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Keep a supply of your staple foods

Sep 27, 2023
Photo featuring glass jars filled with pasta, dried beans, nuts, and various grains. The jars are not labeled. Photo by Jas Min on Unsplash

Photo by Jas Min on Unsplash

“Be thou guided by wisdom under all conditions, …”

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh

by Christine Muller

Depending on their culture and background, people eat different things, but all of us have our staple foods—foods we eat regularly every day or several times a month. If they are non-perishable or last for a long time, it makes much sense to always have them at hand.

It would be ridiculous to have to go shopping just because you ran out of flour or rice. Remember, our children will need to draw down from the atmosphere all the carbon dioxide emitted from our driving to keep the Earth’s climate livable for humanity! 

There is also a second reason: Extreme weather events from a changing climate or economic problems can lead to disruptions of services and supply chains that we generally take for granted. So, it is wise to have a good amount of your staple food in storage. In an emergency, you will not go hungry and can share with your neighbors, too.

What food would qualify for storage? This will depend on your eating habits, but most people will likely appreciate having rice, flour, salt, sugar, canned or dried beans, pasta, tomato sauce, oil, vinegar, their favorite spices, tea, and coffee available. Some like to have oats, honey, jam, peanut butter, pickles, canned chili and soups, a few cans of sustainably fished tuna or salmon, grated parmesan cheese, and crackers at hand. If you regularly use butter or margarine, it makes sense to have a supply in the refrigerator because you can keep them for many months. Think about what are your staple foods?

The quantity of food stored will depend on your storage space and on what you expect you will use within about a year. Make sure to put the newly bought items in the back so that nothing gets too old. As these are your staple foods, you will use them regularly. So, nothing should go to waste.

Some items may not have clearly visible expiration dates. In these cases, mark them with the purchase date. As discussed in another Sustainable Living Tip, expiration dates don’t have to be taken literally, but they can indicate which packages or cans you should use first.


Christine Muller, Teacher of Music and the Environment

Board Secretary, International Environment Forum

I was interested in environmental issues already at a young age and became a Bahá’í when I was 17, which was the beginning of a life-long study of the Bahá’í Faith. As the environmental crisis was worsening, I began to systematically study climate change at a time when not much information was easily available. I also searched the Bahá’í teachings for a spiritual solution to the climate crisis. At that time, climate change was not known to most people and there were no educational materials available. That’s why I wrote Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change – an Interfaith Study Course, which the International Environment Forum posted in 2009. I joined the Wilmette Institute as support faculty for its Sustainable Development course in 2011 and created its Climate Change course the following year. I also teach a course on climate change for the Environmental Sciences Department of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) in Iran. I have served on the board of RI Interfaith Power&Light for more than a decade. In recent years, much of my time is spent serving the Bahá’í-inspired International Environment Forum ( as its secretary.  My formal academic background is in music, and I enjoy part-time piano teaching, playing and - when there is time - composing music. A recent composition is Humans on Earth – a Ballad of Our Time for two singers, string orchestra, piano, and percussion. Its lyrics include quotations from scientific sources and the Bahá’í Writings. Christine’s articles on BahaiTeachings.orgSee Faculty Bio


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