Whenever times are politically and economically uncertain, many people want to live self-sufficiently. But what does it actually mean to live self-sufficiently? How much self-sufficiency is possible in times of crisis? It is not uncommon for there to be a longing to live autonomously behind a lot of romance, which, however, is quickly overtaken by the harsh reality. Living self-sufficient has nothing to do with the romance of campfires, anyone who is serious about it chooses a life model that is not so easy to realize. Those who want to live independently have to say goodbye to everyday life that the majority of people know.
What does it mean to live self-sufficient?
Anyone who wants to live self-sufficiently no longer rely on others, but only on themselves. In this case, neither the supermarket nor other retailers play a major role, because everything that is needed is created independently. Many initially try the self-sufficient life in small steps, but those who are consistent ultimately become almost completely self-sufficient. Living self-sufficient also means doing without in some areas, because many things cannot be generated by yourself. Coffee and tea are two examples that show where autonomous life reaches its limits. Neither coffee beans nor tea bushes grow in Germany; both have to be imported. If you don’t want to do without the morning coffee in its familiar form, you have to make compromises. For many people, self-sufficient life means personal freedom to get out of the constraints of consumption and to live independently of suppliers and producers. However, this freedom also means more and more work.
Grow your own vegetables and fruits
A first step in living self-sufficient is to create a garden and plant fruit and vegetables there. Everything that is harvested there does not have to be bought in the supermarket, it is healthier and costs significantly less. Beginners should choose vegetables that are easy to maintain and robust. It is important to plant varieties that ripen at different times of the year, because this gives you the opportunity to get fresh fruit and vegetables all year round.
Building a greenhouse in the garden is a very good idea here as the sun doesn’t shine all year round. At the same time, vegetables and fruits in the greenhouse are protected from bad weather. Herbs can be grown wonderfully in this greenhouse, but they also thrive on the windowsill. Anyone who wants to live self-sufficiently in this area must still have the option of preserving fruit and vegetables. Preserving or freezing are the best options here to enjoy your own harvest.
Live and live self-sufficient
The popular opinion is that people who live self-sufficient or autonomously live in the forest. This is of course not true, but the self-determined life also affects living. There are many different options for self-sufficient living, such as a caravan, an old construction trailer or a yurt. An old motorhome without registration can become a cozy home, as can a garden shed, which no longer serves as a tool shed. Those who are serious about self-sufficient life can also expand an old house tent according to their ideas and make it winterproof. The prerequisite for self-sufficient living, however, is that a small piece of land is available or can be leased. Difficulties could arise with the so-called “developability of the land”, because not every piece of land can be built on. It is a good idea to find out more from the municipality in question.
Ecovillages are trendy
As more and more people want to live self-sufficiently, the number of autonomous residential communities and eco-villages is also increasing. They not only enable an independent life, but also offer the exchange of knowledge with like-minded people. A social community is formed from which ideally everyone can benefit. The better such a self-sufficient community is networked and functions in everyday life, the easier it actually becomes to live autonomously. Many of these villages, which now exist in Germany, produce their own electricity and have sanitary facilities. It is a mistake to assume that only young people are interested in such self-sufficient housing projects; older people also opt for this self-determined way of life and, like the young residents, benefit from the community.
What does autonomous life look like in everyday life?
If you have a correspondingly large garden and do not want to do without meat, you should think about keeping animals. Keeping chickens in the garden, fattening a pig per year or turkeys and geese is possible. Unfortunately, animals also mean more work and higher costs. In addition, a house slaughter according to EU law is no longer as easy as it was a few years ago. Environmentally friendly fertilizing of the garden is a matter of course for everyone who lives self-sufficient. A compost heap offers the opportunity to fertilize naturally. Many self-caterers have sold or deregistered their car and switched to a bicycle. This means you are independent of the constantly fluctuating fuel prices, and you also save money on insurance and taxes.
The advantages and disadvantages of a self-determined life
Those who no longer want to swim with the mainstream and become self-sufficient can look forward to many advantages:
- A healthier diet
- No more pressure and compulsion to have to buy something.
- An at least partial autonomy of the economic cycle.
- The return to ancient knowledge, such as the growing seasons in nature.
- More peace and a “slowed down” life.
- The possibility of finding a way of life that only focuses on the essentials.
- Self-catering saves a lot of money.
The disadvantages include more work and less free time, but also a talent for improvisation. Especially at the beginning, things don’t go as planned and desired, it takes a certain amount of time to get used to the new, self-sufficient life.
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Conclusion on living self-sufficient
An autonomous life may have many advantages, but it also requires a certain amount of courage and self-confidence. Young families with children in particular are enthusiastic about a self-sufficient life, because they want their children to have a life that is close to nature and that goes beyond consumerism. Such an experiment can certainly succeed, but it can also turn children into outsiders at an early age. Society lives a completely different way of life and has little to do with those who live autonomously. Unfortunately, it is the children in particular who often feel this rejection clearly.