Self-Sufficient or Community-Sufficient?
I read an article that “self sufficient living” is a term that needs to go away. I don’t think I agree, but I see the author’s point. I completely align with taking care of myself and my family to the best of my ability. But there’s only so much time in a day. I don’t know it all. And I certainly don’t have land or the means to do it all.
“We can also begin to take some part in food production. This doesn’t mean we all need to grow our own potatoes, but it may mean that we will buy them from a person who is already growing potatoes responsibly. In fact, one would probably do better to organize a farmer-purchasing group in the neighborhood than to grow potatoes.”
- Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison
I’ve been thinking a lot on the term “self sufficiency.” I try to grow as much of my own produce as I can, but I still buy flour and other grains. If I have a rough crop season, I support a local farm. But I also buy shovels to work my land. I buy fruit trees from nurseries, seeds if I don’t have what I need, even raised bed soil if I don’t have enough growing medium to go around in addition to compost. I buy hay. I can’t sew clothes. My water is from my own well which someone else built, my home electrical is on the power grid, and I heat with delivered energy. So while I make many efforts and pour myself into a DIY lifestyle, I realize total self-sufficiency is very difficult to achieve. Is it even possible?
Perhaps “community-sufficient” would be a better goal than self-sufficient. If there was someone to grow the food, someone to be a carpenter, a doctor, a vet, a blacksmith, a baker, a teacher, a seamstress. Would small villages have a realistic shot at self sufficiency and removing themselves from mass supply and demand? 🤔
What do you think? I would love to get your take Janet @timbercreekfarm , Tammy @wingandaprayerfarm, and Ann @afarmgirlinthemaking as folks who have been homesteading longer than I and whom I have much respect for.
This is just a post to promote a discussion which is all based on a suggested article in my permaculture course. I thought it was interesting food for thought.
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Angela is the farmer and content creator behind Axe & Root Homestead LLC. This historic six-acre permaculture farm is home to two Clydesdale horses, ten honeybee hives, five sheep, two guardian dogs, barn cats and a flock of 40 geese and ducks. The farm produces maple syrup, fruit from a small orchard and loads of garden produce for consumption, preservation and donation to the local food pantry.
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