I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

clickity-click-click

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storing food, 3 month supply, cheap ?  RSS feed

 
Craig Conway
Posts: 79
Location: Maine, USA
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Hello from Maine

I have a question about buying and storing food.

Cheap, and "just in case" of a social catastrophe, like a 3 month supply.

I wonder what to buy, what to use for storing, what to avoid, and any tips

Right now we have a 3 month supply of spring water stored in 5 gallon "Poland Spring" style jugs. They are in the basement out of the Sun light and covered in plastic (to avoid dust).

We are going to buy 3,000 rounds of ammo (small bore)

And we'd dig a 3 month supply of food

Hey you never know what might happen ! Why stand in a long line and pay twice as much when you could have been prepared ?

I'm assuming canned food is the ticket, I heard it's good for years, but honestly I don't know much about it. I heard there are some cans to avoid because of the liner being toxic () I don't know anything LOL, I am a computer repair guy!

Thanks
Craig
 
Thelma McGowan
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
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check out some of the "emergency preparedness" websites. there a several companies that sell kits. for instance .....1 years worth of preserved food for 2 people, 2000 calorie diet for around $3,000.00. this might not be the right choice for you, but you can get a lot of good ideas of what kind of food and portions you would need to store.

My husband witnessed a man recieving 2 shipping containers of these type of items. I guess he is ready for anything.

canned food is good because you don't need water to prepare it. freeze dried is easy to store but you need water to cook it. rice , beans, and flour type of staple foods also needs some kind of reliable fuel source to prepare.
 
Craig Conway
Posts: 79
Location: Maine, USA
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Thanks

But I am hoping to assemble something from Wal-mart for $200

Is it unrealistic ?

I hope my questions in this thread aren't stupid LOL

 
Thelma McGowan
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
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I hear you! spending thousands on this type of thing seems a bit crazy. it is too rich for my blood too!
Check out what combos of food they offer and I bet you  can assemble the same items on the cheap. . these companies have already done the research for you so you can copy the parts of their "menus" that suit you.

if you are storing food in your basement I would stock up on canned food. But if you had to pick up and leave your area fast you might want some light weight dried food.

The trick is storing the food in air tight containers that are rodent and bug proof. Restaurants throw away 5 gallon buckets with air tight lids all the time. mason jars etc......

at our house we keep a 2-3 month supply of food in our pantry...but we rotate it out over the course of the year.  we always restock it so it never gets stale or infested. you could can your own meat and veg and that could save your budget.

I bet you could stock for 3 months for less than $200!

 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I live in serious earthquake country and have a pretty comprehensive disaster kit.
If you buy canned food, I highly recommend getting the old-school cans that need an opener (a few different models stashed separately...) as the pull-tab ones burst really easily.
That's earthquake advice, but could be relevant.
My biggest thing, if hoping to huddle in my own place, would be to have some form of rainwater collection, or at least have some gear and a good idea what needs to be done to set it up.
I know you have water stored, but I think more water is always better.
Even if the water's not drinkable by current standards, I reckon thaose standards will change pretty fast if TSHTF!
 
Craig Conway
Posts: 79
Location: Maine, USA
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Thanks for the replies

This forum is the best !
 
ronie dee
Posts: 620
Location: NW MO
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Can you raise a garden?
 
Craig Conway
Posts: 79
Location: Maine, USA
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I'd like to learn how to do that, perhaps year round using hydroponics indoors ? Maine has a wicked Winter.

Earthship houses grow food year round using passive solar.

 
ronie dee
Posts: 620
Location: NW MO
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I'd like to suggest winter squash then. I have 2 varieties that Kurt (South East Farmer) sent me... They have lasted almost a year sitting on the floor in a spare room without any preserving method. (Thanks Kurt.)

The Indians didn't have a place to store them inside so they dug a cave back into the dirt bluffs and stored the squash in the caves.
 
Craig Conway
Posts: 79
Location: Maine, USA
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Good info
 
                                      
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Hi I don't post much but what I do is buy cheap can goods and dehydrate them, store in a jar or storage bag. When needed let them soak in water or boil them a bit.
 
Craig Conway
Posts: 79
Location: Maine, USA
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Thanks for chiming in
 
                                            
Posts: 13
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on another note, if you plan on getting a massive amount of ammo, consider getting a reloading press and a casting iron. It is WAY cheaper and you can make bullets out of anything lead if you run out. you can even dig the spent rounds out of your meat and melt it back down. I like the lee brand of presses because they are cheap and reliable.

also for food you could look into emergency survival bars, they have 2500 calories in them and cost around 4 bucks each which is a bit more expensive than you are looking to spend but they have a shelf life of 10 years in a basement and don't use any resources to cook them. another option is MRE's which you can get for around $5 each and have a shelf life of 7 years.
 
                                
Posts: 62
Location: Western Pennsylvania
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Well, there are two ways of thinking on this.  Do you A. want to be prepared for a temporary glitch in the grid (natural disaster, electrical grid issue, pandemic, temporary disruption in fuel availability etc) or, B. do you want to live a prepared sustainable lifestyle?

So, 3 months of food is a great start for scenario A. The basic, take care of yourself if something bad, but temporary happens.  Batteries, weather radio, meals-ready-to-eats, canned goods, toilet paper, drinking water, pack of cards.  Don't forget the manual can opener!!!

However, it really depends on how long you think you will need to feed yourself and your family.  If you live a lifestyle that you support yourself with little outside help (rice, coffee, sugar, salt) then you won't need to panic is something small or medium happens.  If something big is on it's way a SHTF scenario, then you need to think more about security of you and your garden. 

I have been moving towards sustainability for more than 10 years.  Really all my life, if I would have just listened to my Grandmother all those years ago.  It's been a slow change, and I'm not 100% there, but I'm working on getting the garden soil in better shape to produce more for me.

The first thing to do, before you go and spend that $200 in food is know where and how to store food.  It isn't about storing some canned goods and letting them sit until you need them, you need to rotate your stock and you need to know what you are up against with food storage.

The best place is cool and dry and dark.  A north corner of a basement is ideal.  But, surf around the web and you will read all the inventive ways people store food.  You want to prevent rodents, insects and molds.  Hence cool and dry.  Mice will chew through anything but glass, so everything I store is in glass.  I also have found a type of plastic tub, very popular in the big box stores that has a lid that isn't just on top, but it fits down a little.  I used to buy them at Wal-Mart, but they don't carry them anymore, so I have to pay more to find them (made by Rubbermaid) at Lowe's.  When I used different tubs to store things when we were moving I found others with mice droppings inside, but these never had mice inside them.  If I use the vacuum sealer, I then store everything in these tubs.

Insects will infest anything in a bag or box eventually.  Once you have flour weevils or pantry moths they are hell to get rid of.  Again, glass and rotate-rotate-rotate your stock. 

Mold.  Mostly from damp conditions and improperly canned foods.  Keep your pantry clean and before storing ANY home canned foods always wash the finished jars with a bleach and soap or vinegar and soap solution.

Next, before you spend ANY money, sit down with paper and write down how your family eats.  You won't find any use from 25-pounds of dried black beans if you don't know how to cook them and no one likes to eat them.  If you prefer rice over pasta, then stock up on rice.  If no one likes rice, the stock up on pasta.  Remember don't store the pasta in the cardboard box, but transfer to a gallon glass jar with a few bay leaves in the jar to help keep away any buggies.

So, do you know how to cook?  If I gave you a head of cabbage, an onion and some dried sausage can you make dinner?  If not, then maybe your stored food needs to sway toward low-tech food prep.  In the meantime, learn to cook, your options will be more open if you can buy bulk ingredients and turn them into different meals with fresh gathered from the garden. 

Okay, now go shopping.  Make sure you pick up some mason jars and keep your dried goods in them.  If you can re-use large gallon glass jars, that is best.  I buy the glass jars with pickles in them.  I don't really like pickles, but my mother LOVES them.  I slice up the pickles for her and then wash the jar and let it air out so everything doesn't taste/smell like pickles.  My husband thought I was nuts until I showed him how much it would cost, with shipping for empty gallon glass jars.   

Once you have things purchased and stored, be sure to rotate.  Yes, you still eat your stored foods, and you buy some more so you have a supply on the shelf, but you have fresh coming in and being placed in the back.  This way you aren't just putting it on a shelf and expecting it to be fresh and tasty 10 years from now.

If you are looking at a lifestyle, the best food storage (food to space ratio) is de-hydrated food.  It also doesn't need freezer space.  You need a food dehydrator and some knowledge.  Google searches will bring you to sites and people who have some great knowledge to share for free.  A vacuum sealer is next and learn about gardening.  If you can't garden, get to know local farmer markets to stock your shelves for winter.

If you are interested in gardening, then there is an author who grows year round in Maine, Elliot Coleman.  It can be done! 

If you are going in full force, don't forget to stock up on sanitation.  Soap, vinegar, salt, lemon juice in bottles, bleach.  Food is great, but if you can't clean up and kill germs then you can make yourself sick. 

Google and you will be amazed how many people are freely giving ideas on this subject.  Sometimes the red pill is the hardest to swallow.  Make lists and welcome.

Tami
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1452
Location: Vancouver Island
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Chefmom wrote:
Well, there are two ways of thinking on this.  Do you A. want to be prepared for a temporary glitch in the grid (natural disaster, electrical grid issue, pandemic, temporary disruption in fuel availability etc) or, B. do you want to live a prepared sustainable lifestyle?


I think it is best to start with A, but learn for B. A is possible with little change in lifestyle. B requires a change in lifestyle and ones way of thinking. I personally think B might be the healthier way to go in the long run. It requires thought about what can be obtained locally and when it is in season. It doesn't make sense to base a diet on oranges for Vit C if they don't grow where I live and are hard to store.... lots of pine trees though... with needles all year long. No use looking to bananas for potassium... they are imported too. Want caffeine? Coffee and Tea don't grow here either. Now is the time to figure out replacements that can be grown locally.... while there is access to the internet and the local library still has copies or books with this info.
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1452
Location: Vancouver Island
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Just a quick addition to the last post.... just saw this:

"When someone like Obama throws a switch to shut off communication beyond word of mouth “in order to help us help ourselves”…

BTW: He’s already put legislation in place to do exactly that…"


At:

http://renaissanceronin.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/corganix-continues/

Is that true? Pretty much kills it for those of us in Canada too... though I would guess our government could do that without passing any laws... I guess reality is dangerous.

Fidonet anyone? (anyone remember that one?) open-mesh?

Anyway, food for thought. It fits with what I was saying last message... but the whole mess probably needs it's own thread else where if there is truth in it.  used to save links, but have started to use the "print to file" (as pdf) option for info I might need later.... the problem is archiving it in such a way I will be able to read it when I need it. Hence my comment above about learning now.
 
Derek Brewer
Posts: 113
Location: Hatfield, PA
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Big +1 to Chefmom

Eat what you store, store what you eat.

Does it make sense to get 1000 lbs of hard red wheat when you don't have a grinder? Or if you don't know how to make bread?

Buy more of what you normally eat that will store well when it's on sale and build up your stores. Set up your pantry so that you eat the older items first (FIFO style). For example, if you're going to buy one box of mac and cheese, buy two or three. Write the date on them and put them in your pantry in back of the older Mac and cheese. Follow this methodology and you'll quickly build up your stores.

Do you have a way to cook your stores? Something else to keep in mind...

I'm part of both Zombie Squad and the American Preppers Network. Both have excellent forums that can provide a ton of information along these lines.
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1452
Location: Vancouver Island
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TheLight wrote:
Eat what you store, store what you eat.

yup.


Does it make sense to get 1000 lbs of hard red wheat when you don't have a grinder? Or if you don't know how to make bread?


Not disagreeing, but to add to what was said, if wheat stores better and the food made from it is better than a packaged food, then it may be worth while buying a grinder (wheat may be more likely available if ones stores run out) and learning to make bread, pasta, cereal, etc. right now. Yes the best way to learn is by doing... and if one has any taste at all, I know I prefer even my mistakes over the store bought product. Do remember, we don't live in an age of large house holds, so don't make the most time consuming kind of anything. Even failed "no knead" bread tastes good and really it is not that hard to make well. A good grinder will work power or by hand.

Having said that, start now even if it means pre-packaged stuff. Start cheap, start by storing flour rather than wheat so the price of a grinder isn't a hindrance to getting started. Making my own bread was a great place to start. Just flour salt and water (wild yeast is free and easy to catch).


Do you have a way to cook your stores? Something else to keep in mind...


This includes cookware. If there are no utilities most people can prepare stove top things on an open fire, but one needs at least a cast iron dutch oven for baking (learn to use it as such). Going camping can be a great time of learning, take raw food materials instead of pre-made. Going hungry for a meal won't kill anyone as learning happens.

Another help, is to start reading what is inside pre-made stuff. In a way we have been lucky (silver lining here) as one of our sons requires a special diet and so we have to cook all his food from scratch... even while camping. Another thing we have started to learn while camping (or even at home) is what is edible that grows close at hand... we learned about gathering clams and cooking them... about dealing with excrement... pine tea this last time.

If baking is a big part of ones joy... is there a good source of clay close by? maybe store a pile of clay brick (even just the red ones) so making a dry stack oven is possible.

One of the things about prepping I think is important is to make prep that goes beyond 3 months (or 12 months or whatever). I think it would be very discouraging to reach the end of ones (store bought) supplies and find that life has not gone back to somewhat normal and we are left with the chore of learning to cope.... something those with no stores set aside would then be ahead with. Thus the whole idea of permaculture, setting up things in a permanent way that doesn't depend on economy, or big box stores. Even setting up a plan of learning ways around using up the saved stores for tonight's meal is a good first step. Never set things up just until things go "back to normal". That may never happen.... whatever is being preped for may not be what happens ... a good tent and warm clothing may be more important... if the house is destroyed and one can only take what they can carry... maybe less than the full food storage set aside. In other words, don't rely on the prep. Start with an attitude of making it no matter what. Be emotionally prepared to make do without all the prep set up ahead of time.
 
                                  
Posts: 7
Location: Spicers creek NSW Australia.
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We store heaps of food,canned,dehydrated,pasta,rice and tinned food as well.We live out in the bush where the bugs and animals carry a knife and fork around(Smug little buggers),the way we have got around a safe critter free storage system was to use old "thrown out" refridgerators/freezers to store our supplys in.We clean 'em up good and modify the shelving if needed to accomodate differen't size's of things,put a haspen staple lock on them and fill 'em up.The temp stays stable and the bugs don't get in.

Tinned food always gets a thin coating of olive oil from a spray can to protect from rusting.
 
David Graber
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I have a old window insulated solar collector made of 100 ft of black rubber garden house, connecting via a leak-sealed aquarium pump to my 250 gal. storage tank (recycled cast-off propane tank barbecued on a hug bonfire).  It works fine, and freezing/thawing in Eastern MT spring and fall is no problem; the sun just melts the ice in the hose and warms it to over 90f, then the pump kicks in with the strategically-placed 110v AC T stat, and keeps our preheater tank (no pressure) above 80f. This allows a cheap 30amp 220v inline water heater to supply all the hot water needed, routed via pressure thru a coil in the big tank, for two families in our house.  www.greenwoodfarmmt.org
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 489
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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On planning for food storage, whether for TEOTWAWKI or as part of a more self-reliant lifestyle, one thing I often don't see mentioned is analyzing your local foodshed. Just as you live in a watershed, you also live in a foodshed. Where I live, there are lots of people growing wheat and tree fruit, so my food planning would take into account that in a 3- or 6-month emergency, I would likely be able to obtain these, if more expensively than normal. Rice, however, would be unobtainable after the 3 days (or less) it would take for the grocery stores to run out. So I'd lay in a larger stock of rice than wheat. Nor would I buy any dehydrated tree fruit - I have a dehydrator, and  buy and process the fruit when it's in season. Anyone can do this, wherever you live. Drying can preserve almost as many nutrients as freezing, and is much easier to store reliably than either canned or frozen food. (I'm not talking about those little round dehydrators either - for a serious stocking up plan, you need an Excalibur or something similar.)

Of course, dried beans are a must, wherever you live. For storing bulk dried beans and grains, you need 5-gallon buckets with sealed lids.

When I started storing food, I first thought about what my household likes to eat, and then just started buying extra. Instead of two cans of adobo chiles, I bought four, etc. It's the easiest and cheapest way to get going. I started buying dried beans and grains by the 5- and 10-lb sizes, and storing them in sealed 5-gallon buckets. And you can't just store it and forget about it, you must date and rotate your stocks - eat the oldest package first, when it's gone, start on the next oldest, and add a new package to your store. It's very important to analyze your own eating patterns, one size definitely does not fit all.

In general, I'd say that starting small and slowly, assessing your experience, and building your skills is a better route than going into gotta-have-it-now mode and buying a bunch of stuff. But I tend to think that about most things...

For a 3-month emergency - or even for a 6-month one - you can buy/store enough canned/dehydrated/freeze-dried food to keep you in half-way decent shape. But for long-term health, you will  need to grow or forage fresh food.

If you don't garden now, and don't have the space, I suggest learning to grow sprouts - and learning how to enjoy them. Lots of vitamins for not much expense, effort or skill.

I lived in the SoCal mountains last winter. After Thanksgiving weekend, there was almost no fresh food in the local store. And that was normal, not a panic situation. A really good earthquake could isolate this town pretty easily - a couple of big bridges down, and boom! no semis for weeks, if not months. You don't have to be paranoid to think that everyone should analyze their needs and stock up on those things that would be difficult or impossible to obtain in an emergency.

 
ronie dee
Posts: 620
Location: NW MO
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Excellent advice there Jacque. It's good to see that others think along these lines... I'd also like to suggest that people make a list as to the things that you will get in bulk at a moments notice - say if there is an hour or so warning for an emergency and they can go to the store.. A list of essentials and knowledge of where the store keeps the items. (It will be frantic at the stores while less prepared persons are looking wild eyed you are going straight to the items and carting them.) Might even have 3-4 lists and hand one of the lists to each family member that is with you.

Bring your checkbook, credit card and the stash of emergency cash with you to the store. Use credit card first, then write a check if the credit card is not accepted and finally use your emergency cash.. (A little silver US coins might be good to have in a box under the bones in the closet too.) WHomever is at home MUST begin filling all the containers with water - include the tubs and such that are for washing not for drinking.. Trash cans can be lined with plastic bags and used to fill for water too. I keep all old bleach jugs full and use the oldest to water the garden or whatever i need them for and then refill with fresh water all the time.

A first aid kit should be already at your place ..Iodine, bandages, alcohol, tape, aspirin, thermometer, any drugs or meds that you need. (Iodine can be brushed on your skin if there is a nuclear accident nearby - DON"T USE INTERNAL unless you have tablets that are made for internal use.)

Keep plenty of extra soaps and  extra chlorine bleach on hand too..

You didn't mention salt and sugar...I don't use much sugar, but would if i was stuck at home and had the extra staples to make cookies.. I keep plenty of salt on hand as it can be used to store meat in if there is no refrigeration.

I'd like to suggest adding to the title of this thread so we can include extended emergencies in our posts... Maybe like Storing food cheap -3 month supply or more JIC.

 
Sam Barber
Posts: 641
Location: Missoula Mt
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I think a three month supply is a great idea I think that the best way to get one is to do the copy canning technique which is where you make a list of all the non perishable foods that your family eats and then as you go to the store you buy extras of those foods so that eventually you will have a three month supply of food.This could also include home canned foods or fermented foods that you make yourself that would be a cheap way to stock up and will work well. This plan will require some organization and will require you to have pay attention to a first in first out rotation system for your food. I think this is definitely the easiest way to start getting prepared. I also think that as this food stock grow larger you should look into long term bulk food storage such as rice, beans, wheat, dried milk, etc. Then once you have that stuff you should consider getting a third layer to your system which would be short term easy to prepare foods that would be convenient for when things are super hectic pr disastrous and you don't want to have to worry about making something from scratch. I think this third layer could contain things like freeze dried foods from various companies or homemade dehydrated vacuum sealed meals that you make your self or a case or two of MRE's would also fill this role nicely. I think the fourth level of a food plan should be your long term freeze dried food storage in bulk. This is probably going to be the most expensive part of your food storage but it will add flavor and variety to your diet in a long term disaster.
 
cairn paul
Posts: 25
Location: Rural North Devon, UK.
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"Eat what you store & store what you eat" and "Rotate, rotate, rotate" these are the 2 fundamentals of food storage. don't buy anything you wouldn't normally eat, it'll get left at the back of your storage. look for reduced prices, 3 for 2s, and don't be too proud to clip coupons. don't buy everything in the same store if possible in case there is a batch recall-that way you don't loose everything.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 555
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I think raising a few chickens is a good addition to the other strategies. They can eat almost anything. Young hens lay an egg almost every day for most of the year. Not many in the winter. No rooster is needed unless you want fertile eggs to raise chicks.
 
Deb Rebel
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I did this for Y2k... for five people in high urban area.

First and foremost, I planted fruit trees and set up a garden. I purchased canned goods and had hidden storage in the house (behind bookcases and in closets with false back walls) for things. Some staples, were bagged, frozen for 10 days at 0f to try to kill any infestations then packed in 5 gallon pails and hidden, with dates on when they were stored. Water, we had two huge fish ponds (total about 15,000 gallons) and I stocked filtering material to be able to process that water if needed.

I had enough meat and staples for over a year. Including some I could 'barter' with. Four 5 gallon pails of salt (I am still using some of that up). And I had been buying stainless steel cooking stuff, that could take years. Plus several items of mostly inherited cast iron. A treadle sewing machine as well as my others. I built a solar dehydrator and a solar oven (latter of cardboard-old mattress box-and aluminum foil, an old cardboard box the right size, more cardboard, and a piece of window glass).

I used 5 gallon food grade pails and snapped the lids on tight. These days I use gamma lids on 5 gallon pails. I would like to go to glass and crocks but in the meantime I am using the gamma pails for what I have to. My pantry is down to the three months for two, and I keep dried meats instead of canned now for that. (I also moved, have a lot more land and bigger gardens). Another thing I did get and still have is a magnesium firestarter, it really works.

For interim or faster storage, look to the five gallon pail. Some restaurants toss them out, food grade, and you can get them for free, just for asking and hauling. You may have to deal with whatever odors are there from the food (hard boiled egg commercial pack are great, they don't really smell of anything, pickled shredded ginger, is about the worst).  Try to freeze all your staples for at least a week at 0f, it will help kill any infestations before storage. I also do the 2-stage isolation, putting smaller amounts into individual baggies (gallon or two gallon) and burp as I seal, then put those into the pail. That way if something is infested it can be seen and doesn't affect the entire batch, at least not right away. Rotate, rotate, rotate your pantry.

Add other storage as you can acquire and afford it. Not everyone likes or uses plastic, but it can be a great interim if you can get the pails free and get them cleaned properly.

Gamma lids if you hunt are about $8.50 each, and a retail food grade pail runs about $5-8 with tax. 3 will hold 50# of soybeans with a little space, one will hold 25# of cashews, or 10# of nutritive yeast flakes with a little room to spare, or 16# of cat food. I don't remember how much flour or salt one will hold. Gamma lids are good because they have a gasket seal and are easy to open and close. Only issue is the percussive fit, you often have to hammer the outer ring into place with a wooden or rubber mallet. As for air exclusion, I am using inflated and sealed clean baggies to put in the gap in the top.

Moving to glass, I have found some very wide mouthed glass carboys with optional carry cradles made of webbing. Someday. They are pricy.
 
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