Holistic Survival
Welcome! If this is your first time visiting Jason Hartman's website, please read this page to learn more about what we do here. You may also be interested in receiving updates from our podcast via RSS or via email if you prefer. If you have any questions about financial survival feel free to contact us anytime! Thanks!

#4 Emergency Food Storage Preparedness and Management

Bookmark and Share

Announcer:

Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show with Jason Hartman. The economic storm brewing around the world is set to spill into all aspects of our lives. Are you prepared? Where are you going to turn for the critical life skills necessary to survive and prosper?

The Holistic Survival Show is your family’s insurance for a better life. Jason will teach you to think independently, to understand threats, and how to create the ultimate action plan. Sudden change, or worst case scenario, you’ll be ready. Welcome to Holistic Survival, your key resource for protecting the people, places, and profits you care about in uncertain times.

Ladies and gentlemen, your host, Jason Hartman.

Jason Hartman:

Good day and welcome to the Holistic Survival Show. This is your host, Jason Hartman. Glad you’re joining us today while we talk about protecting the people, places, and profits you care about in these uncertain times.

Today, we have an interview with an expert on food storage. Of course, we want to continue to examine all three of the pillars of Holistic Survival throughout different shows. And Karen, our guest today, will talk about food storage and that whole subject, so we will delve into that in just a moment.

I wanted to make sure that I recommend that you visit the www.HolisticSurvival.com website. We have our newsletter out. This is our first copy of the newsletter, the inaugural copy, and it looks great. It’s all talking about the Holistic Survival philosophies, your insurance for a better life. We review the Ten Commandments of Holistic Survival in writing and the Three P’s of Holistic Survival, the people, places, and profits that I just mentioned. It is eight pages long. It’s in beautiful full color. We have printed copies as well, but you can go get a PDF copy and, at the time of this recording, I don’t want to say that I’ll have this on the HolisticSurvival.com website right away, so I will tell you. Most of you are listeners to the Creating Wealth Show, my other show, and we’ll go ahead and put it in the Members Only Section of www.jasonhartman.com just for expediency, but of course, these free sample newsletters will be on the Holistic Survival website ultimately.

So let’s go to the interview about food storage, and listen in and remember, be prepared because even if it is never needed, it is always wise to prepare to protect the people, places, and profits we all care about in these uncertain times. Here’s the interview:

Interview with Karen Varner

Jason Hartman:

It’s my pleasure to welcome Karen Varner to the show. She is an expert on food storage and preparedness, and it’s great to have her here. This subject is so important because not only can you have an outside emergency, whether it be the threat of a Y2K, terrorism, Katrina, natural disaster of any sort, but also there are situations in each of our own lives that are potential threats. Karen, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you.

Karen Varner:

Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

Jason Hartman:

Good. Well, people are willfully unprepared out there and I like how you brought up the subject before we started recording about what can happen in someone’s own life and why this is important.

Karen Varner:

Oh, absolutely. My family stored food for many, many years, all while I was growing up. In fact, when I left home, I thought if I never have a drop of powdered milk again, it would be too soon. But we ate our food storage right down to the ground several times and there was no national disaster or anything. We just had job loss situations and medical emergencies. It’s so nice to be independent and self-sufficient so that in an emergency, a personal emergency, you can divert the funds that would go to the grocery store to whatever you need the money to go to.

Jason Hartman:

Yeah, absolutely, and one of the other issues that is talked about is the subject of inflation. So if inflation really comes up – and I believe it will; I believe we’re about two years away from fairly significant inflation – it’s good to buy the food now because you’re really arbitraging the price, aren’t you? And you have the supplies in advance of price increases. So it’s really kind of an investment, isn’t it?

Karen Varner:

Absolutely. What I bought for $1,500 for a year’s supply a year ago is now $3,400 and inflation hasn’t even really hit yet.

Jason Hartman:

Fifteen hundred dollars for a year’s supply of food, huh?

Karen Varner:

About a year and a half to two years ago, yep.

Jason Hartman:

Is that per person?

Karen Varner:

That’s per person, but you’re looking at three meals a day. If you look at that, that’s still a lot less than you pay at the grocery store.

Jason Hartman:

Right, sure it is. I’m just looking at the metric there. I think it’s very reasonable. When I questioned that, I thought it was very low actually. But go ahead with what you were saying.

Karen Varner:

Well, $1,500 was two years ago. Now we’re talking $3,400. But still, $3,400, if you divide that by 12 and you’re talking three meals a day with eggs, bread, and all of those things, that’s still very, very cost efficient.

Jason Hartman:

I agree. So tell us what people need to know about food storage, based on number of people in the family, what a food storage preparedness kit contains, etc.

Karen Varner:

A food storage kit contains usually the rice, the beans, the grains, the fruits. There are several different ways that you can store food. Let’s start with the very basic way. Ethiopians eat nothing but wheat three times a day. Many third world countries survive on rice and beans. So those are whole grains that you can buy in bulk and that’s the cheapest way to go, is to just buy whole grains, and we can survive on bread and water.

The next step up is the dehydrated, which is your powdered eggs, your tomato powder, dehydrated fruits and vegetables. They are something that you would have to boil in water for about 20 minutes. The nice thing about dehydrated is you’ll put a cup of dehydrated in, add two cups of water, and get two cups of product. So that’s a little less expensive than the bells and whistles of food storage, which I call freeze-dried, last 30 years on the shelf, holds the smart, delicate nutrients and vitamins, tastes absolutely fantastic, and you can buy a product that has a meal that’s all put together and freeze dried. Chicken ala King or Alfredo or a shrimp and crab soup, seafood chowder kind of a thing, and it’s about $5.00 a serving, which I call restaurant food at fast food prices. And those are all your long term storage supplies. Those freeze dried items will last 30 years on the shelf, so that’s absolutely wonderful.

Also, people will like to store what they eat every day. I always say – I learned from a friend of mine – a case if you can, and a can if you can’t. When I go to the grocery store and tuna fish is on a wild sale, I buy a case of it if I can afford it. And if I really can’t afford it, I at least pick up several extra cans for my pantry. All of those things have their own reasons, the good points and the bad points for them, but worked together, I can really have my own little store right here at home.

Jason Hartman:

That’s great. So a case if you can; a can if you can’t. That’s a great quote. So always buy extra and this is how you sort of develop a food storage kit over time, right? You just do it slowly and kind of make it just part of your normal habits. You just buy a little bit extra each time. Now, does all canned food just sort of last forever or what are the rules about that? You said tuna fish you mentioned.

Karen Varner:

That’s true, officially or unofficially. Officially, yes, everything has an expiration date. Unofficially, expiration dates are for those who manufacture, produce it, and sell it. They have to sell it by a certain date. I will never, ever throw anything out until I am sure it is bad.

Jason Hartman:

How do you know it’s bad, though?

Karen Varner:

Well, you’ll open it up and you’ll smell it and it will smell bad. And then whether it works – right now, I have some yeast in my freezer that has a three-year shelf life, and the shelf life ended in 2000. It is now 2009. But I put that little bit of yeast into some sugar and water and it bubbled and it worked, and I use it now for my pizza dough. It doesn’t rise as well as the new stuff that I just bought, but I don’t need my pizza dough to rise really high. Or if I needed it to rise, then I would just leave it a whole lot longer.

So basically, if it smells good, if it tastes good, it may have lost some of its nutrition, but boy, if you’re hungry, a canned food that tastes good is going to be a whole lot better than Haiti eating dirt cookies to fill their stomachs.

Jason Hartman:

Yeah, that’s for sure. No question about it. You talk about the sell-by dates and the used-by dates. Why is it that manufacturers aren’t putting used-by dates on everything? Because they sort of don’t care what happens to their product after it’s sold? They’re just telling the store to sell it by this date or what?

Karen Varner:

Because rules are made by those who break them. My brother owns a computer company and he has somebody call in and say the drink holder on my computer has busted and I need a new drink holder. He had somebody else call and say every time I push this button 2,000 times for an hour, then the program collapses. My brother’s response: don’t do that. You have people who take food storage and they will store it in a highly volatile temperature or right directly on cement and that changes the temperature of the can or rusts it. When you buy food, if you bought it from me, I would not know where you’re going to put it. If you’re going to put it out in the desert and then take it to Alaska and it freezes, and then it heats and it freezes and it heats, that’s going to be a whole lot different than me, who stores it in a cool, dry place off the cement.

Jason Hartman:

Good idea.

Karen Varner:

So they’re kind of covering worst case scenario. They’re not covering best case scenario. Basically, they’re covering their butts.

Jason Hartman:

Yeah, very good point. So how hot of a climate does it need to be? Say, for example, someone who is living near the equator, but they’re storing their food off the cement floor, which you mentioned, does it need to be a certain height off the cement floor or just a few inches on a shelf, or what’s the rule for that?

Karen Varner:

Junk lumber between the box and the can and the cement is good.

Jason Hartman:

Okay, because the cement retains too much of a prior temperature, is that the problem?

Karen Varner:

It does. It really does and I don’t know why, but the cement leaches into the product. It really does. Everything you open will taste like cement.

Jason Hartman:

Really? Wow.

Karen Varner:

Even water. So just a piece of junk plywood between the cement and the product is great, and cool.

Jason Hartman:

Yeah, cool, right. So someone who is living in a very hot area, their food storage area is not air conditioned, or say their power goes out and they don’t have access to air conditioning, what is the situation then?

Karen Varner:

Think pioneer. Root cellar, under the ground where it’s cool.

Jason Hartman:

Okay, what if you don’t have a cellar?

Karen Varner:

You can get under the ground. If you can’t, you need to keep it as cool as possible and expiration dates are going to be sooner than later.

Jason Hartman:

Okay, good advice. What about if a person can only store limited amounts of food, what is really the highest priority food to store with limited space? I’m talking urban dwellers, people in high-rises, and so on and so forth, who I think are really most susceptible to major problems in the event of any kind of catastrophe or whatever comes along. What do they do with limited space? What is the highest priority? Can you give us sort of a pecking order of what’s best to store and what’s nice to store if you can?

Karen Varner:

It’s going to be individual per individual. If you were to ask me what my highest priority is, my personal highest priority is to get as much food as I can for the lowest dollar in as little space, and for it to last as long as possible, and to be the most nutritious. That might be rice and beans and wheat. But I’m telling you right now, if you’re eating nothing but store-bought white bread and emergency happens and you’re eating nothing but whole-grain, whole wheat, you’re going to need to be hospitalized because it’s so strong on your system.

You really need to eat what you store and store what you eat. That’s why I’m a free consultant, but I work with individuals on their individual basis. I might have somebody say I want a year’s supply of easy, just-add-water, and go, that’s 30 years on the shelf. That’s the freeze dried, already ready to go. I just add water and go. And I’m going to leave it there forever. That’s great. That’s what I would tell them. I would give them the freeze dried products.

If somebody calls me and says, “I’m on a really limited budget; in fact, I don’t have a penny extra,” I tell them to start with the rice and beans and the wheat, learn how to use it, integrate it into their system. Maybe even live on rice and wheat and beans very economically, and then take whatever money they had and divide it straight down the middle, and take 50 percent of their money and buy taste goods, tomato sauce. Now you can make that bread into pizza and the extra things. And then the other half of their money – if you had $100 and you saved $50 for the cases and $50 for whatever you’re absolutely going to run out of, eggs and milk, you can build it up slowly and slowly and slowly.

So different people have different goals and so I try to help them meet their individual goals and their individual needs.

Jason Hartman:

But the eggs and the milk are perishable, though.

Karen Varner:

Eggs and milk are perishables, that’s right. I’m talking about if they don’t have a penny – I actually have people that call me and say, “I don’t have $3.00 extra. I’m living on $100.00 a month. How can I store food when I can’t even afford today’s groceries?”

Jason Hartman:

And you know, Karen, that’s a great point that you’re making. It’s really unfortunate, but I think a lot of listeners to this show would be surprised how many people that were formerly considered middle class people are living that way nowadays. The working poor are becoming just a giant demographic cohort in America as the middle class is being attacked in so many ways. We have, of course, these corporate and government elites, and then you’ve got the rest of the people. A lot of the rest of those people are moving down unfortunately, which I think is a scary thing for societal stability. You probably agree with me, I think.

Karen Varner:

I’ve been doing this since before Y2K and I have found that in the last two months, it has increased by 10 – 15 percent of people who call me and say, “Is there anything you can do to help me? My husband is in Iraq and I’m on a limited income.” Or “my husband’s lost his job” or “we have lost our home.” It’s just amazing. Or they’re just managing from paycheck to paycheck. And “I know how important it is to store food and I realize that it’s going to get worse instead of better, but how can I do it when I don’t even have an extra dollar?” And we are able to help them.

Jason Hartman:

Did you have any more advice on that particular subject? I want to move on with some other things, but when people really have no money, is there any more besides what you said on that?

Karen Varner:

Oh, they probably need to call me or email me because I’d do it personally for them.

Jason Hartman:

Okay. I’m not sure if you deal with this at all, Karen, but some people in the preparedness and survival community talk about seeds and gardening and so forth like that. Do you deal with seeds, say store seeds, and things like that?

Karen Varner:

I have sold seeds and I no longer sell anything. I just recommend people. I have people that I would recommend them to call or to talk to. I have websites. But none of it is my own. I have a garden, I do a garden, I believe in a garden. I even have done a garden in an apartment, so I had it in pots, a flower pot, my tomatoes and things like that. But I don’t consider myself an expert on gardening.

Jason Hartman:

Okay. Talk to us a little bit about water, if you would. Water is really more important than food, at least in the first critical 72 hour phase. How do you store water? What are the right products that you need and so on?

Karen Varner:

They tell us – all the experts say that you should have at least 14 gallons. That’s 72 hours, three days, at a gallon a day for three days. And that’s not your bathing water. That’s just your cooking water. So you need a gallon a day per person just for emergency. And then you would need probably a good filter.

Now, I like the Katadyn filter. Something with a diatomaceous earth on the outside and carbon on the inside, but boy, I’d sure want to make my water as clean as possible beforehand. So I’ll tell you one of the secrets I do. I have a really good water filter and I have found several sources. Now, I still store my water, so I have as much water as I can possibly make room for, which isn’t much. There’s just my husband and I and we have a couple of cases of the bottled water stored and then we have a couple of those big 55 gallon barrels of water stored in our backyard. But boy, that sure wouldn’t be a year’s supply of water, but there’s no way you could do it.

So when I found a source, I would take two buckets. I have two buckets in my storage unit. I poked holes in one of them, and in that bucket, I store some cheesecloth, a little bag of sand, and some carbon that I bought from a pet department of a department store.

Jason Hartman:

So you basically made your own pre-filter.

Karen Varner:

I made a pre-filter, yes. And so I layer that and I layer the cheesecloth and the carbon and the sand, and then small pebbles and medium pebbles and large rocks, and now if I took that – if I were in Hurricane Katrina, you know how bad that water was – and I put it through that first bucket, the large rock would take out the sticks and the floaties; the medium rocks and the little rocks would take out the oil. It would go through the sand, and then it would go through the carbon and drip into that second bucket. That’s the water I would want to filter and boil before drinking.

Jason Hartman:

And then you put it into your professional filter, your manufactured filter. Not the homemade one.

Karen Varner:

Exactly. I don’t want to gum up my really nice filter on that terrible mucky water.

Jason Hartman:

Oh, very good point. So with your really nice filter, what is the cost of that?

Karen Varner:

The price of water filters, you can get a 1-person water filter for about $160.00, and then there’s the little replacement element that runs for under $100.00. And then you can get a great big family, huge water drip for $250.00, under $250.00.

Jason Hartman:

Okay, excellent. Good to know. Anything else we should know about storing water? Like for the large water storage, you were talking about the barrels. Where do people obtain those? What kind of barrel do they use? And how long can they let water sit before they need to do anything with it?

Karen Varner:

I had the city talk about our water and it is treated well enough that I can use water from my backyard hose and that water is treated well enough that I can leave it for several years and it’s fine. It will go flat, so once I went to use it, I would probably pour it from cup to cup to add some air to aerate it.

Many people are nervous about their water and if that’s the case, there are many water treatments. I like a product that hyper oxygenates the water, which makes it taste good and it’s supposed to be really good for your body, and that kind of cleans it out. I would never, ever, ever use water that I had put through a filter or anything else unless I boiled it first. The reason I say that is because the man who researched water and found the germs and told people that that’s what was killing them was accidently killed because he drank the wrong water. I really believe that it should be pure. And even the very best water filter says 99.99 percent.

Jason Hartman:

Right, it’s not 100 percent.

Karen Varner:

So you still want to – I rotate my water every year and we use it and everything’s fine and I have had no problems. I have had no problem with it freezing in the barrel. I do not buy that from a food storage company. I would buy that from a local source, like Wal-Mart or C-A-L Ranch or Home Depot, an industrial source.

Jason Hartman:

You’re talking about the barrel now, the storage barrel.

Karen Varner:

That big barrel, that’s correct.

Jason Hartman:

So anything particular that we have to look for when we buy this barrel? They’re blue ones, right, or are they treated or are they special plastic?

Karen Varner:

They’re blue and they’re an industrial barrel and they’re the same whether they’re selling it to store chemicals in, to store paint in, or to store water in. As long as you don’t buy a used one that somebody else has stored a chemical or paint in, you will be fine. It is food grade.

Jason Hartman:

Okay, good.

Karen Varner:

The plastic that you need to be aware of that is not good for water or for anything else is that real thin plastic that you buy in a milk carton, and I’m the one who has told people for years and years and years not to store water in that, and I had a couple of gallons of water that I put in the back of my trunk and forgot about it, and I had a flood in my trunk.

Jason Hartman:

It did not hold up for you. That’s good to know.

Karen Varner:

It will not hold up. It’s a temporary measure and that plastic is made to degrade at the dump.

Jason Hartman:

In terms of water storage, I’ve had people on the show, Karen, that talk about the other thing you should do to it is maybe add just a little bit of bleach to it, if you’ve got a big barrel full of water, and I can’t remember the exact amount. But they say add a little bit of bleach to it before you use it. It was interesting, your point about aerating the water, transferring it from cup to cup. That’s brilliant. I’ve never heard anyone say that before. What do you think about using a little bleach or some kind of a cleaning chemical as well? Is that a good or a bad thing?

Karen Varner:

I’m nervous about those. Some people use iodine. Some people use Clorox. It’s so hard to find just the straight chemical. Most bleaches now have the scent and the this and the that and all kinds of chemicals that you do not want in your water. And most water that people are using now in the United States is treated adequately, so the only water I wouldn’t use to store in my barrel would be something that was untreated well water or in the parks, they’ll use water that’s not safe.

Jason Hartman:

The reclaimed water.

Karen Varner:

But if it’s treated by your plant, yeah, then it already has all the treatments in it that it needs.

Jason Hartman:

Okay, good to know. Anything on catching rainwater? Do you deal with that at all?

Karen Varner:

No, I don’t, but on the news here – I live in Utah – they were prosecuting someone for catching their own rainwater.

Jason Hartman:

You have to be kidding!

Karen Varner:

I am not kidding. God sent it from the heavens; they caught it and were using it. I don’t even think they were using it for drinking. I think they were using it for cleaning or something. And either the city or the state was prosecuting them for that.

Jason Hartman:

Talk about overreaching government. You can’t even collect rainwater anymore. Unbelievable! That is incredible.

Karen Varner:

Ain’t it the truth!

Jason Hartman:

I’ve never heard that before. Amazing!

Karen Varner:

I don’t know if it was “for our own good” or because – I know why it was. I remember what they said. They said that water runs off and down into the drain and they were stealing it from the city.

Jason Hartman:

Unbelievable.

Karen Varner:

So be careful. It may be illegal.

Jason Hartman:

Okay, good to know. That’s interesting. What else should people know, just kind of wrapping this whole subject up into the big picture?

Karen Varner:

Basically, I tell people the place to start is a 72-hour kit. That gives you food and water, your medications. You consider something warm and dry. It gives you sunscreen for the summer or mittens for the winter, kind of gets you prepared that if you have to evacuate your home, then you can go quickly and you’ve got everything that you need.

Jason Hartman:

And that’s one interesting thing about water is make sure you have it in both formats, the big barrel format as well as individual bottles, so you can carry it easily.

Karen Varner:

I have my water and my food and everything, and I’m ready to go. Now, let’s transfer that to my home, to what I need, that if I couldn’t go to a store or if I didn’t have the finances or whatever could happen, how could I be self-sufficient in my home for an extended period of time? The experts agree that it should be at least three months, and the best, most likely scenario is a year or more. I know that our family stored food for two years, for a two-year supply, and we ate it right down to the ground two or three times.

Jason Hartman:

Okay, so now why were you eating it? You were eating it because of a job loss in your family? Was that the case?

Karen Varner:

Either that or we’ve had medical emergencies. Big financial things come up that suck the money dry.

Jason Hartman:

But also, in addition to that, it’s good to rotate through that food stock, right, and eat it in real life, even if you don’t need to, and then replace your stock.

Karen Varner:

It really is. In fact, I’ve always been told store what you eat and eat what you store because then your body is used to it. Stress is a terrible, terrible thing and panic can kill, and the last thing you want to do is be introducing your body to something new to eat. That’s the most stressful thing you can do is change your diet.

Jason Hartman:

That’s interesting you point that out because they say the same thing with our pets. When I get new dog food for my dog, they say mix a little bit of the old food with the new food to sort of wean him off of it into the new food because the dietary change is very upsetting. And with people, some of us treat our stomach like a garbage dump. We just dump all kinds of junk in there and expect it to process it. So absolutely, eat what you store. Good points. Well, Karen, what should people do specifically to source this material? Where should they go?

Karen Varner:

I’m a free consultant. They can call me or they can email me and I’ll be happy to direct them to the many different places. I feel like my job or the reason is they would want to call me is because I keep my ear to the ground, and I tell people call me if you need a good deal or call me if you’ve found one so that I can pass it on. Many, many stores will do a “loss leader” and I like to shop all the “loss leaders”.

Jason Hartman:

Okay, yeah, good point. So Karen, where can they reach you?

Karen Varner:

They can reach me at your72hrkitlady@yahoo.com, or they can call me personally at (801) 225-0948.

Jason Hartman:

Excellent information. Karen Varner, thank you so much for all you do in helping people be prepared. It’s very kind of you to be doing this and keep up the good work out there. We appreciate you being on the show today.

Karen Varner:

Love to be here, love what I do. Thanks so much.

Jason Hartman:

Thank you.

Announcer:

Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival Show, protecting the people, places, and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show, which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com or search Jason Hartman on iTunes.

This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalized advice, please consult an appropriate professional. Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.

[End of Audio]

Duration: 27 minutes