What is the difference between being self sustainable and self sufficient? The definitions of both are as follows.
Self sustainable means;
to be able to provide for your own needs without help from others; “a self-sufficing economic unit”
Self sufficient means;
to be able to provide for or support oneself without the help of others
I’m a’ thinking that they both mean the same thing! But, what do these two words mean for you? How are we able to provide for or support ourselves without help from others?
The obvious would be to become self-employed. This is a goal that my husband and I are striving for. But, what do we do in the meantime? How can we make our farms and/or homesteads more sustainable? Unless we have a lot of time on our hands and a good bit of money, it will not happen overnight.
Baby steps, people. Yeah, I know. I don’t particularly like those two words. I am not one who does well with waiting. But, realistically, this is the best advice I can give you. We don’t have a lot of money and we sure don’t have a lot of time, so we are forced to take baby steps. What kind of baby steps, you might ask?
For one, our first priority is paying off debt. This is definitely not going to happen over night, but each bill that gets paid off is a step in the right direction of becoming more self sufficient. Only with baby steps can we make this happen.
Our second priority is investing in our farm with future self-employment in mind. Whether it is investing in more fruit trees or buying livestock that will contribute to farm income, we never go in to debt with this. Cash only. True, we probably could have a full-time business by now if we went into debt by obtaining a loan, but we believe that going in to debt would be too risky!
And lastly, we are to be creative with what we have
. Take a look around your farm, homestead or backyard. How could you use every square foot for something that would give you a return?
This year, we are planting a crop of forage turnips and mangel beets(large beets with a similar protein amount as grain) for winter feed for our goats. This will replace some of our grain usage, which, by-the-way, is not getting any cheaper! A small step? Yes, but something worth trying seeing as how our grain is getting pretty expensive!
Another little baby step is planting sweet corn in the paddock where our pigs and bucks were. This paddock is loaded with nitrogen from two different species’ manure, so corn should grow well there. With our sandy soil, it was almost impossible in the past to grow corn. We never seemed to have enough nitrogen for it.
After we harvest the corn, we will put our pigs back in the paddock to clean it up. They will get the leftover stalks and corncobs, which, in turn, means that we will not have to give them as much grain. They will re fertilize the ground and after we take them to the processor, we will plant a fall cover crop on the same patch of ground, getting it ready for next spring. One more small step in the right direction!
Simple, little baby steps keeps us from getting overwhelmed too.
Let’s recap on this. Paying off debt is a huge step towards a more self sufficient lifestyle. Also, investing our time and money for potential farm income without going into debt is another non risky venture towards self sufficiency. And lastly, the more creative we are with what we have on hand, the quicker we can reach our goals!
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