Caution: This post contains wild, unsubstantiated rumors and shameless scare tactics. It is not for the faint of heart. Read at your own risk.
This year in our ward they started the "Noah Plan". Every week they hand out a flier with a few things to do that week to be prepared. The idea being that at the end of the year everyone will have their year supply and also be prepared with other emergency items. I can't do it that way. It's just another thing on my to-do list which is already miles long! However, getting one of those little fliers every week does it's job in that it keeps food storage at the forefront of my thoughts and the desire to be prepared begins to set in! Also, to add to that are a couple of rumors that I heard lately that finally pushed me past desire and straight into action. About these rumors--I can't back them up--you know how those things come around in the email and you're never sure if they are true or not. They are wild and unsubstantiated and you may not quote them as truth from me! I, however, don't care if they are true or not, because they did get me moving.
Rumor #1: Have you noticed that in the past few General Conferences they haven't talked much about food storage or emergency preparedness? Last Conference there was only one talk. A few days ago a friend sent an email to another friend (you know, a friend of a friend of a friend...) (I didn't even get the email myself, so this is just second hand information) that one of the apostles (and I won't say which one, remember, this is a rumor) was having a family meeting and his daughter (she was the one who allegedly sent the email) asked why the brethren weren't speaking about food storage any more. He replied that the prophet has asked them not to because it has been preached by them for 100 years and now it's the Lord's turn to do the preaching. Even if this were not true that one of the apostles said this, the idea presented itself into my brain that I don't want to suffer the consequences of the Lord's preaching! That kind might hurt!
Rumor #2: (From this same friend) She had been talking to a man who was in charge of the food prep program in a ward. He has studied the disasters that have happened of late and has also spoken to some of the "experts". First of all the big freeze in the east has wiped out the peach and blueberry crop as well as other food items. Also, apparently we get a lot of our wheat from Russia which apparently has had some crop failures lately. He said it is estimated that by 2008 the wheat imported to the U.S. will be half of what it is today.
Ok, these may be true, they may not. But in thinking about being prepared I was reminded of a story I read in I Walked to Zion (so this is a true story, but I am paraphrasing it). A family was crossing the plains and the father had a hunk of meat in the handcart near the back where his young son was pushing the cart. The poor boy was so hungry and the meat was right there in front of his face. He finally gave in to the hunger and cut a little piece of meat which he chewed for as long as he could before swallowing it. He did this a couple of times during the course of the day. When the family stopped for the night the dad saw that the meat had been eaten from and asked who had done it. The boy confessed that he had been so hungry that he just couldn't help himself. The man, instead of berating the boy, sat down and cried because he felt so badly that he couldn't provide proper nourishment for his children.
Shameless Scare Tactic: I think there are few things in life worse than not being able to care and provide for your children. As I considered that story I thought how awful it must have been for those pioneers caught in dire circumstances to have to see their children going hungry and even starving to death. Some of them had no control over the situation. Yet what I think would be more awful than that is to watch my child starve knowing that I could have prevented it!
Getting a food storage isn't as hard as it used to be. The guidelines have changed a bit from what I remember and it's very do-able. The criteria is as follows:
- A three month supply of the food you regularly consume
- Drinking water
- A financial reserve
- A longterm supply
The long term supply consists of wheat, white rice and beans. That's it! Those are the staples. You could survive on that if you had to! However, after getting that it is recommended to get sugar, nonfat dry milk, salt, baking soda, and cooking oil and also foods with Vitamin C and other essential nutrients (a few canned goods)...or even a year's supply of multivitamins. Something to offset the blandness! I'm going to can some M&M's next time around!
Now some people have the idea that you have to know how to cook with all the stuff. Really, you don't unless you want to learn how to live more frugally. Here's my take on it. Buy a couple of cookbooks, including the one the church puts out, and store them with all your stuff. If you can read a recipe great, then when/if the time comes that you need to make food from it, you'll be set. If you are able to use a little of it, then you can replace it as needed. I use my wheat when I bake, but I don't bake every day. I buy bread from the store. However, I do know how to make bread and also muffins and pancakes, so if I had to make my bread everyday I could. I can rotate sugar, milk, salt, oil and baking soda because they are things I use regularly anyway, but wheat and other grains can last up to 30 years. I look at it as insurance. If, in 30 years, the stuff I haven't used has gone bad, then I will throw it out and buy more. At that time I won't have any kids around and so will have to buy a lot less! But meanwhile, if some impending disaster comes, I have that insurance. We may be eating wheat grass and sprouted beans after the first 3 months, but hey, we'll be alive!