Depending on the source, standard recommendations for a one-year food reserve for one adult male that contains meats, grains, legumes, dairy products, sugars, fruits and vegetables weighs in around 755 pounds. That doesn’t even include water! Imagine that number doubled for a couple, and add an additional two thirds of that number for each toddler and pre-adolescent residing in the household.

It’s no secret that building up your emergency food supply is important and necessary. The quick and easy solution is stocking up on MREs and canned goods. But one of the worst things that you can do in a contingency situation is to drastically change your diet by ingesting foreign foods. This can cause appetite fatigue, a situation more prevalent in small children and older folks, and can affect anyone who consumes something consistently for an extended amount of time. This cannot only result in mental degradation, but also in death in extreme circumstances.

One thing that will help is to incorporate foods into your daily diet that are part of your storage strategy. Having a variety of sustenance items is not only a matter of physical survival in dire circumstances, but mental as well.

The logic behind those food-reserve figures and the appetite fatigue scare is that everyone should be prepared to weather various storms (natural or manmade) at various times throughout their lives. Having substantial stores of food on hand can relieve a lot of stress when the decision has to be made between a mortgage payment and a meal. However, add to that factor an evacuation scenario and the weight of all of that stored sustenance becomes a serious consideration as to what should be taken and what should be left. But what if you could just take your means of sustenance and not your entire survival cache?

Grow Your Own

An alternative method of food storage is the living element. Growing your own fruits and vegetables and raising livestock is nothing new in the preparedness and self-sufficient lifestyle world, but the type and methodology can be looked at further for efficiency. Considerations include the type of environment that you live in, whether it’s urban, suburban or rural. There are a couple of revolutionary self-sustaining food sources and growing methods that are adaptable and scalable to any environment or location.

Endless Food Systems offers aquaponics kits that can be adapted to any size family in any environment. From a small urban apartment to a sprawling rural homestead, aquaponics is one of the fastest growing and simplistic methods of producing a sustainable food supply.

The system uses a water tank that contains your favorite kind of fish and a grow bed that contains clay pellets mounted on top of the tank. A simple, low-voltage pump system is used to pump fish water (a natural fertilizer) into the grow bed above. The plant roots and clay pellets filter the water, which then drains back into the fish tank, keeping it clean. The grow bed is capable of growing your favorite fruits and vegetables, including root vegetables, which can be immediately consumed upon harvest or canned and stored for a later time.

Endless Food Systems offers a variety of sizes for its tanks and grow beds, and some models are even expandable depending on how much room you have to dedicate to this type of food production. A bonus to this system is that the components can be disassembled and moved if necessary.

Another portable growing method that utilizes a unique watering system requiring no electricity is FarmDaddy. This container system has a valve-type mechanical sensor that determines how much water the plants in the container need, and opens the valve to release only the amount of water needed before shutting off. Multiple units can be attached with small connector hoses in between, each with their own valve. These units can be fed by a standard water hose from a spigot or a gravity-fed rain collection system, and can grow just about anything, including small fruit trees.

Mobile Life Support

Fruits, vegetables and fish are all great options for healthy, sustainable living, but a variety of proteins will help in decreasing the likelihood of appetite fatigue. When space and possible transportation are considerations in the selection of your meat source in the sustainable-living arena, rabbits are a great source.

High in protein and low in cholesterol, rabbits have a very quick gestation cycle at approximately 28 days. Smaller breeds may yield anywhere from two to four bunnies per litter, while some of the larger breeds can yield up to eight. The Bunny Hut Rabbitry breeds and sells not only rabbits, but also chickens, ducks and alpacas as well. The company’s founders initially added four ducks to their homestead and in less than a year now have over 40. Ducks are high in protein, produce richer and heartier eggs than chickens and are very resilient. You can also buy custom cages for permanent housing structures as well as portable units for transportation purposes.

Being able to transport and reestablish a sustainment and storage pattern is as important as food variety, and any design should be broken down into manageable weights and dimensions in case the need to evacuate arises. Live options such as plants and animals should be part of that process as well.

Your vehicle and method of transport will determine what and how much of it you can take, and how far. Various methods for transporting the previously mentioned plants, animals and associated containers can be a utility trailer, large and mid-sized sport-utility vehicles as well as pickup trucks.

The key to maintaining a healthy outlook and way of life during adversity is to have a well-organized plan that contains not only methods of storage, but a continual plan of how to produce and transport what is necessary to survive long-term catastrophic events.

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