Monday, March 14, 2011

Why I 'Prep' (Creating a SPAM-free Pantry Pt. 1)

I have been a part of a few on-line threads lately regarding the scriptural-ness (?) of the prepping movement.  I lightheartedly address this topic in this previous post, but wanted to tell you my theological views on prepping.

The general question usually goes something like "Doesn't it show a lack of faith to hoard food?"  I can completely understand that point of view. However, let's take a little trip to the Bible book of Genesis starting in chapter 41, verse 28.  Joseph has been sold into slavery, subsequently put into jail, and then brought before Pharoah to interpret a pair of rather disturbing dreams.  He tells how the symbolism in the dreams is actually God's warning that there will be 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine. God is warning Egypt to wisely preserve a portion of the harvest those first seven years to be able to have food for the latter 7.

In the very same way, I am looking at the historical trends of pantries and food storage, as well as sizing up the world around me.  We know the Bible predicts famines, natural disasters, and economic hardship, so isn't it prudent to prepare somewhat?  Now let me clarify that there are religions that cite certain prophecies for what is to come, and they base a portion of their salvation on having food storage.  That is not the case with me. Regardless of how much food I have on hand, I will still trust in the Lord for my portion and salvation.  Honestly, there are a lot of people in the Japanese devastation that would hardly be better off if they had stored food, because sadly, it would have been washed away anyway. On the other hand, there are many people in standing cities like Tokyo who are scrambling to find food,fuel, and power for their homes.

In addition, there is no way that I could write this blog entry without touching on the global economic crisis underway.  I will confess that it was that very subject that changed our position on prepping.  Prior to that, we had been part of the crowd that rolled our eyes at our depression-era grandparents and their enormous pantries of mason jars.  Now I am reading and listening to these very people with rapt attention to learn how to do all these very same things! (Oh the humbling irony.) I won't pretend to know very much about economics, and I do not want to be a fear-monger. However, I will say that as state and municipal bond markets begin to adjust, oil prices rise, and commercial real-estate market adjusts, I foresee prolonged economic woes.  The state of the American dollar is beyond pitiful, and I have read a lot of articles about the housing market still being overly-inflated due to government incentives.  Now, this data could all be wrong and we could be headed back to another strong bull market, but just in case, I don't think it hurts to be without debt and have some canned goods and a propane stove in the garage!

Unfortunately I see a lot of people that stick their head in the proverbial sand and keep on with their past financial trends. "We are America. We are special. We are somehow exempt from all the catastrophe and famine that plagues everyone else." Oh Rome, ignorance is only bliss for so long.  As one popular site, MRE Depot says. "When disaster strikes, the time for preparation has passed."  Like good little Boy Scouts, isn't it wise to "Be prepared" ?

Besides, there are other reasons for having emergency supplies besides global tragedies. What about a job loss? What about prolonged power outtages? What about winter storms?

I was blessed enough to live most of my childhood in rural Alaska.  During the 1980's, the transport of freight into our isolated town was much less frequent than today.  We got a barge of dry-goods once a month all year long, and air-freighting perishable goods was very sporadic. All of my friends had large pantries in their homes, and we were served powdered milk in the school cafeteria. (In fact, when we lived in Northern California, one of the biggest treats for me was getting to drink white OR chocolate milk out of the cute, little cartons in the lunchroom!)  All this being said, I am amazed at how many people who also lived through that same time period somehow think it's impossible that we could ever go back to that. Personally, I tend to look at the fuel supply/pricing and draw the conclusion that if fuel prices ever resume the 2008 climb, transporting cans of tomato sauce and fruit to Alaska will probably become sporadic and expensive once again.

Finally, let's look at the word "hoarding".  I think there is a big difference between hoarding food, and having a pantry.  In fact, I think it is well summed up by fellow blogger Heather Laurie in the intro to her new blog.  She wrote in a message board "I talk about creating a pantry, supplies, and reserve that is wise not greedy to care for our families." (emphasis mine)

If we go back to that passage in Genesis, we continue to read that not only did the Egyptians use the food to care for their own people, but they shared their excess reserves with foreigners who came to the country for aid.  One of my goals for my pantry is to have an abundance of food and supplies to not only care for my own family, but to be able to minister to those in need around me.  In my mind, hoarding is greedily stockpiling with a Scrooge-ish mentality whereas prepping is doing what I can to ease the burden of whomever the Lord puts in my path, whether it be within our own home or not.

So (big breath!), after all that, you may be wondering how to start your own pantry and where to begin. Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will post the methods and resources I used to begin my own food storage in a systematic, frugal, and thus non-intimidating way.  There will be some time involved here, but since "Time is money", it is much better to spend time planning now, than to waste money buying random cans of peaches. :)

Until then...
Blessings to you and your homestead,
Hillary At Home


  1. I love your homestead. So lovely with all the snow. I believe preparing for hard times is simply good stewardship. Blessings, Anne

  2. Dear friend,
    As usual, you have given food for thought. On another blog, I just ran across, there is a new company selling survival food and equipment called Shelf Reliance. Affordable priced. I'm not a canner so I am considering this option.
    Kris P

  3. Hello, I appreciate your input about this matter concerning the scriptural-ness of preparing. I found you on The Homeschool Chanel. I am wondering if you would consider allowing me to quote you or use part of your post in a post on my blog (I could let you read it first before publishing, and of course I would include a link to your blog).


    1. Sure you can use it, although, yes I would appreciate having a sneak peak first. Thanks for taking the time to ask!