self sufficiency, frugal living and being greener
Originally, I called this section 'self sufficiency', because I couldn't think of a better name, but to be honest, its not really right. I am not, nor intend to be self sufficient. I mean think about it: I drink coffee, eat bananas, cook with spices, (all things which I cannot grow in Britain!) depend on other people's knowledge , drive a car, etc. the list goes on. I don't intend to give these things up either. Not yet anyway.
Besides, not working is not an option for us. We are only part time small holders..
And how much land does each person need to be truly self-sufficient? is it such a terrible idea to club together in this thing called society.. and other questions as yet not answered.
We also practice frugal living, like chopping up waste wood and using that to heat our home - but we are not entirely frugal either.. we only have so much money coming in, if we can save in some areas, then we can spend in others.. so we cook all our meals from scratch.. no ready meal or cook in jar crosses the threshold! but.. we might eat out now and then... its logical to us.
And the environment.. well I cannot pretend we are pure, but we have been trying to do the right thing, or at least more of the right thing, for some time now..
I have noticed that these three: self sufficiency, frugal living and a desire to be 'greener' overlap again and again -for example: grow your own veg and you provide for yourself, save money, and less food miles and packaging are involved..
The things we can do ourselves, the less we depend on others, the less resources we use up, the less food miles.. well thats all a step in the right direction isn't it. and if we all took a step in the right direction.... well you get the gist.
Besides which, it's immensely satisfying. I think it must be some primative instinct, akin to stashing food at the back of the cave or something, but filling the freezer, the wine bottles and jars with our own food, is a good feeling. If this can be done and it saves money and its better for the environment - well so much the better.
It's one of my soap-boxes that people don't know how to cook any more. They don't seem to know where their food comes from. Having said that, I don't think being 'self sufficient' is the same as being kind to your animals or chemical free in your growing methods. In fact in a 'the triffids have come end of the world scenerio' where simply getting enough to eat is the issue, then the welfare of your livestock etc would be way down the list of priorities. As it is, I do want to be kind to the animals we raise as food, and don't want to use chemicals But as I said, I don't plan to become strictly self-sufficient, I just like the idea of growing some of our own produce, knowing what went into it, and how the animals involved lived.
Some steps in the right direction:
grow your own vegetables, keep poultry and animals; for meat, milk and eggs, plant some trees, grow your own fruit, forage along the hedges, grow and chop your own firewood, coppice, source food you buy from local producers, home educate, buy seasonally, make your own jam and marmalade, recycle your rubbish, compost your kitchen and garden waste, make your own country wines, join the self sufficientish forums , work from home if you can, collect and use rainwater instead of tap, insulate your home, turn off machines on standby, garden without chemicals, make paper logs from junk mail, use freecycle to get rid of unwanted things, cook your own foods, turn scrap wood into heating, make cloth bags , reuse materials from reclaimation yards , buy secondhand furniture and stop using plastic bags...