Yesterday I spoke about the reasons I see for a need for more self sufficiency in our lives. Today I want to talk about self sufficiency vs self reliance how they are different, and ways to start increasing both in your life.
I often hear people talk about self reliance and self sufficiency using the terms interchangeably. They aren’t quite the same though. The biggest difference is that self reliance is finite. Where as self sufficiency is renewing.
For Example, if you have an emergency kit containing five days of food and water for your family, you have five days of self reliance. (You are also way ahead of most people by the way).
If you have 3 chickens that give you an average of 2.5 eggs per day, and your family eats an average of 1 dozen eggs a week, you are self sufficient in eggs.
The real key to self sufficiency is a combination of self reliance and self sufficiency with a few redundancies built in.
When we start consulting projects one of the most common statements we hear is "I want to live off the land." While this is a great goal it is very hard to achieve, especially in our climate here in Atlantic Canada.
Take pork for example. While you may be able to raise all of the pork your family eats in a year, you need feed to do that. I don’t care what anyone says, it is next to impossible to raise decent pork, in a timely manner, on pure pasture in Atlantic Canada. Even if you do, you will need lots of pasture and an ability to reseed that pasture as pigs will tear up the ground better than any roto-tiller you have ever seen.
So how do you increase self sufficiency in pork production? Well there are a couple of ways. Firstly, you can raise a portion of the food you feed the pigs. We grow lots of extra veg that we feed to our pigs. Also, you could raise more pork than you eat. Sell it by the side, to friends or family. Legally, you will need to have any pork you sell processed at an inspected facility. Now if you are selling at a farmers market or putting an ad on kijiji this is very important to be able to document. (Family may be slightly more flexible.) The money from the extra pigs will at best cover or at least offset the feed costs for your pig.
If you are growing your own vegetables, you can increase your level of self sufficiency by saving seeds. Now there are some seeds it doesn’t pay to save. If you grow more than one variety of squash, or your neighbour grows a different variety don’t save the seeds; likely they will be cross pollinated and the seeds will not be true.
So, just a few thoughts on self sufficiency and self reliance. You need to include both in your plan to become more independent.
Next time I will talk about starting to take concrete steps to becoming more independent. I will be back to blogging on the 28th. I have a 2 large design projects to finish next week. Until then take care.