My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

How Much Food Do You Need To Survive For One Year? And Where Do I Buy It?

36 Comments

If you had to go to the grocery store right now and buy all the food you need to keep you alive for one year, do you have any idea how much that would be?

Expensive?

I would guess that most of my readers do not know, because I didn’t for a long time.  I felt like it must cost a huge, unattainable amount.  It isn’t!

The key part of this question is the word SURVIVE.  This is not the amount of food one needs to be happy or thrive.  Here is a breakdown of the amounts needed for one person:

Grains (wheat, rice, etc.) – 400 pounds

Beans (any kind) – 60 pounds

Fats (cooking oil, butter, etc.) – 10 quarts (2 1/2 gallons)

Salt – 8 pounds

Powdered Milk – 16 pounds

Wheat and Flour

How much does this cost?  Not as much as you’d think.  I buy these staples through Walton Feed, Costco, my grocery store, and a few other places.  Here’s a breakdown of my costs (based on my last purchases).

Grains (wheat, rice, etc.) – 400 pounds.  8 bags of Winter White Wheat, $26.50/50-lbs. = $212

OR                                        8 bags of White Flour, $15/50-lbs. = $120

OR                                        8 bags of Rice, $20/50-lbs. = $160

Beans (any kind) – 60 pounds.  4 bags of Black Beans, $15/25-lbs. = $60

Fats (cooking oil, butter, etc.) – 10 quarts (2 1/2 gallons).  2 containers of Canola Oil, $9/5 quarts = $18

Salt – 8 pounds.  2 large boxes of Iodized Salt, $1/4-lb. box = $2

Powdered Milk – 16 pounds.  9 – #10 cans of dry milk, $5.40/#10 can = $49

Total Cost for a One Year BASIC Food Supply = $250 – $341 (plus tax, if applicable)

Wahoo! You CAN afford food storage!

That’s doable, isn’t it?  Especially if you break it up and buy these items slowly over time.   So the question becomes, not how much do I buy, but where can I buy all this stuff?  That depends on the types of food you want to store.  Do you want to buy food and stick it away and forget about it?  Or do you want to buy stuff you use every day and use?

If you want to buy every day stuff, go to the grocery store, a warehouse club, or a discount store and stock up on what you normally eat.  Buy one or two extra items each time you shop.  If something’s on sale, buy as many as you can afford.  Then, stock up on a different item the next time you shop.

If you want to buy your food and put it away for a “rainy day,” I have a few recommendations for you: an LDS Storehouse, Walton Feed, and Emergency Essentials.  I have bought food from all three and have been very pleased with the quality and the prices.

Colorado Bishop’s Storehouse and Home Storage Center

First, the LDS church has “Home Storage Centers.”  These are part of the “Bishop’s Storehouse” which is a store-like location where those in need can get food to feed their families (free of charge) when authorized by an LDS Bishop (leader of a congregation).  The “Storehouse” also has a separate section where interested individuals can buy food which has been packaged for long term storage.  It is very reasonably priced, because the LDS church is not trying to make a profit.  They simply want to help people prepare for the unexpected.

Home Storage Center Starter Kit includes: wheat, rice, flour, oats, and beans.

Home Storage Center Starter Kit includes: wheat, rice, flour, oats, and beans.

A one-month basic supply of food is $22.10 (as of today), plus tax, if applicable.  The basic supply includes the following: red winter wheat, white winter wheat, rice, oats, flour, and beans.  It does not include milk, salt, or oil, but milk is available for purchase for $5.40/#10 can.  Click here for a current price list.  If you have a Home Storage Center near you (click here for a list of locations), I highly recommend that you give them a call and ask how you can purchase these items.  They are some of the best prices I’ve found, and you do not need to be a member of the LDS church to purchase the items.

If you don’t live near a storehouse, or you prefer the convenience of having the items delivered to your home, you can purchase them online.  The prices are a little bit more, because shipping is included (USA only, sorry!), but the prices are still very good.

Walton Feed, also known as Rainy Day foods, is a reputable merchant specializing in basics like wheat, beans, flour, etc., but they carry other foods packaged for long term storage.  There’s a woman in my area who arranges a Walton Feed order twice a year.  Since the order is so large, we get a break on the shipping.  That’s where I’ve bought most of my wheat and beans.

Emergency Essentials sells a wide variety of items, and they offer “group specials” monthly.  If you purchase the minimum number of the group special, your order ships for free, even if you order items which are not part of the group special.  I organize group purchases for my friends and myself, because I want to take advantage of the sale, but don’t always want 6 or 12 of something.

What do you think about that? 

Do you think that obtaining a year supply of basics is doable?

Where will YOU start? 

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Author: Laurie Nguyen

I am a happily married, stay at home mom with four sons, ages 24, 22, 18, and 14. I'm not a professional blogger, and I'm certainly not a foodie or a chef. But I like food, so I think I'm qualified to write about my own life experience with food. Want to be a little more prepared for the unexpected? Check out my Food Storage Blog, http://forayintofoodstorage.com. Have a question about Food Storage? Email me: forayintofoodstorage@gmail.com.

36 thoughts on “How Much Food Do You Need To Survive For One Year? And Where Do I Buy It?

  1. Thanks for the good ideas, Laurie. I had no idea you could purchase food storage items at a Bishop’s storehouse. I’ll have to see if there’s one here in the Chicago area. I would love to be able to have at least a full month’s worth of storage. That would be a start, at least. Only problem is that I have no idea what the different kinds of wheat are for, or hire to bake with it. That could be a problem if we actually had to survive on it!

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    • There’s one in Naperville. Not sure how close that is to you, but it may be worth checking out.

      Regarding wheat, worst comes to worst, you can put it on the stove with water and cook it like rice. You can also grind it and make bread, but that requires a grain mill. I bought a hand grinder a few years ago for about $50 through Amazonl.

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  2. Thanks so much for that information. I’ve been buying according. To meals I can make, rather than necessities as you suggest. I will probably change my way of thinking as far as purchasing goes. I can’t believe milk is available for only $5.40/#10 can at the storehouse. I just priced it online, I won’t mention where, at anywhere from $12-$18 for a #10 can. Fortunately we’re in the Sacramento area in CA, so there is a storehouse downtown. Thanks for what you do:) hugs:)

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    • You are most welcome! There’s nothing wrong with buying your food storage according to the meals you make. I do this for a short term supply. But I’m a “fix it and forget it” kind of gal, so I like the idea of being able to buy some basic necessities and knowing I have food in case an emergency hits.

      Of course, I’m learning how to make a many different things with these basics, so that we don’t go into shock if we have to use them. 🙂 And I’m gradually incorporating more of these basics into my cooking, but I really like my white bread, so I keep lots of white flour on hand.

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  3. Wow you must have done a great deal of research to provide us with this useful info. Thank you

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  4. Interesting read. Our family would need 2800 lbs of grains alone for one year, I’m trying to imagine what that even looks like. We had seen the one month kits when we had traveled through Utah and thought they were a really interesting idea, I’ve never seen them up here in Canada. We stockpile a lot of canned goods when we get really good deals at case lot sales, the trick is having a place to store them and keeping the big boys from eating everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Don’t forget, white flour and white rice have much of the nutrition removed, theoretically to keep the bugs from eating it (because they can tell it is not worth eating). It would be better to keep to whole grains and brown rice.

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  6. Also, flour does not last as long as the wheat itself. If you have a hand/bicycle powered mill, you can make your own flour.

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    • That is also true. Thankfully, one can do a lot with wheat (other than grind it and make bread).

      Personally, I think it’s better to have as many whole grains as possible. Better nutrition, better taste, and they last longer.

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  7. This is a neat exercise. If the beans were soy and you had some kind of vinegar/acid you could probably make your own tofu. If you added in a vegetable garden you could do more than just survive but get all the nutrition you need to do more than merely survive. In fact, this alone seems like a pretty large quantity of food. What kind of emergency would you be preparing for?

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    • It is amazing what you can do with a little variety, isn’t it? A vegetable garden and some tofu would make these basic supplies taste so much better!

      Regarding my personal preparations, I’m not preparing for any specific emergency, but the most likely one I will face in my lifetime is an earthquake (as I live in southern California). I think it’s a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected just in case. For most people they are more likely to experience a job loss, illness, or other difficulty than they are to experience a natural or man-made disaster.

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      • I used to live on the coast so I understand the idea of being prepared for a possible earthquake. In the event of an emergency where the infrastructure could be disrupted I would think that storing water for cooking and drinking would be key. A kind of nightmare because it takes up so much space and where would you get affordable food safe (i.e. not plastic) containers?

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  8. Oh my gosh, what a fascinating post! I definitely felt some conviction here on what kind of money I could be saving in general with food purchases — and being a bit of a conspiracy theorist, it’s also kinda good to see just what exactly my family would need in an emergency or disaster.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. Just keep in mind that these are bare minimums. You probably won’t be very happy living off of this, but it is an excellent place to start. Once you have the basics, you can add to your food supply with more “luxuries.”

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  9. Loved this post! I’ve always done my shopping by stocking up on frequently used sale items like toilet paper, soap, chicken breast, etc. so that I could spend the least amount of money and be set for quite awhile without fear of running out. But this is a whole different level! I live in an apartment so I’m not sure how much emergency food I could store. I think the idea of the one month kit might be perfect for my situation. Do you think that would be a good idea, or should I just stock up a lot on one necessary item instead?

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    • Personally, I think the starter kit is a great idea, but you should do what works best for you and your family. Get foods you will eat. 🙂

      If you decide to get something like this, you can take the #10 cans out of the box and lay them on their sides, they can fit under most beds, making them easier to store. I store mine in the top of my master bedroom closet (inside the box). 🙂

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  10. Reblogged this on My Foray Into Food Storage and commented:

    This post answers one of the most basic questions for those looking to build food storage: How much food do I actually need? And how much will it cost? Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Watch the movie “The Road”. You might not want to live for a year if there is no way to get food the normal way.

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    • I haven’t seen that movie, but I can imagine what it would be like if there was no “normal” way to get food. While having a year supply of food can help if there’s no “normal” way to get food, I think it’s much more likely I would use it in a short term scenario, like a job loss or an earthquake. Being prepared for an extreme, but unlikely situation also prepares one for less extreme, but more likely situations.

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      • Exactly so. When I was in the navy they recommended keeping six months salary in savings. One time through a personnel error I was limited to base pay for three months. Savings kept that from being a disaster. Saving food is almost as good. Love your blog. Feel free to comment on mine!

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  12. Human digestive system is NOT meant to digest grains! So you can throw out your 400lb of wheat and stuff. Learn some basics before telling cowdump to people.

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    • Whoa! Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed. A word of advice: you attract more bees with honey than with vinegar. Insults do not become you.

      Back to the subject at hand, I beg to differ. Most humans digest grain very well. Not all humans digest all grains well, and some don’t digest them well at all. Some people do much better with heritage grains or rice or barley or any number of grains. Some people must avoid grain like the plague. I have always encouraged and will continue to encourage my readers to find what works best for them.

      This information was not intended to be a “one size fits all” solution, but it is a well researched solution which works well for the majority of people. If it doesn’t work for you, please find something that does.

      I created this blog to encourage people to become more self-sufficient in whatever way is best for them as individuals.

      I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

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    • Oh please. And this morning there was someone on TV saying that our bodies aren’t able to digest meat.

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  13. Pingback: I Have Some Grouchy Readers! Today, I Heard From An Anti-Grain-ite… | My Foray Into Food Storage

  14. You have an amazing blog going on. I really think comments like that are ‘spam’ or like you said, “someone got up on the wrong side of the bed.” Keep on blogging. Keep on having fun. All the best to you. hugs. Renee 🙂

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  15. thanks for your blog and yes we should be thinking about being able to feed ourselves independent of the food store. Sandy hit NJ 2 years ago and the food store was empty in just 3 days…. keep in mind what will sustain you store protien and powdered milk and water. I appreciate your blog. thanks for helping us all… May God Bless you………

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  16. Pingback: A Storm is Coming – Some Practical Helps | inLight Adventure

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