From time to time...I hear of people who are getting rid of old food storage. Perhaps they inherited it from a deceased relative and are uncertain of it's age or the care with which it was stored...or maybe they are the original owners and feel that because it was purchased 20+ years ago that it is now of no worth and it should be dumped to start over. This food finds it's way to the local landfill or with some luck...into the hands of someone who believes that it still has value. I have actually been the recipient of some of this food storage...saving it from finding a new home ...nestled along side of some old mattresses and broken toys.
What each of these old food storage philanthropists has reassuringly said to me when I pick up the food is..."I will replace it with new food". While I have never followed up to confirm that they followed through with their plan...I have to wonder if they really ever got around to doing it. Are their shelves still bare?
While I whole-heartedly appreciate anyone willing to give me their old food storage...I am always concerned first of all that they are putting themselves in a precarious position if a disaster came and they hadn't yet replenished their supply...and I am also concerned that they will think that I am like their free storage space and plan to show up at my door and ask for it back!....Meanwhile my chickens have eaten it all...and they don't care who it once belonged to! That is why whenever I accept someone's food storage I always confirm with them that it will now be mine...and they won't want it back just so that we are totally clear.
Here are some questions I have for people who want to get rid of food storage...
1. Is it old...or is it spoiled? In my mind there is a big difference. Old is edible...spoiled can be toxic. Yes...I can taste the difference between 25 year old wheat and fresh wheat...but hey...it will still fill your belly!
2. If the day comes that you need to live on your food storage...how long will you need to live on it? Will it be weeks...months...years? Will you be wishing you hadn't given away your old storage if you run out of food?
3. If needy people show up at your door wanting to trade goods or services food...what food will you give them? Is a starving person going to turn up their nose at older...but edible food!!? The answer is no. Not the truly starving. If you doubt that...do a study of famines and read about what they ate!! Leather...worms...bark...termites...etc...are not nearly as good as nice bisquit made from old wheat.
The church came out not too long ago letting us know that the shelf lives of our properly stored long term foods may be considerably longer than previously estimated. See this graph. I'd encourage you to think twice before getting rid of old but unspoiled food storage...and use a little positive peer pressure to dissuade others from getting rid of theirs too.