Do you have visions of animals grazing in lush pastures, productive gardens brimming with produce, and a fully stocked pantry full of home-grown food? You’re not alone! This is the ultimate dream for many, but is it actually possible? And how do you get there?
Whether you live in an apartment in the city, a small lot in the suburbs, or on acreage in the country, there are lots of ways to start living a more self-sufficient lifestyle right now. Of course, you’ll have to be creative and willing to work hard to achieve your goals, but it is entirely possible!
Here’s a look at what it takes to become more self-sufficient and why right now is the perfect time to get started!
What does self-sufficiency mean to you?
The term “self-sufficiency” is defined in a variety of ways, depending on who you ask. But most people would agree that being self-sufficient means being a producer, rather than just a consumer. In essence, you produce some or all of your own food, energy, clothing, and more.
Some become more self-sufficient by stocking a pantry and cooking from scratch. Others want to have enough land to support their family’s needs and the needs of their animals. Or, your focus could be on financial self-sufficiency, so you’re working hard to become self-employed and debt-free.
To sum it up, self-sufficiency means something different for everyone. The point is to develop the mental and physical ability and the skills you need to provide for as many of your own needs as possible. Let’s take a look at some ways you can do that right now, no matter where you live.
4 Ways to Start Living a More Self-Sufficient Lifestyle Right Now
You may have been told that you need a big farm with lots of land to become more self-sufficient, but that’s not the case at all. The basic concepts below will help you begin to be more self-sufficient no matter where you live.
Frugality and self-sufficiency go hand in hand. You’ll never fulfill your goal of being more self-sufficient if you owe heaps of debt and live above your means. So, the best place to get started is to look for any way possible to cut costs and get out of debt, even if that means cutting up your credit cards, downsizing into a smaller home, or driving a used car with a smaller payment.
Grow Some of Your Own Food
It is possible to grow some of your own food, no matter where you live. Even if you live in an apartment with nothing more than a balcony, you can grow some herbs and salad greens in containers. If you live on a city lot or in the suburbs, look into building a few raised beds.
If you have enough space, make it your goal to provide all of your family’s fresh produce throughout the growing season. If you’re extra ambitious and have the space, you might even try to grow more and preserve enough to feed your family through the winter.
In locations where outdoor space is limited or the climate is less than ideal for outdoor growing, educate yourself about the concept of vertical farming. It’s a fantastic way to grow a lot of food in a small amount of space, such as a closet, spare room, garage, basement, storage unit, or even an enclosed cargo trailer. It’s all about getting creative!
Another key step is to learn how to garden as sustainably as possible by saving your own seeds, creating compost or worm castings for fertilizer, and using mulch and drip irrigation to conserve water.
Become an Entrepreneur
It’s tough to be self-sufficient if you’re constantly at risk of losing your source of income unexpectedly. Instead of being completely dependent on a job, look for ways to start your own business, even if it’s just a side hustle you do on the evenings and weekends.
You could become a freelancer or consultant in your current field, turn a favorite hobby into a business, or sell products you make or grow yourself. The options are pretty much endless!
Store Enough Food to Get Through Tough Times
We live in the age of convenience where grocery stores are stocked with food all year long and snowplows allow you to get to the store immediately after a storm. We learn this comfortable dependency on the grocery store from childhood.
But what happens if a storm keeps the roads closed and the power out for a week or more. What if you get very sick or injured and can’t work for a while? One of the key concepts of self-sufficiency is reducing your dependency on the grocery store, not only by growing some of your own food but also by stocking up for tough times.
During the growing season, visit local farmers’ markets, you-pick farms, and local orchards to purchase fresh food in bulk and learn how to preserve it for later use. Watch the sales at local grocery stores and stock up on items when they’re on sale.
Over time, you will find that you’re saving money by buying in bulk at a good price and you have gradually built up a well-stocked pantry that will get you through almost any scenario. Be sure to practice cooking and baking from scratch, so you can your dependency on outside resources even further.
Wrapping Up: Why Start Living a More Self-Sufficient Lifestyle ASAP?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past year and a half, it’s that things can change suddenly and without any warning. Having the ability to produce at least some of the things your family uses on a daily basis can greatly reduce your stress and anxiety when life throws you a curveball.
And if you’re ultimate goal is to have a self-sufficient homestead in the country, becoming more self-sufficient now is great practice for when you get there. Living frugally and being more self-sufficient will also help you save money so you can get where you want to be even sooner.
Article Contribution By:
Author: Julie Douglas
Julie is the Marketing & Communications Associate. She is the owner and Clinical herbalist at Wildkrafted Kitchen, a holistic healthcare company in Asheville, NC. Julie is a medicinal herb grower, ethical wild crafter, educator and formulator of internal and external medicines. After graduating with an AA focusing on Photography and Ceramic art, Julie went on to pursue her passion for sustainable small scale agriculture in Washington state where she apprenticed on various organic farms. After discovering their affinity for medicinal herbs, they moved to Asheville to study Holistic Herbalism at the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine. Julie’s main goals are to make alternative healthcare accessible to marginalized communities, decolonizing herbal medicine and being part of mutual aid networks which strengthen and empower the community.