How to Be Self-Sufficient

summer landscapeMany people are looking to lead self-sufficient lifestyles these days to lessen their impact on the environment. Doing things for yourself means that you know exactly where everything comes from – and self-sufficiency doesn’t mean just growing you own fruit and vegetables – you can extend that to providing your own electricity, having your own water supply and making your own staple food stuffs – things like pasta and tofu. Read on for a quick how-to guide to get you started.


One of the first things that people do when they begin to think about self-sufficiency is to rent an allotment. This is particularly useful if you live in the city or you don’t have a garden. An allotment is a piece of land that you can do whatever you want on. Most people use allotments to grow their own food and flowers to give as gifts. Of course, if you have a back garden, you could plant an allotment there.

Make Your Own Energy

Many analysts have foreseen that by the year 2050, as much as 40% of all energy will be made in the home and will not come from external sources. There are many options for making your own energy, such as wind turbines, solar panels, and hydroelectric devices. You may be worried about the initial carbon footprint of investing in such an item, but within ten years, the product will have both paid for itself and will be carbon neutral, so you have no need to worry. In some cases, your products can generate so much electricity, your local energy board has to pay you for the electricity that you’re providing.

Wind power is best in particularly windy locations and it always works particularly well in coastal locations as there is always plenty of wind coming in off of the sea. Equally, solar power works best in countries where there is an average amount of sunlight – if you’re living somewhere that’s never sunny, there is no use in buying solar panels. It’s also a good idea to place them in a south-facing position so that they get the most sun. If you place solar panels facing north, they’re not going to pick up much sun.

Your local government can advise you on ways to implement these energy solutions and some areas will also give you interest free loans to implement the changes.

Go Foraging

There are literally hundreds of ingredients that you can source from the wild, including vegetables, mushrooms, herbs, garlic, horseradish, fruit, and even meat – you can source a lot of game from the wild, including pheasant, rabbit, deer, trout and salmon. Don’t go mushroom foraging unless you absolutely know what you’re doing, as there are many poisonous mushroom varieties and you could become very ill from eating just one mushroom. As for hunting, what you can hunt depends on your local area, but in general you will need to be registered and if you’re shooting, you’ll need to register your gun. Wild fruit and vegetables, however, are absolutely free to anyone – just make sure that you’re taking the ingredients from public land, not from privately owned property. There are many books available on foraging to help you on your journey – try Recipes From Nature: Foraging Through the Seasons by Kay Linder to get you started, available from

Save Rainwater

If you’re someone who uses a lot of water when looking after their garden, you should utilise rainwater to water your garden. It’s a free commodity, you don’t have to pay for it, and if you build up enough reserves, you don’t have to worry about having a ban on what you can use in the summertime. There are plenty of ways for you to collect water – from a simple barrel to devices that fix to your drain pipes. However, it must be stressed that you cannot drink rain water.

For more information on being self-sufficient, take a look at Read this column tomorrow for the beginning of a three part guide to growing your own fruit and vegetables in your back garden.