August 14, 2020

Pandemic Pantry Progress

Our pantry order arrived! Not a bit of plastic.
Everything is packaged in heavy paper sacks.

We have been working on our pantry since we moved to Nova Scotia in 2014, but didn't really maximize on the space, having never had a real pantry before. We needed to get motivated.

The pandemic provided us with a good kick in the butt, and this year we finally got down to business. 

When we were researching our new home area, we discovered an agri-business in the Maritimes that specializes in locally grown organic staple foods. We also found a food buying group in our community.

But we had not yet connected the two.

Enter The Virus and we had that extra bit of motivation we needed. 

We tried to order directly from the wholesaler, but were told because of the pandemic they were very busy and had to enforce a minimum order of several hundred dollars or 600 pounds of delivered weight. 

We couldn't do that. We are building a pantry, not a bunker.

Therefore, we contacted the local food buying group, and found that they deal with the supplier! We could order whatever we wanted, in any quantity.

They took our order by email, we paid by e-transfer, and when it came in a couple of weeks later, it was delivered right to our front door free of charge.

As much as possible, the products are from local organic farms. All their flour is stone ground, a process which retains more fibre and nutrients than steel roller milling which causes the loss of anywhere from 20 - 30% of the good stuff.

This is what was in our order. All of it is organic.

- 2.27 kg sesame seeds
- 2.27 kg soybeans
- 2 X 2.27 kg cornmeal
- 2.27 kg sunflower seeds
- 20 kg oatmeal
- 10 kg whole wheat flour

I have never seen a 20 kilogram bag of rolled oats before. What a beautiful thing, if you love oats, and we do. We were buying non-organic large oats (for the same price) in 1 kg plastic bags from the store previously. 

That's 20 plastic bags we will not be using!

Over the next few weeks we will be augmenting our progressing pantry with food from the garden. We have already made strawberry jam, and we are looking forward to drying herbs, making pesto, canning pickled beets and cucumbers, as well as tomatoes and/or salsa.

We are also freezing things like bush and pole beans, peas, and kale.

We have also increased some amounts of pantry items. For many things, we try to always keep 2 in stock. Now we are keeping 3 of certain items, like peanut butter. The less we have to shop, the better, and this allows us to take advantage of sales when they come up.

Our food storage has never been this prepared before, and the timing couldn't be better. It all fits with giving up our vehicle, the pandemic, and an impending Greatest Depression. 

And who knows what else?


  1. I must have a look and see whether I have a food buying group in my area. Love how everything came packaged in paper. I too am ridding my life of plastic as much as I possibly can

    1. Definitely do that, it could be worth your while. The group here has really helped us out, and we will be continuing to order from them in the future. Although, how often does one need to buy a 20 kilo sack of rolled oats?

      No plastic packaging was a really nice touch. It can be seen from our order that there are better alternatives.

      We hope you are successful in finding a group to join, and in giving plastic the punt.

  2. If you can find access to a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint food pantry. They have a canning facility where you can can your oats and things to make them shelf stable and bug free for years. These places are all over. try contacting a member. Cost per can is very low.

    1. Thank you, that is an excellent suggestion. We have accessed a lot of LDS food preparation information online, and it is some of the best.

  3. Anonymous8/15/2020

    My family has a sizable pantry. I love having a few months of food on hand. We're prepared for an emergency and it allows me to stock up when our favorite items are on sale. For safe storage of things like grains and beans, I use a large plastic bucket with a Gamma Seal lid. This is such a great way to keep bugs and moisture out of your stored foods. The buckets and lids will last well beyond our life spans and won't even need to be replaced and you could always line the bucket with something if you don't want your food touching plastic. I do think those paper bags, while nice that they aren't plastic bags, will not protect your food for long term storage.

  4. Paper is just an invitation to bugs that eat paper. Plastic is not a good choice, either. I keep things in Ball jars and canning lids. They stay in the freezer for three days to kill bugs and eggs that come with the food! I really need to use oxygen absorbers, too.

  5. Anonymous8/17/2020

    That picture is a thing of beauty, Gregg and Linda! We too love rolled oats! Have about 5 pounds right now, along with 15 pounds of rice, 2 - 3 pounds each of dried fruit and nuts, dry milk, canned goods....we've been slowly stocking up each time we shop and I feel pretty good about what we have in the pantry (and that includes a good store of cat food for our 4 furballs). Things are going to get rather spooky around the US I think for this election cycle, so I will be making doubly sure we are stocked up. And thank you to Out My Window for the suggestion of the LDS and canning help. I grew a smallish garden, hope to have a much bigger one next year, and canning is something I need help with. Take care everyone. -Mary

  6. Wow! Your pantry is looking good. We love oats too and I have made special no bake peanut butter chocolate (we use unsweetened cocoa powder) oat cookies for my family this summer as our special treat! We each get one for dessert and boy is it delicious!!!


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