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Meet the mum who has years’ worth of food stocked in her pantry ready for any emergency

Meet the mum who preps for her family to “thrive” not just “survive”- and has a years’ worth of food stocked in her pantry ready for any emergency. Allison Michael, 41, lives on 20 acres of land with her husband, Joe, 45, and their four children - and the family has been homesteading for 15 years. Allison spends her days tending to their garden, livestock and prepping and cooking food grown on their land. She uses methods such as water bath canning - a processing method used in home canning for high acid foods- pressure canning and freeze drying to prepare ingredients to last for months to feed her family if a disaster hits. Allison has a pantry dedicated to food storage and uses a three-layer system - by storing her food in different catagories - to organise perishable foods and long-lasting items. The family keep chickens, geese and bees and grow all their own vegetables to eat as much homegrown food as they can. Allison, a homemaker and content creator, from Bonner County, Idaho, US, said: “I like to be prepared for an emergency - which we may have to deal with, but I don’t do it because I’m scared. “I prep so my family can thrive not just survive. “I loved the idea of feeding my family food I had grown so I knew where it was coming from. “My husband and I started looking into homesteading a while back when we were renting and started to learn about preservation. “I used one of our bathrooms as a canning pantry before I had my own space. “Now I’m lucky to have a pantry where I can keep all my food storage. “We’re prepared for any natural disaster or emergency. “We have a lot of winter storms and wildfires are likely to occur so we’re ready for them. “But I don’t prep in fear.” Allison started learning to homestead she taught herself to grow food on her community garden. “I wanted to feed food to my family that I had grown myself,” she said. She and her husband Joe, a mental health counsellor, grew their skills in preservation and moved to a home with five acres of land in South Washington, US, in November 2016. The family built up a vegetable patch, orchard and had livestock on their land before they decided to move to a bigger space. They moved to Bonner County, Idaho, US, in October 2020, which has 20 acres of land. “We have to start from scratch again,” Allison said. “But we felt like we needed more space.” Allison spends her day gardening, harvesting, or prepping and makes sure the pantry is always stocked up. “I use a three-layer system,” she said. “My first is my kitchen storage which just looks like anyone’s kitchen’s cupboards with the food I use the most and has about a month's worth. “My short-term layer is like my grocery store which has food that can last up to a year but that we're still likely to use. “My long-term layer is for emergencies, so I package everything in miller bags with oxygen absorbers or five-gallon buckets. “That’s all packaged to avoid moisture, sunlight and bugs.” Allison prides herself on being ready for any emergency but stresses that she doesn’t prep in fear. “My family is my responsibility,” she said. “Prepping to me is planning for things to come and that might affect us.” Allison has a wood stove as power outages can be common and temperatures can drop to minus nine degrees. “I encourage others to plan and prep for what they need depending on their situation and where they live,” she said. Allison uses a spreadsheet for her pantry to keep track of expiry dates, and what each food is packaged in. “It’s important that prepping does not come from a place of fear,” she said. “I think about it all realistically rather than a place of doom and gloom.
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