Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Food Storage-Charlotte Style

The Public Affairs division of my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has asked Church members to share their experiences with maintaining and utilizing food storage via blogs, and other Internet sites. You an see the official request here. Our Prophets through the years have recommended, suggested, urged, and implored us to obtain and maintain an extra store of food, and I've tried to be obedient, with varying degrees of success.

So, that's what this post is all about. I warn you in advance, I don't have any dramatic, miraculous, or unbelievable experiences to share. However, that might be all for the best. Sometimes I get overwhelmed or intimidated reading about the miraculous and unbelievable experiences of others. If you are the same way, then this post will probably spare you those feelings.

When I was a college student, my efforts at food storage were meager, to say the least. Between tuition and rent and having very cramped quarters, food storage ended up being something that often fell towards the bottom of my priority list. However, it was still on the priority list, and so I did make some sporadic efforts to store what food I could. I did this by creating little pockets of canned goods or powdered milk under my bed, on the floor of my closet, or in the bottom drawer of my dresser. I figured (hoped) that if I did the best that I could with my limited space and limited funds, that the Lord would take my "mustard seed" of an effort, and provide for my needs, should I find myself in a position where I needed that food storage. As it turned out, He blessed me even more than that, and although some weeks were pretty tight, I never found myself in a position of being without food or without money to purchase food while I was in college.

When I got out of school, I moved to a place with more room, and I was able to get a job that paid for all my needs and some of my wants as well. At that point, I knew that I was capable of doing more in the food storage area, and that if I was going to be worthy of the blessings I'd received in the past, I needed to up my efforts a bit.

I started out small, purchasing 1-2 (or 3-5 if I was feeling flush) extra cans of soup or tomato sauce or vegetables whenever I happened to be buying those items for my own cooking and consumption. Eventually I progressed to shopping the case lot sales that my community grocery stores had once or twice per year. I didn't go crazy, and I refused to use credit cards or other debt to fund my food storage, but little by little, my pantry got more full. I tried to organize the food by types, which made it easier for me to see when I was getting low on an item before I was completely out. After a year or two of this, I felt like I had a pretty good supply, and now it's just a matter of keeping up with our consumption.

About three or so years ago, I decided to add another aspect to my food storage plan. I went to this site and used the calculator to determine how many pounds of grains, dried beans, and other items I would need for a year (at the time I started this, I wasn't married yet. Once Eric and I got married, I went back and ran it for the two of us. I suppose in a year or two, I'll have to go back and run it for the three of us). Then, every month or two, I would go to my local Home Storage Center (but I could have gone to a grocery store if I didn't have a Home Storage Center nearby), and I would spend between $30-$50 to get some of the more long-term storage items. Since I ended up buying quite a bit of wheat, one month I purchased a hand wheat grinder instead of more food.

I'd say that it took me about 2 years at this pace to get a full years' supply for Eric and I. I call it our Emergency Food Storage, and as I obtained it, I stored it all (along with the wheat grinder) in our crawl space (of which you can see a picture here), which has lots and lots of room, but is not nearly as accessible as our pantry.

I love how economical my emergency food storage was to obtain, and how little it needs to be rotated (most of these items store for 30 years or more). However, there is one big drawback. The fact is, Eric and I are not in the habit of eating whole wheat and legumes every day. Since our digestive systems are not used to these foods, if we should find ourselves in need of eating it to survive, it could be rather uncomfortable for our bodies to make that necessary shift. I mitigate this possibility by continuing to keep our pantry stocked with canned goods and the other foods that we eat on a regular basis. I hope to be able to supplement one type of storage with another, should the need present itself.

And there you have it, the E&C Cantwell Storage Experience (so far). As I mentioned, I've not had any dramatic miraculous experiences as a result of keeping a food storage supply (yet).* I'm okay with that. The little conveniences that I experience are definitely enough for me. See, I save time and money by not having to run to the grocery store as often as I used to in my pre-storage days, and I almost never have the frustrating experience of being in the middle of a recipe and finding that I don't have all the ingredients to complete it.

But most importantly (for a worrier like me), I sleep better every night, knowing that we have a little extra stored away in case of something unexpected. Now that's what I call a miracle.







*I do consider the fact that I was able to put myself through school, going full-time and working minimum wage jobs for 10-15 hours per week, all without incurring any student loans or ever going hungry to be a miracle, but it was a daily miracle, and an easy one to overlook at the time.

2 comments:

melissa c said...

Very cool. I'm still trying to get mine under control. I had to by a lock for the door as my kids kept kifing things and hiding in their rooms to eat it! Leaving the garbage under the bed! You'd think I never feed them! lol

Charlotte said...

Melissa-I did the same thing when I was a kid.

Crazy!

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