Food Storage Can Kill You…

…if you don’t know what you’re doing and rely on unwise internet advice.


Last Sunday, September 16, 2018, a friend gave me a copy of an article printed off the internet which claimed you could feed a family of 4 for a year on less than $300. WOW!!!! Who wouldn’t want THAT information?

My first clue as to the lack of knowledge and understanding of the article’s writer came in the third and fourth sentences, to wit, “AND there are no hassles with rotating. Pack it and forget.” Okay, I’ll admit, that sounds easy and inviting, but ever so stupid. People, especially children, have been known to starve themselves to death rather than eat unfamiliar foods or foods they don’t like. Plus, if you don’t use the food in “real life” you will be as clueless as the author of the article on the reality of living off of the foods you have stored.

Now let’s dig into the article’s recommendations as to what to store and how much to store to feed a family of four for a year.

The recommendation was to buy eight 5-gallon buckets. That really set off my alarm bells. I wanted to know how the author planned to feed 1 person for a year from just two 5-gallon buckets! That would be quite an accomplishment.

Next, I added up the grains being recommended for 4 people for 1 year – 90 lbs of rice and 22 lbs of barley for a total of 112 lbs of grains. If you know anything at all about food storage, the MINIMUM grain storage for 1 person is 300 lbs or 1200 pounds for a family of 4 and the RECOMMENDED grain storage is 400 lbs per person or 1600 lbs for a family of four.

There are a bunch of legumes on the list, so I thought, maybe the author is making up for the horrific shortage of grains by using extra legumes – LOTS of extra legumes.

22 lbs. of kidney beans             22 lbs. of lentils            5.5 lbs. of split peas                 5.5 lbs. of garbanzo beans

That adds up to 55 lbs. of legumes, almost enough for 1 person for 1 year, 60 lbs. being the minimum, but certainly nowhere near enough to feed a family of 4 for a year. That requires 240 lbs. of legumes.

The author of the article also recommends storing 1 lb. of salt versus the 8 lbs. per person normally recommended.

Checking the USDA nutrient content tables, I found that the article’s author was recommending a measly 185 kcalories per day per person. Compare that with the USDA recommended 2000 kcalories per day per adult and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the author’s idea of feeding a family of 4 for 1 year on less than $300 is a recommendation for fairly rapid starving to death. In all fairness to the author, he or she claims the above will fit into 7 of the 8 buckets and that the 8th bucket should be filled with things like instant oatmeal packets, dry onion, “just add water” cornbread mixes, beef jerky, and Vienna sausages. I can absolutely promise you that such contents added to the 8th bucket, pressed down and bulging at the seams, will not add sufficient calories to make up for the lack of appropriate quantities of grains and legumes – even if you know how to sprout them!

The author of the article publishes a website called “” which would lead an untrained eye to believe they really know what they are talking about. Following such ill-informed advice will kill your family if/when the day comes that you need to live off of what you have stored.

Now, for those who need a refresher, prior to 2008, many sources recommended storing the following per person per year:

  • 400 lbs. grains
  • 17 lbs. powdered milk (NOT whey-based milk substitute)
  • 60 lbs. legumes
  • 10 quarts cooking oil
  • 8 lbs. salt
  • 60 lbs. sugar or honey
  • 14 gallons of water (barely enough to get 1 person through 2 weeks of drinking & VERY LIGHT sanitation)

As a result of the failure of most members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to store the RECOMMENDED foods, in 2008 the Church began suggesting MINIMUM food storage consisting of 300 lbs. of grains and 60 lbs. of legumes which results in approximately 1550 kcalories per day per person – less than the handcart companies (2355 kcal/person/day) and roughly equivalent to Auschwitz (1250-1400 kcal/person/day) ( Let that sink in, then decide how hungry you want your family to be and act accordingly.

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