Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bare Minimum: Food
     Food, and food storage are something that we New Yorkers need to get a better understanding of.  I'm going to try and explain how much food to keep, and why I believe food storage is one of the simplest, most intelligent things you can do as a New Yorker.  

     Unfortunately for city dwellers, like myself, NYC does not produce one ounce of its own food (and no I don't consider window gardens/city gardens viable food sources), and relies on outside supplies to be brought in on a daily basis.  There are some estimates that say Manhattan could run out of food in 2 days if not constantly resupplied (that is if you don't know some method of how to obtain it, and what's edible in the city.  I'll save that for a later post!)  On top of the fact that Manhattan is an island, so if there is a major disaster, getting supplies in and out of the city, could be slowed or hindered.  

     Because of convenience, New Yorkers have opted to not keep food in the apartment in favor of free delivery, and good restaurants.  For a town that is so dependent on outside sources, and whose infrastructure is under constant threat, that convenience can be our downfall.  Most NYC apartments have a serious lack of food storage, and that can be a very dangerous thing for any household.  This is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, in my opinion.

     Food storage shouldn't cost much, and it doesn't happen over night.  It's a long, slow process of buying one or two items while at your local grocery store.  Or going to a place like Costco's every few months and buying some bulk items.  Here is a link to a great bulk food site.  Better yet, you can use the amazing Thrive Q system from Shelf Reliance to have long-term food items shipped to you on a monthly budget as I explained in a previous post.  There are options, it's a matter of knowing how, and where to begin.  That's what I'm here for.

     I have many "non-survivalist" friends who live in Manhattan, and their #1 excuse to not storing food is space.  Storing food will not take up that much room.  As I've stated on this blog before, I live in a small NYC apartment and can always find places to put my supplies, without making the apartment cluttered.  It's a simple matter of ingenuity, with a bit of know-how.  Here is an article in Backwoods Home Magazine that explains stocking a pantry.  It's a bit long, but she knows what she is talking about, and touches upon those of us with limited space.

     What you should store is more of a personal preference.  I don't eat meat, (though I would if I was in a survival situation) so I cache more grains and legumes because that is what I prefer, and eat on a normal basis.  There is a saying in the survival community that perfectly sums up what your personal food cache should look like, it goes; "eat what you store, store what you eat".  The first part meaning that you should be eating your supplies and then restock them to help rotate your cache.  The second part makes a good point, explaining that you should store the foods that you and your family are used to eating because, in the event of a disaster, these changes in diet can make your already stressed system, worse.  If you or your loved ones could not "stomach" the foods you have on hand (like MRE's) and get sick, then you have an even bigger problem then the disaster.

     Since heating things up may be a problem depending on the type of disaster, make sure to stock up on some foods that are good even when not heated, like canned beans and rice.  I suggest, at the minimum, a months worth of food and water be stocked in your apartment.  A grown healthy adult needs about 1800 cal. a day to be able to function properly.  That can change slightly because of age, health, activity, and sex, but I find that 1800 cal. is the sweet spot.  It's hard to say how much food you should store, the idea is to just start.  Try not to have an end goal.  Just start by having a few things on hand, trying at first to get to an estimated months worth.  Then after you get to a month, shoot for two, and so on.  To give you a basic idea, I would say store about 2-3 normal sized cans (not the #10 coffee cans that Shelf Reliance makes) per person a day.  You can also get bags of dried beans, grains, and cereals at your local super market.  They're cheap, they have a long shelf life, are easy to prepare, and can supply more servings if rationed properly.  Try and cover all basic food groups as in grains, meat, veggies, dairy, and fruit.  I personally keep about a years worth of food, that I eat and rotate, but that's my personal preference.  It's up to you on how and what you decide to store.  I've given you the resources, and steps, now it's up to you to apply them.  


No comments: