I believe one of the primary changes we have to make to be a part of this generation has to do with how we handle our surplus. There is much we could say about properly managing our surplus money and time, but the purpose of this post is to discuss one aspect of properly managing our surplus food. As I mentioned in my last post, just a generation or so ago, in some parts of our nation, it was the common practice to have enough food on hand to last for several months. In a very short period of time, this practice has been almost totally lost, but it is one that I believe we badly need to rediscover. Today most of us are able to go to the grocery store whenever we need something, and we don't have enough food on hand to last more than a week or two. That has worked for us so far, but what would happen if the grocery stores were without food for a period of time? If we remain as dependent upon them as we have been, we could very well find ourselves without food at some point.
I believe every person should make it standard operating procedure to have a supply of food on hand that would last for a few months. Now, I know what many of you are thinking: "Yeah, yeah. I've heard all this before and I've stored up food, only to have it spoil because I never had to use it." However, I am not just suggesting that every person or every family have an "emergency supply" tucked away in the corner of the garage waiting for a rainy day. What I am suggesting is a lifestyle change that will enable us to have a constant supply of food in our home that will not be stored long enough to spoil, and it will be there just in case we ever need it.
The way we do this is simple, and very economical. The first step is to make a list of the foods that we eat on a regular basis. Then determine which of these foods can be stored for about a month without spoiling. After this we need to pick a spot in our home to store our surplus. This might be some shelves in the garage, a spare room in the basement or maybe even an empty bedroom closet that we convert into an extra pantry. Once we know what foods we want to store and have a place ready to store them, we are ready to start building our supply. Let's say that you regularly eat green peas, oatmeal and tomato soup. The next time you go to the grocery store, pick up a few extra cans of those items and store them in your surplus food area. After a few months of just picking up a few extra items each visit to the store, you will have a pretty good supply. After that, when you go grocery shopping and bring your groceries home, don't put those particular items in your kitchen pantry. Instead, put them in your surplus storage area. Always rotate your stock and replenish your kitchen pantry with the oldest items from your surplus storage.
By doing this, you will have a supply of food in your home at all times that never spoils. It is always fresh and will be there in the event of an emergency. Again, this is very simple to do and there is very little cost at one time. I would like to think that we will never really need an emergency supply, but our world is changing. I think the people who lived through Hurricane Katrina, the recent tornados in the midwest or one of the many recent earthquakes across the globe would tell us that we need to take this idea seriously. It could be that we will never need it, but as a friend of mine recently told me: "I'd rather be a year early than a day late when it comes to being prepared."
What I have shared in this post is what my family is doing. We currently have enough food on hand to last us for a few months. It is in constant rotation, so it never spoils. I want to learn the best way to do this and get to the place that I have enough food to last for a year and be able to share with my neighbors. I'm not suggesting that my way is the best way, and there are probably many people who are doing this much better than I described. You may get started and find a better way, but I think the important thing is to start. By posting this I hope I have inspired some of you to start thinking along these lines and take the first steps. Again, I hope we never need it, but then again . . . we may.