It’s a simple fact that we’re becoming more and more disconnected with our food. Everything from meat, fish, dairy and vegetables are all wrapped in plastic and lining the shelves of big stores, it’s difficult to appreciate where it came from and the time, effort and processes that it took to get it there. Perhaps this is why we have such a major food wasting problem, with the average family throwing away a whopping twenty four meals a month. One of the ways we can appreciate foods and gain back control is to become more self sufficient. Going completely off grid can take a lot of work and preparation, however growing your own ingredients (or at least most of them) really is doable for most people. It means you’re not eating chemical-laden foods, or having them flown in from halfway across the world. It’s kinder to the environment so you know that you’re doing your bit, and it’s not as complicated or expensive as you might think. Here are some things to bear in mind.
There are some significant upfront costs that you will need to factor in in regards to being self sufficient with food. In the long run, these things will pay for themselves and your food bill will be massively cheaper. However you will need some money to begin with. The cost of buying or renting a plot of land, and the vehicles you will need- at the very least a tractor or harvester of some kind. Since these vehicles wont be used on the road you will be able to get cheaper fuel to run them, if you look into red diesel prices you’ll see they’re significantly lower. But it’s still a large cost overall to consider. You’ll need to purchase the animals you want to raise, as well as the seeds you’ll need to grow your agricultural crops. Sit down and work out your budget to make sure the cost is something you get right.
If you will be producing your own meat, think carefully about what this involves. Raising animals to later kill and eat isn’t something that suits everyone so make sure it’s for you. Otherwise, you could raise chickens for eggs, and simply grow your own foods instead. If you will be raising livestock, you will need to factor in what it will cost and the time constraints of caring for them and whether you have the space to look after them adequately.
The crops you grow will largely depend on what climate zone you’re in, as you will want to choose things that do well with the weather and surroundings you have. To be self sufficient, it’s all about growing a selection of crops that can be used in a number of ways. For example, if you grow corn you can eat the sweet corn on the cob fresh, grind it into cornmeal, make corn syrup for use in baking and much more. You can generally freeze, can and pickle most vegetables, as well as use things like onions and fruits in things like chutneys, jams and jellies.