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What is Self Sufficient Living?
Self sufficient living is defined as being “able to supply one’s own or its own needs without external assistance”. (dictionary.com) When we talk about self sufficient living, there are a few ways we can interpret this. Just living, working, paying your bills, without the help of anyone, financially, is considered self suffiency, right?
But what about in the world of homesteading/farming? Self sufficient living takes on a new meaning, because farmers don’t tend to want to rely on other’s for their needs.
How to Become Self Sufficient
When you think of a farmer, you probably think of them doing a specific type of farming. Some may have a dairy farm, other’s may raise cattle, and then other’s may grow fruits and veggies. They all are able to live off of whatever they grow/raise, however, if they are raising cattle, but aren’t growing fruits and/or veggies, they need to rely on other sources for that food.
First, create a set of goals for your homestead. Do you want to be able to provide 100% of your needs yourself? Do you want to raise certain animals for food, but get your fruits and veggies elsewhere? This is the time to set those intentions. You don’t want to start this type of endeavor without having clearly defined goals.
In addition to setting your goals for your self sufficient life, you also need to decide how you’re going to earn a living. We all still need to make money, right? It’s very important that you have a financial plan in place, again, before you set out on this journey. You don’t want to jump in with both feet because there will be mistakes, and there will be times when it feels like you want to quit. If you have your goals, and financial plan in place, you’ll have an easier time when the mistakes happen.
Self Sufficient Living and Your Family
All family members have a role to play when we decide to start farming. From the youngest, right on up to mom, dad, and grandparents, if they live with you and are able to help.
Clearly defining who will do what on the farm is crucial for things to run smoothly. In our home, I take care of the day to day chores, and make sure everyone is fed. Our daughter’s also help with those day to day chores. My husband, who works full time outside of the home (for now), takes care of the heavier type of work when he’s home on the weekends. We all pitch in and help him, but some jobs are better left for him. This is what works for us.
Things may be different for you. Regardless of who does what, everyone should be helping, including the kids. In general, chores for kids teaches them responsibility, and life skills. On the farm, they also learn empathy (for the animals), and how to take care of themselves by growing their own food. These are skills that they’ll never learn in school, but we never know when they will be necessary. In addition, because children are the next generation, teaching them how to grow chemical-free food is important to the health of our entire country. They could become part of something much bigger by learning about chemical-free gardening.
Self Sufficient Living – Organic, or Not?
Personally, our family stays away from chemicals at all costs. We choose to use only chemical-free alternatives for pest control, and to help our plants grow. There are a multitude of ways that you can keep pests away from your gardens, from companion planting, using homemade sprays with all-natural ingredients, and even hand picking certain pests off of your plants.
Unfortunately, if we have to shop at grocery stores, we don’t always know where the food came from, or what chemicals have been sprayed on them. Our preference is to go to local farm stands for fresh fruits and veggies that we don’t grow ourselves.
Pesticides have been linked to numerous health problems for many people. You can find more information here regarding pesticides and the diseases they are known to cause.
Self Sufficient Living – How Big Should Your Farm Be?
Some people have an “urban homestead”. You can totally homestead right in the city if you want! You might not keep goats, or chickens, or pigs, although that’ll depend on your rental agreement. 😉
However, growing your own fruits and veggies while living in the city is totally doable! How, you may ask? Container gardening and vertical gardening. It can be done, and it is being done all over the country! Probably all over the world! Self sufficient living is possible in any environment. You just have to plan, plan, plan!
Then, of course, you can go all out, which is the plan for our family this year, and purchase a large piece of land, preferably one that has already operated as a farm in the past! Do you have any idea how beneficial goats, chickens, rabbits, sheep, and pigs are on a farm? You can even make money as a worm farmer! The sky really is the limit!