Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Survival Food Storage - Three Plans

The last article in this series focused on why you should store survival foods. Today we will look at three essential stockpile plans and how they should be used to meet your daily nutritional needs. The plans are prepared from personal experience and represent the nutritional requirements for one person. They should be used as a reference guide for planning your survival stocks, not a blueprint.

Survival food plans are there to keep you and your family alive and out of refugee status during a crisis event or large socio political shift. They exist to help during transitional times not as permanent replacements for traditional food gathering methods. It would be impossible to store enough prepared food to maintain your family for the rest of your existence.

Crisis situations are as varied and complex as your diet. It would be difficult to plan for every potential contingency, all you can do is prepare and attempt to cover as many bases as possible. To that end I would recommend three distinct storage plans to address the varied threats faced by families in todays world. Your survival storage plan should include a 3 week stock, 3 month stock and a 3 year stock.

Nutritional Requirements

Survival situations sometimes require a sacrifice of nutritional value and calories in your food choices. But with careful planning most of the basic needs can be met. As a rule of thumb your caloric intake should not fall below 1600 per day if you want to function with any degree of normalcy. Calorie requirements, as with all things, vary depending on the person and circumstances but 1600 per day is a good general baseline to keep you alive.

3 Week Stock

This grab and go kit is not meant to please your gastro senses, it is meant to keep you alive and out of the refugee system until you can return home.

In a disaster situation such as flooding or wildfires it may be necessary to leave the protection of the home. In such a case it would be prudent to have at least 3 weeks of survival food supplies per person that can go with you. This may sound like a tremendous amount of food but with careful planning the stores will easily fit in a duffel bag or back pack.

I use Mainstay 3600 Emergency Food Rations, they taste like vanilla/lemon cookie dough. These foil wrapped packs are designed for use on lifeboats. One pack contains nine 400 calorie bricks, a case of 20 packs will run you about a hundred dollars. They have at least a five year shelf like and the case is the size of a small shoe box. I keep a case in the truck and one in my partners jeep. There are also two 3 week kits near the back door for grab and go convenience. Now of course food is not the only item in the pack but it is the topic of this discussion.

Many people have been sold on the idea of a seventy two hour bug-out-bag or kit. I personally feel that this is a dangerous plan and creates a false sense of security. Seventy two hours may be enough time to remove yourself from a crisis situation but after that period you are again subject to the relief systems you are trying to avoid. For the space of a shoe box you can maintain at least 3 weeks of emergency food stocks.

If forced to leave your house carry enough supplies to hold you until it is safe to return. The 3 week stock is only used for emergency situations where you are forced to leave your home.

3 Month Stock

The second stocking plan involves daily foods that your family already consumes, just a three month supply of them.

In any grid up emergency such as a health crisis or extreme civil unrest the safest place to be is at home. The absolute ideal would be at home with a huge supply of food and methods of preparation. If you can survive on your own without external intervention your odds of weathering the triggering event greatly increase.

It should be clear that McDonald's every evening is not what we are talking about here. These should be conventionally prepared meals with high nutritional value. Since this scenario assumes that the grid will be up, or at least mostly up, frozen and canned foods are acceptable. The advantages are two fold.

First, you already know how to prepare these foods. There is not the trial and error learning curve associated with first time meals. You will have enough to worry about without needing to learn new skills.

Second, disruption to the family is minimized if common meals are served. You know what your family likes, common meals will comfort and reassure them during the difficult time. If you are serving someones favorite meal it gives them something to look forward to. It brightens their day rather than the drudgery of beans and rice every evening.

Building this store is really quite simple. Just buy a couple of extra items each time you do the shopping, try to move towards items with longer shelf life. You will need a pantry area where food can easily be organized for rotational purposes. First in, first out. Watch expiration dates but remember the these are recommended dates, not drop dead dates, do not waste the food.

Special attention needs to be paid to bread and other time sensitive foods. Rather than attempting to secure extra bread, buy the raw ingredients and learn bread making. Or even better purchase an inexpensive bread maker and pick up a few packs every week. Remember powered milk and eggs, buy a good stock of them for storage, don't worry about rotation of these items. Don't forget spices.

Three months is the minimum for this survival plan. You want to ride out the disruption with zero external needs until either thing return to normal or additional step are necessary to secure your family. In this case additional steps refer to a survival garden which would need at least three months to mature. In reality you should build this food store to the largest size that can be physically supported at your home.

Not only is this plan an easy solution for grid up crisis, it also serves as a safety net for times of unemployment or economic hardships.

3 Year Stock

This is your fall back plan and consists of life sustaining food items that can be stored for at least twenty years. This is not a food store that you use except in dire long term emergencies. You build it and bury it.

A global disaster or unprecedented trigger event may make it necessary to leave your comfortable, well stocked home and seek the protection of your retreat cabin. With proper planning being removed from the consumer supply line will not be a problem.

You should plan on building an emergency three year survival storage plan based around dried wheat, rice and various beans. Inexpensive dried grain products are placed in five gallon bucket outfitted with omega lids (screw-on resealable lids). Stored properly this stock can last twenty to thirty years making it the ultimate insurance plan against disaster.

One five gallon bucket holds eighty cups of dried grains. We will go into how much of each grain fills a bucket, how much it costs and where to purchase it in the next article. A one year supply of food for one person consists of roughly fifteen buckets. For one person you will need to store forty five buckets to get to three years. That may sound like a tremendous amount of storage room but a single bucket has a diameter of a little under twelve inches and is about 18 inches high with the omega lid. So forty five buckets require fifteen square foot of floor space and about five foot of head room stacked three high. The buckets should be properly labeled with contents and date stored.

If your family is larger you may consider using fifty five gallon drums to store your food stocks. I would recommend against this. Here's why, if one of your five gallon buckets cracks and starts to rot the products inside you will only lose the five gallons. But if that same rot started growing in a larger container you would lose fifty five gallons of food stocks. Since you will not be checking the contents of the containers after they are stored you will not know if the food has spoiled until it is needed. A five gallon loss is easier than fifty five gallons to weather.

Plus five gallon buckets are easily transported if you needed to relocate your supplies. Additionally you would only need to unearth the food stores required rather than digging up the entire stock. This protects the remaining survival stores.

The buckets will need to be wrapped in protective plastic trash bags or sheeting and placed in a location that is secure, dry and cool. The cooler the temperatures the better, I would recommend an underground storage chamber like a deep root cellar or lined and covered trench. Cool temperatures are necessary to maximize nutritional retention and storage life. If your basement is cool and dry it would also work very well. Freezing is not a problem for dried grains.

Special consideration needs to be paid to preparation. You will need a large crock pot to cook and reconstitute the grains as well as a hearty food mill to grind the wheat and other products. Preparation will be on a wood stove or solar oven. Baking soda is also a necessity to reconstitute beans that have been stored for five or more years.

A three year supply of staple food items will give you the confidence necessary to forge forward in life, not linger in the refugee camps waiting for handouts after a disaster.

Careful planning will allow you and your family to weather the chaos related to social upheaval or natural disaster. Take solace in knowing that what ever happens you are well prepared with your 3 week, 3 month and 3 year stock of emergency food supplies.

Next we will look at real numbers regarding purchase and storing of long term grain items.


johnzilla said...

Great post, it answered a bunch of questions I had. I can't wait for the next article. One problem I have had is finding a place to sell bulk grains and beans. Costco has a limited selection and I have not been able to find a store locally that will sell in bulk. Where do you find the bulk grains and beans? Feed stores in farm country? I thought they only sold stuff for animals, not humans.

BigBear said...

Don't use Costco or Sams, they track your purchases and that makes me nervous. I am having some trouble with wheat but can find everything else. I put the new post up in a couple of days.

The Urban Survivalist said...

I live in Denver. There's a feed store right down the street that sells bulk whole grains. I'm sure that there are stores like that all over the US if you just open a phone book and look.

Anonymous said...

The local feed store in town has 50 lb bags of feed. Some of the grains available are: Corn, Barley, Whole Oats, Rolled Oats, all with no additives listed on the label. They also sell wheat, but it list soybean oil as an additive.Not sure why they add it. I am afraid that if I stored the wheat for long term the oil might get rancid. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Selous Scout

western mass. man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
western mass. man said...

I get most of my grain at Lehman's.
You do have to pay a little more for shipping, but if you cant find it locally, this is the place. They also have great items for non-electric use as well as kerosene lamps.
I just check their website and they have wheat varieties in stock at a cost of 34.95 per 25 lbs.
Try to stay away from Ebay for your grains as some people are selling off the grain they've had in storage for years for rotation purposes.
Here is the link to Lehman's....

Enter item number 1095070 for hard red winter wheat.

ineedtoberich said...

Hey BigBear, just stumbled upon your blog and I'm inspired. Sorry I'm commenting on an old post, but just in case there are other newbies reading your blog for the first time, I wanted to let you know that Amazon has the Mainstay 3600 case of 10 for $48 right now. Thanks BigBear!

emergency ration packs said...

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www.WorldInfoCD.com said...

I came across your blog a couple weeks ago and really enjoying reading some of your older posts.

Looking forward to more.

Thanks - Rourke

Anonymous said...

As far as wheat and other basic foods for long term storage, look in to your local LDS cannery. Non-members are welcome. A group of friends and I recently purchased #10 cans of 20-year foods from them. You do your own canning there and buy from them at very reasonable prices.
You can also purchase oxygen absorbers from them cheaper than online. If you grow a garden, and/or dehydrate your own foods, use theese in combination with a vacuum sealer such as seal-a-meal, etc. This method should last quite a while, though not sure for how many years.

Richard C. Lambert said...

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Best Survival Food - How You Can Survive And Feed Yourself In The Wild

Jon said...

How to Make Pemmican The Ultimate Survival Food

Invented by the natives of North America.

Pemmican was used by Indian scouts as well as early western explorers.
These people spent a great deal of time on the go and depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time without refrigeration.

Click HERE to Learn How to Make Pemmican The Ultimate Survival Food !

People really should avert their gaze from the modern survival thinking for just a bit and also look at

How folks 150 years ago did it!

These guys were the last generation to practice basic things-for a living-that we call survival skills now.

Survival Things Our Great Grandfathers Did Or Built Around The House!