Friday, 23 January 2009

The food pantry

Most of you know about my group, FADA. We started around the same time as the similar and better-known Transition Towns was forming a little south of us in Kinsale, although neither of us knew about the other at the time.

We have a lot of projects planned for the coming year -- we hope to build a new community garden in the middle of town, we want to get more people to audit their homes' use of energy, and we plan to speak to new groups of teenagers. We also want to enlist the teens' aid in interviewing the elderly people around the area, to help them learn more about how to live in a low-energy world.

One important project we hope to start soon, though, is an emergency food project for our villages -- buying food and storing it for ourselves and neighbours for when whatever happens happens. I worked out a year's food storage plan for my own family some time ago, and here's what I came up with -- the more members we have, the more will have to multiply this. I was using an American site for prices at the time, so prices are in dollars -- of course for us they will be in euros. My references to "Mormons" are from the LDS food calculator site, which I don't completely agree with but which is useful.

There are many limitations to this list -- it assumes we will have a manual grinder to grind the wheatberries (working on that), it does not take into account people who are intolerant of foods like beans, and it neglects things like spices that make food last longer and are more palatable.

It is weighted on the side of starches and proteins, not because we expect to eat just these -- people are already too heavy, if you will, in these areas -- but because we would hope to have many greens all around us most of the year. It does not have much in the way of meat for several reasons - meat is not ideal for long-term storage, some people won't eat it, we eat too much of it as it is, other foods do equally well for protein, and if we must eat meat or fish, better to have it fresh.

Most importantly, perhaps, it does not include seeds. As my wife pointed out the other day, if anything suddenly shut down the economy or transportation, we could have diffficulty getting seeds. Many seeds need to be grown in a monoculture of similar plants -- cruciferous vegetables, she said, are difficult to seed -- and require some agricultural infrastructure.

Write me and tell me what you think of this. What plans have you made with your neighbours? Is there anything we are missing?

ONE YEAR FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR:

STAPLES

Wheat berries (Manual grinder to follow soon)
Shelf life – 20+ years
Mormons recommend 525 lb. wheat, 87 lb. flour
500 lb. wheat - $230 ($23 for 50 lbs at Walton Feed, www.waltonfeed.com/cart/all.html)
(Honeyville Grain - - $708.00, Bulk Foods - $1,178)

Corn
Shelf life – 8-12 years
Mormons recommend 87 pounds
Cornmeal – 100 lbs from Walton Feed - $30.00

Oats
(Steel Cut) Shelf Life – 30 years (?)
Mormons recommend 87 pounds
100 pounds, $104.00
http://store.honeyvillegrain.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=360
Groats (organic) – 50 lb. - $22.85
100 lb = $45.70
http://waltonfeed.com/cart/all.html#J1

Rice
Shelf Life – brown rice six years, white rice eight to 10 years.
Mormons recommend 175 pounds
25 lbs Long White Rice - $16.50 from Walton Feed
100 lb = $66.00

Barley
50 lb. - $20.40

Quinoa
45 lb - $88.00

Pasta
Shelf Life – 20 years
Mormons recommend 87 pounds
Walton Feed:
20 lbs white spaghetti - $18.00
20 lbs whole wheat - $18.20
80 lbs = $90.00

SO FAR – 570.00

PROTEIN

Dry Milk
Shelf life – 20 years
Mormons recommend 210 lbs.
50 lbs - $115.95

Soy Mince (In American, Textured Vegetable Protein, or TVP)
Shelf life – 15-20 years
Not on Mormon list, but very important.
50 lbs - $93.95
www.bulkfoods.com

Beans, Dry
Shelf life – estimated eight to 10 years.
Mormons recommend 105 lbs “beans,” 16 lbs “lima beans,” 35 lbs “soy beans,” 16 lbs split peas, 16 lbs lentils.
Kidneys – 25 lbs = $23.80
Blackeyes – 25 lbs = $26.25
Black Turtles – 25 lbs = $23.35
Great Northern – 25 lbs = $22.00
Lima Beans – 25 lbs = $23.75
Soy Beans – 25 lbs = $32.00
Mung – 25 lbs = $28.90
Split peas - 25 lbs = $34.00 - www.bulkfoods.com
Green lentils - 25 lb - $16.55
All others Walton Feed

PROTEIN TOTAL = $440.50

Sugar
Shelf Life – two years?
Mormons recommend 140 lbs sugar, 10 lbs honey, 10 lbs brown sugar, four lbs molasses, 10 lbs corn syrup, 10 lbs jams, four lbs gelatin and 21 lbs “powdered fruit drink.” We, however, hope to have our own bees and make our own jams.
Say 20lb. sugar, one lb brown sugar, one lb. molasses, one lb. corn syrup, one lb. gelatin.
White sugar, 25 lbs = $16.25
www.bulkfoods.com

Evaporated milk
Shelf life -

Baking Powder
Shelf life – indefinite
50 lbs = $54.44
www.bulkfoods.com

Cream of Tartar
Shelf life – indefinite
Five lbs - $29.14
www.bulkfoods.com

Yeast
Shelf life – two years
Five lbs = $17.42
www.bulkfoods.com

Vegetarian bouillon powder
Five lbs - $20.88
www.bulkfoods.com

Salt
25 lb - $5.47
www.usaemergencysupply.com/food_storage

Vinegar, White
One gallon = $1.99
www.grecianimports.com/pricelist.doc

+ SPICES

SIX-MONTH STORAGE:
Tea
Coffee
Nuts
Oil
Vitamins

MORE RESOURCES:
http://survivalacres.com/information/shelflife.html
http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2007/0208-keeping_food_for_years.htm
http://msnbc.com/onair/nbc/dateline/food/shelf.asp
www.usaemergencysupply.com/food_storage
http://www.survival-center.com/foodfaq/

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe the shelf life of brown rice is only 6 monthes, not 6 years. It goes rancid very quickly because of the oil-rich germ.

Vallejo, CA

Brian Kaller said...

You're right - I think I meant six months. Thanks for the correction.

Hannah said...

Your list looks great!

I also like to store things like canned and dried fruits, and canned veggies. Although, hopefully this summer I can bottle up enough of them that I can hold off on storing so much of the canned stuff.

It's a great idea to store seeds, like you said.

Good luck with your food storage!

Hannah @ Safely Gathered In
http://safelygatheredin.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

i notice all the links are for US companies though you live in Ireland - can you recommend some outlets for UK people please - also some storage info would be very helpful - ie if you have soya mince and you want it to last as long as possible how would you store it
Thanks