How Long Will Your Emergency Food Stash Last Your Family?


Since I don’t know you, or your situation, I certainly won’t presume to recommend a “one-size-fits-all” plan for your family’s food security. But in the spirit of being helpful, I’d like to take this opportunity to walk you through the through the thought process it takes to decide whether you need a 72-hour, one-week, one-month, or one-year food supply. What would be a good average for the average family or for your family? Let’s find out.

72 Hours
A non-perishable, no-cook food supply of 72 hours is recommended by many different agencies for an emergency back up during a disaster. This should cover the typical family through most of the natural disasters that they may face, and give them a safety net until they can get out to shop at a re-supplied grocery store. This small cache of food is affordable, even on a budget. It's also small, so it takes up very little room. This may be all you even care to invest in, but the problem with this short-lived food stash is its brevity. How are you going to feed your hungry little ones on "day 5" or "day 11" of a major crisis? The answer is that you're not.

One Week
Building up slightly from the 72-hour food supply, a one-week food stash is still a fairly small volume of goods with a relatively affordable price tag. This should be easy to throw into the car if you had to evacuate, and easy to store in a closet or pantry. Non-perishable items are still a must, and no-cook is still the preferred method of consumption. But would one week be enough?

One Month
One month of food for your family, depending on the number of mouths you have to feed (and whether any of them are ravenous teenagers), might take up an entire closet in your home and cost several hundred dollars (especially if you go freeze-dried or MRE). But think of the value of this treasure trove. You'd sail through a short-term crisis with food to spare. Your one-month stash should include plenty of no-cook foods, but some dry goods are a great addition – due to their long shelf life and low cost.


One Year
A food supply of this magnitude is not for everyone. It would include some no-cook foods, but more staple food items than shorter food stocks. And I'm sure 4 out of 5 mainstream psychologists would consider something like this to be a demonstration of hoarding and paranoia. This massive food bank also requires a large and secure storage spot, and it can lead to a desire to avoid evacuation – because you can't transport it all in a pinch.
But here's the part that makes you consider something of this magnitude. Our ancestors routinely set aside a year's worth of food at harvest time. This was their store to get them through the year until the next harvest time came. You could say that it's in our DNA to be food hoarders, because the people that didn't have that drive probably didn't endure. And while this mountain of food would cost thousands of dollars to feed several people, you have to consider what would it be worth to be able to feed your family for months after a major collapse.

How long do you thing the average family’s food reserves should be? What do you have stocked up? Please tell us your thoughts by leaving a comment.