Food is an essential to life, as is water, shelter, and generalized security. But those things are also very volatile, as is they can easily go away and become difficult to find. Without food, we become very agitated, rather quickly, and, though we can live without it for longer than water, we don’t act like we can.
In my food preparations, I have created four tiers of food planning.
Tier 1: Foods with a short shelf life, like chips, cut fruit and vegetables, breads, etc.
Tier 2: Foods with a long shelf life, like dried beans, rice, oats, etc.
Tier 3: Gardening, as a way of life.
Tier 4: MREs, Freeze Dried, and Dehydrated Foods
Tier 1 Explained
Tier 1 is made up of foods that we snack on, or foods that we buy week after week. These are the short-shelf-life comfort foods that we are used to eating.
These foods typically have a very short shelf life, especially once opened. Foods in this category tend to be as such: chips, cake, cookies, cut fruit and vegetables.
This tier is the first that I prep for, as it contains the everyday “stuff” that we consume. While we do regularly eat foods that are from Tier 2, we cycle them out, always keeping the freshest foods.
Things in this category are such as:
- Uncured or frozen meats
- Baked cookies, cakes, breads, etc.
- Cooking oils
- Unwrapped (un-waxed) cheeses
Tier 2 Explained
These are the stapled “prepper” foods, like beans, rice, oats, and powered everything. These foods tend to last at least a year, while most (like dried beans and rice) last in upwards of 20-30+ years, similar to the freeze dried and dehydrated foods.
Tier 2 foods are foods that I “store”. These are foods with long shelf lives, and I can rely on to be edible a year from now, and/or beyond. While Tier 1 foods may get you through a week or two, Tier 2 stores will get you through at least 6 months. My Tier 2 stores will last at least 6 months, without rationing. Longer if I strategize.
Things in this category are staples, such as:
- Rice, any variety
- Beans, any variety
- Nut butters
Tier 3 Explained
Gardening… sustainable living is the greatest step towards self-reliance, and garden is a huge part of that. Reusing the brush and leaves you cut down, the ashes from the fire last night, turning it into compost – all of that, and more, is a part of Tier 3.
Gardens for sustainable living will get you through the years. As you grow as a gardener, gradually introduce livestock into your domain, such as chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, or pigs.
Side note: always be a responsible pet-owner. Even if you don’t consider them “pets”, they rely on you for guidance, support, shelter, food, water, and all other means of life.
Other items in this category, include:
- Learning to can
- Learning to pickle
Tier 4 Explained
Extended life food stores are something that every seriously “prepared” person needs. There are things like whole entrées, hot chocolate, and freeze dried fruits and vegetables. Often times, these things have a 20-30+ year shelf life, and can be used whether you are in a crisis or not.
Though it can get expensive, look out for sales from reputable brands, and only buy what your family will eat. If your family doesn’t like stroganoff, don’t get it. If you are truly preparing for an “end of the world” scenario and it’s cheaper, or on sale, then consider it for your longest-term stores only.
After you get your first stores, it might be a fun idea to “invent” a new “holiday” where you make a feast of some of your Tier 4 foods! Think of it like… the Survival Game!
These stores are the furthest from my mind, and I suggest storing them last, especially because they are more expensive than other provisions. On that note, if you want instant peace of mind, they do offer that with a one-time, no hassle price.
In my experience, the 4-tier system works exceptionally well to keep all bases covered. It provides the building blocks of preparing, and ushers into self-reliance by Tier 3. By Tier 4, you are just adding the icing to the cake!
Thank you for reading my first entry. There are many more articles to come as – as I make my journey, I plan to share what I learn. It might not be for you, but it may offer a different perspective and open you up to something new. Again, thank you for reading, and if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comment section!