How to Build a 30-Day Emergency Food Supply…Fast

by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you may be feeling on edge.  You may feel as though time is running out for you to get your preparedness supplies and emergency food in order. You may be new to prepping, and feeling like there’s too much to accomplish.  The stress in our country is at peak level.  We’ve listened to the war drums beat louder. We’ve witnessed riots breaking out in cities across America. We’ve watched the bumbling efforts of officials to respond to natural disasters and potential pandemics. Threats are everywhere, and you may be in the situation where you need to build an emergency food supply fast.

This feeling of urgency can make you feel hopeless and panicked, and that’s not productive.  There’s no time for a lack of productivity. It’s time to focus and create your food supply immediately. If an event occurs during which you are unable to leave your home, you’ll want to make certain that you can keep food on the table without waiting for a handout to be doled out at the whim of some government agency. Such an event could be a mandatory quarantine or self-imposed isolation due to a pandemic, civil unrest in your town, martial law, a nuclear event, or even a natural disaster that leaves you stranded, without access to the store.

Generally, I write about healthy food. I write about focusing on whole foods without additives, and I firmly believe that is the very best way to build your food supply.  I believe strongly in the value of a pantry that you will use day to day to nourish your family.  You can learn how to build a pantry like that in my book The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half Price Budget.

However, if you do not have a food supply waiting in your pantry, or your supply isn’t big enough, now is the time to focus on speed.  You can then add healthier options at your leisure. The quantities in this article are per person, so you’ll need to multiply this by the number of people in your home. You can order these items online and get them to your door within a couple of days.

Alternatively, you can shop around and try to find duplicates locally. You can also create a food plan, make a list, and go shopping, purchasing the highest quality items available, and repackaging them for longer shelf life.

However you opt to build your food supply, please don’t hesitate. If a worst case scenario occurred, the minimum goal is to be able to feed your family for at least a month.

How much do emergency food do you need?

There are a few different ways to calculate food storage, but I find breaking it down by serving size to be the most practical. Don’t rely on what a package calls a serving size – consider the appetites of your family. You might have a couple of big eaters and a couple of people with birdlike appetites. The lists below are based on serving sizes for an average adult.

Be sure to get a variety of different foods:

  • 3 protein servings
  • 5-8 fruits and vegetables
  • 5 starchy carbohydrates

On a 2000 calorie per day diet, strictly based on long-term storage food, the LDS (Church of the Latter Day Saints) says the average adult would need the following amounts for 30 days:

  • 5 pounds of beans
  • 25 pounds of grains
  • 5 pounds of sugars
  • 2 pounds of fats
  • 8 pounds of dairy

These are purely subjective numbers, however.  For example, if your family is gluten-free, you might eat more protein and produce than starchy carbs.  You must take into account your family’s health concerns, special needs, allergies, intolerances, likes, and dislikes.   These are simply guidelines. Try to stick as close to your normal eating habits as possible, to lessen the stress of an already highly-wrought situation. You’d be asking for trouble if you took someone who generally eats paleo and started feeding them nothing but oatmeal and vegetarian pasta dishes.

It’s also important to consider cooking times. If you never ever cook from scratch, will you suddenly want to make pots of beans and homemade bread? If the power goes out, will you have a way that you’ll be able to cook these foods? (This little stove can be used anywhere, indoors or outdoors. Be sure to stock up on extra fuel for it.)

Create a stockpile with emergency food buckets

If you’re trying to build a food supply quickly, consider ordering buckets with a month’s supply of meals.

Here’s why every prepper should have some emergency food buckets stashed away:

  1. A lot of calories can be condensed into a very small amount of space.
  2. If you have the capacity to boil water during an emergency, a filling meal can be yours.
  3. They add variety and speed to an emergency food supply.
  4. Calorie for calorie, they’re lightweight and easily portable in the event of a bug-out scenario.
  5. They’re professionally packaged to have a 25-year shelf life, so you can get it, stick it in the back of your closet, and forget about it until you need it.

Now, the downside.

If you’re looking for ready-made meals, none of them are going to be completely free of additives. This is impossible because they’re made to last for 25 years, to take up minimal space,  to cook up quickly and efficiently, and to taste reasonably good.

If you’re going this route, some compromises must be made. Yes, emergency food buckets contain processed food, but you don’t have to let go of all of your focus on healthful choices.

You may look at the prices of these items and say, “Oh, I can’t afford this.” But you have to remember, this is enough food for an ENTIRE MONTH.  At $300, that means you’re spending $10 per day on food that only requires the ability to boil water.