With the latest natural disaster - today's massive earthquake in Japan, and the resultant Pacific Rim tsunamis - it seems a good time to answer a question I got.
The question, obviously, was what is my approach to food storage?
Well, it's multifaceted.
For short-term disruptions, like our recent hit to income or anything under a month, I'd rely more on canned goods and emptying the freezer, as well as home-baked breads/etc, sprouts, garden in season, and the 'usual' rotation of the long-term storage.
For long-term food storage, I have a tiered approach.
First tier - calories and vitamins/minerals. That mostly means grains, and my obsession with 50 pound bags of wheat, along with rice, corn, and quinoa. Add to that vitamin and calcium supplements. Vitamins for everyone, calcium for me, as I am a woman and need to keep the bones strong. With 400 or so pounds of grain per person plus vitamin and mineral supplements, we would make it thru' a year. We'd be undernourished, but alive. Actually, I have oils in this level, too, since we humans need some essential oils in our diet. Here I have olive oil, sesame oil, canola oil, peanut oil. Alas, oils have a fairly limited shelf life, so I don't store as much of them as I'd like, and the extra olive oil is in the freezer.
Second tier - protein. Beans, mostly, which also help with calories. I'm still WAY light on them. Ideally, I'd have 200 pounds per person of beans stored, or 600 pounds total. Instead, I have 66 pounds (plus the 'in use' supply in the kitchen, about 10 more pounds). However, beans don't store as well as grains do. After a few years, they become too stale to cook.
'Tis a dilemma.
I also have a lot of nuts stored, to help with the protein levels, (and they also help with essential oils and calories) and a nice supply of canned fish along with a little canned chicken and beef.
Third Tier - Everything else. With an emphasis on dried fruit, dried veggies, sweeteners (sugar, maple syrup, honey), seasonings. A little dry milk, a very few cans of freeze-dried meals, cocoa powder, etc.
Water gets its own category. One 55 gallon water barrel, one 80 gallon water heater, 13 gallons in bottles that I rotate regularly. We are on well water, so if power goes even short term, we have no water except what is stored .... or that I carry from a nearby stream and run thru' a water purifier. And I'm not talking a Brita filter setup, I'm talking Katydin filter or, someday, a Berkley set up.
Clearly, I also have a hand crank grain mill, and general cooking supplies. Cooking fuel I'll cover later.