We humans need food for proper nutrition. In times of crisis, access to a stable food supply is the key to continued survival. In the presence of natural disasters, human conflicts, climate change, and overpopulation, the threat of food shortages and total famine is not as far-fetched as it seems. Preparing long-term food supplies can buffer the effects of these potential catastrophes.
The Anatomy of a Catastrophe
Many people think that food shortages may be a thing of the past. Thanks to the marvels of modern technology and scientific farming methods, we have a constant and abundant supply of food. It is difficult to imagine how a food shortage can happen – but it is still a possibility.
During ancient times, humans hunted and gathered for food. Then a revolution occurred and changed the course of history: we learned how to cultivate the soil, plant crops, and domesticate animals for a stable source of food. Eventually, modern technology has improved farming and fishing techniques, that food production has now become large-scale. People now depend on hard-working farmers and fishermen for their everyday supply of food. But what happens when the harvests are poor? The farmer will keep his produce to feed his own family first – other people are left without food.
Such scenario is still possible today because there are man-made disasters and natural calamities that threaten the world’s food supply. For example, a hurricane rages across the country and floods several states. Our access to food is restricted because travel is nearly impossible. To add to that, business establishments like groceries and supermarkets are probably closed down due to the flood as well as a power outage.
Some might argue that this is not a real food shortage scenario because the problem is merely logistics: there is food; it is just that we have no access to it. It is true that natural calamities and wars cause a food shortage only temporarily. However, recent studies show that at present, we consume more than we produce. The UN warns that grain reserves are progressively getting lower because of droughts and crop failures in major food producing countries. The famine in Africa may possibly be felt in other parts of the world. This is an emergency situation that requires us to prepare beforehand. We must have a supply of food and water for us to survive.
Food Storage Preparations
The danger of food shortage is real. We must prepare ourselves, and the only way to do this is keep of food for long term storage. Here are some tips and guidelines for you to start your own food supply:
1- The first step in food storage is planning and choosing what to store. Select items that are non-perishable and have a long shelf life, like canned goods and preserved fruit. Be sure to include a good supply of carbohydrates, like pasta and rice. Pick items that already dry and have preservatives, like cured meat and canned fruit. Just remember that the worst enemy of food longevity is moisture as it promotes the growth of food-spoiling bacteria and fungi.
2- The second step in food storage is deciding how to store the food. There are several methods of food preservation that you can employ: drying, curing, sealing and freezing. Freezing is not really advisable in emergency situations because there may be power outages that will lead to the spoilage of frozen food.
3- The third step is deciding where to store your food. Keep your food in warm and dry places. Protect them from pests and other wild animals. Keep them away from direct sunlight. Sterilize and dry containers before using them. Secure your stored food from potential damage from earthquakes. Also, store water and purifying kits along with your food.
Food storage requires money, time, and proper planning. Some people want to prepare for future emergencies, but may not have the time or the necessary information. Many recognize this need and offer resources and products to encourage others to start their own food storage. Some companies already offer food that has been processed for long-term storage, with guides on proper storage and usage. You can easily access their websites where you can see food storage products that fit your needs and your budget.
Preparation is the key to surviving disasters and crises. We cannot predict when food shortages will happen but with long-term food storage in place, we can dramatically increase our chances of survival.
About the Author
Adeline is a food preservation specialist who frequently writes and consults for this website.
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“Long Term Food Storage Tips”; Anthony Smith; eHow.com
Real-Foods: Long-Term Food Storage Tips
“Ideas for Surviving Food Shortages”; Missy Farage; eHow
“US drought could trigger repeat of global food crisis, experts warn”; The Guardian; Suzanne Goldenberg; July, 2012.
“UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013”; John Vidal; The Guardian ; October, 2012,
“Are You Ready Series: Best Practices For Long Term Food Storage”; Tess Pennington; Ready Nutrition; April, 2011