The benefits of self-sufficiency

There are many benefits of self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency not only saves you money, it helps protect you from the vicissitudes of life, and also helps to protect the environment. Self-sufficiency is both physically and mentally beneficial and provides ways to live naturally.

Sufficiency is when you have enough for a life of well-being. A big part of self-sufficiency is knowing how much is enough. If you can reduce your material needs you might be surprised how little you actually need.

Doing and growing things yourself is a way to reduce your costs, meaning you can either save more or work less. If your household is self-sufficient enough perhaps only one partner needs to work or both could work part-time. Perhaps you could work from home or start a small business at home.

Modern economies are good at providing extrinsic satisfactions but the benefits of self-sufficiency include intrinsic satisfactions. Self-sufficiency is surprisingly satisfying as anyone who has grown vegetables or made their own clothes will tell you. It provides intrinsic rewards like a sense of achievement, self-esteem and self-confidence.

Self-sufficiency doesn’t mean ‘going it alone’, indeed it is good to be interdependent, where people support each other reciprocally for mutual benefit. In modern societies, as incomes have increased, and there is more and more competition for status, trust between people has decreased. Mutual self-sufficiency increases levels of trust and cohesion in society.

Any type of self-sufficiency can reduce your net ecological footprint. By growing your own food, collecting rainwater or installing solar panels, for instance, you will increase the current bio-capacity of nature. By walking, biking, installing insulation, composting and recycling you are reducing your footprint.

Self-sufficiency is not all-or-nothing. Very few people are likely to be completely self-sufficient. Being partly self-sufficient provides the benefits above, although the more self-sufficient you are the more benefits you get. It would be better to start slowly and not try to do everything at once.

Self-sufficiency is still work but it is work that is more natural in the sense that it is less abstract and alienating as many paid jobs are. Growing your own food, or hunting, fishing and foraging are all forms of bread labour which is the most natural way to both build and sate your appetite. Children will benefit from having their parents at home more, and children should be encouraged to help and taught how to be self-sufficient.

Examples of self-sufficiency

There are many ways in which you can be self-sufficient. The table below outlines the range of ways you can be more self-sufficient and provides links to pages on this website where you can find more information.

EnergyGenerationSolar panels
Wind turbines
Solar hot water
Wood (coppicing, foraging)
Wood oven. Wood burner
ConservationPassive solar design
Electric bike (with solar panels)
WaterWaterless toilets
Rainwater harvesting
Greywater recycling
Food and mealsGrow your ownVegetables, Fruit, Herbs, Eggs/Chickens
GatherForaging, Hunting, Fishing
PreservePickling, Smoking, Salting, Freezing
Beer, wine, bread, pasta etc
ClothesMake and mendSewing, Knitting, Weaving, Crochet
Household goodsMake and mendFurnishings
Woodwork, metalwork
Personal care products
Cleaning products
ShelterMake and maintainDIY house building,
renovations and maintenance
Composting toilet
Recycle and reuseRecycling
Barter and tradeBarter and trade surplus goodsFood, clothes and household goods
Share or barter your timeMutual self-sufficiencyFood, clothes and household goods

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