Meet the mom who preps for her family to 'thrive' not just 'survive'

‘My family will THRIVE, not just survive’: ‘Prepper’ mom-of-four who lives totally self-sufficient lifestyle in remote Idaho lays bare extensive plans to protect her family against any emergency – from growing her own food to storing YEARS’ worth of meals

  • Allison Michael, 41, from Idaho, has opened up about her plan to ensure her family not only ‘survives’ an apocalypse, but ‘thrives’ during it, by stocking her pantry with ‘years’ worth of food 
  • The mom-of-four lives on 20 acres of land with her husband, Joe, 45, and their four children – and the family has been living a self-sufficient lifestyle known as homesteading for 15 years
  • Allison spends her days tending to their garden and livestock, and prepping food grown on their land, explaining that she has a multi-layered system for storing and preparing the meals
  • She uses methods known as pressure canning and freeze-dry canning to ensure that the food she prepares will last as long as possible, and keeps track of it all on a spreadsheet 
  • Allison noted that her intensive emergency prepping ‘does not come from a place of fear’ but rather a desire to ensure that her family can ‘thrive’, and she ‘encourages’ everyone to ‘plan and prep’

A doomsday prepper mother-of-four has opened up about the extreme lengths she has gone to ensure that her family will ‘thrive, not just survive’ in the event of an apocalyptic emergency.  

Allison Michael, 41, lives on 20 acres of land with her husband, Joe, 45, and their four children in Bonner County, a remote area of Idaho – where the family has been living a totally self-sufficient lifestyle known as homesteading for 15 years. 

The mother-of-four spends her days tending to their garden and their livestock – both of which they use as a source of food – while also preparing meals that she stores away in case of any kind of emergency, so that her family has the ability to ‘thrive, not just survive’ in the event of an apocalyptic event. 

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 Michael, 41, from Idaho, has opened up about her plan to ensure her family survives an apocalypse by stocking her pantry with ‘years’ worth of food

The mom-of-four, 41, and her husband, 45, live on 20 acres of land with 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 as a means of ‘thriving’ and surviving


She uses pressure canning, freeze dry canning and has a three layer system of emergency food to ensure her family is ready for any type of disaster

How Allison stores her food to ensure her family survives an apocalypse with her three layer system 

  • Allison starts by using 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. 
  • She then begins her three layer system in her kitchen; in the first layer she has about a ‘month’s worth’ of food that she uses the most. 
  • In the second layer, she has food that can last ‘up to a year’ but the family will most likely use. 
  • Her third layer is for emergencies, so she packages everything in ‘oxygen absorbers or five-gallon buckets.

Allison has a pantry dedicated to food storage and uses a three-layer system – by storing her food in different categories – to organize perishable foods and long-lasting items. 

The family keeps chickens, geese and bees, and they grow all their own vegetables, meaning that they are able to generate almost all of the food that they eat right at home. 

Allison, a homemaker and content creator, 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.’ 

When Allison started learning to homestead, she taught herself to grow food in her community garden so she could know exactly where their food was coming from. 

‘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 in November 2016. 

The family built up a vegetable patch, orchard and had livestock on their land in Washington. 

However, shortly after, they decided to move to a bigger space. 

They moved to Bonner County, Idaho, 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 full.

‘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. 

‘My family is my responsibility, prepping to me is planning for things to come and that might affect us,’ Allison added

The mom-of-four spends her day gardening, harvesting, or prepping and makes sure the pantry is always full


Allison uses a spreadsheet for her pantry to keep track of expiry dates, and what each food is packaged in

Allison noted that her intensive emergency prepping ‘does not come from a place of fear’ and she ‘encourages’ everyone to ‘plan and prep’ as a means of survival

‘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 in the area can drop as low as 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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