Many that are just starting to become preparedness minded are more than likely shocked at first by the amount of information about preparedness available to them on the web . One of the major preparations one will spend the most time on is food storage. There are many sources for information about this out there. From blogs like this one, to web forums to actual food storage studies done by universities. So who is correct,which one is right for you or me?
I have my opinion on what folks should stock in their food preps, and it may be different from Joe over in Denver, who is different than Dan over in Miami. But the main thing that anyone starting to prep should remember is to make a plan first and stick to it. One of the basic ideas on food storage is the buy what you eat concept. This is a very good concept for those just starting out or for those planning for a short term event. It can be helpful and yet flawed at the same time , I will go into that later. The other Basic idea is buy as much as you can store. Long term storage of dry goods ranging from freeze dried goods, to whole grains and bulk packed food is very common these days and has many benifits.
So which one is better suited for you. It is hard for me to say as it varies per person what their plans are, budget and storage space. But this is how i feel about food storage. Again this is just opinion, and you know what they say about that!
Short term food storage in my eyes is largely based in the buy what you eat concept. This is where the survivalist or preparedness minded individual( for those PC types out there) will extend their normal shopping to add more to their pantry at home. Normally these goods vary from can goods to dry foods that have a shelf life of 1-5 years. This is a good way to go for those just starting as it is not as intimidating as trying to buy or pack 600 lbs of rice and beans at once ! The short term plan works great as a starting point, but as you progress in your preperations you will see the short comings of it and planning around it. One of the major downfalls I feel in a short term food storage program is that you are left stuck in short term mode. This means if the event your planning for last longer than what have planned for you are left up that creek with no paddle more or less. The other major downfall is you have to rotate the stock more often than LTS( long term storage). This can be a positive as well. It lends you to rotate back into your current pantry and shelves. This will save you money at first, as you continue this program you will start to lose money as the cost of food increases .The major positive side is that folks are continuously updating their stocks and keeping food in their home.The major reason STS(short term storage) shouldn't be a choice for anyone trying to prepare for any event longer than 6 weeks in my view is that I feel the money and space used for STS would be better used in LTS. I do however feel that STS is a vital part of a well rounded LTS plan.
How can the STS plan work into and be a vital part of a LTS plan? Well for one, most people can't go out and dump a few hundred or few thousand dollars on LTS food preps all at once. Some can and great for them. But for the majority of folks they will start at the bench and work themselves up to 1st line pitchers ,if you get my drift. What will you do with your STS now that you've progressed into wanting to get started into a LTS plan , well keep it. You may wonder why i just said that. Well there is no reason not to keep a basic well stocked pantry at home. A large LTS program doesn't mean you should slack off on keeping your pantry stocked. When you have a 3 day power outage do you want to have to start opening up #10 cans and buckets of sealed grains to make meals for those 3 days. You can but why would you ?
This is why i feel that on top of your LTS plan you should have a good STS plan in place. The STS preps will keep you grounded while you grow in your LTS program and size. Once your LTS program is at the level you feel is adequate for your plans, it can be left untouched until a major emergency or for many,many years down the road.
Now lets go into what LTS storage involves. In our P.A.W movie series on You tube about LTS and STS programs we show some LTS preps and what to expect from them. and how to pack them . LTS will take up a lot more storage space than a STS program. This is a given since it is for the Long Term. But if your making that 1st step dont be afraid of that. Even a extended STS program can be border line LTS and still not take up to much space if planned correctly. For the most part LTS preps will be packed in #10 cans or buckets or if space is available 55 gallon plastic food grade drums. But it doesn't end there. LTS involves canning and preserving your own food if you are in a position to produce your own food as well . That is a whole different story there and the reality of a true LTS program and planning!
Normally a LTS program is planned around the 1 yr per person mark. This can be intimidating at first but once it is shown how easy it is to pack and store it makes sense why so many people are doing it. A LTS program on avg should last 15-30yrs before rotation if packed correctly. Again if you watch our you tube channel you will see some real results of some LTS that are at the 20 yr mark and some that was not even stored as it should have been that is still good to eat! So compared to a STS program we have a rotation time that's many years past the 1-5 year mark that the STS plan has. That's a major positive in my book, as you are not constantly having to rotate and re buy new food stocks. In a LTS program you may have bought rice at 10$ per 50lbs 3 years ago and now 3 years later it is 26$ . If this was based on the STS plan(which rice can sometimes be stored ST with out any special packing needs.) we would have lost money rotating that food along with having to replace it. Break that down to even what a can of soup cost 3 years ago to now! This is the main area besides rotation were a LTS program excels ahead of the STS plan. If you chose the STS program remember that with in 1-5 years you will have to replace or rotate out your food items. This will cost you twice as much money than if you would have started an LTS. Now, i am not saying that a family or person should at day 1 run out and buy 800lbs of rice. Start small and with in your budget, but pack it correctly at the start and you can then merge it into a LTS program down the road with out worry. There is a set of movies on our channel that shows just what problems may arise if you do not pack correctly for STS or LTS. The rice shown in those movies could have been merged into our LTS program, but now it is wasted! Proper packing would have solved that and we would not have to rotate or purchase new rice for our STS program! Even 20 lbs packed right, is cheaper than replacing it in 5 yrs due to bugs,mold, or rot!
So that is just a few of the positives and negatives of LTS and STS. What i have tried to show you is that they go hand in hand for a well balanced food storage program! The LTS plan is not perfect. In a long term event you really need to be self reliant in your food production. This has been proven 10 fold over in long term events across the world . Just like STS supplements LTS, LTS must be supplemented by gardens,farming, raising livestock to really make it worth it's while in an long term event. The major thing is do not sell yourself short in your planning. Start with what you can, and grow from there. It is you and your families well being during an event that is important. From the 3-4 day hurricane kit to a full 1 yr supply for four ! Plan,prep and learn!