Lesson 22: Home Production and Storage

Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part A, (2000), 160–67


The purpose of this lesson is to help us understand and apply the essentials of home production and storage.

Introduction

Church leaders have counseled all Latter-day Saints to become self-reliant and independent. There are good reasons for this counsel. President Marion G. Romney explained that “we’re living in the latter days. … We are living in the era just preceding the second [coming] of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are told to so prepare and live that we can be … independent of every other creature beneath the celestial kingdom” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, 165; see also D&C 78:13–14).

  • Display visual 22-a, “Disaster may strike when we least expect it.”

President Spencer W. Kimball encouraged us to become self-reliant because the prophecies of old are coming to pass. He said: “Now I think the time is coming when there will be more distresses, when there may be more tornadoes and more floods, … more earthquakes. … I think they will be increasing probably as we come nearer to the end, and so we must be prepared for this” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 184).

He also said: “Should evil times come, many might wish they had filled all their fruit bottles and cultivated a garden in their backyards and planted a few fruit trees and berry bushes and provided for their own commodity needs. The Lord planned that we would be independent of every creature, but we note even many farmers buy their milk from dairies and home owners buy their garden vegetables from the store. And should the trucks fail to fill the shelves of the stores, many would go hungry” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, 6; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, 6).

  • Have the brethren imagine that the stores were closed and that they had to rely on their own supplies for everything. Ask them what they would like to have or be producing at home if those imaginary conditions had just occurred.

Providing for Our Own Needs

President Kimball instructed us to “study the best methods of providing your own foods. … If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 170–71; or Ensign, May 1976, 124).

Bishop Vaughn J. Featherstone told us which skills we should develop if we are to provide for our needs: “Now regarding home production: Raise animals where means and local laws permit. Plant fruit trees, grapevines, berry bushes, and vegetables. You will provide food for your family, much of which can be eaten fresh. Other food you grow can be preserved and included as part of your home storage. Wherever possible, produce your nonfood necessities of life. … Make or build needed items. I might also add, beautify, repair, and maintain all of your property” (“Food Storage,” Ensign, May 1976, 117).

  • Display a poster of the following list, or write the information on the chalkboard:

    1. a.

      Raise livestock.

    2. b.

      Plant fruit trees, berry bushes, and grapevines.

    3. c.

      Plant vegetable gardens.

    4. d.

      Preserve and store food.

    5. e.

      Make or build needed items.

    6. f.

      Repair and maintain property.

Raise Livestock

  • Display visual 22-b, “Chickens are easy to raise and care for.”

If we have enough land and live where we can legally keep livestock, we should buy and raise some animals. Before we decide which animals we will raise, however, we must be prepared to care for them properly. This means learning about the food, shelter, and care they need in order to be healthy. Some animals that are easy to care for are chickens, rabbits, ducks, and milk goats.

  • Discuss the kinds of livestock most commonly raised in the area. Discuss the kinds of food, shelter, and care that each animal requires.

Plant Fruit Trees, Berry Bushes, and Grapevines

Because fruit trees, bushes, and vines bear fruit either every year or every other year, they do not need to be planted again each year, as do vegetables. They may not bear fruit, however, for several years after they are planted, so we should plant them as soon as possible if we are to have the fruit when we most need it. Before we plant them, we should learn how much space each tree or bush will require when it is fully grown as well as how to care for it properly.

  • Discuss what kinds of fruit trees, vines, and berry bushes produce well in the area. Discuss the kind of care each one needs.

Plant Vegetable Gardens

  • Display visual 22-c, “Every family should plant a vegetable garden.”

Church leaders have counseled every family in the Church to have a vegetable garden. Even if we do not save money on the project, each family needs to learn how to provide for themselves. A garden supplies fresh food as well as extra food that we can preserve and store.

Preserve and Store Food

In some countries there are laws against storing food. President Kimball said that those who live in these countries should honor, obey, and sustain the laws of the country and should not store food (see Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 170; or Ensign, May 1976, 124). But where it is permitted, we should follow the counsel of the Lord to store food in case there comes a time when there is no other food available. When a hurricane hit Honduras in the fall of 1974, the members of the Church there who had dried and stored their own food were grateful they had done so. Only a few months before the hurricane, the mission president had warned them of impending disaster, challenging them to begin a food storage program. The beans, flour, rice, and other food they had put away saved the Saints from hunger. (See Bruce B. Chapman, “Hurricane in Honduras,” New Era, Jan. 1975, 31.)

There are several ways to preserve and store our own food. We can:

  1. 1.

    Store it in the ground. This method is good for some root vegetables and certain green, leafy vegetables if the place we store them is cool and dry. Too much rain or poor drainage will ruin them.

  2. 2.

    Dry it. When there is a period of warm, sunny weather, fruits and vegetables can be dried in the sun. They must be covered or brought inside when it rains. Produce may also be dried in a dehydrator.

  3. 3.

    Bottle it. This method is simple, but dangerous if done improperly. If done properly, bottling is a good way to store food and maintain its flavor. Proper bottling requires at least a cold-pack canner. (The equipment involved could be shared among several families.) This method also requires that the bottles be protected from breakage.

  4. 4.

    Salt or brine it. This is an inexpensive method of preserving fruits, vegetables, and meat, and requires little or no equipment.

Make or Build Needed Items

If we had to face a natural disaster, we would need to be prepared to cook, heat our homes, and clean our clothing, our bodies, and our surroundings. For this reason, it is important that we either store fuel and soap, or that we learn to make them in an emergency. Also of importance are first aid articles, prescribed medicines, soaps and other cleaning items, candles, matches, and any other articles necessary for the welfare of the family. Whenever possible, we should not only store these items, but also learn to produce them.

Repair and Maintain Property

In an emergency, we might also face the need to rebuild our homes, barns, or corrals. It is important, therefore, that members of our families learn to work with wood and other building materials and learn to use tools so they can make and repair furniture and other needed items. When we learn to repair and maintain our own possessions, we can save time and money and avoid being dependent on others.

  • Why is it important to keep our possessions in good condition?

Learning New Skills

Some of us have learned skills that we can teach to others. We can also learn skills from books or magazines, classes, government workers, or school programs.

  • Ask class members to discuss skills they can teach to others. Where are there people who can teach us those skills that we would like to learn? Which classes should we encourage our children to take in school in order to learn useful skills? How can we encourage our families to learn these skills?

Conclusion

Problems such as financial difficulties or natural disasters are part of our experiences on earth. If we learn to provide for our own needs, we will not fear hard times because we will be prepared. The Lord said, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).

Challenges

Set aside a time this week to talk to your wife and family about home production and storage.

Determine what you will need for a year’s supply.

Develop a plan to meet the needs of your family by starting or continuing a garden, learning a skill, or working on another project.

Teacher Preparation

Before presenting this lesson:

  1. 1.

    Check with government extension workers or experienced people to:

    1. a.

      Find out what kinds of livestock are raised in your area and which are easiest to care for.

    2. b.

      Find out which fruit trees, vines, and bushes grow well in the area and what kind of care they need.

    3. c.

      Find out if there are classes available that can teach family members how to build housing, furniture, and other needed items. If there are no classes available, find people with these skills who would be willing to teach them.

  2. 2.

    Prepare the poster suggested in the lesson, or write the information on the chalkboard.

  3. 3.

    Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.