Self sufficiency used to be a way of life for our society. It was how families provided food for the table and cash to cover expenses. To know a skill was to guarantee your future.
What has happened in just two generations?
Our society has changed. We are now taught to strive for convenience and luxury.
Work for someone else for 20+ years and hope for a good retirement.
Corporations have convinced us that we need every product they put on the shelves.
We have lost our basic skills for survival. Something as simple as growing a tomato has become foreign to us.
Most Americans joke that they can’t boil a pot of water, but this is a serious issue. We have handed every level of our food production over to strangers, and it has serious ramifications.
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Here are 6 benefits to becoming self sufficient:
Becoming a producer, not a consumer
The overarching theme of the 21st century has become consumption.
For every product we purchase, there is packaging to throw away.
We use disposable plates, cups, cutlery, and straws because our hectic lives have deemed it too difficult to wash dishes.
Even $1000 appliances have become disposable as manufacturers make them more and more difficult and costly to repair.
With this consumption comes garbage. We are creating more trash now than any other point in history. Every time you throw something away, you are throwing away money.
Becoming a producer eliminates a large percentage of that trash.
You are eliminating the packaging.
You are saving money because you aren’t paying the middle men. Your food is coming directly from the fields to your table.
You waste less because you have a better appreciation for the work and dedication it took to produce that product.
Freedom from unstable markets
If we have learned nothing else from the past two decades, it should be that financial markets are fickle.
Stocks can drop by hundreds of points in a single day. It is very realistic to lose thousands of dollars overnight.
We are told to wait it out, that the markets always correct themselves, but those course corrections could take years.
If a crisis happens, will you be able to wait years?
The markets affect everything from bank interest rates to the price of food.
We release ourselves from this emotional roller coaster by living debt free and producing our own food. We can take back control of our finances and our lives.
Working for yourself
From the time our country was founded, it was the American dream to own your own business. To take control of your destiny and bring prosperity to your family.
This was usually accomplished by learning a trade. You would learn from your parents and take over the family business. You could also find a tradesman to take you on as an apprentice.
After years of hard work, you would go off on your own and start your own business.
Today, working for others is seen as more desirable.
Corporate executives are banking profits, while employees live paycheck to paycheck. The next drop in profit margin could cost you your job, yet this is somehow seen as a more reliable income.
The American dream hasn’t changed.
The wealthy are still those who own their own companies. Yet, try to start your own company and society will label you as irresponsible.
You may not be in a position to work for yourself yet, but you can find ways to supplement your income.
That side business could eventually turn into the full time income you never dreamed possible.
Increasing health and wellness
Producing your own food and cooking from scratch means fewer processed foods in your diet.
It means fewer preservatives and artificial colors and flavors.
It means healthier eating.
The cost of buying fresh foods is a problem many people struggle with when it comes to healthy eating.
Honestly, it makes me die a little inside when I have to buy produce and watch my grocery budget implode.
Seeds cost almost nothing. I can grow 100 heads of lettuce with a $2 pack of seeds.
Granted, it takes more energy. It takes more time.
I have garden failures. Not all vegetables are available every season. I have to rethink how I’m going to plan my meals.
However, I’m saving money, eating healthier, and my food tastes better.
To quote my favorite cartoon mouse, “if you are what you eat, then I only wanted to eat the good stuff.”
The activity of producing your own food also means being more active.
It means more time outdoors. More exposure to sun and fresh air. A reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression.
It’s not a coincidence that many people with chronic illnesses adopt a self-sufficient lifestyle.
Building family strength
Adopting a self sufficient way of life needs to be a group effort.
I’m not going to lie, it can be a hard sell. You probably have family members who have only ever grown up knowing one way.
If they can’t recognize the broken system, then it can be even more difficult.
It is going to take communication from both sides.
It will mean compromise from both sides.
However, it will also bring your family together. You’ll sweat together, cry together, swear together, and laugh together.
You’ll unplug because this way of life doesn’t allow you to sit in front of the tv all day.
You’ll plan projects together and discuss strategies for the future.
You’ll learn to overcome obstacles together.
Acquire an appreciation for life
Learning to be self sufficient means reconnecting with nature on an intimate level.
You’ll learn to live in harmony with nature and begin to see how your actions affect the environment.
Your success and failure will ebb and flow with the seasons and the weather. There’s a rhythm to it.
When you begin to produce your own food, you’ll understand the amount of work that goes into it.
When you raise animals for meat, you’ll understand what it means to feel pride and sorrow at the same time. You’ll appreciate the sacrifice that animal made for your family, and the importance of raising them humanely.
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It isn’t an easy life. I’m not even sure I’d call it a simple life. But it is a rewarding life.
It’s benefits have far reaching implications to your own life as well as your community and our environment.