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How to Become Self-Sufficient and Live Off-Grid

John is a long-time poet, short fiction, and article writer. He loves story-telling and also has a Certificate in Permaculture Design.


Back to Basics

The 21st century has seen two major issues arise that affect our whole planet: climate change/global warming, and the financial collapse.

What more incentive do we need to try to reduce the negative impact that we have on the environment, our use of fossil fuels, and our need for energy exhausting products and services? By endeavouring to achieve at least a basic level of self-sufficiency and to utilise alternative energy sources we can do our tiny bit to extend the life of our precious planet and all life upon it.

Don't rely on the government to have the answers or implement them correctly; take the step yourself...plant the seed, and watch it grow. Becoming completely self-sufficient may be more of a dream than a reality, but I'm doing my damnedest to get as close as possible, and so should you. Remember the words of the song "From little things big things grow" and use that as your guide to a better, more fruitful, and healthy lifestyle, for you and your children.

  • A good place to start is to get some poultry (chickens are probably the easiest to start with). These will provide you with a regular supply of eggs, meat, and manure to fertilise your garden. They are inexpensive, just requiring table scraps, some grain, seed, or chicken pellets, clean water and preferably some time each day to free range.
  • A vege patch is essential. It's easy to set up a no dig garden, and seeds are very inexpensive. Once you start growing your own veges you can also save your own seeds and reduce costs even further. Check with the seed and punnet supplier for what to grow when, or in a myriad of magazines such as Gardening Australia.
How to make a raised garden bed.

How to make a raised garden bed.

  • A ready water supply is also essential, and you should treat it as a precious commodity, installing rainwater tanks to catch all roof run-off. If you live on the land have dams or bores, or a stream if lucky enough. Grey water should also be utilised to water veges and fruit trees.
Tanks for water storage

Tanks for water storage

  • Fossil fuels are adding to the planet's woes, and becoming scarcer, with many believing 'peak oil' has already been reached. We should all take responsibility for protecting the resources we have left, and turn to alternative/clean energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, etc. Initially they may cost a little extra, but once their use becomes mainstream, prices will quickly fall. For example a small solar set up to power a small home or cabiin (such as my own) can be purchased and set up for as little as $5500. If you are frugal (get rid of the electric toaster, heater and kettle) there is no need to pay from $25,000 dollars plus as recommended by the Solar shops....check out a caravan or boating store instead.
Solar panels/renewable energy

Solar panels/renewable energy

  • Plant a herb garden close to the kitchen, so you always have a ready supply of herbs to add to your home cooked meals: thyme, chives, garlic chives, parsley, oregano, rosemary, sage, basil, chillies.
  • Build a compost heap; add all kitchen scraps (except what the chickens get), grass clippings, weeds and garden clippings, chicken manure, comfrey, cardboard etc. Cover with some old carpet or a tarp, and keep watered. When it all breaks down, add it to your garden soil to grow wonderful plants, fruit and veges.
  • Recycle. recycle, recycle: Try to find a use for everything instead of throwing it away, for example the cardboard inners of toilet rolls can be used as seedling pots and planted straight into the ground to decompose later. Scavenge the rubbish tip for transformable or reserectable items, building materials, etc.
  • Make your own: preserves, jams, pickles, chutneys, and cordials from fruit and veges you have grown yourself. Tastes better than anything from the supermarket and more satisfying too. Also make soaps and shampoos with your home-grown herbs added (and no dangerous chemicals).
  • Buy, or build your own composting toilet. there are a number of good ones on the market: Natureloo, Rotaloo, Ecolet, Clivus Mulstrum etc. We have a Natureloo and it works well, and the best thing is that they don't use water, don't smell, and you can use the compost to plant fruit trees and ornamentals on and make them thrive. Also, the effluent does not go into / pollute the waterways. I have also built my own composting loo which is very cost-effective and quite simple, using readily accessed/recycled items including a wheely bin. Feel free to contact me if you want detailed instructions.
  • Buy Grass Roots, Earth Garden, and Organic Gardener magazines (available at most Newsagents). Full of helpful hints, and inspirational stories of others striving for self-sufficiency.

Rubbish Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Frequent garage sales, markets, and even the tip in search of useful items for your home and garden. What some class as junk can be valuable finds to others. For instance, wooden packing boxes and 44 gallon drums can be used for a variety of uses. The drums can be used as furnaces, or cut in half and placed over tree stumps to burn them out, or made into wood-burning heaters or water heaters. Old bed frames can also be put to a number of uses. I joined three single bed frames together and made an outdoor toilet shed to house a composting toilet. Old tires can be used to grow potatoes in, protect young trees, or even to build walls out of. If you are into garden sculptures keep your eye out for old gates, wagon wheels, truck springs etc., etc. ... let your imagination run wild.

Recycle Clothing

As with most other items in our lives we can also do the right thing by buying pre-loved clothing from op shops, second hand clothing and thrift stores. If you or a family member are a knitter or crocheter you can recycle old jumpers or sweaters by unraveling the item and using the wool to knit something else more suitable such as scarves.

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If you aren't one of the wealthy few you can even be lucky enough to pick up designer label clothing from these stores that you wouldn't normally be able to afford, and often in almost new condition.

If you can recycle your own old clothing, for example cutting off the legs of worn out or ripped jeans to turn them into shorts, please do so. If not, donate anything that is still in good condition that you no longer want to the above charity stores, or to other people you know may appreciate them.


Home Made Cob/Pizza Oven

My wife and I did a Permaculture (Permanent Agriculture) course together and in one of the lessons we were taught to build a cob oven. We had previously read articles about them in Grass Roots and Earth Garden magazines and were anxious to have a go.

We immediately went home and built our own, using crushed termite mound (these are readily available where we live in Australia), sand, straw, lots of water, and cow manure and linseed oil to help bind it together. It was a good day's physical work but well worth it and we were delighted with the finished product.

We have since moved to another property, so we built another and also one for some friends. You can not only cook pizzas in these ovens, but roast meats, and even bake loaves of bread.

Commercially built pizza ovens can cost up to $1000. Materials to build these cost us virtually nothing apart from labour, because most of the material was on hand.

© 2009 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 21, 2020:

Thank you Denise. Yes, it is a shame you don't have the facilities to build a pizza oven now. It is good that you did all those other things though. Thanks for reading.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on February 21, 2020:

I've always thought of myself as quite the pioneer. I used to grow my own veggies, can sauces and jellies, knit and crochet, as well as recycle. But I never built a pizza oven. I've seen it done and would love to some day but now we live in an apartment with no land to speak of. Oh well.



John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 09, 2019:

Mr Happy, you are probably lucky to not have termite mounds. That is the reason we needed to build a steel frame home or it would become termite food. Yes brick is a good alternative for the cob pizza oven as well. Glad you found this article informative.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on June 09, 2019:

Ya, no "termite mound" around here. Thank God to be honest but I am sure I can find some clay and mix it with straw, or something along those lines. I'm gonna try to make one of those and if it fails with whatever, I'll go for brick the second time around. I've seen ones in brick done really nice!

Great article! Lots of very good information. Cheers!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 03, 2016:

Thank you, Al. I have been contemplating more hubs along these lines..maybe soon. Good to Se you.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on September 03, 2016:

Hey John, these are great economical ideas of being self-sufficient. We need more of your self-sufficient concoctions.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 28, 2016:

Thank you Vellur. I greatly appreciate your comment, and hope these tips are helpful.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on April 28, 2016:

Great ways to become self-sufficient. I totally agree with Chitrangada Sharan; you have shown many ways by which we can become self-sufficient. Great hub, interesting and informative, voted up.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 19, 2016:

Thank you for your very positive feedback on this hub, Chitrangada. I am glad it has inspired you to do even more.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 18, 2016:

Excellent hub with such great suggestions! You have covered so many things about recycling, frugal living and doing it on our own and that is so much satisfying.

I am greatly impressed the way you have provided information about making your own toilet facilities.

By nature I am an advocate of frugal and self sufficient living. But you inspire me to do more. Your tips are very useful and worth trying.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us .

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 17, 2016:

Thank you for reading this old hub, Daisy. I hope some of the information is helpful to you.

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on April 17, 2016:


I especially enjoy reading articles in which I learn something new. Thanks for presenting some thought-provoking ideas.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 13, 2015:

Thank you for reading this hub Victoria Lynn. Scaling down and trying to be as self-sufficient as you can is very satisfying. getting rid of stuff is the hardest part, but afterwards you think "why didn't I do that earlier". Having poultry and getting your own eggs is very satisfying as well. I wish you well in achieving your goal.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on October 13, 2015:

I love this. I'm trying to simplify by getting rid of stuff and moving to a much smaller home. I want to plant stuff, get a couple of laying hens, and be a bit more self-sufficient. Great hub! I found it when I read your hub about your 6th year anniversary at HP. I was curious. The hub did not disappoint!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 03, 2015:

Hi again Besarien. This is one of the first hubs I ever wrote so I thank you for reading it. You are right, even if you live in the city limits you can still do your bit towards self-sufficiency, recycle, be less wasteful etc. It's great if you can bring your children up to appreciate that lifestyle as well. Thanks for the generous comment too.

Besarien from South Florida on April 03, 2015:

What a great hub! Even though we live within city limits, we too are trying to become more self-sufficient/ less wasteful each year and are raising a conscientious son who knows how to do useful things. I love your ideas for home projects!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 26, 2015:

Wow Cam, congratulations on that wonderful plan. My wife always wanted a straw bale/cob house but I have never had the fortitude to tackle it. Have built quite a few cob pizza ovens though :) Building your own solar panels I applaud as well. You are lucky you have sons to help you. We need to purchase a new and bigger solar array. Thanks for reading.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on February 26, 2015:

John, I'm glad this was reposted. I am in the midst of my master plan which includes a straw bale/cob house, off grid, solar (panels to be built by sons and me), wind powered water pump for well, rocketstove for house, gardening. Thanks for what you are doing here. Great job.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 26, 2015:

Hi Aesta!. Yes composting toilets are great. The contents breaks down over time and can them be used as a mulch and built in fertilizer on the gardens. They also save water. Herbs is good planted there, anything but root vegetables.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 26, 2015:

We have a composting toilet in our cottage and everyone loves using it. It has relieved my husband's yearly worry about the septic tank. I wish we can plant vegetables there. I plant some herbs as the squirrels and raccoons don't get into it.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 21, 2014:

Hi Tamara, we have to adapt as best we can depending on our circumstances and where we live. It is easy to lose connection with the land if you live in a city apartment. Recycling is a start, buying local fresh produce. If you have a balcony try growing some of your own verges, but most of all try to teach your children the benefits of living with nature if at all possible.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 21, 2014:

Paula even just buying, local, fresh and organic is doing your bit and recycling as much waste as possible. Thanks for reading.

Tamara14 on September 21, 2014:

I try to recycle as much as I can, but I have to be honest and say I do like the luxury of the modern era to some extent :) I live in an appartment building and have lost the real connection with nature long time ago so I try hard to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to my children. Excellent reminder this hub of yours, thank you.

Paula Atwell from Cleveland, OH on September 21, 2014:

I am pretty much an on-the-grid type of person who prefers buying rather than growing food. I could do it if I was forced to but I wouldn't like it. I do like to buy local and from farmers near me, but that is as close as I get. :) Good resource for those who do.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 21, 2014:

Yes pkmcruk, every little bit we ddo can make a difference and give you a satisfied feeling. Thanks for reading this and commenting.

pkmcr from Cheshire UK on September 21, 2014:

Excellent advice which we can all take on board and do a little more within our own capabilities.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 02, 2014:

No problem Barbara, glad to hear ou are already doing the right things. We can all teach each other something.

Barbara Badder from USA on September 01, 2014:

I've been doing many of these ideas for a long time, but I found some new ideas. I would never of thought of composting toilet paper rolls. Thanks for the idea.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 29, 2014:

Thank you PhoenixV, I do believe the world has to begin taken things more seriously and we have to be more responsible for what goes into our bodies and how we live. Apart from the amount of money we can save by growing our own food it is so much healthier. We have no idea what poisons (apart from GMOs) are in the processing and added to the foods we buy from the supermarket. We are using up all the fossil fuels for our hunger for more and more power when we could be utilizing what is provided naturally and infinite like sun, wind and sea water. My wife and I particularly love building the cob pizza ovens, and have built quite a few now for other people.

PhoenixV from USA on August 29, 2014:

This is a subject that is of high interest to me. The price of food is becoming increasingly higher and higher, while more that likely the nutritional value is probably decreasing. This is a well rounded or comprehensive to hub for anyone thinking of becoming more self sufficient and I especially liked your cob pizza oven.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on April 15, 2014:

Hey Audrey. I'm so glad to hear that. It is one of my very first hubs, and one that is dear to me. Thanks for reading and your kind comment.

Audrey Howitt from California on April 15, 2014:

Love, love this hub!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on March 21, 2014:

Thank you for stopping by to read this Au fait. You are right about chickens not always layng. They stop for a couple of months when they are molting. We only have four hens at the moment and are only getting one egg per day. Hopefully the others will start laying again soon.

Yes, vinegar is a very handy substance to have around the house. As well as a fabric softener it is a great all purpose cleaner, as is bi-carbonate of soda. My wife also uses it when dying fabric and yarn to help set the color.

Thanks for the vote up.

C E Clark from North Texas on March 21, 2014:

Very interesting and packed with ideas. I grew up on a farm in Wisconsin and I can tell you that chickens do not always lay eggs.

White vinegar makes a great fabric softener without the perfumy odor (doesn't smell like pickles either), it's inexpensive, and it disinfects too. Just a half cup per regular load.

Very much agree with recycling and buying second hand whenever possible. Growing one's own veggies is so nice too. My mother had a 2 acre garden and summers were always busy taking care of that. Ours was a fairly large family and it took many quarts of home canned veggies and potatoes and squash to get us through the winters.

Voted up and useful!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 28, 2014:

Thanks for reading Kim, and your kind comments. It certainly sounds like you are already on your way to a self-sufficient lifestyle. Well done. My wife makes her own soap and we often use vinegar, bi carbonate of soda, or eucalyptus oil as cleaners. We will only drink rain water , and it's great if you buy a barrel or tank. I suggest you get a filter jug or bottles though especially if you live in the city to filter out any chemicals and pollutants that maybe in the air and collect. Chemicals in most soaps shampoos etc can be carcinogenic, and the aluminium in most deodorants. Thanks again for a great comment.

இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу from Niagara Region, Canada on February 28, 2014:

This is very impressive, John. I thought I was doing enough for my part with the environment, but realize I can step it up a notch. We recycle/compost/grow our own veggies and have always done so, but for about a year now I have made my own fabric softener/laundry soap and household cleaners. I hate the thought of chemicals in the store bought brands. What I'm not doing is collecting rainwater. My hubby and I have talked about it for a few years, so after reading this, I think I'll be barrel shopping come spring. Great hub as always, my friend.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 20, 2014:

Thanks for reading ologsinquito, yes we all have to try and do as much as we can to be self sufficient. Every little change you make helps in the long run.

ologsinquito from USA on February 20, 2014:

Great advice, because we all need to work toward more self sufficiency.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 20, 2013:

Thanks so much for the advice. Maybe I can get raised beds in started in the spring, which comes early here.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 20, 2013:

Thank you Pamela, one suggestion if you have sandy soil is to try raised garden beds. You can fill them with hay, soil and potting mix and reate your own perfect soil for growing veges. It is essential for us to collect a much rain water as we can here in Australia as water is a rare commodity through most of the year. Good work with your fruit trees though, and just concentrate on the crops that seem to do best in your climate.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 20, 2013:

This hub has great suggestion for being more self sufficient. We have fruit trees, which are wonderful. Having a garden in northern FL is not simple as the vast array of bugs are a problem and the soil needs a lot of work as it is primarily sand. We try to keep a small garden each year and some crops fair better than others. We have not collected rain water except once when a hurricane was on the way, but that is also a good idea. Awesome hub.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 19, 2013:

Thank you for the vote up izettl, yes many of us have no choice to a certain extent due to city living and regulations or no land. But yes we can all do what we can in regard to recycling clothing etc, buying organic and local produce where possible. Just do the best you can in your situation.

L Izett from The Great Northwest on November 19, 2013:

With expansion came building up instead of out so not many of us have property anymore. I have a decent yard but a housing association that says no chickens and other rules and regulations. We do have a garden mostly because I don't trust many fruits and veggies in stores nowadays. Glad you mentioned donating and clothing. I donate my clothes and resell my kids clothes. Cool ideas, voted up!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 17, 2013:

Thank you Eric,

Good luck with getting the land.

Eric Wayne Flynn from Providence, Rhode Island on November 17, 2013:

This page will be my template for ideas when I get my land. Love the ideas presented here.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 12, 2013:

Thank you for visiting JPSO138,

Glad you found some helpful ideas in this article. Yes, the home built pizza ovens are just great and last virtually forever as long as they are sheltered from the rain. Once you have the ingredients they are also easy to build.

JPSO138 from Cebu, Philippines, International on November 12, 2013:

These are certainly great ideas. I was also very impressed by the oven most esoecially that i like pizza.

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on November 11, 2013:

I strongly believe that each little step we take to help the planet is important and at the end it will make a difference. I am glad that for instance in Ottawa they implemented a system to collect plastic, metal, paper but also they collect all kitchen scraps, weeds, leaves, etc. During the summer, I use the compost but as soon as it freeze, I can't open it anymore.... or there is too much snow to access it :-)

PS : I don't mind that you used my name ;-)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 11, 2013:

Thanks for visiting another of my hubs Joelle (I hope you don't mind me using your name, found you called that on your hub about Remembrance Day). It sounds like you are doing your bit by growing your own herbs, and recycling, especially for the children's arts and crafts. Governments often make it more difficult for us to do the right thing by the planet, but we have to persist and do what we can. Thank you for the vote up too.

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on November 11, 2013:

Another great hub! We do a lot of the things you suggest in your hub but living in the city, I am not allowed to have chickens! I am dreaming one day of moving away of the city and have chickens and bees. I have all kind of herbs near my kitchen.... but living in Canada I have access to it only for about 6 to 7 months a year! Now, almost everything is frozen and we already had snow :-( I am seriously thinking of planting some herbs in big pots next Spring to bring them inside in the Fall.

We had solar panels in our previous home to heat the water. I really would like to install solar panels for electricity on my new home.

My husband and I recycle a lot.... and I use a lot of recycled materials to teach arts and crafts. More and more, governments a cutting money for the arts in schools but it's possible to create by recycling :-) It's also a great message to send to the children. It's important also for the future of our little planet!

Thank you for sharing all your ideas and your accomplishments!

Voted up, useful, interesting and awesome!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 10, 2013:

thanks for your kind comments Mythbuster, It's always good to hear of others who are genuinely making an attempt at do their bit to help the planet. It doesn't matter what your circumstance or how small your house/yard space is you can make a difference. Mini-container gardens is ideal for small spaces and even though I am on 40 acres I still grow herbs and veges in pots close to the kitchen as well as the larger vege patch further away. Recycling as much as you can saves so much energy in transport and production of new products as well. Just do your best.

mythbuster from Utopia, Oz, You Decide on November 10, 2013:

This hub is like a little check-list and minor how-to for beginners like me in adopting self-sufficiency concepts into a lifestyle. I don't own the place where I live, so I'm working on tiny-house/small space measures in everything. The biggest impact I can make so far in my life is in re-purposing, recycling and starting mini-gardens. Thanks for writing many helpful explanations and telling how you're moving forward with an increasingly self-sufficient lifestyle.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 08, 2013:

My pleasure sharing this info with you suzette,

Growing your own herbs and veggies is a big starting point. I read articles in magazines and the Internet on how to build a composting toilet and was impressed by how well it worked. Thank you for you kind comments.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 08, 2013:

Thanks for checking this hub out chef,

You are right, it is all up to us, and anyone can do it. There is a lot to learn but there is plenty of information out there. Start small and gradually do more. I appreciate your kind comments.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on November 08, 2013:

Wow! You certainly are self-sufficient if you can make your own toilet facilities. That grabbed my attention the most. I have the gardening skills to grow my own veggies, fruits and herbs, but that is as far as my self-sufficiency goes. Your hub is amazing. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us . We just might need it sooner than later!

Andrew Spacey from Sheffield, UK on November 08, 2013:

Great starting points for the eco warrior at heart! I enjoyed this hub because it has simple ideas that most people can have a go at.

I also think your 'governments have no answers' is quite true so it's up to the individual to get things going. Remember the maxim...'If not you, who, if not now, when?' from a few years ago, which I really think hits the nail on the head. Start small, get to know how things work, learn a bit more, then go for it!!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2013:

Good on you Jackie. It's not usually the colder weather that delays hens laying, but the shorter days. They need to have a certain number of hours sunlight for some reason. Also they won't lay at the time of year they start to molt their feathers.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 07, 2013:

No I just have three, I did have four and one was suppose to be a rooster but a kitten killed him if he was. So now I have the three but they are just for eggs and fun. I am making a compost pile since I read it would be very good for all my flowers and should be ready in about three months. They haven't started laying yet but should be soon. Hope the colder weather won't delay them. They are fun.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 28, 2013:

Thank you Jackie,

Yes if all of us just 'do what we can' it will make a big difference overall. "from little things, big things grow". Free range chickens is a great way to start off. get your own supply of healthy, hormone free eggs, fertilizer for your plants (chicken manure), meat(if you aren't adverse to doing the deed), and entertainment (they are actually fun to watch). Thanks for your kind comments.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on October 28, 2013:

I do what I can, am trying free range chickens now. Great hub. ^

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 24, 2013:

Hi Dolores,

Thanks for the kind comments. I'm glad this hub was helpful, but yes it is really just a quick summary of ideas to help you try to become self-sufficient. I was thinking of doing a separate hub on building a cob oven so I may take your suggestion. Yes a little bit at a time is the best approach.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on October 24, 2013:

I loved this one. So many of us would love to live this way. Maybe a little bit at a time would work. You could actually get a lot of hubs out of this. The cob oven alone would be a great one - so interesting.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 19, 2013:

Thanks for visiting LongTimeMother. Always good to meet another Aussie, especially another follower of Permaculture principles and who believes in climate change. I think people who voted this Government in are already beginning to feel uneasy.. he's gotten rid of the climate commission and scrapped the environment and climate ministry etc. He won't even connect the fact that the bushfires are a result of global warming. Anyway, thanks for voting this hub up, and I look forward to checking out some of yours. Keep up the good work.

LongTimeMother from Australia on October 19, 2013:

Hey aussie, nice hub! It is 15 years since my husband and I attended a permaculture course at beautiful Byron Bay. We have implemented the principles at a number of different properties over the years, but for the past 5 years have been completely off-grid. All our past experience is proving very helpful. :)

What a tragedy we now have a Prime Minister who doesn't believe in climate change. How will he explain away all the unseasonal bushfires ravaging the country? It's up to families like yours and mine to keep spreading the word about off-grid living.

Voted up ++.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 12, 2013:

Thank you very much Audrey, we sure do.

Audrey Howitt from California on October 12, 2013:

Just an excellent article John--we all need to do more!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 11, 2013:

Thanks Bill.

There can never be enough people spreading the word to care for the land, live frugally, and cut down on waste. I'm trying to be the best I can be at the things I do *wink*. I'll check out your hubs on the subject too.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 11, 2013:

I love the message, John. In fact I've written about this several times. You are a good writer; keep at it my new friend.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 10, 2013:

Joni, thanks. try adding mulch, leaf litter, grass clippings etc to the sandy soil. Eventually it will break down and improve the soil. Another tip if your soil is no good for gardening is to use hay bales. Just lay them in a garden bed and plant seedlings etc directly into them. Keep watered and they will flourish.

Joni Bryant on October 10, 2013:

Another good one! I'm trying to garden with sandy soil and these tips are helpful.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 10, 2013:

Thanks FlourishAnyway,

They are actually fun to build once you get the hang of it, and cook food in a fraction of the time as a regular oven. We try our best to be as frugal as possible and have succeeded in being semi-self sufficient though still have to buy fuel to run a car, and various food items etc.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 10, 2013:

Very impressive pizza oven. You take frugality and self-sufficiency to whole new levels!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 02, 2013:

What an interesting insight into your childhood and history Nellieanna. You certainly grew up in a time and place when self-sufficiency was a necessity and not a life style choice. Most people today can't imagne living without refrigeration, electricity and gas or making their own butter and cheese. Thank you again for such a wonderful informative comment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 02, 2013:

Thanks for your kind comments Jackwms,

We live on a 40 acre rural property so fortunately we can have as many chickens as we like. They are always allowed to free range and you do notice a difference between the eggs they produce and store bought ones. We grow as many veges as we can organically with no poisons. The bugs do get some, but so do we. Glad to see you and your wife are doing your bit to conserve our valuable environment too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 02, 2013:

Hi CraftytotheCore,

That is unfortunately so true. Many people nowdays have lost the knowledge and desire to garden. It is a throwaway society and much to easy to buy what you need from the multinational supermarkets than to get your hands dirty and grow your own. People don't realize that gardening is therapeutic as stress relief as well as providing your own healthy food. At least your town council is being proactive and renting out plots to teach residents how to garden with the aid of a consultant. Everyone should be taught the values of compost.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 02, 2013:

Thank you Jaye,

Yes as long as we all do what we physically can to help protect our planet and environment we can sleep easy. There is a popular song written by Australians Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly called "From Little Things, Big Things Grow", this is very true. Every small step we take to try to counter climate change and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and manufactured products will make a difference.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on September 30, 2013:

Thank you, Jodah, for your always informative and interesting reply. What you don't know about me is that I grew up spending all summer every summer on my family's remote southwest Texas sheep and goat ranch. It was too remote from schools so we also maintained a home in the nearest town, 100 miles away while any of us were still in school. I was the youngest by MANY years, so by the time I was in school, almost all my 3 older siblings were old enough to stay in town by themselves, if need be - and a couple of them were off to college. Mother & I stayed in town during the 9 months of school and Dad commuted home on visits. If Mother needed to be at the ranch too, I was 'farmed out' to friends, especially my first-grade teacher, Miss Willy Long, of the one-room schoolhouse. I loved staying with her. She'd let me play with her teaching stuff. Anyway, I grew up with VERY self-sufficient parents. We went to the ranch as soon as school was out in May where we stayed without going to town for supplies for the 3 months till school started in September. We took such fresh produce as we could carry, which lasted only a short while, without refrigeration. We took 'staples' of dried beans, sugar, flour, cornmeal and salt pork to flavor the beans. Otherwise everything we used was self-generated right there on the land and in the kitchen, though the ground there is not good for gardening. We had only some onions and hot peppers in it, which the wild creatures didn't fancy and which tolerated the rocky, dry ground. They helped flavor the beans, which were a daily staple on the table.

We had milk cows and chickens, of course. Mother made butter & cheese and made jerky out of mutton and goatmeat. There was no electricity aThank you, Jodah, for your always informative and interesting reply. What you don't know about me is that I grew up spending all summer every summer on my family's remote southwest Texas sheep and goat ranch. It was too remote from schools so we also maintained a home in the nearest town, Del Rio, 100 miles away, while any of us were still in school. I was the youngest by MANY years, so by the time I was in school, my 3 older siblings were old enough to stay in town by themselves, if need be, and the 2 oldest were off to college for the school year. Mother & I stayed in town during the 9 months of school and Dad commuted home on visits. We always had a garden in town, and usually chickens and once, even a cow.

If Mother needed to be at the ranch too, I was 'farmed out' to friends, especially my first-grade teacher, Miss Willy Long, of the one-room schoolhouse. I loved staying with her. She'd let me play with her teaching supplies. Anyway, I grew up with VERY self-sufficient parents. We went to the ranch as soon as school was out in May, where we stayed without going to town for supplies for the 3 months till school started in September. We took such fresh produce as we could carry, which lasted only a short while, without refrigeration. Mother kept it in a washtub with a little water in it and a damp cloth over it on the screened-in porch to keep cool as long as possible. We took 'staples' of dried beans, sugar, flour, cornmeal and salt pork to flavor the beans. Otherwise everything we used was self-generated right there on the land and in the kitchen, though the ground there is not good for gardening. We had only some onions and hot peppers in it, which the wild creatures didn't fancy and which tolerated the rocky, dry ground. They helped flavor the beans, which were a daily staple on the table.

We had milk cows and chickens, of course. Mother made butter & cheese and made jerky out of mutton or cabrito (young kid goatmeat), which was hung on the screened-in porch to cure. There was no electricity or gas. She cooked on a wood burning stove, in a place where wood is scarse. Making-do and living off the land was taken for granted. It has changed out there considerably now, though it is still remote. But civilization has caught up with it in many ways. I still have a ranch out there, but get to visit it seldom. It is 500 miles from Dallas where I live.

During my first marriage, I lived on a farm in Indiana, with beef cattle, a big garden and doing everything 'from scratch'. So, yes, I am very aware of self-sufficiency.

One does what circumstances demand and what they permit over a lifetime, doesn't one? And the urgency of today's world calls for much diligence in protecting it! Thank you again for sharing yours!

Jackwms on September 30, 2013:

My wife and I are much into environmental concerns and issues. My wife is a Master Gardner and I work with her on many of her projects. I grew up raising free range chickens and a few other animals. People in this part of the country can have a few free range chickens, even in the city (but no roosters in town).

Recycling, composting, and conservation are very much a part of our

lives. I like your post very much and will follow others with interest.

CraftytotheCore on September 30, 2013:

We have a pot-belly pig. There are some piggeries around here that just recycle compost for gardens. We also compost.

A lot of people have no idea how to garden here. So the town now rents plots for $25, and brought in a consultant to teach people how to garden.

It baffles me because I was raised on a farm. Most of the town land here was potato fields at one time. I can't imagine not knowing how to garden. But I have run in to many people who think it's easier to go to the store and buy what they need. They wouldn't dream of gardening.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on September 30, 2013:

I applaud you for doing your share (and more) to reduce the use of fossil fuels and save the planet, Jodah. Alas, limited mobility prevents me from gardening, but I do recycle, repurpose and avoid waste.

It pains me to recall how wasteful I was as a youth, even though I didn't know the effects of wastefulness back then. I make a strong effort to never waste anything now if it can be used or recycled. I make a point of conserving water and electricity as much as possible. I stopped buying new clothes after I retired and wear casual clothes around the house every day. Some of my years-old tee shirts are getting quite faded, but my dog doesn't care! Haha.

Regardless of where we live, there are many things each of us can do to help stop climate change. Thanks for the timely reminder, Jodah.

Voted Up, Useful and Interesting/Shared


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 30, 2013:

We can all do more Nellieanna whether we live in the city or country. No one can ever be completely self-sufficient but it is a wonderful goal to work towards. I am lucky to live on a 40 acre property, but although life is not always easy living off the grid, it is always satisfying. Our abode is actually a shed with a small solar array and generator back up. My wife is invalided so can not help out with any physical activity though she does offer me encouragement and support.

Glad to hear you are a life-long recycler and responsible in your use of fuel. . We think today's society is so advanced with all the amazing technology changing everyday but we often forget the basics that our forebears perfected.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on September 29, 2013:

I've done more in the past in the way of self-sufficiency, I suppose. But, again, you inspire me to do more of it now. I live in the city, where it's not so easy, in fact it is unlawful, to have farm animals, but we've had a wonderful 'metro-garden' my late husband designed, which yielded us all the fresh veggies we needed, and I also had an herb garden. He passed away 5 years ago at 86, though, and had gradually become less able to do it all and needed more of my time helping him with his routine things. Now I'm quite able, though, so there is no excuse.

I'm a life-long recycler. I learned from my mother, who was born in 1892, and who invented the concept! :-)

I like to plan my errand trips in the car to take greatest advantage for saving fuel, too. Still, I could do more. Thank you for your timely and excellent reminder!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 22, 2011:

Thanks Neabug32 and David, your comments are always appreciated.

David on February 22, 2011:

Good hub, thanks for the info. I look forward to reading more.

neabug32 from United States on February 18, 2011:

Great hub. Very informative and useful information Jodah. Keep up the great work!

Gingermeggs on January 24, 2011:

Informative hub. I hope you add to this information. Very different from your other hub "Winning Ways".

Mandrake on October 17, 2009:

Food for thought....makes one question the way we live, and what we waste. I'll take some of these suggestions on board.

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