October 27, 2009

Re-Establishing A Food Storage

Opening the box UPS delivered and finding this...

Order of bulk goods from bulkfoods.com... was kinda like receiving an early Christmas present. What is it? It the beginnings of our re-established food storage: 5 lb raw hulled sunflower seeds, 5 lb natural process cocoa powder, 5 lb organic spelt flakes, 5 lb split green peas, 5 lb organic wheat bran, and 1 lb organic alfalfa seeds. To start.

As a long time gardener and food preserver, growing and storing a winter's worth of vegetables always made sense. It's what I enjoyed doing, it saved money, and we liked any aspect of being self sufficient. I suppose if we had raised animals for meat, butchering and storing at least a season's worth of meat would have made sense too. It wasn't until Y2K that I actually started to think of food storage in a broader sense.

It was in the mid 1990s that we first started hearing about Y2K as a potential impending disaster. You probably recall that there were many opinions about its expected effect as well as what to do; everything from the doomsdayers who claimed that civilization as we know it was coming to an end, to those who pooh-poohed the whole thing as utter nonsense.

Somewhere during that time, one of the local churches was going to show the C-SPAN video of the congressional hearings on Y2K. Dan and I had some questions; officially, our government was saying that there was no problem and that citizens need do nothing, but there were too many trustworthy sources voicing concerns. We decided to go. After a presentation of the facts, the congressional committee's conclusion was that Y2K was a real problem which required real answers. At the end of the video, the church's pastor got up to speak. I assumed he would take the opportunity to preach, but he didn't. All he said was, "If you want to know what to do next, read the book of Proverbs."

OK, I thought, I can do that. Proverbs is a book of sayings which contrast wise and foolish living. As I read through it, I thought about what to do in regards to Y2K. The wise, I read, are diligent, hard working, well prepared, self-controlled, generous, not given to get rich quick schemes, but gradually save and store up in preparation for winter. The example was the ant, neither influential nor prestigious, but hardworking and prepared. That made sense to me and I decided to start a serious food storage, including things that we couldn't grow for ourselves.

At the time I belonged to a food co-op (buying club), so it was easy to get good prices on good bulk food. I admit that I miss that. But I also stocked up on sales at stores, canned as much as I could get my hands on, and bought the food dehydrator too. We only had a few dollars each week to put toward food storage, but slowly we were able to store up several months worth of food.

Do you remember exactly what you did after the stoke of midnight on January 1, 2000? I do. After exclaiming that the lights were still on, we picked up the phone to see if there was still a dial tone! In the days that followed, I remember quite a few folks were angry because nothing had happened. These were the ones who felt "duped" after investing thousands of dollars in food supply kits and survival supplies. And then there were the I-told-you-so-ers, gleefully crowing because they hadn't bothered to prepare anything at all.

For myself, I thought it was a positive experience and I learned things which made me realize that we always needed a food storage. One was that Dan was out of work for a time and we were able to eat well without worrying about how to pay for groceries. The other was a friend whose husband was out of work. Now, I could never have afforded to buy her a week's worth of groceries, but I could easily give her a week's worth from our food storage, which I did.

Then came September 2004, when the western Carolinas were hit with the remnants of hurricanes Francis, Ivan, and Jeanne. By the time they reached us in the Appalachian foothills, they had been downgraded to tropical storms, so while we didn't get the hurricane force winds, we did get torrential rains, flooding, and extensive road and bridge damage. Like most others, our basement was ankle deep in water (and we did not live in a flood zone!) Even though we had a some damage, we were fortunate because many in our county had their basements cave in from all the water and ground saturation. Everyone was without electricity for a number of days and our food storage was a life saver. The grocery store shelves had long since been wiped out by folks buying up whatever they could get their hands on before the storms hit. We fared very well because in addition to food, I had been stocking up on matches, paper plates & napkins, toilet paper, and water. The biggest problem we had was because we had well water which required an electric pump; we had no running (nor flushing) water. We did have a 55 gallon drum filled with water, so by rationing we were alright.

In 2005 we had to move twice, great distances both times. Our food storage was already depleted, and we used up the rest of it getting reestablished. The next several years of apartment were basically storageless. When we first saw this place and I saw the pantry, I was delighted because it was one of the things on our "must have" list.

To me, buying food cheaply in bulk, preserving the harvest, or taking advantage of a good sale to stock up, just makes sense. Not only because of the economy, but because of my personal experience. So, we're in the process of re-establishing our stocks of foodstuffs. Happily, I recently found out that there is a food co-op in the area, which I plan to inquire about this week. I found it via the internet, and there are several sites you can check to see what's near you.

To find a local food co-op or buying club (includes international listings):
Food Co-ops & Other Co-op Resources
GreenPeople.org (Food Co-ops, Health Food stores, Natural Food Stores)
Co-op Directory Service

To find locally grown produce and products:
Local Harvest

To buy bulk online:
Bulk Foods Consumer Online Market (where my stuff came from)
Honeyville Food Products
Something Better Natural Foods
Walton Feed

Finally, for more information on food storage
Food Storage FAQ - Captain Dave's Survival Center
Food Storage Made Easy

Re-Establishing A Food Storage photos & text copyright 
27 October 2009 by Leigh at http://www.5acresandadream.com/


Life Looms Large said...

It is a great feeling of security to have some food in storage. We did that a few years ago and really appreciate it.

Your Y2K stories are interesting. I was in the computer industry then....we had to make changes to our software to accommodate the new date, and we had to go through various methods of assuring our customers that we'd made the fix in the late 90's.

Then by 2000, I was working in a local homeless shelter where residents were pretty concerned and had all kinds of theories about what would happen and why.

Thanks for taking me on that little trip down memory lane!!



At the stroke of midnight we had a house full of New Years Eve partiers and our speakers blew out. We all laughed and blamed Y2K
for the little mishap. We've always bought food in bulk and when there are sales, it comes from my parents and the fact that we were a family of five. I too have a family of five and living in the hurricane zone, food storage is always something we consider from June to Nov every year. If we don't get any storms then we're good for any other mishaps. It's better to be prepared, if we were stuck at our house for a month we would be alright and that's a great feeling.

Renee Nefe said...

we were in Korea for Y2K. I wasn't worried because I knew the base had stocked up several months worth of food and knew that they would have all the glitches worked out before the food ran out...worse case we could have bought from the Koreans...we were in a farming community.
I was surfing the internet when the switchover happened and of course nothing happened.

I get in trouble for buying too much as I don't take into account what we have before my next shopping trip. oops! But I am getting better about it. With just us 2 for now we have pretty low cubbard supplies now.

I'm glad we have a good sized pantry...that I should go clean and organize to stock up for this bad winter we are expecting.

charlotte said...

I also do like food storage, though we freeze most of the food we store. We fish almost all the fish we eat during winter in autumn, and we usually buy one or two whole, slaughtered lambs from a farmer every fall, and a quarter of a young bull. We gather a lot of berries for jam, and mushrooms for sauces and other dishes. We don't have a cellar, so storing potatoes during the winter is difficult.

bspinner said...

We have somewhat of a food storage system. Since the children left home I don't can anymore but do freeze what's on sale at the grocery store. Where we live there are several bulk food stores and I do take advantage of that.

Funny but I never worried to much about Y2K. We always thought whatever happens / happens and like you said nothing happened.
Can that be almost 10 years ago already? Our biggest problem are snow storms. No only are the roads not always plowed but we often lose power. One thing I always keep on hand are containers of water some for drinking a some for flushing. Like you we are on a drilled well.

Patrick said...

Food storage always and ever just makes sense. I have drawn upon my food reserves during a time of unemployment, and because I am an insurance-minded individual, it gives me peace of mind. It's 3 days or so before the grocery store shelves could empty in an emergency scenario. In such volatile times and circumstances, you're not fanatic, you are smart to be storing food and other emergency supplies.

Woolly Bits said...

y2k didn't bother me all that much - but I do have some food stored, surplus of our own anyway - and then some because you just never know what hits you! there might be power outages, strikes, really bad weather and what not! I don't put huge amounts of frozen stuff in storage, because we do tend to have power cuts - but we do have a shed full of tins, jars, etc - just in case:)) and then there's the textile stash.....

Sandy said...

Spending a rainy morning reading new blogs. Just wanted to let you know I stopped by. Thanks for sharing the food links. I can put those to good use!

Leigh said...

Sue, thanks for sharing your Y2K story. It's interesting to hear an insiders view, but you all did such a great job of correcting potential problems that it's now not even a blip in history.

Deep End, I appreciate the hurricane problem. An excellent reason for a food storage.

Renee, I didn't know you lived in Korea for awhile, interesting! You make a good point, i.e. keeping track of what's in storage. The other problem is rotating and using it. The food storage info links are helpful for that.

Charlotte, I like the sounds of your food storage! You could do pit storage for those potatoes. I don't have a root cellar either, but am thinking about a lined pit for storing root crops.

Barb, sounds like you have winter weather problems like we do, only a whole lot worse! I think that's why folks in the south tend not to prepare. They assume they can run to the store to get everything before it hits. Which is fine until the stores run out!

Patrick, thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. I clicked on your name link and was delighted with your site! Tons of great info, Makes me realize I need to start some preparedness links in my sidebar.

Bettina, *LOL, of course the fiber stash! That's for mental health (at the very least). :)

Sandy, thanks for stopping by! Blog surfing sounds like an excellent way to spend a rainy day.

Flower said...

You are an inspiration! We are so fortunate to live within ten miles of Bobs Redmill. Each time I visit the store I bring home a stash of goodies. We eat from our garden and freezer quite a bit and enjoy finding new ways to use the bounty! Your life reflects intentional living...and it's a good way to live!! Thanks for all the information to help us along the way!!

Heather said...

Looks like a delicious mail delivery. We also get some things by mail from two different wholesale companys - one mostly grains and legumes and the other more nuts, dried fruit and seeds. I LOVE when they show up with the annual order! It does feel like Christmas. I also love the look of my glass jars filled and lined up in my pantry afterwards and am always on the look out for huge glass pickle jars and the old style, large squared off Nescafe jars (because they fit so nicely together).

We stock up on food "just because", it makes sense for us to do so - less trips to town, better prices on bulk or co-op orders, taking advantage of seasonal availability, etc - not because we expect any sort of disaster. It's strange but we are noticing lately that a lot more people seem to be living the way we have for years - shopping at thrift stores, growing and preserving their own food - out of necessity now whereas we do it because we just living this way and think it makes sense. ;-)

Sharon said...

Good food for thought - thanks. We too freeze a lot but what happens when the freezer fails? When I owned a dehydrator, I dried a lot of food but it's been long gone. I priced dehydrators last year - not cheap. Need to put my thinking cap on~

Kathy said...

You must be, as I am, a child of people who went through the Great Depression. And some of their experiences, both good and bad, rubbed off on us. :)
If my father used a can of corn, he bought two to replace it. Mom always was yelling at us to slow down going in and out as we'd create a draft which would cause her jars of pickles, just removed from the canner, to crack.
I, too, buy on sale and have a pantry in the basement next to the freezer. I still can jams and pickles, the freezer has some nice grass-fed lamb in it and when the stores have canned tomatoes and beans on sale, I stock up for chili-makings.
While we weren't too worried about the New Millennium, we try to always be prepared for snows, winds, and other sorts of disasters - natural or otherwise.
A friend works for a food bank and tells me of horror stories, both from people needing food and going hungry to incredible wastefulness. No one should ever have to go hungry.
So, you're not alone, Leigh. You get a solid "Good onya, mate!"
Just remember to have plenty of salt in your stash. People always forget salt, but without it we can't save many foods and need it to live. Lack of it used to even cause wars as well as folks were paid for their labours with it. (salaries = sal, or salt as in Roman times)

Leigh said...

Flower, thank you! Lucky you to live so close to Bobs Redmill! I like the term "intentional living." It really does describe what so many of us are trying to do.

Heather, I think you're right, more and more people are changing the way they live to one that makes more sense. Tough economic times have a way of helping us prioritize what's really important.

Sharon, if my freezer is out for more than three days, I plan to have a big canning party! I can at least do that over a campfire. :) And how about a DIY solar dehydrator?

Kathy, I remember my grandparents talking about the Great Depression. They lost everything and it radically changed their lives. Good reminder about salt. It's funny you should mention it because I was looking at grey sea salt in bulk online the other day. It's on the list for my next order.