How to Stock Up on Food and Prepare for a Food Shortage

It’s always a good idea to prepare for the worst. That’s especially true when it comes to food shortages. A food shortage can happen for many reasons, including natural disasters, economic instability, the cost of gas and distribution issues, and pandemics. If not prepared, you’ll be left scrambling when the time comes.

That’s why it’s essential to stock up on food and water and learn how to can and preserve your food. It would help if you also had a plan for when the food runs out. Preparing now equips you to handle a food shortage should one occur.

storage jars filled with pasta lentils couscous

Why Should You Stockpile for Food Shortages?

There are many reasons why you should prepare for a food shortage. A natural disaster can strike at any time, without warning. An economic downturn could lead to widespread job loss and inflation, making it challenging to afford groceries. And in the event of a pandemic, essential supplies like food and water (and even toilet paper) would be in high demand.

If not prepared, a food shortage causes stress. But taking the necessary steps to stockpile food and water and learn how to preserve your food equips you to weather the storm.

What are Food Shortages?

A food shortage is when there’s not enough food to go around. Causes include natural disasters, economic instability, or weather. When a food shortage occurs, people may be unable to get the food they need to survive.

Population panic can also lead to shortages. As we saw in 2020 with toilet paper, people panicked when they noticed bare shelves and became irrational about the hoarding of rolls.

That’s why it’s crucial to be prepared. If you have a stockpile of food and water and the ability to preserve food, you’ll be in better shape should a food shortage occur.

Should you Prepare for a Food Shortage in 2022?

No crystal ball can tell us whether or not a food shortage will occur in 2022. The President did announce that due to the instability caused by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, we may see a shortage. The ripple effect of this conflict is worldwide.

It’s always a good idea to be prepared.

So start stockpiling now, and check expiration dates on your food regularly. That way, you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way in 2022.

Why Would You Need to Stock Up on Food?

There are many reasons why you might need to stock up on food. A natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tornado, can disrupt the food supply chain and leave grocery stores empty. Economic instability can also lead to food shortages, as people hoarding supplies can quickly deplete the available supply. 

Pandemics can cause production factories to slow the production and shipment of goods. And finally, rising food prices can cause shortages.

Loss of a job or illness can lead to family financial challenges. Having a decent stockpile can save your family from hunger during these tough times.

No matter the reason, it’s essential to be prepared. That means having a plan in place for how you’ll acquire food and water, as well as how you’ll organize and store it.

variety of dried beans sorted in plastic tubs

How to Stock Up on Food and Prepare for a Food Shortage

Here are some tips on how to stock up on food and prepare for a food shortage:

1. Take inventory.

Know how much you have and create a list of what your family likes to eat. Know what you have and what you can start buying in multiples.

2. Create a space.

Find an area of your home to store overflow supplies. Find the room using scrap wood or pallets to build shelves in your basement and garage or slide plastic bins under beds.

3. Buy non-perishable food items in bulk.

Include canned goods, dried beans, rice, pasta, and other shelf-stable items.

4. Invest in a deep freezer.

The additional freezer space allows you to stock up on frozen meats and vegetables, which will last longer than fresh produce.

5. Learn how to can and preserve food.

This way, you can extend the shelf life of your food items. There are plenty of resources to teach you how to preserve food. Look for supplies like jars, lids, canning pots, and vacuum sealers in the marketplace or at garage sales.

6. Store water in clean, safe containers.

You should have at least a three-day supply of water on hand.

large bottles of stockpiled drinking water

7. Have a plan.

Planning what happens when the stockpile runs out might be a bit too scary for some to consider, but it’s necessary. Have a plan for when the food runs out.

The plan could include rationing your food supplies or growing your food.

8. Grow a Garden.

Plant one to get the hang of it, even if it’s just a small salad garden (lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions). Use buckets, containers, or windows if you don’t have outdoor space. 

baskets of green beans at farmers market

9. Buy from the farmer’s market or roadside stand.

Our farmer’s markets are pretty pricy here. So I tend to stop at roadside stands to get much of my produce during the season.

10. Double or triple up when something is on sale.

Holidays like July 4th are great times to stockpile condiments. Cases of bottled water are also on sale.

11. Get out of debt.

There is nothing like the stability of being debt-free, knowing that when something happens, we will not have to spend our income on paying someone back. Everything we have we own.

12. Learn to cook from scratch.

Now while everything is calm, grab some recipes and practice. Look for simple cookbooks at garage sales to add to your library. Practice making meals for your family as well as bread and baked goods

13. Have a library of resources.

Build up resources you can pull off a shelf or out of a box if you need information. These resources include cookbooks, gardening, preserving, general homesteading, and maintenance books.

14. Plant fruit trees and bushes.

These will produce for you yearly and, combined with your new preservation and canning skills, will give you fruit all year.

15. Consider moving out of cities.

Relocate to less populated areas. More property and fewer populations make rural areas safer. 

Having more space will allow for self-sufficiency. The drive to get needed supplies might be longer, but the trade-off is worth it.

16. Stop wasting food.

Use up what you have before it goes bad. If food is at risk of spoiling, consider freezing it for another day. Learn to love leftovers.

17. Learn to save and store seeds.

Add a book to your library about saving and storing seeds. If you’re not an avid gardener now, you may need to do so in the future.

Following these tips can prepare you better for a food shortage. Don’t wait until it’s too late to start stocking up on food and water. Be prepared today so that you can weather any storm tomorrow.

How to Prevent Food Shortages in Your Home

Following these tips prepares you in the event of a food shortage. However, it’s also essential to take steps to prevent food shortages in your home in the first place.

One way to do this is to reduce food waste. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans throw away nearly 40 percent of the food they purchase. That’s a lot of food that could be going to waste!

To reduce food waste, try only to buy what you need and use up all the food you have before buying more. You can also compost your food scraps instead of throwing them away. Compost helps create rich soil for growing your food.

Another way to prevent food shortages is to support local farmers and producers. By buying from local businesses, you can help to ensure a steady supply of food in your community.

You can also join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. This program allows you to purchase a share of a farmer’s harvest. Purchasing through a CSA program helps to support the farmer and gives you a regular supply of fresh, local produce.

No one knows when a food shortage might occur. But by being prepared and taking steps to prevent food shortages, you can help to keep your family safe and healthy.

What Foods are Good for Stockpiling?

There are a variety of foods that are good for stockpiling. Non-perishable food items are an excellent place to start.

Examples are:

  • Flour
  • Rice
  • Noodles and pasta (various varieties, white & wholewheat)
  • Vegetables (Freeze Dried, Canned, and Dehydrated)
  • Fruit (Freeze Dried, Canned, and Dehydrated)
  • Oats
  • Sugar (white, soft brown, dark brown)
  • Vegetable and Olive Oil
  • Powdered Milk
  • Salt, Baking Powder, Baking soda, other Herbs, and Spices
  • Chicken (Canned and Freeze-Dried)
  • Beef (Canned, Freeze Dried, Dehydrated, and Jerky)
  • Cans of Soup
  • Peanut Butter (protein)
  • Nuts (variety of)
  • Beans (various types of dried and canned)
  • Full Freeze Dried Meals

When stockpiling food, it’s important to rotate your supplies. Use the oldest food items first, then replenish your stockpile with fresh items. By rotating your food supply, you can ensure that you’re always eating the freshest food possible.

What is the Best Way to Store Food for an Extended Period?

The best way to store food for an extended period is in a cool, dry place. Consider a pantry, basement, or other storage areas. If you’re storing canned goods, ensure they are in a cool, dark place. And if you’re storing dried goods, such as rice or beans, make sure they are in an airtight container.

stockpiled canned pickles vegetables fruit on wooden pantry shelves

What Household Items are Suitable to Stockpile?

In addition to food, various household items are good to stockpile. The list includes toilet paper, paper towels, soap, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies. You should also have a three-day supply of water on hand.

Consider other items for emergencies as well. Cooking, heat, and light are essential in a crisis. You’ll need alternatives if the power goes out during a snowstorm. 

A wood-burning or camping stove can provide heat and light, and you can also cook on them. 

Candles, lanterns, and flashlights are also good to have on hand. If you use any prescription medications, make sure you have a three-day supply of those as well. And finally, don’t forget about your pets! Make sure you have enough food and water for them as well.

Final Thoughts On How To Stock Up And Prepare For A Food Shortage

No one knows when a food shortage might occur. But by being prepared and taking steps to prevent food shortages, you can help to keep your family safe and healthy. Note the foods that are good for stockpiling and watch for sales. Keep track of expiration dates and rotate your supplies accordingly.

Organize your stored food in a cool, dry place. Remember to stockpile household items as well as food. By being prepared, you can help to ensure that you and your family will be safe and healthy in the event of a food shortage.

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