Monday, March 16, 2009

Dreams of self-sufficiency

Trying to be self-sufficient is becoming popular these days. More and more people are trying to eat healthier and are paying more attention to their overall health.

I have noticed that online seed companies are selling out of vegetable seed more quickly and the seeds that are selling the fastest are the heirloom seeds. More and more people are getting scared of GMO (genetically modified organisms) and hybrid seeds. A lot of people, my self included, want to only buy seeds once then let some of the end-of-season crops go to seed for next year. There is a problem with that, though. Some vegetables, like corn, are so hybridized and so easy to cross pollinate, that it is almost impossible to keep the variety pure. Corn has to be planted like 2 miles from other corn or it will cross-pollinate from the wind. And some vegetables take more than 1 year to produce seeds, like carrots and asparagus.

There are a lot of little things people can do to become more self-sufficient these days. One of the easiest( for us at least) to do is to just stop buying things you don't need. You have to know the difference between a need and a want. You NEED food, water, shelter, clothing, and climate control. You WANT an i-phone, a big screen plasma TV, eating out every week or even every night, and Prada. Once you can deal with the difference between want and need, you will realize just how much money we all waste every month. With all of the money you save from cutting your spending, you can get yourself out of debt. You simply cannot be self-sufficient if you are in debt. Money has to come from somewhere and if you have debt, you cannot make enough to be SELF-sufficient.

You can grow your own food, raise animals for meat and/or eggs, cook your own meals, make your own bread, sew your own clothes, and you still will not be completely self-sufficient. You will still have a water bill unless you have your own well, electric bill unless you have gone solar or wind, fuel costs for your vehichles unless you can bike everywhere you need to go and are physically able to do so, and countless other things that nibble away at your money. There are even some things we would have to buy even if all of the other criteria have been met. There is simply no way to grow coffee where we live. It just gets too cold. And the same with sugar cane. Sorgham for molassas, yes, sugar cane, no. We "could" grow herbals for tea if we were really in a bind, and roasted dandelion roots makes a passable coffee substitute, but those would be desperate times indeed. And as long as we have access to enough dirt and/or pasturage, we could free up money from other food items to buy coffee, sugar, and tea.

Being truely self-sufficient is a complete dream these days, but cutting as much as possible, given the current economic climate, only makes sense.

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