By Rebekah Pierce
What does self-sufficiency mean to you?
Perhaps it’s simply growing your own food in a backyard garden. Maybe it’s investing in a gray-water system that reuses water from your house and repurposes it to water your lawn, garden, or orchard. Maybe self-sufficiency, to you, just entails diffusing your own essential oils.
Whatever the case may be, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has brought the term “self-sufficiency” to the forefront of many people’s minds. Lots of us are slowing down, but even more of us are speeding up as we race to become more self-sufficient.
As the owner of a farm-for-profit and self-sustaining homestead, I’ve always known the importance of being self-sufficient. My husband and I grow most of our own food (we don’t do dairy and our fruit production is, as of right now, limited) and try to live off the land to the greatest extent possible.
Because of this, when news of meat and egg shortages hit the local media, we didn’t panic. Instead, we reached out to those around us to help lighten the burden of worry that they were feeling. We offered our eggs and meat for sale to those around us and did not increase our prices. Despite encouragement from many people for us to do so, we found that this would be highly unethical.
For us, homesteading and farming aren’t necessarily about profit or a trendy desire to be “one with the earth”. Nothing about us is trendy, “crunchy,” or “apocalyptic” by any means. Instead, we just view our lifestyle as a necessary and modern way of living.
This is for several reasons, many of which COVID has brought to the forefront.
Reduced Globalization and the Drive for Localization
Over the last few decades, our food supply has become more globalized - not less. Take a look at the food in your cupboards. Where does it come from?
To be fair, it’s pretty much impossible to grow some food in some areas of the world. You can’t grow bananas in northern New York. Some globalization is necessary when it comes to food production, at least in the way we’re used to it.
However, examine your egg carton. Where were they packaged and shipped from? Chances are, it wasn’t anywhere near you.
COVID-19 made people look at that fine print with closer detail. Now more than ever, people recognize the need to purchase and produce food on a local scale as factories are shut down to prevent the spread of the virus and grocery stores limit how many of certain items you can buy.
Lots of naysayers will argue that it’s not possible to produce food at the local level because our local economies, environments, and lifestyles can’t support it. However, numerous studies have proven otherwise, showing that local production is capable of feeding most of the population, when done correctly.
From milk shortages to meat shortages, the problem with the food system during the COVID-19 pandemic has never been one of supply. It has been one of distribution. When goods can’t get from point A to point B, that creates a problem. It’s all a systematic error, not one of supply.
What if you could bypass that system - all by producing your own food? When you start living a more self-sufficient lifestyle, you can. Even if you can’t grow all of your own food - something that’s not realistic for many people - you can start somewhere.
For many people, sustainability starts small. Maybe it’s just growing a few tomatoes on the back patio. Maybe it’s buying a few chickens. Whatever the case may be, the best way to combat a broken, highly globalized food system is to start as local as possible - nothing is more local than your own backyard.
The Self-Sufficient Lifestyle to Improve Your Health
As Americans, we seem to have this intrinsic belief that “it won’t happen to us.” I know many of us felt that way when COVID first broke across US borders. First, it was a problem overseas. Then, it was a problem only for those in cities. Then, maybe just the elderly or those who were immunocompromised. But as we know now, this pandemic is affecting everybody.
What better way is there to improve your health than to follow a self-sufficient lifestyle? More people are turning to lifestyles of self-sufficiency to become more active, to produce healthier, homegrown food, and to reduce their reliance on pharmaceuticals for common medical problems.
Self-Sufficiency Solutions to Help You Get Started - During COVID-19 and Beyond
Whether you were thinking about embarking on a journey of self-sufficiency before the pandemic -or the recent crisis has brought this endeavor to the forefront of your awareness - there has never been a better time to start becoming more self-sufficient.
Here at Wildline Solutions, we want to help you define self-sufficiency, in whatever ways that term means the most to you. To be self-sufficient, you don’t necessarily have to be “homesteading,” living off the grid, or even own a large chunk of property. You don’t have to be a doomsday prepper, either.
Instead, being self-sufficient can be affordable, modern, and appealing. You can embark on this journey if you live in a tiny studio apartment in New York City or on 200 acres in rural Montana.
Self-sufficiency is all about taking things one day at a time - one step at a time. It’s about looking at ways you can support yourself in the event of a major pandemic - and on any regular day of the year.
Not sure where to start? Take a look at Wildline’s Master List of Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency Solutions. Your starting place might be different from someone else’s - it might make the most sense for you to start a simple backyard garden, where for someone else, a basic honeybee hive may offer a smoother transition into self-sufficient living.
Rest assured, your pathway toward sustainability doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
Whatever the case may be, Wildline is here to help you get started. We want to help all households achieve their unique sustainability goals - whatever they may be.