Food Storage as a Way of Life

    I attended a home storage center/cannery training session recently to receive information on current rules and regulations. Those in charge encouraged the teaching of food storage for the purposes of emergency use and difficult times. While those are important reasons to have food storage, it is short sighted, and all too common an occurrence, to teach food storage only as a principle of emergency preparedness. It’s like leaving the higher law on top of Mount Sinai. In actuality, food storage contributes to a better way of life and helps us be more celestial in nature. It should be taught as a principle of provident living and self-reliance, part of a way of life. Provident living is being "wise, frugal, prudent, making provision for the future while attending to immediate needs."1
    Victor L. Brown of the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught about the place that preparedness should have in our daily lives. He said “Some people have reacted to the theme of preparedness as if it were a doomsday matter…Our emphasis on this subject is not grounds for crisis thinking or panic. Quite the contrary,
personal and family preparedness should be a way of provident living, an orderly approach to using the resources, gifts, and talents the Lord shares with us. So the first step is to teach our people to be self-reliant and independent through proper preparation for daily life.”2
    President Spencer W. Kimball, twelfth president of the Church, said “Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden spectacular program.”3
    Food storage contributes to a better way of life in many ways.
    Having food storage saves time. Having your own “storehouse” or “grocery store” saves time by eliminating extra trips to the grocery store or, at least, making them shorter trips. Learning to use
powdered milk and to make your own bread and other staple foods helps avoid grocery store trips for necessities. Food storage can also save time in planning and preparing meals when food storage is built around a list of tested recipes or menus, when home canned “convenience” foods are stored, and when time saving cooking methods are used such as slow cooking, pressure cooking and cooking ahead and freezing.
    Having food storage saves money. Shopping less usually means spending less money. The more often you shop, the more likely you will buy things you don’t really need. When
basic foods are the foundation and core of your food storage, money will be saved. Basic foods are generally less expensive because they are not highly processed. They will require cooking and baking, though. Buying in bulk is almost always less expensive as is stocking up during sales. Eating at “yesterday’s” prices is then possible. Home canning and dehydrating seasonal and home grown foods is often less than buying commercially canned foods. (See “Why Home Can?”) The exceptions to the idea that food storage saves money are commercially dehydrated and freeze dried foods. (See “Freeze-Dried Foods”)
    Food storage, especially long term storage and home canned and dehydrated foods, provides a healthy way of eating. Included in long term storage are
whole grains, legumes and non-fat dry milk which are all part of a heart healthy diet. Home canned and dehydrated foods provide meats, fruits and vegetables that can be prepared with minimal salt and/or sugar, and no other preservatives, and are a good source of many nutrients.
    Food storage contributes to more freedom in our life. When we have the means to act, we have more freedom to act. Marion G. Romney stated “Whenever we get into a situation which threatens our self-reliance, we will find our freedom threatened as well. If we increase our dependence, we will find an immediate decrease in our freedom to act.”4
    Food storage allows us to serve and to serve better. Elder Robert D. Hales stated “When we live providently, we can provide for ourselves and our families and also follow the Savior’s example to serve and bless others.”5 In the pamphlet “All is Safely Gathered In: Home Storage” The First Presidency writes “Our Heavenly Father ….has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’ (see
D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others.” Marion G. Romney stated “Without self-reliance one cannot exercise … innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse.”6
    Food storage and self-reliance help contribute to the development of our celestial natures. “Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made… Can we see how critical self-reliance becomes when looked upon as the prerequisite to service, when we also know service is what godhood is all about?”7
   
Doctrine and Covenants 29:34 states “Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal…” Even food storage and self-reliance are spiritual principles. David O. McKay made this observation:

    “The development of our spiritual nature should concern us most. Spirituality is the highest acquisition of the soul, the divine in man; ‘the supreme, crowning gift that makes him king of all created things.’ It is the consciousness of victory over self and of communion with the infinite. It is spirituality alone which really gives one the best in life.
    “It is something to supply clothing to the [poorly] clad, to furnish ample food to those whose table is thinly spread, to give activity to those who are fighting desperately the despair that comes from enforced idleness, but after all is said and done, the greatest blessings that will accrue … are spiritual. Outwardly, every act seems to be directed toward the physical; remaking of dresses and suits of clothes, canning fruits and vegetables, storing foodstuffs, choosing fertile fields for settlement—all seem strictly temporal, but permeating all these acts, inspiring and sanctifying them, is the element of spirituality.”8

    There is more to food storage than just having it for emergencies. It contributes to better every day living and helps us perfect ourselves as the children of God that we already are. It is provident living both temporally and spiritually. Marion G. Romney taught, “This is not a doomsday program, but a program for our lives here and now, because now is the time for us to perfect our lives. May we continue to hold fast to these truths.”9

1. Barbara B. Smith, “
Teach LDS Women Self-SufficiencyEnsign, May 1976, p. 118.
2. Victor L. Brown, “
Welfare Services Essentials: The Bishop’s Storehouse”, Ensign, Nov. 1976, pp.112-113.
3. Regional Representatives’ Seminar, 30 September 1976.
4. Marion G. Romney, “
The Celestial Nature of Self-RelianceEnsign June 1984.
5. Robert D. Hales, “
Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually”, Ensign, May 2009.
6. Romney, ibid.
7. Romney, ibid.
8. Conference Report, Oct. 1936.
9. Romney, ibid.