suffice it to say that we’ll be okay in case of a flu issue. ‘nuf said.

  2. Wendy says:

    I’m sort of an all-of-the-above girl. I like the concept of a three-month supply of foods that you regularly eat. This amount is reasonable to store and acquire and doesn’t intimidate you with large bags of grains and beans. It’s a great beginning point. It would be a perfect amount to pull you through a seasonal drought, a pandemic or a temporary job loss.

    Then once you’ve figured out how to store three-months’ worth (including water and money), it’s a great time to expand into longer-term items such as grains and beans (supplemented with milk, fats, salt, leavening, and sugar).

    My plan is to store three-months worth of foods that we regularly eat, one-month worth of water, three-months of money and nine to twelve months of the basics. And I’m almost there!

    This is the same plan that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches its members. Here are some links: AND,11677,1706-1,00.html. They have lots of great information about food storage!

  3. Wendy says:

    By the way, I should have clarified. My goals also include a garden, fruit trees, and eating what we store – including our longer-term storage items. I’m also learning how to preserve and store my own foods. I don’t have a large amount of land. We live on less than 1/4 of an acre, but I’m being able to provide a decent quantity of my storage from my own yard.

  4. Danielle says:

    Ha! I’m a gettin’ bored waiting for the zombies kinda gal. Too funny.

    I’ve been doing a series over at my blog on food security, which covers a lot of what I’ve done and my thinking on the subject.

  5. curiousalexa says:

    I’m currently at stage one. I want to work my way up to stage 5. I have too many interests to get bored waiting for the zombies!!

  6. Your zombie lines made me laugh!

    We probably have enough food for 4-6 weeks. I would like to have about 6 months of staples as, in this economy, it is only prudent to assume we will all be unemployed at one point or another.

    I tend to approach worst-case-scenario food storage from the standpoint of wanting to have (but not anywhere near achieving) a year’s supply of rice, beans, flour, and sugar. Anything else can be scrounged up or bartered or bought, but if we have the basics, we’ll get by. That’s the theory anyway, as we all know practice is always different


  7. Being we farm, were at the #5 stage. I didn’t have to wait for zombies, Hurricane Ike cleaned out our freezers of beef, pork & veggies. We didn’t have a generator at the time so we shared with anyone who had a way to cook.

    I’ll can more this year to help prevent depleting my storage in the case of no electricity.

    A great article! I never really thought about storing food as a goal.


  8. Verde says:

    I’m of the stratigy of both the first and last. When it is food storing season (fall) I’m up to all hours of the night harvesting, cutting canning, dehydrating and basically exhausting myself because the bounty is all in front of me. Right now, I’m kind of sitting around twittling my thumbs because other than thawing the water for the chickens there isn’t much to do.

    We are however using our food stores 1. because it’s winter and that’s what it is for and 2. there was a goof up in hubby’s pay check and while they are all scratching their ….. and wondering what to do about it we arn’t hungry.

  9. Kristi says:

    My plan is at least 3 months worth of stuff we regularly eat, and 6 months of basics. I think that’s about all my husband can deal with – he’s a bury-his-head-in-the-sand/the world will be fine kind of guy (depending on how you look at it). Although he was pretty happy about not having to venture out for groceries in the snow recently. ;-)

    I’m working on preserving what I grow, and growing things that can be preserved, which amounted to 255 lbs of food for 2008. Eventually, I’d like to be self-sufficient in whatever I can grow (fruit and veg), and only shop for things that don’t grow well here (grains, citrus), or I don’t have the time or land for right now (livestock, dairy).

  10. Jennie says:

    Most of my food stores come from my garden, so they wax and wane with the season. And they can only grow as fast as I can expand the garden and keep up with it. I’d guess I have maybe 2-3 months of food because I do keep a stock pile of rice and dried beans and oatmeal. But, towards spring time I’d guess I only have a couple of weeks worth of veggies and fruit still in storage. I think my husband would go crazy if we were still eating canned tomatoes when the vines started producing a new crop.
    IS there a good solution for that problem? What if TSHITF in that month span where I’m all out of my stored garden veggies but the crops aren’t producing enough to store anything? I try to keep veggies organic and local, so I’m loathe to store those cans of freeze dried things that most preparedness stores sell.

  11. Sharon says:

    Jennie, one thing I do is when I have a bumper crop, I try and preserve as much of it as I can – or when I have access to a large crop. That works to expand the “tide over” parts – for example, canned goods keep a while, so if I have a good tomato year, I can can more salsa than we can eat and eat it next year. Just date things. One year I had a terrific harvest of sweet corn – we ate dried sweet corn for two full years, which was great, because the next year was rotten.


  12. Shamba says:

    I’m between stage 2 and stage 3. It seems like some thing I’ve for stage 3–pasta and rice and noodles for one group–and others less than stage 2. Not bad for someone with less than stage 1 little more than a year ago. I like being able to have what I want for dinner in the house instead of going out to get it.

    I’m aiming for stage 3.


  13. Pine Ridge says:

    I think I a #1 and #5. I don’t keep track too much of what I have and I’m not worried about it but I’m also starting a farm (slow process huh?) so having a years worth of food in the pantry or on the hoof is normal. The fencing I’m putting up now for my dairy cow and calf I want to buy this spring is money better spent for my family than the same amount in rice or beans.

    But I still have the rice and beans too :)

    Yep Sharon, I am eating peaches I canned from three years ago when we had bumper crops and I bought bushels cheap. The next year the area was wiped out from the late frost, this year I had no money to buy any and my own trees are young so only produced about 20 peaches. I am down to the last ten or so quarts. I think next time I get a bumper crop of someting I will dehydrate them to take up less room and fewer of my jars.

  14. Susan in NJ says:

    There’s something to be said for “I know it when I see it approach” at least as an interim point. I guess, this is a variation on 1. I know in our household, there was a certain point where we just felt secure even though we hadn’t met time length goals. And it was a different point for each of us, mostly based on sufficient quantities of particular food staples.

  15. Laurie says:

    If I ever took the time to figure out total inventory and “food flow rate” I would probably discover that I have a 3 month supply of food for a good quality diet, but…I don’t KNOW that for a fact and so I guess I’m in the stage 1 group. I buy extra when it goes on sale, preserve my garden surplus, stock a root cellar thru the winter, and have a seed bank in my fridge. I should probably take time, do the math, and count the beans, huh.

  16. I am working on Stage 3. I started a bit ago when it became evident we were sliding towards a Recession and possibly a “Depression” (ooopppsss, did I say that? ;-) ). Every time I went to the grocery store I would buy a little extra of some of the things I would normally buy. I would also clip coupons for things like canned soups, just to have them on hand. I bought a Seal-A-Meal to seal up extra pasta. I also bought a pressure cooker. Now when I cook a meal, I make enough to put into jars and can. I find deals on meats – I buy them, wrap them up tight, vacuum seal them and toss them in storage freezer.

    I don’t have the room to store big sacks of flour, but am considering getting one big sack anyways; even if I have to break it down to small vacuum sealed packages!

    I had a small garden this last season but am planning on a much larger one this year. Hopefully I will be able to get 2 crops of potatoes if I start early enough. In advance of the growing season I am going to be stocking up on canning jars and freezer bags!

    Hubby Dearest used to think I was a bit whacky for doing that. He had felt that everything was going to be “life as usual” but with all that has happened he is finally opening his eyes to the Real Reality. Now he feels that I am a more “prudent nut job” and knows that I only have our best interests at heart. (I really like that terminology, Sharon!!)

  17. Tara says:

    This has prompted me to actually track our food usage for one month. We have a lot of stored food, and for just two people, it looks to me like a WHOLE LOT, but honestly I have no idea how long it would last, since I’ve never tracked how much we actually eat in a fixed time period. That project starts now! Just guessing I’d say we’re at three months, working toward six months.

  18. [...] Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » How Much Food To Store? On this subject I’ve got some prior writings, so we’ll start with those: [...]

  19. Hey Sharon – thanks for addressing the issues with keeping your house and/or transportation of goods. It’s something people need to consider as well.

    Anyway, I’m somewhere in between a fortnight and a few months worth of food. It’s not exactly organized at this point, but since things are relatively back to “normal” (my husband went back to work part-time yesterday after being off for 9 months: woohoo!), I’m hoping to spend some time clearing out and organizing our storage space. We have a tremendous amount of space, it’s just filled with other odds and ends that need to be moved elsewhere.

    My immediate plans are to get bins for storing bulk rice, beans, flour and oats and to get a filter (like a Burkey) to deal with the water issue. I’m also hoping to double my garden space this year and plant an apple tree to help with food storage.

  20. Laura says:

    I put together my food storage in steps. I always had a six month supply. Then as I could see the housing market was going to collapse and noticed food prices going up, I expanded to a one year supply, and now…

    I store a bit more than three years of food, and up to 20 years of “other items” like soap, toothbrushes, q-tips, blankets, booze (for drinking and for barter), camping equipment, etc. I currently store three months of water. I also have a Katadyn water filter and a view of Lake Michigan from my backyard as a backup plan in case my in-house water runs out :)

    My new goal is to store a full seven years of food and one year of water. Once I accomplish that, then I’ll expand my grain and other long-term food storage to a full 30 years and up the water storage to a 5 year supply.

    I’m a good rotator. If you’re not going to commit to buying what you use and using what you buy, you’ll find food storage challenging. But if you’re willing to do what it takes (example: stop sitting in front of the television) you will find the time to keep your supplies well rotated.

  21. Laura says:

    p.s. My kitten already has his own one year supply of food, litter, furball treatment, etc… hahaha :)

  22. curiousalexa says:

    or in my case, stop sitting in front of the computer! (haven’t had a television in years. Too much reading to keep up on to watch tv!)

    Seriously, one of my goals is to do less reading and more doing. Implementing that which I know thus far. Progress, not perfection!! Apparently ‘doing’ will be happening on Weds and Fridays this month… [g]

  23. dewey says:

    But really, if you weren’t able to obtain fresh drinking water in your immediate vicinity for five years, would it become available in year six? Would you be able to live through those five years in peace and safety with your huge stockpile? Wouldn’t a calamity of such magnitude as to require a thirty-year food stockpile really be such as to call for permanent abandonment of the area where you now live?

  24. dewey says:

    Oh, now when it comes to stockpiling for the qitta, I’m right there with you. We might starve, but Mommy’s little fuzzy baby will eat!

  25. FarmerAmber says:

    I guess I’m heading swiftly for the food nut-job at #5.

    Due to reading your blog through the last food storage class, we have started putting up much more significant reserves. We home canned/dehydrated/froze and ate about 1400 lbs of food from our garden this year (its not as much as it sounds like – trust me!). We invested in a good grain mill and found a local farmer with raw wheat (gotta love living in Kansas). We now have about a year’s supply of wheat and white rice at our current consumption level. We bought 50 lbs of pinto beans thinking it would last about a year and it turns out we like them more than we thought! It’s become a game to find a new dish to use them in each week (Friday night is bean night). Its only going to be about a 5 month supply at this rate.

    We also borrowed a book from the 60′s on food preservation. It details how you can have complete nutrition from just 4 easy to store things – wheat, honey, dried milk, and salt. It has lots of good recipes to make just 4 items seem like more. Since we currently have the luxury of time, we’re going to test a bunch of them out and see which ones can make it onto the regular menu. Its become something of a game for us – how many ways can we use a few staple ingredients!

    We are also looking at how many other people we may need to feed. I must say that I feel much better knowing that we now have options even if it gets bad.


  26. Sharon says:

    Pet stocks are on my list for this class – and livestock as well. We have close to a year’s food for our cats, and about 6 months for the dogs (this could be stretched with table food, so we’re a little less careful about them). Buns, goats and chickens have six months, but it could be stretched with the hay.


  27. I like the prudent nut job title – it fits. Relying on our own fruit and vegetable crops makes us put up more than a years worth of food if we have a bumper crop. Canned foods keep well, I try not to go crazy with frozen goods, since it is less than palatable in a short time, and prone to loss, if we lost power for an extended period of time. The biggest area of change in food stores for us is to do more season extension for vegetable crops and eat from our stored roots, squash and cold hardy greens. No canning, freezing, just harvesting. This gives us a greater variety of food over the dark days of winter.

    Our big joke around here is that the only reason to go to the store anymore is so we can buy junk food. :)

  28. Shane says:

    Im about stage 4. I figure six months for the family is enough time to massively scale up food growing and put in sweet potatoes absolutely everywhere. If the extended family doesnt turn up we have about a years worth.

    One thing that is a problem at this stage is insect infestation, especially living in a warm climate. Pretty much everything is contaminated when I buy it. I have found lighting a candle inside the food grade buckets to lower the oxygen level works pretty well- the weevils barely move over six months. But I would like to actually kill them off before storing the food- I suspect the CO2 needs replenishing every six months (probably a good thing to inspect the stores at least). Should I experiment with running a few batches through a hot oven and storing immediately? I have plenty of baking trays and ten minutes heated through at 120 celsius should do the trick, eggs and all.

    Lastly do you know of a way to slow down bugs for seeds for sowing? You cant bake or freeze these. Maybe moth balls in the seed storage boxes?

    Shane in Australia

  29. Don in Maine says:

    Oh, you folks are good. We’re at about six months here, and can always do better. Mostly we plan to get through the winter. Make adjustments, in purchases and the gardens as we gauge what the next year will bring. One of our wild cards is the game that is all around us. Couple of bags of bird seed and we have a flock of wild turkeys who now come up to the house and peck on the windows when they want some. Funny as heck to watch the fat ones try to roost at dusk. I would never touch them now, but they are there if need be.

    I’m so glad to see you all thinking of your creatures, our plott hound is a valued family member. Carries his weight big time. We have a long driveway with a wireless alarm on it, when the alarm pops the dog is almost instantly standing, looking out the door. Quite an impressive sight. People think twice about showing up unannounced. Had a downdraft recently and got a big puff of wood smoke inside. Dog raised havoc. He goes out and is “on” patrol. I know he would die protecting myself and my wife. Good friend and has his own storage including his favorite treats.

    Something I’m watching, been at this a while and I’m seeing some pretty volatile swings in weather. I suspect these swings might get worse. Many of us garden by habit Kind of like the economy, pretty much all we really know is that it’s wild, what we can expect is volatility. To that end I’m expanding our root crops, potatoes, carrots, onions. I suspect they might be a little more forgiving in changing conditions. If I add venison it’s a stew.

    Good on you all, I’m very pleased to see folks doing this well, gives me some hope.

    Don in Maine

  30. Becca says:

    We’re doing a combination of #1, #2, and #3.

    1 – I stock up on basic non-perishable stuff when the price is good. (We also do this with perishable stuff, but to a lesser extent.)

    2 – In case of an earthquake, we have a couple of 5-gallon buckets packed with ready-to-eat foods and a can opener. We’ve got 20 gallons of water stored. There are also tarps, a hand-crank radio/flashlight, warm clothes, a camping stove & fuel, matches, and a small camping water purifier. They are stored outside the house, in case the house collapses. The foods packed up here get checked and rotated out if necessary every 6 months or so. A lot of them aren’t things we eat regularly (canned beans, instant oatmeal, canned fruits, etc), so we only keep small emergency stores of them.

    3 – I’ve gone through the inventory a couple of times, and I think we’re approaching 3 months’ worth of balanced diet, especially when supplemented by greens and lemons from the backyard. But I’m not confident on this unless we try the experiment, and meanwhile we keep socking away bits of food when we find good deals.

  31. Susan says:

    I think I was aiming for 3 months but accidentally made it to 6 months — or something close to it. Or let’s agree I certainly wouldn’t starve for a good long while, though only the first 2-3 months would be nutritionally balanced. I’m certain this is easier for me as a single person (plus dog, cat, and chickens) household than it is for one with, say, 2 adults and three kids.

  32. dewey says:

    Shane – Why can’t you freeze seeds for sowing? Seed banks freeze their samples all the time. I’ve always been told that spare vegetable seeds are most likely to stay viable if kept in the freezer.

  33. Kati says:

    I’ve got somewhere between the first option and the second: “stocking up on extra food without a specific time-frame” and “2 weeks supply”. I’d love to have more, and i know that in some areas we’re OVER the two weeks limit, and in others were UNDER the two weeks limit. I DO attempt, but it still comes back to limited room in my place, compromised by a hubby who doesn’t think hard times will EVER POSSIBLY hit us. (Very much the King of DeNial, that one! I can tell ya, as much as I do love him, I wouldn’t probably even DATE him today, if I had to do it over again. We’ve grown too considerably different in the past 11 years.) Even if I could find out-of-the-ordinary spots to store extra food, my hubby’s rather grumbly about me taking up the space that I DO have stocked with food (and my multitude of books, and the smaller fabric and yarn stashes), much less infringing on things like his couch or the computer room or such.

    So, no….. I’m not as well stocked as I’d like to be. Ideally I’d love a farm-house stocked with at least 6 months supply of goods for “Coxie’s Army” as my MIL says. Hell, I’d love to get the dog kennels out of the house and use that space for storing more food, but neither of the dogs are ready to go just yet. *wink* Even without a big ol’ farmhouse, I’d like an insulated cellar/shed space out back for root-cellaring stuff….. None of this is likely to happen any time soon, so I stock up when and where I can, and store where I can, and hope that this is sufficient.

  34. suburbanfarmgirl says:

    I’m at about three months, although I’m a bit of a Stage 1, so I don’t know absolutely for sure.

    I’ve only got a few days’ worth of water, though. The intelligent part of my mind knows water is the most important thing, but when it’s so bulky, and so, well, *there,* my intelligent mind has a hard time convincing the part of my mind that actually does stuff to store more.

    It’s worth noting that dry pet food has a lot of fat in it. I once opened a new bag of cat food and it was rancid. Pee-ew! In the resulting conversation, the pet store owner mentioned that good-quality dry cat food shouldn’t be stored longer than three months. She’s a second-generation pet food seller, and dedicated animal rescue worker, so I regard her as an expert.

    Consequently, I’m aiming to use canned cat food for long-term storage, and I just keep rotating a three-month supply of dry food.


  35. Tara says:

    I worry about the pet food turning rancid, too. We also live in a warm climate, and must store our dog food in a steel drum outdoors, so we tend not to keep too much at once for fear of rancidity. I’ve begun exploring ways to adequately feed our four dogs without relying solely on kibble. We raise some small livestock, but not enough to meet their needs and ours (yet), so they get about half kibble now, and the rest of their diet is meat, eggs, whey and cooked rice & veggies. Some of that comes from our animals, some is purchased. I’d like to eventually get to a point where I can feed my pets without buying anything.

  36. KathyD says:

    Hello All,

    I’m going to use 5 gallon pails for storage and so worked out the formula to determine the # of pounds of the various grains that fit into a 5 gallon pail. (9.3 gallons/bushel. Number of pounds of a given grain per bushel- convert to 5 gallons). Here are some common grains

    Grain #’s to fill 5 gal
    Barely- pearled 25 pounds
    Flax 32 pounds
    Popcorn 30 pounds
    Buckwheat 28 pounds
    Oats 17 pounds
    Millet 27 pounds
    Wheat 32 pounds

    The standard weights for grains and more can be found at

  37. Kathy says:

    I just went into the kitchen / pantry to try to work out how much storage I have – I had thought, maybe 4-6 weeks, but turns out I could feed us and the dogs for 8-10 weeks just on what’s in storage, provided we ate rather a lot of rice-heavy and lentil-based food. It would be pretty boring taste-wise, and we’d be out of things like dairy foods and fresh meat a lot quicker than that (not fruit & veg though – I have plenty canned, preserved and some in the garden), but we could do it. If refridgeration failed, make that 6-8 weeks instead, but I still have more in the pantry than in the freezer in terms of storage.

    As an earlier commenter identified, though, the BIG issue for us is, and in Australia will continue to be, water. I have a much, much too limited supply of drinking water in the eventuality that mains water goes off. We’re mostly OK for gardening and washing purposes – we collect enough in our tanks (which are plumbed in to the washing machine & toilets, and could be plumbed to the shower as well) to cover at least 80% of what we use outside of dishwashing, cooking and drinking. Tank water isn’t safe to drink though – or at least I’m yet to be convinced that it is – although if we were thirsty enough, drink it we would!

  38. Dan says:

    We’ve got two smaller rubbermaid totes loaded up with lentils, oats, oil, flour, some canned beans, and a few other things. We live in an apartment and our plan for TSHTF is to bug-out back to our homeland 1200 miles away, so large food storage is not part of the plan right now.

    Instead, we’re focusing on learning how to cook with staples, bake simple things, save money, etc.

    We’re hoping to move back to the homeland in a few more months. As soon as we get there, it’ll be time for some serious bulk buying and a rotating stock of 1 yr plus.

    Here’s to hoping the plates don’t stop spinning before then ;D

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  40. Rebekka says:

    I’m not sure the Australian government is suggesting three months’ food any more – the only thing I can find is in our National Emergency Manual, which says:

    10.10 FOOD
    A key public health issue in the immediate aftermath of a disaster is food and related concerns.
    In disaster-prone areas the population should be encouraged to maintain a supply of ‘long-life’
    basic food rations sufficient for a family for 4 to 7 days.

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