Friday, March 1, 1974

Food storage

A lot of family members have been talking food storage. Some appear a little too zealous; others don't even know where to begin. So here are a few basic principles that will help all of us. Our late prophet, President Harold B. Lee, said in the Church welfare conference, October 1, 1966:

"We have never laid down an exact formula for what anybody should store, and let me just make this comment: Perhaps if we think not in terms of a year's supply of what we ordinarily 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 [J. Reuben] Clark advised us way back in 1937" (Ensign, Sept. 1973, 71).

Now what did President Clark say back in 1937? Listen: "Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead" (Conference Report, Apr. 1937, 26).

So the prophets teach (1) that preparedness is important and (2) that we should first store the basic items that will sustain life and after that, if we can, store foods we normally eat. The following basic items might be considered for storage:

Grains (wheat, rice, or other of the grass cereals) - 300 lbs.
Powdered milk (nonfat) - 100 lbs.
Sugar or honey - 100 lbs.
Salt - 5 lbs.

These amounts would sustain an average woman for one year if no other foods were eaten. Men would need more, children less. The quantities would be reduced proportionately as other foods are added.

Storage must be approached wisely. The Church specifically counsels us not to go into debt to buy food, not to participate in panic buying, not to become stroage faddists. Each family must carefully, calmly, and prayerfully assess their own resources and their own needs and plan accordingly. Here are a few broad guidelines:

1. Top grade prodcuts store better. Buy the best.
2. Metal storage cans or heavy plastic containers with air-tight lids are usually best for storage.
3. Foods store best at 40-60 degrees. Shelf life diminishes in proportion to any temperatures higher than this.
4. Good rotation prevents spoilage or loss of food value, so store in areas that allow easy access and usability.

Local government agences, colleges, or universities can provide specific information regarding food storage. Elder Ezra Taft Benson gave an excellent talk on this subject in the last general conference. Read it (see Ensign, Jan. 1974, 68). Among the things he said was this: "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."

So this is very important. But let us keep calm; we are expected to be a positive light to the world. As President Joseph F. Smith said years ago (and it now seems so appropriate in the midst of Watergate and an energy crisis and food shortages and wars and rumors of wars and the increasing wickedness in the world):

"Leaders of the Church . . . should be men [and women] not easily discouraged, not without hope, and not given to forebodings of all sorts of evils to come. . . . If men standing in high places sometimes feel the weight and anxiety of momentous times, they should be all the firmer and all the more resolute in those convictions which come from a God-fearing conscience and pure lives. Men in their private lives should feel the necessity of extending encouragement to the people by their own hopeful and cheerful intercourse with them. . . . It is a matter of the greatest importance that the people be educated to appreciate and cultivate the bright side of life rather than to permit its darkness and shadows to hover over them" (Gospel Doctrine, 155).

If we live righteously, pay our tithing, practice thrift, avoid debt, and have a willingness to work, we need never fear. The Lord Himself has promised, "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear" (D&C 38:30).

For anyone who is interested, Ray can get hard turkey red what at $11.50 a hundred or potato granules at $5.00 a hundred. The wheat comes in 50 lb. bags, the potatoes in 100 lb. bags. Orders must be made immediately before the supply is gone. The wheat must be paid for when ordered. Money for the potatoes can be paid later (like at the reunion).

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