Self-Sufficiency – what IS it and WHY would people want it? Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:
Self-sufficiency is the state of not requiring any aid, support, or interaction, for survival; it is therefore a type of personal or collective autonomy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-sufficiency
Reading that sentence shows me that it would be extremely hard to be totally self-sufficient. Even hundreds of years ago, people relied on interaction from others for survival. When I read about the many pioneering families who settled in the Cariboo, they relied on others.
Although families settled sometimes in areas where there were no close neighbours, there was still a sense of community and a willingness to help others. Schools that were built in our area were of course built completely by hand, most often using logs. Those schools were not built by one person, rather, it was the fathers of the settled families who came together and realized that their children needed education.
I have read many times that, in efforts to settle new areas in the Cariboo, schools were built in areas where there were only a few families, even if those families did not have enough children to warrant a school being built. This was not a large problem. Why? Because if one area had enough (or too many) children for a school, then the parents of those families would send one of their children to live with new settlers in another area, who needed higher enrollments to justify having a school there!
I am using this as an example of my belief that even self-sufficient people rely on outside sources for “things”, whether it be goods or services.
To me, Self-Sufficiency is not an end state – rather, it is a process. A process of beginning to realize that there are other ways to do things and other ways to support your families, rather than buying everything at a store and counting on your local, county, provincial, national and federal governments to help YOU.
So, in the beginning of developing more of a Self-Sufficiency mindset, maybe the first thing people would think about is having some supplies on hand. Whether it be because of a weather or other emergency or one parent getting sick and losing an income, there are valid reasons why you should have some things in storage at your home. Enough water stored for your family’s drinking needs and flushing toilets will mean that your family will be lessed stressed in times of emergency than many others.
Think about heat and how it could be provided if the power is out (woodstove). Think about some food supplies (canned and dehydrated foods) that will mean your family will be able to eat at home if the power is out.
But it’s about more than providing for the very basic necessary needs of you and your family. Think about the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” commercials that you see and hear. If you practice the 3 R’s, that is being more self-sufficient than others who simply throw the plastics, etc into the landfills. To me, Self-sufficiency means spending less money, providing more for yourself, and being LESS reliant on others.
The other extreme, in my opinion, to Self-Sufficiency and that is hoarding. The show “Doomsday Preppers” has brought the whole prepping topic right into your living room once a week. I have watched the show a couple of times, but although I agree with some of it, I think it shows pretty extreme prepping (not that there’s anything wrong with that. You go ahead and fill your bunkers).
For us, there were lots of reasons why we wanted to become more self-sufficient. Here are a few of them:
We were moving out into the country, where the grocery store would be 40 minutes driving time. I don’t know about you, but I am NOT making that trip to town three times a week.
Our income and expenses had changed. We moved to a place where the real estate was a lot less expensive, even when buying lots of land. Graham stopped working full time and so that freed up time for us to work on the property. Much of that work was put into vegetable gardens. We like food on the table, and we like good food. Growing what we were going to eat was the best way for us to spend a lot less money and ensure that what we were eating was healthy for us, instead of sprayed with chemicals.
We wanted a quieter pace of life. We got that and also developed some wonderful friendships with the folks that live around us. We help each other and encourage each other. There are times when we rely on the community. According to Wiki’s definition, that wouldn’t be very self-sufficient of us!
Now that I’ve got you thinking about self-sufficiency, I want to share a link with you. Some of you already know that I joined Pinterest a few months ago. I started a Self-Sufficiency pinning board there and opened it up to pins from other people wanting to share.
If you are already on Pinterest, click to follow the Self-Sufficiency board. That will trigger an email to me, and then I can send out an invitation for you to start pinning on the board. If you are not on Pinterest, leave me a comment here our on our Facebook page and I can send you an invite.
I have been really pleased with the growth of this board – as of this writing, there are 1334 people who have pinned a total of 2197 pins. These numbers reinforce to me how many people are looking for another way of life. Over the last couple of years, the number of people who are interested in their food supply, GMO’s and providing more for themselves has just exploded.
When you are checking out websites, blogs, homesteading sites and forums, you can Pin an image while you are on that site. You just have to download the Pin It button. I have mine on my Favorites Bar, so it makes it super easy for me to pin something I find.
Anything related to self-sufficiency is welcomed on the board at Pinterest. We have people pinning the most amazing things! Solar collectors made from pop or beer cans and soda bottles. Rainwater collection barrels and systems. Using a snare to catch a rabbit, when you are lost in the woods and starving. I could go on, but you should just go and take a look.
When you find a Pin you want to know more about, just click on it. That picture will open up on its own, and if you click on it again, you will be taken directly to the site where it orginated. There you can read the background and information about that Pin.
Enjoy your weekend! Please leave a comment here if you have any questions about Pinterest.