Saving food is an economic and environmental imperative: the less we waste, the more efficient the food system on which we all rely becomes.
And it’s important to remember that though we take that food system for granted today, it might not operate as we expect in the future. Even in the developed world, natural and manmade events can interrupt the flow of goods — including perishable and non-perishable foodstuffs — for days or weeks on end. Self-sufficient consumers need to be prepared for any eventuality, even those that don’t appear especially likely at the moment.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at five best practices that you can follow today to secure your food supply and store nutritious, life-sustaining sustenance for the long haul.
- Choose Your Foods Wisely
Not all foods preserve well. Even in near-freezing conditions, commercially produced milk lasts just a few weeks. Milk’s shelf life shrinks to a week or less in a 50-degree cellar, absent heroic and impractical life-extension measures. The same is true for other perishable animal products: raw meat, soft cheese, and so on. Salting, smoking, and curing can extend shelf life somewhat, but those processes are time-consuming and far from foolproof.
- Use a Secure, Stable-Temperature Underground Storage Facility
Cellaring is an age-old solution to food storage challenges, for good reason: it actually works. Underground storage rooms are cooler and more temperature-stable than above-ground rooms. In a dry cellar with adequate ventilation, root vegetables and other hardy produce can last for months. Non-perishable canned food, obviously, can last indefinitely. And cellars are much easier to secure than above-ground lockers.
“Climate control isn’t the only benefit of underground food storage,”- William Michael Keever, CEO of Castle Venture Group
The Castle Venture Group invests in social enterprises and high-growth startups, including ExxoGear, a web-based resource and e-commerce portal for survivalists. If you’re concerned about natural or manmade disasters, civil unrest, or temporary supply chain interruptions, underground storage offers effective — though not foolproof — insurance policy against looting and theft.
In other words, people who haven’t prepared for the unexpected as well as you are less likely to find your precious food cache if it’s stored in a secure or well-concealed underground room.
- Learn How to Can
If long-term food security is your top concern, mass-produced canned food is the path of least resistance. But canned soups, meats, and vegetables can get boring, and they can’t be replaced if and when the commercial food system breaks down.
The solution? Canning your own food. It’s easy: anyone with reliable access to heat, water, and canning supplies (which are easy to clean and re-use) can do it. In a long-duration food crisis, your taste buds will thank you.
- Pay Attention to Calorie Density
Chuck the condiments, keep the beans. A food supply sufficient to tide your family over for weeks or months takes up lots of space. That means calorie density needs to be a top priority. Look for cheap, high-energy foods like rice, pasta, beans, granola, energy bars, and the like.
- Rodent-Proof Your Storage Space
What’s even more ravenous than hungry humans? Hungry rodents. Whether you’re storing your food in a secure garage or shed, an above-ground pantry, an underground cellar, or all of the above, thoroughly rodent-proof the space. Seal every crack and crook you can find. Insulate windows and doors. Look for weak spots in floors and ceilings. If necessary, seal off ductwork. Let nothing in — or out.
What are you doing to secure your food supply and keep your family fed for the long haul?