When my husband and I first started working on our food storage and trying to become more self-sufficient, a good friend of ours heard and asked, “Why in the world would you want to do that?” That seems to be the prevailing attitude toward food storage by people who do not participate in it.
For some people, faith is the main motivation for stocking up, and for others, it is just the way they were raised. Well, neither of these is true for us. But we have a few good reasons of our own:
The most common refrain I hear when I mention food storage is, “Well, do you really think you’ll ever need that? I mean, how likely is World War III?” I understand where this doubt comes from. After all, didn’t Y2K prove that being prepared for the worst is unnecessary, and the people who do it are totally out of touch with reality? Well, first, obviously, Y2K wasn’t a disaster largely due to the efforts of workers at companies worldwide reworking and reprogramming computer systems in the years leading up to the new millennium. If they hadn’t prepared, it sure could have been a disaster (see where I’m going with this…).
As Jack Spirko at The Survival Podcast has mentioned, food storage is not supposed to be about “making sure we have food for the economic meltdown predicted for July 30, 2011”(my words, not his). It is supposed to be about being prepared in general, for whatever may come, and in a way that improves life in the meantime. In fact, I remember one podcast where Jack said that people who prep for individual disasters give all preppers a bad name. When the supposed disaster date comes and goes with no drama, everyone points and says, “See, it is foolish to prepare.” Just like Y2K.
So suppose the chances of a Zombie Apocalypse in our lifetimes is 1 in 1000 (I am being generous here). Seems foolish to stock up, right? But what about the chances of a disease epidemic that makes it difficult to leave your home for several weeks? That gets down into the realm of 1 in 100. Or a 100-year storm, blizzard, or other natural disaster that delays shipments to the local grocery store? If an adult lives 75 years, that makes the chances more like 3 in 4, right? What about the family bread-earner being laid off and not having much to contribute to groceries for a few months? Why, my home has had well-trouble twice in the last 6 months, and having some water stored up sure made it easier to brush our teeth and flush the toilets!
Being prepared is not just for zany conspiracy-theorists. It is a prudent reaction to the uncertainties of life.
Everyone is trying to save a little money these days. Grocery bills are one of those flexible items where people can try to cut back and make changes. One of the first things you hear when looking for ways to save is, “Have a weekly plan. Shop once a week, not every day.” Moving beyond that a bit, I have read about a woman who spends only $200 a week on groceries for her family of 6 by buying a side of beef and 20 chickens every year, then buying other groceries once a month to fill out her monthly meal plan. I could be wrong here, but doesn’t the progression seem obvious? If you know what you’re going to eat for a whole year, won’t you save even more money beyond the monthly plan?
For several months when we first started our food storage, I struggled with making our new lifestyle compatible with my worldview. I believe the Bible has inspired wisdom for everyday living, and I try to arrange my life according to its principles. For this reason, passages like “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear,” (NIV) caused me to step back and think hard about what was right for us. In seeming contradiction, Proverbs 6:6,8 says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise…it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” So…where did that leave me? Should I be wise like the ant or care-free like the birds of the air?
Continued mulling reminded me that our modern week-to-week method of shopping and cooking has been the norm for less than a century. Before that, if you didn’t store up what you had to prepare for lean times, you were just plain foolish. And this historic view of preparation is probably the same as Jesus’ biblical audience would have shared when he told them not to worry about their needs. So the passage that mentions not worrying about what you will eat or drink is probably not a divine endorsement of imprudent living. It is more of a heart matter- do we trust ourselves, or God?
Proverbs 3:25-26 sums up my source of confidence, with or without food storage: “Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” (NIV)