Once upon a time, in every corner of the world, food security was the first priority of every family and/or village community. Food was harder to come by, took effort to grow or hunt or gather and it was the difference between hunger and health. If you didn’t store food for the lean times you went hungry or died.
A well stocked pantry is insurance against roller-coaster prices, financial trouble and external adversity. When your pantry is full, you’re prepared for any kind of siege; cut off from civilisation by flood waters, snowed in or the financial wolf is at the door.
Food security was paramount in the thoughts of most communities until relatively recent history. ‘Just in time’ logistics systems apply not just to the movement of stock to stores but also of produce to plate. How many times have you gone to the supermarket to buy food for just one meal? Dropping into the shops on the way home from work to pick up what you need for dinner is ‘just in time’ logistics.
A well stocked pantry or stockpile is central to a smart money, simple life philosophy. It enables you to shop less frequently, buy in bulk and take advantage of specials at the supermarket. You’ve probably heard this before, but to put its value in context, you just need to have read, watched or listened to the reports of panic buying during any emergency, whether caused by an act of nature or the result of industrial action, to see the value of a well stocked pantry or stockpile. Supermarket shelves emptied in hours, price gouging, violence… In most cases these localities would have been without fresh supplies for only a few days, a week at most.
You can avoid scenes like this if your pantry or garage or spare room contains the basic supplies for at least a month. This doesn’t mean three dozen tins of baked beans stacked up in neat rows, unless of course you love baked beans, it means a back up supply of the ingredients you use every day. If you cook from scratch, you understand intimately which ingredients you need a decent supply of. If you rely on pre-packaged foods it might be a bit more of a challenge – they will take up more space and cost a lot more.
My pantry is an integral feature of my approach to self reliance. It has ample supplies of flour, other baking requirements like yeast, the raw ingredients for baking powder plus salt, sugar, milk powder and cocoa. Protein ingredients are dried legumes and tinned tuna, plus there’s also tinned tomatoes and tinned fruit in the cupboard. And, complete meals will be added to the shelves as I get the hang of using my new pressure canner. I also have a stock of basic consumables on hand too; toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, etc. I keep a supply of fresh milk, meat, butter and lard in the freezer. Oh, and cat food, lots of cat food – I always stock up when it is on a super special, which generally happens every few months. These are just some examples of what I keep a stock of in my cupboards, your needs will probably be different.
A well stocked pantry gives you choices not available to those who operate on ‘just in time’ logistics. It saves you money if you buy only those ingredients you use, and you buy them in bulk and/or on special. It gives you a buffer against financial adversity because even if you’re without an income for a few weeks, you still have food in the cupboard. And, the future always looks brighter on a full stomach!
Not sure where to start when it comes to building a stockpile? Stay tuned as we cover the basics of putting together a stockpile over the coming week.