Let’s face it, even for a family, being completely self-sufficient is a lot of work. It can take a significant amount of currency and time to get to the point of being completely self-sufficient.
True self-sufficiency is about you providing for yourself or your family without outside assistance. Meeting your needs and well-being requirements all on your own.
Attempting this alone is overwhelming and perhaps even narcissistic in nature. Refusing to rely on anyone else will likely mean living a very exhausting life. Running down our bodies quickly and lacking any real time to enjoy the life we're creating for ourselves.
Imagine educating yourself, educating your family (kids), employing yourself (running a successful business, growing your own food,
hunting your own meet, doing all of your own repairs, providing your own health care for not just yourself but any livestock you may have. And for the truly self-sufficient not even relying on oil for transportation unless you have a rig in your yard and can pump it yourself.
I’m actually exhausted just thinking about one person doing all of these things themselves simultaneously for any significant portion of their life.
Another problem with self-sufficient living is that it can be a rather lonely existence. We are social creatures and science has shown our inter-dependency on others is important to our mental, emotional and physical health and well-being.
Being prepared for a potential catastrophe, removing yourself from the corrupt political system, and being environmentally conscious top the list of reason why people seek out self-sufficiency. While these are all wonderful reasons, going at it alone just doesn’t make sense.
Self-Sufficient Communities Are the Real Answer
A better way to address how to become self-sufficient is to approach it within the workings of a small self-sufficient community.
Our resources shouldn't be sourced from thousands of miles away (especially things like food), nor should they be provided by a single (evil) entity. Within a self-sufficient community, needs are met comfortably, efficiently and sustainably through planning, collaboration, cooperation, and team-work.
The responsibility of providing resources and services can be shared with every member of the community through means of barter and exchange. Housing can be built and maintained by local craftspeople.
Transportation is easily shared and exchange is prevalent: One person may provide clothing as barter for fresh eggs; another person could build furniture in exchange for garden shares.
On a larger scale, the community would contribute jobs that services and support the community members directly and as a whole with little or no exportation or importation. They can work toward total energy independence and plan neighborhoods based on walkable or even bikeable communities.
Not only are material needs met, but social demands are met as well. Self-sufficient communities provide friendship, entertainment, and support. They are effective: consisting of many small parts to create a whole sustainable system of self-sufficient living.
And this is exactly how the Amish got it right.
What Can We Learn From The Amish?
The Amish’s first and foremost concern is to preserve their values and protect their treasured community. The Amish have a clear image for their future; their lives revolve around their community and they refuse to be bullied by the government into getting “on the grid” or giving half of everything they build as a community to an entity that does nothing for them.
The lifestyle of the Amish might be backward and old-fashioned to some of you; most of their values, however, are universal and timeless. The current western societies share some of these values, but what is the vision for our future? Consumption? And how is endless growth maintained? And where are we ending up with this strategy? In debt, a slave to an unsatisfying employment, and detrimental government overreach into our lives taking half of everything we earn through multiple layers of taxes and fees.
I don’t agree with everything the Amish do but as far as a self-sufficient community this seems like an extremely simple, non-conforming, and self-sufficient lifestyle that can be used as a blueprint to help an individual, and a community thrive sustainably. The Amish utilize community to be directly self- sufficient in most ways, and for that I say...
Well played Amish, well played!