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Should we become more self-sufficient?

These days many are doing things differently, things that we may not have dreamed of doing before, especially when it comes to how we live in the comfort of our own homes.

Becoming self-sufficient is one such challenge many have dared to take on in the face of lockdown, so have our buying patterns changed for good or will we return to buying pre-packaging foods once more as things go back to normal?

Self-sufficiency matters more than ever these days. Here we ask whether lockdown has made us more self-sufficient, and discover the benefits and top tips associated with taking matters into your own hands.

Why self-sufficiency matters

Your quest towards self-sufficiency should be more than just a reaction to recent events. It’s a mission that can become an important, interesting and fun way of life, not just for you but for everyone in your household.

What’s not to love about heading out to your own veggie patch before dinner to pick the freshest of fresh ingredients?

There are so many more reasons to aspire to a more self-sufficient way of life. Money wise, it’s more affordable in the long term to grow or rear your own produce, which in a world of rising prices can only be a good thing.

Home-grown produce tastes better. You’ll taste the freshness, eat more seasonally to enjoy the best of flavours and nutrients, and be less inclined to add additional oils, salt and additives to enhance flavour – and ultimately be healthier for it.

You may also become more adventurous with the fruits and vegetables you try, with a wholesome diet only made more interesting with every different variety grown. You’ll have complete traceability too.

In addition to this, there’s a lot of joy to be had from cultivating your own produce at home, which will boost your physical health and mental wellbeing no end.

It’s great for the planet too

Being more self-sufficient at home isn’t just good for you, it’s great for the planet. As well as reducing the use of plastic for transportation and packaging, every vegetable or fruit you grow will lower your carbon footprint as The Vegan Society highlights:

“In order to provide customers with a wide and varied range of produce, supermarkets often bring in fruit and vegetables that originate from either a distant part of the country or a different country altogether. 

Although this certainly has its benefits, allowing us to cook meals with ingredients that might not otherwise be available to us, the energy required to transport these goods contributes significantly to climate change. 

After harvesting your own vegetables, they need only be carried from garden to kitchen.”

Top ways to be more self-sufficient

It’s easier to be more self-sufficient than you think. The obvious way to do just that is by dedicating a space in your garden to growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs. Whether you have a grassy garden, a courtyard, or a balcony, there are tons of ways to grow your own successfully in spaces of all shapes and sizes. Grow foods that you love to eat and be blessed with a neverending resource of great quality ingredients.

Team up with friends, family, and neighbours to swap gluts of fruits and vegetables to add more variety to your homegrown menu. Many surplus fruits, vegetables and herbs can be frozen to be used at a later date.

You can head out into nature to gather wilder ingredients too. Foraging isn’t just fun, it will provide a bounty of ingredients to make your favourite dishes tastier than ever before. Read our beginner’s guide to foraging to get started.

You can also take your grow your own mission indoors by experimenting with sprouting or cultivating your own kitchen herb garden.

Those with a little more outdoor space to play with may want to consider growing their family with a few feathered friends, just like I did.

Keeping chickens is a rewarding experience. Eggs are after all a great source of nutrition and a versatile ingredient – discover six different ways to cook with eggs here.

As well as making how you produce food more of a family affair, how you use ingredients can make you even more self-sufficient. Cordials, wine, and kefir are just some of the delicious items that can be made at home. You can also bake your own bread.

You can be more self-sufficient with your home’s energy consumption too. Put that wood burning stove to good use, hang your clothes out to dry in the summer sun, and invest in a water butt to catch and store a never-ending supply of water to use in your garden or to wash the car to reduce consumption and lower your utility bills.

Fine tuning your craft skills can up your self sufficiency at home. Learn to sew by hand or machine to give old clothes a second life.

You can also learn to knit or crochet (you can start knitting your own winter warmers right now), make your own candles and soap, and even produce your own household cleaning products the all-natural way – that’s right no harsh chemicals, overpowering smells or overpriced brands.

Has lockdown made you more self-sufficient? We’d love to know! Share your self-sufficiency stories and tips with me and your fellow Goodness followers by posting them to Facebook or Instagram. Don’t forget to tag me in @webofgoodness.