Today, I wanted to address something that's very important to the preparedness lifestyle.
It's also something that anyone preparing on a budget - and that's pretty much all of us - needs to hear.
Making a major commitment to preparedness is a vital, first step. A 3-to-6-month food storage plan makes you more prepared than most Americans.
But how do you ensure that your commitment will sustain you through all kinds of emergencies?
There are a number of strategies that will help you get the most out of your food storage plan - and your preparedness budget as well.
4 WAYS TO SUSTAIN YOUR FOOD STORAGE IN AN EMERGENCY
Before we get into the food-sustaining strategies below, there's one caveat. If you've been a reader to the Survival Scout for a while, you know that I always stress that you can never be over-prepared. That motto bears repeating here.
In fact, most of these tips might lead you to reconsider your level of preparedness. That's a good thing - you can always add to and improve your current plan.
When I talk about maximizing your food storage potential and getting the most out of your preparedness budget, it all comes down to giving yourself options.
Unexpected Visitors Will Arrive
In life, and especially in an emergency, most things never go 100% according to plan. With food storage, there are a number of things that could go wrong. You could:
But, if you employ even a few of the strategies below, you'll have options for when things go wrong, and you'll be able to ride out the situation at hand.
BUILD SEPARATE LONG-TERM & SHORT-TERM PLANS
At some point in your preparedness journey, it's a good idea to consider building and keeping separate long-term and short-term food storage plans.
That way, when a relatively minor event like a storm or power outage happens, you'll be able to keep your long-term food supply levels topped off. This saves your long-term cache for when you'll need it most.
Another thing to consider is the types of food supplies you keep in each cache. For short-term emergencies, we recommend our Patriot Pantry Case Packs, which contain multiple individually-sealed Mylar pouches. You only open the pouches you need, and the rest of the pouches maintain their shelf life of up to 25 years.
BE PREPARED TO GROW YOUR OWN
From emergencies to the everyday, the ability to grow your own fresh fruits and vegetables is indispensable. Keeping seeds with your long-term food supply is a great idea. We developed our Survival Seed Vault with that purpose in mind.
Grow Your Patriot Garden
However, you don't have to wait until an emergency to start your Patriot Garden. Start growing now and you'll save on grocery bills - which could free up room in your budget for preparedness. You'll also have a fresh food supply on demand for short-term emergencies, which means you'll use less of your food in storage. Plus, fresh herbs, veggies and fruits add an extra boost of flavor to our already-delicious emergency food.
Growing your own food gives you a powerful option that maximizes your food storage plan's potential. Out of all the strategies here, I would focus on this one first, if you haven't already.
KEEP ITEMS TO BARTER FOR FOOD
I've touched on this preparedness strategy a few times before, but it's crucial to repeat here. If your food supply is running low in an emergency, bartering for food may be one of your last options.
Barter With Medicine
So what should you keep for barter? Stock up on items like these:
See the theme here?
You want to keep barter items that people can't live without in a desperate moment - and value more than their food. Vices and medical emergencies bring out that kind of desperation in people. You can take advantage of this scenario and sustain your family's food supply a bit longer.
KEEP STOCK & LEARN TO RATION
This last strategy requires plenty of attention to detail. But it's absolutely essential to ensuring your survival - especially when it's unclear how long a certain emergency will last.
Keep Critters Out of Your Food
Always keep stock of your emergency food and check it on a regular basis. In particular, keep track of foods that are nearing the end of their shelf life. Inspect your storage supplies for leaks, cracks, spoilage, critters and more.
If you detect compromised food early, you can save the rest from whatever's going wrong. Of course, proper caching is the best precaution. For an in-depth look at caching, you can read this recent article I wrote on that topic.
Beyond just keeping stock, you'll need to learn to ration your food. This starts with having an accurate stock, and calculating calories and servings based on that.
At the bare minimum, you'll want to ensure you can ration at least 1,000 calories per day per person. If you can't sustain that for very long, you'll want to consider employing strategies 2 and 3 immediately, if possible. Of course, you can survive on less than 1,000 calories per day, but you won't be able to be very active or alert, which is often necessary in a crisis.
Whatever you do, don't panic. Keep your wits about you and explore your options. Hopefully, these strategies have given you some new options to consider when it comes to your own preparedness plan. Trust me, you'll be happy you put these strategies to work when you need them most.
If you need help figuring out how to put any of these strategies in place, our preparedness experts are standing by. Call 866.229.0927 to get in touch.
Have a great weekend, friends - and stay safe out there.