In this section on self reliance we will provide the necessary information to move towards a permanent culture by
- reducing dependency on money
- generating local resources
- living more sustainably
All within the boarder context of our transition to an abundant and sustainable future.
We hope that we will be able to provide you with some interesting, useful and insightful ways and means of moving towards self reliance in what ever capacity you can manage.
A renewed interest in Self reliance
Self sufficiency is back in the news, and for all of the right reasons, people want to grow and provide their own food and resources so they know where it has come from. Part of knowing where it has come from is the reassurance that it is grown in the correct manner, free of chemicals and other damaging inputs. For us self sufficiency is also about driving a wedge in-between our capacity to produce our own resources and the market forces and banking sector which control them, the more we create and produce, the freer we become. The less we are locked into the economic slavery model where we would have spent over half our lives working just to acquire the basics.
It is a force for social change
Self sufficiency through growing our own food and other resources is a perfect way of addressing a whole host of social issues, It provides food security in an uncertain age, it creates a climate where people can learn new skills, swap stuff, produce together, carry out satisfying and meaningful work, and generally get to know the people you live next door to on a whole new level. When human beings work together to provide each other with the resources that they need to live without the competitiveness that comes with modern capitalism, new levels of interaction and social bonds are created that are based on mutuality and cooperation.
Creating self reliant communities
However, becoming self sufficient in the UK and across the world is an impossible dream for many. There are few who can afford to go the whole hog and buy themselves a five acre smallholding with all the livestock and tools materials needed to sustain themselves, unless that is, you have half a million pounds to spare, which the vast majority of people don’t have. In many European countries people are moving away from their rural communities leaving farms and small holdings so that they work and live in Cities, yet in Britain a return to a more simple and sustainable life comes with an expensive ‘Lifestyle’ tag attached to it.
There is a growing group of intentional rural eco communities here in the UK who are moving towards self sufficiency such as Lammas in Pembrokeshire in Wales, Tinkers bubble in Dorset and Land Matters in Devon where people have pooled their cash and resources and bought land collectively, this would seem like an easier way of making the move but, getting planning permission for these types of projects can be either be very lengthy and difficult or impossible in some cases, and again, many people do not the money to get involved in intentional communities of this nature.
Outside of the intentional communities and there move towards self sufficiency, we also need to build our own communities within the towns and cities where we live, so that we have the capacity to share skills and produce things within a local setting.
The importance of urban self reliance
Urban self sufficiency and its proliferation is one of the most pressing issues of our time if we are to actively address peak oil growing food shortages, we can only stand a chance of achieving this if we work together, if we choose to go it alone and follow the absurd and selfish path of individualism, we will perish. Most people in this country live in towns and cities so it is important that these communities learn some of the skills required to become more self sufficient, because when peak oil comes to town the cities and other urban areas will be cut off from all of the food and other resources that are usually driven in to service them.
Urban self reliance, a blueprint for a permanent culture
Creating self sufficient communities is a vital part of a low impact low carbon future, here is a glimpse into a possible workable future scenario: Within an urban setting, a row of five Council houses with gardens could grow a large and diverse variety of food and other resources that could be shared out between neighbours. Those without gardens could be allocated allotment plots that they share with their friends, families and neighbours.
Keeping chickens and ducks for eggs is also a great way of ensuring that you, your family and friends have regular access to good quality protein, there are also great ecological benefits to keeping chickens, including a regular supply of manure, and the fact that chickens will eat the grubs and eggs of the insects that feed on your crops.
We should also consider using any vacant land that is near to our homes to grow food and other resources on. Even in the most built up urban areas there will be some land close by that isn’t being used for anything, and if we get a few local people in the area get involved, and we get the youth involved it will stand a chance of surviving and thriving. Once we have grown the resources that we use, we can then process them ourselves, which in turn creates a level of economic localism where all of the benefits of creating, trading and swapping amongst ourselves remains in the area and within the community.
So keep checking back for our latest articles about how to become self reliant.