For years, my writings have contained pleas to prepare for hard times by storing food as well as repeated warnings of coming famine. If you have not heeded those warnings, I want to urge you once again to quickly begin preparing for the coming disaster. If you have begun storing food, I want to offer a word of encouragement to ramp up your preparations. And, if you have so far ignored this counsel, I want to impress upon you how much you will one day regret it.
Let’s be realistic: You can’t eat money. You can’t cook up a Rolex watch. You can’t consume your big house, speedboat, or fancy car. Your smartphone won’t fill your belly. You can’t melt down and drink your gold and silver coins. As wealthy and materially-blessed as you may be, the man with food is far richer than you unless you also have food.
The great religious Pioneer leader Brigham Young once chided the self-righteous slackers in his community:
“How many of you have had wisdom enough to procure and lay up for yourselves produce enough to last until harvest? You may call this a small matter. How many of you have wheat or flour to last you a year? If you are without bread, how much wisdom can you boast, and of what real utility are your talents, if you cannot procure for yourselves and save against a day of scarcity those substances designed to sustain your natural lives? You wish to come here and preach to the people, when you have not knowledge to sustain yourselves temporally, to say nothing of a spiritual salvation. You cannot save yourselves, a wife, and a child from starvation, unless someone takes you by the hand and leads you; and yet you want to make us believe that you are almighty big men. I exhort the brethren to seek unto the Lord for wisdom. If you cannot provide for your natural lives, how can you expect to have wisdom to obtain eternal lives? God has given you your existence—your body and spirit, and has blest you with ability, and thereby laid the foundation of all knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, and all glory and eternal lives. If you have not attained ability to provide for your natural wants, and for a wife and a few children, what have you to do with heavenly things?
“. . . Instead of trying to find out how God is made, or how angels are made, I wish you would try to learn how to sustain yourselves in your present existence, and at the same time learn the things of God” (President Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, 68, June 3, 1860).
People today are in the same boat – the same dilapidated, leaky, sinking boat. We are apt to believe “it can’t happen here” when we see earthquakes in Japan, wars in Europe, or famines in Africa. Yet, crises can and do happen here. I need only say the word “Coronavirus,” to say nothing of Hurricane Katrina, scorching fires in California, killer tornadoes in the Midwest, and power outages in Texas, to remind you of how ever-present peril is.
Estimates are that 1 in 10 American homes were hit by natural disasters in 2021. That means tens of millions of your countrymen suffered crises. Add in man-made disasters, like the COVID-19 bioweapon release and vaccine genocide, to say nothing of Marxist Black Lives Matter riots and Antifa terrorism or increasing criminality, and the number of crisis events skyrockets. The fact is that every family will one day face a crisis of one degree or another. The smart strategy, then, is to prepare.
Besides drawing close to the Savior Jesus Christ and conforming to His exalted teachings, perhaps the greatest thing you can do for your family is to store food for the coming days of famine and cataclysms. Ezra Taft Benson raised his prophetic voice to all Americans when he counseled:
“It would be well if every family have on hand grain for at least a year. And may I remind you that it generally takes several times as much land to produce a given amount of food when grains are fed to livestock and we consume the meat. Let us be careful not to overdo beef cattle and other livestock projects on our welfare farms.
“From the standpoint of food production, storage, handling, and the Lord’s counsel, wheat should have high priority. Water, of course, is essential. Other basics could include honey or sugar, legumes, milk products or substitutes, and salt or its equivalent. The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.
“President Harold B. Lee has wisely counseled that “perhaps if we think not in terms of a year’s supply of what we ordinarily would use, and think more in terms of what it would take to keep us alive in case we didn’t have anything else to eat, that last would be very easy to put in storage for a year … just enough to keep us alive if we didn’t have anything else to eat. We wouldn’t get fat on it, but we would live; and if you think in terms of that kind of annual storage rather than a whole year’s supply of everything that you are accustomed to eat which, in most cases, is utterly impossible for the average family, I think we will come nearer to what President Clark advised us way back in 1937.” (Welfare conference address, October 1, 1966.)
“There are blessings in being close to the soil, in raising your own food, even if it is only a garden in your yard and/or a fruit tree or two. Man’s material wealth basically springs from the land and other natural resources. Combined with his human energy and multiplied by his tools, this wealth is assured and expanded through freedom and righteousness. Those families will be fortunate who, in the last days, have an adequate supply of each of these particulars.”
I want to underscore one line in particular: “The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.” This was said in 1974, but it seems more relevant today in 2022 as we see:
• Plagues shutting down the supply chain
• Red China hoarding over 60% of the world’s grain
• War hampering food exports
• Nations suspending trade, grain exports, and fertilizer sales
• Major countries being unable to plant their winter wheat due to unnaturally wet conditions
• Unnaturally dry conditions plaguing farms in other parts of the world
• The biggest drought in over a millennium hitting North America
• The United States digging into its oil and food reserves to stave off rapidly rising inflation and public discontent
• Massive fires stopping the regular farming cycles in some parts
These and a hundred other hindrances make us easily see how having a year supply of food could be as crucial to us as being on Noah’s ark was when the Lord sent down His rains to cleanse the earth.
Bearing all of this in mind, you may be wondering how to begin gathering a food storage to feed your family when it all hits the fan. I want to present a succinct methodology for getting the food you need, including what you should put in your storage.
A general rule of thumb is that you should store the things your family normally eats. Why would you store giant buckets of oats if your family doesn’t eat oats? Store what you eat. That’s sound counsel. However, considering the lateness of the hour, I don’t think it is the wisest approach.
If you haven’t started preparing, or if your supplies are lacking, then my recommendation for you is to immediately buy those things that will sustain life during a crisis. If you don’t normally eat oats, so what? You’d be grateful for them in a catastrophe. If you don’t eat a lot of rice, suck it up. You’d be grateful to have a supply of it to fill your belly. If you don’t usually eat lentils, I don’t think your children would complain too much if you were able to prevent them from starving by dishing them up some. It’s better than eating bugs or killing your neighbor for food!
Some may reject this advice, but I stand by it. If you don’t know where to start, simply start by getting anything that you can eat – anything that will sustain you. Canned foods are a great option. The food is already prepared and it often has a shelf life of several years. Just open and serve. Canned meats like tuna, sardines, corned beef, and SPAM variations are great to have. Tuna is particularly versatile and can be blended with many other foods and spices and is good cold and hot.
You can even can, pressure cook, or preserve your own meat if you prefer. Nearly anything can be preserved – chicken, pork, fish, ground beef, and so on. If you’re legitimately interested in preserving your own food, I recommend watching two informed presentations by Wendy DeWitt which can be found here and here.
Canned vegetables – corn, peas, beets, asparagus, beans, mixed, mushrooms, etc. – should also find their way into your storage. What veggies do you like? Grab a few cans of your preferences each time you go to the store. Incrementally, you can build up a large store of food in no time. Can you afford five cans of food this week? Could you afford it every week? What about every other week? Throw in a 5 lb. bag of rice and a couple bags of lentils each time you pick up your five cans and you can see how quickly you can build up a food storage for a fairly low cost.
Grains are crucial for your storage. That’s why I asked, Got Gain? The most readily available grain is probably rice. It’s inexpensive and plentiful. The price varies by location, but it’s still a cheap commodity at the moment. On the Walmart website, a 5 lb. bag of “Great Value” long grain white rice costs $2.58. My wife and I shopped yesterday at a local store, buying an extra 30 lb. of rice for our storage. We didn’t spend more than $2 per bag. We even picked up a bag for $1.76 of a brand we’ve never tried. Is there any excuse not to throw an extra bag of rice in your cart each time you shop?
Let me quickly interject that rationalizing your procrastination only prolongs your worry and ensures your eventual suffering. Just throw the $2 bag of rice in your cart! What? You don’t have $2? Do you really need the Pringles and Pop-Tarts? I enjoy dill pickle-flavored Pringles as much as the next guy, but are they really a necessity?
Learn to forego things you want for things you need. You might want that sugary cereal, but you don’t need it. On Walmart.com, a 12 oz. box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch costs $3.28 – nearly a dollar more than that 5 lb. bag of rice! Who will argue that Cinnamon Toast Crunch is more nutritious or beneficial than a bag of rice?
A word more about grain. Rice is the easiest, but it’s not the only grain. Wheat is another. Most flour is made from wheat. Flour is used to make bread, pasta, and a host of other common items. If you’d like to eat bread during the apocalypse, make sure you have some flour or some wheat. You can buy a 10 lb. bag of all-purpose flour for $3 at Walmart. True, bleached flour may not be the healthiest, but it’s better than nothing in a pinch. If you prefer unbleached, it’s just a few cents more. If you want whole wheat flour, which is obviously healthier, you can buy a 5 lb. bag of Gold Medal brand for just $4.38.
If you prefer to make your own flour, or to have wheat on hand for a variety of purposes, you can purchase a 45 lb. bucket of hard red wheat from Augason Farms is about $45. Maybe that seems like a hefty price tag, especially if you don’t have a lot in the bank right now. But what’s the price of your life? What is peace of mind worth? What is the value of your children’s survival? Alternatively, how much does one trip to McDonald’s cost your family? In 2020, the average McDonald’s meal for a family of four cost $28, more than half the price of forty-five pounds of wheat, yet the dividends are nil in comparison.
Oats are another excellent item to store. Oats aren’t prohibitively expensive, though, like everything else, they were cheaper in the past. Right now, through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you can buy a case of six #10 cans for $35.20. Oats can be stored for decades. They’re a great thing to have in your storage.
Think of all this food you’re going to store. How will you cook it? Probably some type of oil. But how much oil do you have on hand? Is it a sufficient amount for a prolonged period of time? If you’re like most people, you probably guzzle cooking oil like water. Despite the health dangers, you will need something to cook the food you meticulously store. Make sure you have it. Also, be sure you have a way to make fire.
Dear reader, take an inventory and see how much food you have sitting in your house right this very moment. If the stores all closed tomorrow due to war, pandemic, or a natural disaster, how long could you survive on what you have on hand? A week? A month? Longer? Don’t sugarcoat the reality. Take an honest inventory and see where you lack. If you don’t have, or aren’t trying to get, a year’s supply of food and water, then I think your supplies are lacking.
For a variety of reasons, religious and practical, I recommend at least a one-year supply. Don’t say you can’t do it; you can. Don’t say you have nowhere to put it; you’ll find space if your priorities are right. Don’t make excuses; your families deserve better than that. Your children look to you for guidance and protection. Safeguard them. Give them a future. Give them a chance to survive the coming famines and crises.
Make 2022 the year when you finally prepare and secure your home against what’s coming. Bad omens portend famine and scarcity. Inflation will continue to skyrocket. Commotion will become more widespread. But having a food storage to feed your family will give you confidence and a palpable peace of mind.
When someone asks you, “Got Grain?”, an affirmative answer is the only tolerable reply. The only thing more important to your future survival is affirmatively answering, “Got God?” Get grain and God and you can weather the coming storms. And they are coming quickly. May God bless you.
March 21, 2022