The Self-Sufficient Life Made Easy
Last week in Belize, the experts invited to present at the Self-Sufficiency Seminar I co-hosted with Con Murphy made the idea of establishing a self-sufficient life sound easy.
Of course, you have to put in some work, but the pros who addressed our group last week made it clear that it’s not nearly the challenge you might imagine it to be to grow your own food and detach yourself from the electrical grid and central water and wastewater systems.
Conventional wisdom holds that you need at least five acres of land to grow enough food to feed a family of four. The reality is that today you can get by with much less land and still be fully self-sufficient for food. With the right setup, a couple could grow enough food on as little as a quarter-acre.
What has changed to be able to dial back from five acres to a quarter-acre?
Specifically, the “ponics.”
“Ponics” technology give us the opportunity to grow more food in less space using no land. Hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, and even quackoponics (a term made up by one presenter in Belize last week for using ducks as the fertilizers in a hydroponic system) require much less space than needed to grow an equivalent amount of food in dirt.
A small system with a footprint of as little as 100 square feet can produce thousands of pounds of food (fish and vegetables) per year.
Add to that a small fruit orchard with a half dozen trees—mangos, guava, cashew, soursop, avocado, coconut, banana, and pineapple (the last two aren’t trees but are good to include in the mix)—along with a few chickens and all your nutritional needs can be met in a surprisingly small space.
Of course, you can go big if you want.
On five acres, you could incorporate hydroponic and efficient farming techniques—such as herbal spirals and forest gardens—to grow enough food for your own use with produce left over to sell for income.
Go bigger and you could incorporate larger animals, including cows, sheep, and goats, into your farming efforts with not many more acres.
In Belize, it’d be easy to sell your surplus produce. There’s a weekly farmers’ market, but many who grow their own food in Cayo don’t even make it to the market. They sell or barter their surplus harvests to their neighbors.
Maybe you produce an abundance of fish with your hydroponic system that you trade to the guy down the street for some of his homemade beer. Maybe your beehives produce enough honey that you can trade for beef with the cattle farmer next door.
The best news is that the learning curve to get started at this isn’t steep. You can begin small with a simple aquaponics system or a kitchen garden and then work your way up to more complicated things like beekeeping or raising sheep.
We held our seminar on self-sufficient living in Belize, but these concepts are being reintroduced everywhere in the world. Communities are growing where you can piggyback your experience and expertise with that of your neighbors.
One of the presenters in Belize used to be an office worker in Canada.
Today, he’s growing his own food on his farm and teaching others how to do it… and, as he made clear to us all last week, living healthier and enjoying life a whole lot more.
On video: Lief Simon Learns How To Pluck A Duck At The Self-Sufficiency Seminar in Belize