A self-sufficient lifestyle is one in which everything that is consumed has been produced by self-sufficient individuals. Given today’s lifestyle self-sufficiency is very difficult and, in general, bartering for goods that cannot be produced by self-sufficient individuals, is included in the definition. For most of us this kind of lifestyle is hard to achieve, but that does not mean that we cannot incorporate some of the ideas into our way of life. For example, growing our own vegetables and producing our own energy from renewable sources may be possible. Swapping services and goods can also be a good way of saving money and becoming more self-sufficient.
Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a great way of reducing both costs and your environmental footprint. Fresh vegetables from your own garden will taste better and be healthier than vegetables which have been flown half-way round the world or treated with chemical pesticides and herbicides. It is also a project that the whole family can enjoy. Children love planting, watering and watching their own plants grow. You could allocate a plot in the garden to the children where they can grow vegetables such as brightly colored tomatoes, peppers and zucchini. It is best, initially, to choose plants that are easy to grow such as runner beans, strawberries, carrots and beetroot. As the children become more involved they may want to become more adventurous in the type of plants that they grow.
Re-cycling products for compost or as garden containers can also be fun. Children can also help with the harvesting of the fruit and vegetables and with the cooking and preserving. Children will enjoy making some simple dishes using ingredients that they have grown themselves. Teaching your child to cook with the vegetables and fruit that they have grown will teach them the importance of good healthy produce and give them valuable skills that they can use later in life.
Children will also enjoy building wormeries or catching and identifying the different insects in the garden. You could create a butterfly garden in a corner of the garden that will attract beautiful butterflies that the children can catch, draw and release. Projects can be both fun and educational.
Foraging can be part of a self-sufficient lifestyle. If you have access to forests or open areas where you can hunt for mushrooms, berries or other wild herbs and fruit, take the children along and teach them how to identify the different plants and fungi. This is also a good way of getting out into the fresh air and enjoying some healthy exercise.
We may not all be able to be fully self-sufficient and some will have greater access to facilities than others, however, we can all benefit from home-grown produce even if it is only some plants and vegetables in container pots or on the windowsill. We can also all benefit from regular exercise and outdoor activities. Family cycling expeditions or walking and playing in the local path are both fun and healthy.
For self-sufficiency you ideally need a good environment with plenty of open spaces and clean air & water. America, with its open spaces and diverse landscapes can offer these and there are plenty of United States houses for sale in many areas of the country.