There all kinds of numbers out there for how much you need to prepare. Anywhere from 3 days (FEMA) to seven years (Bible). I believe that six months is the bare minimum for storing most of the thing you need to live daily. That should get you from growing season to the next even if a disaster happens in fall or winter you should have stored plenty fuel for heat/lighting, water to drink and food to eat that will last into the late spring. I could save a lot of money shopping once I hit that six month’s of storage and could shop loss leaders at the mega marts. It’s a lot easier to buy a 25-50 pound bag of beans on sale when you know you already have plenty of toothpaste, toilet paper and food items you need in your pantry.
FEMA recommends 3 days, now when have you heard or read about FEMA or any government agency actually showing up at a disaster in just three days? That just a few assessment teams if you are lucky, with no supplies at all. Some of the FEMA teams will just call the local “Waffle House” in the south and based what they supply depending on if Waffle House is serving a full menu or not! No, I’m not joking from Wiki: According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Waffle House is one of the top four corporations, along with Wal-Mart, The Home Depot and Lowe’s, for disaster response. Waffle House has an extensive disaster management plan with on-site and portable generators and per-positioned food and ice ahead of severe weather events such as a hurricane. This helps mitigate the effects of a storm on the power grid and the supply chains. The ability of a Waffle House to remain open after a severe storm, possibly with a limited menu, is used by FEMA as a measure of disaster recovery known as the Waffle House Index . I ain’t too impressed with FEMA as you can tell and 3 days is a complete joke as far as prepping is concerned unless we are talking about a BOB or your GHB(Get Home Bag) in your car and I still plan for at least a week.
The LDS consider one year of storage the absolute min. amount of food stored if I understand them correctly. I’m not a member of the LDS church so I might be wrong but, I think 12 months should be your first major goal after you get your six month start on prepping. I consider 6 months just a start on prepping as that is when you start to see the benefits and 12 months will get you through at least one bad harvest and see you survive to the next harvest. You read that correctly 12 months is only the first goal! I mean everything you need to live from growing some of your food, harvesting water to creating energy and learning the skills needed to be as self reliant as possible. I have had a terrible harvest on my garden, critters will die for no apparent reason, the car’s transmission will crap out or a medical bill will pop up when you had an injury or disease. These things you can’t control any more than you can control Mama nature. If you start prepping and becoming self reliant you will have time to think what you will do next without the worry of where your next meal is coming from or will you have heat and a way to cook.
The last goal is from the Bible and it is seven years. I don’t think the number is quite as arbitrary as I once thought as a story telling device. I am a Christian and I believe the bible is the word of God as well as a fairly honest look at humanity for better or worse. I started wonder why in the book of Genesis Joseph in Egypt told the Pharaoh to store seven years of food for a famine and actually ended up saving his family and brothers who sold him into slavery. This number is repeated in Revelations as well in the tribulations. Here in America we have had a massive drought in the Midwest going on it’s third year with no relief in sight. The Dust Bowl that hit the plains back in the 1930’s lasted seven years and many cycles in nature tend to be seven years in duration.
I know seven years may seem like an impossible goal and guess what it I think storing everything you need for the next seven years is impossible. But you could start becoming self reliant by getting water barrels to collect water, have a water filter and learn to purify it with just a few tools. There is no reason you can’t do like I’m doing and store basic long term storage foods like rice, beans and grains in 55 gallon drums. Even stored in silos, grains can last a few years under less than optimal conditions. They stored the grains in Egypt several thousand years ago during a famine I think we can do so as well with all we have learned since that time.
You will need to add in your garden, fruit/nut trees and bushes a way to cook and all kinds of other skills that you can barter or trade that will stretch all of your “stored supplies” a bit longer. No one person or even family can do everything that’s why us humans built tribes, clans and villages as well as some people that were revered and paid for special skills. Kellene at Preparednesspro.com calls it “Peace through preparedness”. Just ask yourself do you feel more peace and less stress when you pay all your bills and have a bit of cash leftover or when there is an emergency/disaster and you come up short on paying for your basics and have to rob Peter to pay Paul?