Important addition later 9/26/2008--I just found this page at Provident Living. It provides amounts in a chart for what an adult would need to store for a one-year period. I can't recommend Provident Living enough.
If you are just starting on your food storage, I hope that you have made progress on it, or have made plans to make progress on it. I really hope that more and more people are putting some food away--even if it is only a little bit, it will be a little bit more than nothing. In my opinion, it is best to start out with the staple foods. If you don't have any idea where to start, you might want to consider the following:
--Some of my earliest posts on this blog, (in May) where I point out amounts for one year for one person for the grain, legume, fats and oils, milk, and sugars groups. You will see that there are also amounts for the miscellaneous group found in the sugars post, and the explanation for how I arrived at these amounts can be found in the grain group post, repeated here for your convenience:
We went to http://www.providentliving.org/ a while ago now, (to give credit where credit is due) and found out what we would need for 12 months to feed our family. It has been so long now that I can't remember if we counted our children as adults or not, but dividing the amount they told us for the various foods by the number of people listed, (and rounding up--wouldn't you always like to have more than less in an emergency situation?) at least what's below will give people an idea of what one person would need to have to survive for a year.
You can take the amounts listed on these posts and store them for one person at a time, or multiply them to arrive at an estimate for how much you would need for the number of people you think that you would be responsible for in an emergency situation. If you want even smaller amounts you could use for survival, you may want to consider the information found in a more recent post (September 20th) where the "bang for your buck" is spelled out in terms of beans and rice. The amounts listed there and above would be just for survival, but if you don't have them now, and you go out and get them, you will have made progress. Also from the September 20th post are these words of wisdom: We can all do this for our families a step at a time, not going into debt to do it. (Italics added.) I am not advising you to go into debt. I am just hoping that more and more people will get prepared. One of the reasons I started this blog was that I don't want my children to go hungry in an emergency situation. Another reason is that I don't want your children to go hungry in an emergency situation. I just hope that we all can continue to make progress to meet the goal of being as prepared as we can be.
I need more staples, and continue to work on that area, but I do keep my eye out for things that would enhance those staples, and try to get them at the cheapest possible price. Last week they had a special at a local grocery store where you could buy the "cream of" soups (the national brand kind) for 20 for $10. Quite frankly, I didn't really think I would ever see them at that price again. Even at the local national chainstore, this particular kind of soup (at least the cream of chicken variety) costs $.94/can. So we stocked up on some of the mushroom and chicken flavors. I figure it will go over well mixed with rice or pasta, and hey, throw in a can of vegetables and it's almost a casserole. I do need more staples, but I like to get some canned food on hand in case of power outages, or if we are low on fuel to cook, so I feel like getting some more of that kind of thing (at a good price) is progress. There are times when I buy things at a more expensive price, if I feel that it is needed, and I have the means. If you can wait, look carefully for deals. I'm just not sure that you can always wait.
I am worried (and still as qualified as the last time I mentioned it :) about the American economy. You may have noticed that I worry about food storage, and this is because, as one of my friends was fond of saying, "A girl's gotta eat." I bring up the basic amounts now, because if things get worse, and supplies get limited or nonexistent because of what's going on in our country, now may be the best time to get the basics in. No one knows. You can only do the best you can with what you know now. But if you are doing the best you can, I don't think that you will ever be sorry about it. A couple of examples:
--The other night, after oil jumped to like $130/barrel, I asked my husband to go fill up the car because I worried that the prices would go up overnight. My husband went out and put some gas in the car, and left me a message the next day that the gas had gone down 9 cents/gallon that morning. The peace of mind that comes from having more gas in the tank outweighs the 9 cents/gallon, but of course it would have been nice to get it at the lower price.
--A while ago now, a grocery store in the area had packages of toilet paper at 10 for $10, so I stocked up on some. I made a special trip on the last night of the sale to make sure that I would get some in my storage. The next day they had a bigger sale: 20 for $10. I was not happy. I shared that unhappiness with as many people as I could find so that they could take advantage of the better sale--I figured that that somehow made up for the fact that I had to pay twice as much for the same thing. Aggravating, yes. But also a learning experience. I found out later that the product that I bought is of inferior quality and did not last as long as other brands. I won't be buying that brand again if I can help it, even at 20 for $10. I need things that will last in my storage.
--Then there is the fact that the jeans that I bought for my children, that they haven't grown into yet, were bought at a bargain price. Having to replace a pair that was played into oblivion (read: really messed up hole in the knee inflicted during recreation involving much exuberance and youthful enthusiasm) with the size that one of them currently wears allowed me to realize how much the prices of clothes are going up just from last spring. Glad I have the next size up already purchased and waiting.
So you live, you learn, and sometimes things don't work out perfectly. However, things won't work out at all if you do nothing, when you could be doing something. Even if you end up paying a little more (as seen above), you will still have those items in your possession, and that is something that is a certainty in a time when there is a lot of uncertainty. Don't wait if you don't have to. Sometimes, as I have mentioned before, you are in situations where you don't have a choice, and you can't do what you would like to do because of finances, etc. Hopefully that is always temporary, and when you can make progress on your food storage, you will. The economy is scaring me, and even as I write this, aspects of it might be changing. Any progress you and I make in food storage will only benefit us and those around us, whether it be sooner or later. I hope it's not needed sooner--and I hope that everyone (myself included) will continue to make progress on food storage, despite any other uncertainties, economical or otherwise.
One part of my food storage that currently has nothing to do with the economic arena is my garden. For those who are interested, I present an update on my planting adventures:
Yes, if you look carefully, in the land of the pumpkins you will find some carrot plants!! Those little lacey leaves make me very happy. This officially makes 2 for 5 for me in terms of late season planting success, but I really don't think that they will have enough time to make it to eating stage this time, so I will most likely leave them to go to seed. Still, they are there... :)
And, as far as I can tell, here is an updated photo of "baby": (They grow up so fast... :)
And "most likely" is progressing pretty well...: (orange on pumpkins--it's all the rage :)
And here's just a random, rather large pumpkin, which is pretty indicative of the specimens that are found hither and yon around our garden. If you look closely, you will see more carrot plants amongst the vegetation:
So, the pumpkins, and happily, the carrots are making progress. I can't help but think, when I look at my current poll, that a lot of people are making progress on their food storage as well. If you are, keep it up. If you haven't started yet, please start on your food storage. The preparations that we make, and the food storage that we put away, provide us with certainties even in uncertain times. Every bit of progress is a success...