What's stopping you from becoming self-sufficient?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by mrselfsufficient, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. mrselfsufficient

    mrselfsufficient Junior Member

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    Hello guys,

    I'm new here and I have a big question for my first post. I assume that everybody here would like to have a property, homestead and practice permaculture all the time. I know I would, and I dream about it every day!

    So my question to you is: what's stopping you from doing it. What's stopping you from pulling the plug from the society or living in the city. Of course there are many obstacles on a way to self-sufficiency but what exactly are your problems?

    Looking forward to your answers!

    Regards,

    William from Melbourne
     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    for me it is the simple point:

    two people from one family should not need two houses. and i'm not the owner here so i have limited influence. if/when i become the owner here then i can make more radical changes needed to be more self-sufficient.

    the recent shortages of propane (due to various circumstances) may actually force a change earlier in heating systems (which i would not oppose at all, instead i'd be doing a happy dance if we could put in some sort of passive solar collecting system for hot water and hot air for heat when the sun is out along with a minimal solar electric grid to support the moving of the heat, perhaps even get into geothermal heat storage or some other heat storage as then it would supplement any heat gathering). we'll see what happens.

    for the shorter term, i'm always planning on expanding food production in various ways, using edges and areas that are previously ignored, adding diversity in plants, shrubs, trees as i can find space and time.

    the hard thing for me is that i'm unsure i want to remain here on this exact piece of land. it has some great features and some negatives, so i'm continually playing the what if game and seeing what comes to mind.

    your question is one i constantly ask myself.
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Not having a village to do it in. I think it is impossible for one person to go it alone and be self sufficient. But that doesn't stop me from 'doing' permaculture to the best of my ability in suburbia.

    You may want to search the archives here on the term self-sufficiency as we have discussed before that this is probably the wrong end point to aim for. There is less 'self' in a permanent - culture. And how much is sufficient?
     
  4. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    What eco said.

    William, would you like to say what attracts you to the idea of self-sufficiency?
     
  5. mouseinthehouse

    mouseinthehouse Junior Member

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    In a word: mortgage

    But I should say: we have the property, we do grow a lot of our food and we are working at energy self-sufficiency. However: one of us needs to work at earning good money to pay for the mortgage on the place and other basic but unavoidable costs like council rates, car rego, insurance etc.
     
  6. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Does self-sufficiency equal not working other than on the land? If so, who are going to be the teachers, doctors, vets, electricians, plumbers etc?
     
  7. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    Im never going to be able to own a water buffalo to make Mozzarella for my pizzas as my block is to dry and small.
    The best I could do is make mozzarella from the dairy down the road, or buy or trade for it, from someone who has already made some or change my pizza recipe.....no room for the wheat crop either.
    I am self sufficient in herbs, peaches and citrus just need to work on the soil,water storage, preserving and bartering I will come close on most fruit and veg, add a bit more maturity and nuts will be sorted too.
    As for meat Ive been known to perform semi skilled manual tasks for it.
     
  8. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    I retire in ~8 years, after 30 years of service. I can think of no good reason to give up a permanent revenue stream when I'm that close. However, I hope to purchase land this year. I'll then spend long weekends observing/working/gathering data on the land. When I finally retire, I plan to move straight on to the property since dwellings should be in place by then. Beehives and some crop systems will already be producing and just waiting for the livestock component since I refuse to keep animals until I can be there 24/7. I'll probably buy a used front end loader or back hoe for the earthworks, or at least the ponds. I'll just pay the $$ for dams to be built if I find suitable locations. I'm going to see if crap wood(I'll probably have to kill a number of pine trees, don't worry, just the remnants of trees planted for industrial use, therefor non-native and probably weak) can be used to begin the natural formation of swales by trapping sediment and leaf litter. I may have to move, by hand, a certain amount of topsoil, but I need the exercise and it doesn't have to be done quickly if I find the right blend of vegetation to help hold and increase the topsoil at these natural swales while interjecting some rapid succession instead of relying on natural succession.

    But all of this is theory until I buy land.

    As has been said, self sufficiency is a pipe dream. There's no way I can make textiles, mine metal, fabricate clothing, and make tools. I can provide housing from the land(though the roof, plumbing and powers systems will probably be outsourced) along with food and water easily enough. I could probably grow flax easily enough, along with grains. Storing everything needed would be "interesting" and something I'll look in to at a later date.
     
  9. altamira55

    altamira55 Junior Member

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    What do you mean by self sufficient? Desert island kind of thing? Remote village? Yourself and 1 or 2 other people?
     
  10. nub

    nub Junior Member

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    I have no land. Just a little house in the city. My husband can't think of living else where. So it is the urban option for me .
     
  11. mrselfsufficient

    mrselfsufficient Junior Member

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    Sorry guys, I know that self-sufficiency is a pretty broad term. We can talk about various categories of self-sufficiency. For example food, energy, housing, income or skills we have, and express that in percentages. I know that it's not possible to be self-sufficient all the way and why would you?

    Having a certain percentage of self-sufficiency in each of these categories can provide more independence from the society that is on a path to destruction of the planet.

    I assume that people on this forum care about the land, other people and their own happiness and health. In my humble opinion the best way to change the current path that we are on is to not give in to consumerism and show the way to other people by practicing self-sufficient, sustainable way of living. I understand that not everyone wants to leave the city behind and it's pretty happy with their job and being in that environment.

    Still, I think there is a lot of people wanting to have a change and make a difference but can't because of the different constraints. Maybe it is a job, career, relationships, children, not having a land, money or social aspects. Just wanted to know what's stopping you.

    Thanks!
     
  12. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    No need to apologize because word usage can be confusing some times. It's usually a matter of degree, like the word "green" when used to describe a product. You'll get used to it over time as you learn more about it and learn to ask questions, and more importantly, which questions.
     
  13. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I prefer to think of local sufficiency rather than self sufficiency. Living in suburbia actually helps with this - there are good local growers markets where I can buy directly from local growers and butchers in a cash economy. There's enough people around to make a LETS system work. Swapping and gifting within the local community is an anti consumerist act too.

    Mostly it's attitude that stops people. They think it is too hard and don't want to spend an extra few hours each week seeking out the local option when they could just pull up at the stupidmarket and load up and be gone. The idea that you have to leave the city behind to do it is in my mind part of the problem. Regardless of where you live and how you make you money we can all make daily choices about where we spend our money.
     
  14. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I dont think there is anything stopping me.
    While I dont have the acreage I always wanted and do have to go to work and am in a slower than I thought process of becoming MORE self sufficient; I'm with eco in that I realised that it is not possible nor wise to be 'an only one/s'.

    I think alot of becoming More self sufficient and less of a consumer, starts where ever you happen to be living.
    Firstly, by evaluating what you buy, how you buy it and from where is a good first step.
    Reducing consumption really doesnt have anything to do with farming or even growing your own food, reusing what you do have/recycling can also be done anywhere and has more value than just the feel good aspect.

    I will never be able to have a cow for meat and or milk, or sheep for wool, but I found I know somebody who will know somebody who can help me get these things. There is always an exchange factor and there probably always will be.

    I do grow my own vegies, collect my own eggs and am getting more and more of my own fruit.
    This year, I will be coppicing some of the trees I have room for, for firewood and next year should be using water collected off my roof.
    Its taken me 41/2 years to get to this point but being more self sufficient can also be as simple as deciding not to buy prepackaged things and cook from scratch the meals you eat, making your own yogurt or your own jams and sauces from whatever source you can get the basic ingredients from.

    Rather than having the idea of self sufficiency, I tend to look at it from the viewpoint of more efficiency less wastefulness.
    There is social conditioning to break through not to mention the marketing strategies we have all been subjected to, so there is alot of self examination needed to even be able to recognise what steps we each should, can and are capable of making as well.

    As everybody is different and has different needs or situations, there is never going to be a one path fits all to turn around the impact people are having on this planet.

    For example, the care for the earth precept. I looked around and realised, we dont use nearly enough native plants in landscaping. That has absolutely nothing to do with self sufficiency, but it does have alot to do with helping to recreate a stable local environment and is perhaps more important.
     
  15. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    What she said!
     
  16. void_genesis

    void_genesis Junior Member

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    For me the approach is about having the resources, skills and attitudes needed to cope if and when important requirements for life start becoming harder to come by.

    So in the present that means access to high quality fresh food, that you cannot buy at any price. In the longer term it would mean being able to replace staple foods, tools, shelter, clothing etc as they potentially become unaffordable or inaccessible over time as we continue the long descent.

    The current barrier is pretty prosaic....a rapidly shrinking mortgage. I count myself lucky to be on track to start managing that land full time by the time I am 40, but I find it really sad that more young people don't have access to land while they have their peak of strength and energy.
     
  17. mouseinthehouse

    mouseinthehouse Junior Member

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    What is sadder is that most young people aren't interested in land to farm/work.

    The other thing that REALLY annoys me and is a barrier for us is not being able to access our superannuation for at least another ten years. It is not a huge amount and it MIGHT grow substantially but it might NOT depending on the precarious state of global economics. I feel like we could make so much more use of that money now by investing in more water storage, solar and wind hybrid systems, better home insulation etc. and paying off the mortgage. We could then live very frugally on seasonal work on a casual basis and spend more time expanding what we grow and produce. :/
     
  18. mrselfsufficient

    mrselfsufficient Junior Member

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    What I'm actually wondering is how many people here are chained to the modern lifestyle of working long hours for a wage? And then paying everything else with the money earned from the job they might not like at all.

    How many people are dreaming about have a much simpler life with no mortgage or big utility bills, somewhere in the nature? And how many people enjoy living in the cities?

    What would be an ideal for you?

    For me it would be: House in a mountainous area, around 100km from the bigger city. Somewhere closer to the highway so there is a good connection with the city. A place where Internet speed is high and I have enough space for my garden, conditions for harvesting water and generating energy. There would be a local community of people which I could barter with, exchange produce, build social capital and relationships. Starting my own business and enjoying being in nature.
     
  19. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    yeah. *sigh* i'm hoping some of the nieces/nephews will come around as they've expressed some interest in gardening, but it is a challenge to not push harder to get them going the right direction from the start. why they'd not take advantage of and learn from us and our experiences is beyond me, but that is, perhaps, a part of their journey.

    the rest are living the modern life and unlikely to do anything until they must. the good part is that it is possible to get started with gardening quickly enough as long as you can find seeds. there are usually people about who are accessible to learn from (try to get a gardening to not talk about gardening :) :) ) and much of it is possible to learn via an oral tradition. so it isn't like they'll be lost, but just having to play catch up and perhaps during some real challenging times.


    what is superannuation?
     
  20. mouseinthehouse

    mouseinthehouse Junior Member

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    Songbird, in Australia all employers must pay a bit less than 10% of every employees gross annual income (in ADDITION to that annual income) into a superannuation fund. So every pay the employee gets x amount paid in on a weekly, fortnightly or whatever basis. This is a requirement by law. There are countless superannuation funds run by all sorts of financial groups. An individual can usually choose an 'option' for investment of their funds by the fund managers. Options are few but usually range from high risk to safer investment choices. You also pay annual 'fees' for administration of your funds and other rip off devices. In good years your fund earns money just like a good stockmarket investment (which it essentially is) but when the shit hits the fan like in 2008 then your super fund can lose big time and you have no recourse. Your money in the super fund is not able to be accessed until retirement age. The rules around this can be a bit complicated and depends on your year of birth but generally it is between 55 and 65. The idea being that superannuation will get more people off government old age pensions. It is a system with good intentions but it's full of holes. No good for me, who only every worked mostly part-time. I only have around $25000 in super. As I am no longer working unless it miraculously multiplies many times over it will not support me in my old age! Rather have it now and make good use of it.
     

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