Having a strong emergency food supply is arguably the most important part of surviving a disaster or conflict.
Whether you stock up a little bit every week at the grocery store, or just decide to buy in bulk every so often, having the right food is critical for keeping you and your family strong during a crisis.
At some point in the last few years, survivalist culture has become a norm. Survivalists are no longer looked upon as crazy, paranoid people – they're smart and practical, determined to survive the worst-case scenarios.
Companies have caught on too. Dozens of emergency food supply kits and packages are now available at many retailers, including Costco and Sam's Club.
Augason Farms has emerged as one of the leading emergency food supply brands, offering a variety of food kits that are capable of feeding one person, or an entire family, for up to a year.
Augason's Emergency Food Storage Kit can keep four people from going hungry for 12 months: it's one of the finest emergency food supplies available.
It comes with 50 varieties of food and is capable of creating 4,380 different meals, all in 360 institutional sized cans.
The Augason Farms 1 year Emergency Food Storage Kit, when unopened, can last for up to an amazing 25 years, making a great one-time purchase (unless you have to survive multiple disasters!). Once a canister has been opened, it has a shelf life of one year. At a cost of around $4,000, each meal costs less than $2.
Wise Company has also taken up the call of survival, offering their own line of emergency food supply, packaged in food grade buckets. Their rations come in multiple sizes, from 1 week all the way to 12 months' worth of food.
Wise's largest package, 4,320 servings, retails at $6,475.00 and is capable of feeding 4 adults or 2 adults and 4 children. Wise Company emergency supply foods have a shelf life of 25 years if unopened.
The price of freeze-dried emergency food supplies is expensive, but the shelf life is simply unbeatable.
However, if you prefer to buy your own emergency food supply, you can get essentially everything you would need to survive a disaster at your local grocery store. You'll also want to invest in mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and food grade buckets.
Most survivalists recommend buying a little bit at a time, which helps you spread out the costs. To build up your emergency food supply, buy a bag of white rice and a bag of dried beans at each grocery trip.
In their store-bought bags, these both have a shelf life of a year in proper conditions. However, you can greatly increase their shelf life, by to up to ten years, simply by emptying the bags into airtight food grade buckets, lined by mylar or oxygen absorbers. Store in a cool, dark place.
Pasta, flour, cornmeal, and sugar can be stored in food grade buckets lined with mylar for up to ten years. If you keep the pasta it its store packaging, it can last about two years. Bagged flours and sugars last less than a year if kept on a shelf, but longer if kept in the freezer.
Canned meats, vegetables, and fruits are great for food storage – they can last up to five years. You'll want to have plenty of these items handy, and they're relatively cheap.
Water is an essential part of any emergency food supply, and you really can't have too much. Humans can only survive without water for three days, so keeping your emergency food supply stocked is a must.
Manufactured bottled water that is free of flavor or additives has an indefinite shelf life. Though there may be an expiration date stamped on the bottle, unopened, a bottle of water may be the longest-surviving food item you have. Ensure you store in a cool, dark place.
Sam's Club or Costco are probably your best options for getting bottled water in bulk at the cheapest cost. Buying a pack every grocery trip is the best way to build up an adequate supply.
If you would rather bottle your own water, tap water is your next best source of sustainable water. However, unlike bottled water, tap water has a shelf life of six months.
2L soda bottles are your best choice of container. Rinse out the 2L bottle with a solution of water and 1tsp of chlorine bleach, which will kill any remaining bacteria.
Rinse out completely and turn the bottle upside down and wait to add tap water until it is completely dry. Don't use milk or juice bottles – they contain acids that can make your water go bad quickly.
You should also check out gravity-fed water filters. These require no power to operate and can make contaminated ditch water potable. Katadyn is a leading supplier.
Here are some helpful links on Survival and Sustainable Gardening: