Allison Michael, 41, and her husband, Joe, 45, live on 20 acres of land in Idaho with their four children.
The family has been ‘homesteading’ – learning to live a self-sufficient lifestyle off the land – for 15 years, and makes sure their pantry is full of enough food to last a whole year.
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 stored.
‘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’s homesteading journey began when she learned to grow vegetables in a local community garden.
‘I wanted to feed food to my family that I had grown myself,’ she said.
Along with Joe, a mental health counsellor, they developed their preservation skills and moved to a home with five acres of land in South Washington, US, in November 2016.
Before they decided to move to an even bigger 20-acre plot of land in Bonner County, in October 2020, they built up a vegetable patch, an orchard, and tended to their own livestock.
‘We had to start from scratch again,’ Allison said.
‘But we felt like we needed more space.’
Now, Allison makes sure the pantry is always stocked up, and spends her days gardening and harvesting.
‘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.’
As well as having a very well-stocked pantry, Allison has a wood stove because power outages can be common where the family live, and temperatures are known to fall to minus nine degrees.
She also uses a spreadsheet to keep track of things like expiry dates, and what each food item 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.’
Allison says more people should take measures to ensure they’ve got what they need in case of emergencies and tailor measures to their local environment.
‘I encourage others to plan and prep for what they need depending on their situation and where they live,’ she said.
She takes pride in how ready the family is in case the worst should happen.
‘My family is my responsibility,’ she said.
‘Prepping to me is planning for things to come and that might affect us.’
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