Sunday, September 12, 2010

How much food is a year's supply for a family of four?

When starting a food storage program for your family, the most critical thing is to know how much food your family eats in a year.  If you are going to store what you eat, and eat what you store, the first step is observation of your own kitchen.

But to give an idea as to what this could involve. . . I went to the governments My Pyramid site which describes their recommended daily consumptions of the various food groups (vegetables, fruits, oils, dairy, protein, grains).  They have different recommendations for men and women, boys and girls of various ages.  The plan below is based on a family of four -- a mother and father, a teenage boy age 14-18, and a young child age 4-8.

I don't know that anyone actually eats to the government recommendations, or even if that is a good idea, since government diet recommendations are heavily influenced by politics.  So I caution folks against following these amounts without doing research into what your family actually eats. 

With those caveats, however. . . here it is. . .
  • Veggies 2,084 15 oz cans
  • Grains 593 lbs
  • Fruits 1,564 15 oz cans
  • oils 12 gallons
  • dairy 251 gallons
  • peanut butter 13 quarts
  • nuts 13 lbs
  • beans 268 lbs
  • eggs 67 doz eggs
  • meat/poultry/fish 226 lbs
Using Oklahoma City supermarket prices, except for the meat which I priced at the levels prevailing in the Oklahoma Food cooperative. . . the price if bought all at once would be $5,453 plus sales tax, or $454/month.  The dairy I priced as bulk powdered milk.

For those who do their own canning, 1,564 commercial cans of fruit equals 683 quarts, and 2,084 cans of veggies would be 910 quarts. 

Not many of us could run out tomorrow and buy this much food.  But once you have developed your plan, you could start extending your household margins.  If you could finesse your budget so that you could spend an extra $100/month, in 4-1/2 months you would have an extra month's groceries on hand, maybe more, depending on the prices prevailing when you shop.

And then there is the contribution that your own gardening efforts can make to your plan.  Grow more, preserve more, and thus you will save more.

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