Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase. You can read our full disclosure here.
Self sufficiency seems to be an ultimate, modern homesteading goal. We’re all going to go out and do all of the things and not be dependent upon anyone but ourselves. But, if you truly believe that, you’ve fallen for the myth of self sufficiency.
I know, I just crushed your dreams. I’m constantly telling people how they can become more self sufficient, aren’t I? And you can… you can absolutely become more self sufficient. But none of us are likely to ever become completely self sufficient.
I know, the idea sounds heavenly. You go out to the middle of nowhere with your family, build a cabin with logs you sawed by hand off of your own property. You grow everything you need right there on your little piece of heaven, grow all of your livestocks feed, have your own water, live without electricity and are completely unconnected and off grid.
But then, reality sets in. Even with your family by your side, you’re likely to start to go crazy. You see, us humans (even major introverts like me), we need community. We are our best selves, our happiest, and healthiest, when we interact with others. And no matter how hard we train for this self sufficient marathon, something is going to be required from elsewhere.
The myth of self sufficiency runs deep, and it’s a hard pill to swallow when you come to the realization that none of us have ever been completely self sufficient. Not the settlers, not the Native Americans… no one. No man is an island, they say. And they’re right.
We all rely upon community to some extent. Beyond just our family, we need other people. When they say it takes a village, in a lot of ways, it does. Native Americans, for instance, depended on everyone within their tribe to do their part. It wasn’t just an individual, or an individual family. Settlers depended on community often when things needed done in a hurry, or when illness struck.
Our need for community is even more prevalent in today’s modern world. Most of us are dependent upon certain things that make the world go round. Very few of us are lucky enough to afford our home/property without a loan or rent payment every month. We are dependent upon seed companies many times to provide us with heirloom seeds (even if we save, we all had to start somewhere). If you’re reading this, while you could live without it, you’re dependent upon the electricity and internet our technological gadgets require.
Most of us, if not all of us, cannot provide every last morsel of food we require. Or, we can’t provide all of the foods our livestock requires. Even if you can, one drought or disease and you’re in big trouble.
In cities and suburbs, many are dependent upon public water sources and even us folk out in rural areas need our septics pumped once in a while, and the internal workings of our modern wells eventually wear out and need replaced.
You are far better off creating relationships and forming community with like-minded people than you’ll ever be living with the dream that one day you’ll do it all yourself. Hone your skills, sure, but also be on the look out for others that share you dream. Because, you’ll need one another.
Here on our acre homestead we are striving to slowly provide much of our produce, some poultry, and possibly some other meat (probably pork) at some point in the future. We’ve discovered that providing all of our milk needs is not worth the sacrifices we have to make at this point in our lives. We do hunt, and hope to provide enough venison for our freezer, but we also rely on outside sources for meat.
We try to locally source some of our goods, but we still need things and always will. Even if we had 100 acres, we would still need help and community from beyond our family of five.
Do what you can, and follow your dreams, but also realize that not needing outside help is a lofty, pretty much impossible goal. And that’s okay. We were never meant to be an island.