Self-Sufficiency: Security For You and Your Family
Self-sufficiency is one of the most valued, revered, and celebrated American values to be found. That is true in other countries, especially those with solid and traditional ties to their history, heritage, elders, community, and country’s sense of prosperity.
What Is Self-Sufficiency?
Self-sufficiency, simply put, is the ability of an individual, family, or community to survive and thrive solely on the fruit of their labors and efforts.
Self-sufficiency is most commonly found in small, close-minded communities and is necessary mainly rather than a desire or deliberate lifestyle choice, though this is not universally true.
In such communities, the homestead of each individual produces enough produce (be it food, materials, labor, or other goods and services) to sufficiently provide for their own families, along with produce that serves as profit and a significant source of income for themselves and the community as a whole.
To this end, food is the stable and backbone of both independent and familial self-sufficiency. When your means of survival are assured and protected, you will not have to rely upon anyone to survive.
Independent Food Production, Independent Living
Where To Start: Land
To start, 1 of land, if used correctly, can provide enough for you and your family -- although it takes a LOT of work, education, knowledge, and time.
You shouldn’t have this mentality of restricting your land to just 1 acre, though. Depending on your livestock and the crops you want to raise on your land, you may need more land.
You’ll want to know the base needs and requirements of each animal and crop before you make the final decision on how much land you need to accommodate them all.
You’ll first want to concentrate your efforts on the land itself. While a single acre can be turned into a plot suitable for growing crops and livestock, you will want to tailor your land to the specific arrangements that you plan to establish for it.
First, you’ll want to tend to your soil. Just as food is the backbone for sustainable living, the soil itself is the backbone for sustainable food production.
You’ll need to provide your soil with the nutrients that it needs to be most fertile, productive, healthy, and resistant to erosion, overwork, and overgrazing/overfarming.
You will need to provide your soil with a complete range of soil minerals, including primary NPK minerals, secondary nutrients (including sulfur, calcium, and magnesium), and a complement of trace materials that are naturally found in healthy soil.
In addition to these nutrients, you’ll need to periodically build organic matter within the soil to allow these nutrients to function within the ecosystem, such as soil acids. You’ll want to make sure these soil acids are nutritionally balanced as well.
After you’ve come to understand what is needed for healthy, productive soil, you’ll need to understand the zoning regulations of your area.
Zoning Regulations and Livestock Needs
Most areas have regulations on what kind of structures and animals you can have on your property. For instance, you most likely cannot have animals like cows or horses on your property but might be allowed a handful of chickens or other small livestock.
As mentioned earlier, you need to understand the needs of your livestock, how much land they require (for both grazing and living), and account for the resources required for each type of livestock to satisfy both their needs and the zoning regulations that govern your area.
If you want to be self-sufficient, you’ll need to grow your hay and produce your feed for your animals. What kind of diet each animal needs will differ for each animal, and you’ll need to know and produce these dietary staples to be self-sufficient.
Food Production Planning
You’ll want to establish right away what kind of food you want to produce on your property. Do you want to produce livestock for meat? If so, what kind of meat do you wish to produce?
Do you have the skill required to butcher and process these animals? And if not, can you outsource such services to someone you trust?
Next, you will want to decide what vegetables and other crops you want to grow, their needs, and how they need to be harvested to avoid waste and maximize your efforts and profit.
You’ll want crops that provide a complete nutritional diet to you and your family, aren’t too demanding to grow and maintain, and are in demand so that you can sell your surplus to make a profit.
Lastly, you might also wish to consider growing secondary flora on your property. Plants can contribute to the nourishment of the soil, provide your vegetables with additional nutrients, and add to the character and look of your property.
Because of this, you might consider it beneficial to add these to your land.
Additives that will increase crop production and also help with sustainability.