how easy/hard would it be to live as self sufficient as possilbe inn the uk?

Thought i would start a thread that was something different to solar panels....( even though this topic will come up here)

Just wondering, how hard/easy it would be, to be self sufficient as possible in the uk ? and only spending on the absolute essentials?

The likes of council tax, water rates you can not get away from..
plus certain food staples that unless you have loads of acreage you could not grow...
Work to live= not live to work


  • HappyMJ
    HappyMJ Posts: 21,115
    Combo Breaker First Post
    I think it's very easy but that's me...

    You can get away from council tax. Anyone who earns nothing does not have to pay council tax. You can also get away from water rates by installing a meter, recycling as much water as possible and collecting rainwater for the vegetables in the garden.

    A food staple I can think of that requires acreage is wheat. That's quite cheap anyway and can be exchanged/bartered for some vegetables. Beef also requires acreage but chicken does not and it's much easier raising chicken.

    You would also need access to a source of free firewood for heating in winter. Along with solar panels, low usage, a cheap tariff with regular cashback gas and electric can be obtained for free.
    :p Regular savers earn 6% interest (HSBC, First Direct, M&S) :p Loans cost 2.9% per year (Nationwide) = FREE money. :p
  • Lotus-eater
    Lotus-eater Posts: 10,789
    First Post Combo Breaker
    You can live very self sufficiently, as long as you have a very boring diet and have a very limited spartan life.
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
    COOLTRIKERCHICK Posts: 10,510
    Combo Breaker First Post
    After a life long dream, we have just bought a 2 acre holding at auction...In reality 2 acres is not alot in terms of land etc, but it is more than enough for us to manage...

    We have loads trees etc on part of the land... so free wood for quite a few years...

    We are applying for a holding number, so we can have some pigs to rear for the freezer, plus they will save us clearing the land, this is being done in stages.

    The land is rough ground, all over grown with brambles, trees etc, so the we will be doing secion at a time,,, once the first section is cleared, we will then apply for PP for a poly tunnels on that patch..

    there is a water meter in the kitchen of the house, so it looks as though only the water inside the house is metered..

    We allready have chickens and ducks where we live...

    I konw its every man for themselves so to speak, but it doesnt seem right to claim council tax releif...but them there are soooooooooooo many who dont give two hoots about claiming .

    Is anyone self sufficient in something?
    Work to live= not live to work
  • Martyn1981
    Martyn1981 Posts: 14,663
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    I know nothing!

    Just thought I'd clarify that, but I've read loads of very interesting stuff on bio-mass, wind turbines, PV, water collection/treatment, chickens, bees etc, etc on some great forums.

    Not sure if it's appropriate to mention other forums, but the Green Building Forum, and Navitron Forum chat about such stuff all the time.

    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • celerity
    celerity Posts: 311 Forumite
    edited 22 March 2012 at 4:27PM
    I would have thought it was practically impossible to be truly self-sufficient, especially if you had a young family.
    Granted, you could be a great deal more independent than say, 99% of the population, but that would still be a long way from true self-sufficiency.
    Even John Seymour's classic (and newly revised) Self Sufficiency handbook (which is a beautiful read by the way, I whole-heartedly recommend it) admits that to do everything in the book would be a Herculean task. For example, weaving cloth, baking bricks, managing livestock etc etc.

    When we were looking for houses with land in Cambridgeshire, we were told by a few people that historically speaking, 4 acres was considered the minimum area to give out to tenants in order that a typical family could scrape a living. With modern growing techniques and a smaller family you might do a bit better than that, but sheep, pigs and a few cows all take up space quickly.

    I suppose one way you could get close would be if you could fill in any "resource gaps" by earning money doing something on your property.
    So, if you were say, JK Rowling, you could fairly easily own a big spread of land and pay people to do all the grunt work of producing your food :).

    Speaking for myself, we are self-sufficient in eggs, and that is about it (and if I add up how much we've spent on chicken runs, coops, feed and vet bills our mean cost per egg would be dismayingly high!)
    We have about an acre of land, and have had many tonnes of firewood by getting rid of established trees. But we buy our main supply of firewood locally - if we didn't we'd be out of wood in a matter of months, as we have two wood stoves.
    We'd like to one day keep bees and possibly even goats, but with full-time jobs we currently think this is a step too far.

    I personally think the dream of self-sufficiency is a nice thing to aspire to, but you should only go down that path far enough so that you're comfortable and enjoy the extra work you're putting in. Life's too short to spend your days toiling until you're miserable!

  • celerity
    celerity Posts: 311 Forumite
    This is the John Seymour book. Check it out if this subject interests you, as Seymour lived a lot of his life as border-line self-sufficient, and taught a lot of people on courses at his small holding:

  • Itismehonest
    Itismehonest Posts: 4,352 Forumite
    How self-sufficient, CTC?

    It's fairly easy to do it food-wise if you have enough acreage to keep several animals & produce enough various crops. Otherwise, as Lotus said, you'd need to be happy with a basic & pretty unvaried diet.
    Your animals will require feed that you may find hard to produce yourself.

    If you're thinking beyond the food on the table........
    Clothing a family becomes ........ interesting.;)
    Things like real tea, coffee & even bread (unless you want it minus yeast) are out.
    Then there's toiletries & washing/cleaning things.

    The problem is not doing it, it's the time involved. You could kill yourself trying. It's very easy to work from the minute you get up to the minute you collapse into bed every day of the year - nobody tells Nature it's Sunday or Christmas.
    Try to leave yourself time to enjoy what you have :D:beer:
  • Ben84
    Ben84 Posts: 3,069
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    edited 22 March 2012 at 7:49PM
    Modern life comes with its consequences, but I don't doubt that the way we live now is more efficient than ever before. Not needing to make everything yourself makes life easier and means, if we do things right that we have more, both in quantity and variety. It's far more efficient to have a furniture factory that gathers together the skills, equipment and materials in bulk to manufacture chairs, rather than everyone attempting to make them at home. However, bringing in things from outside does expose us to their prices and the price fluctuations.

    So, rather than provide everything for ourselves, which is a massively challenging idea if you want to live even a modest modern lifestyle, I think being more efficient is the important thing now because it allows us to take all the benefits while reducing the negatives.

    You can still enjoy the convenience of energy bought in from the national grid to power everything in your house, but also have very low exposure to the price and its fluctuations if you live in a well insulated (maybe passive solar design) house with efficient appliances. You can still buy whatever food you want from the shops, saving time and effort, but if you have, as I do, a number of low maintenance fruit trees in the garden you can save a decent amount of money each year for very little effort. Let commercial farmers who have the expertise and equipment for automation grow the effort intensive crops like wheat and provide for yourself the ones which are practical to grow at home.
  • whasup
    whasup Posts: 85 Forumite
    I have to agree with ben. The population is unsustainable without efficient manufacturing and that really means controlled pooling and distribution of resources and organised trade. If I was being harsh I might even say that full self suffiency is really just self centred middle class peasantry. (Which I have a feeling is what one of the SS guru authors called it some years back) But I'm not being harsh today so I won't say that.

    Think of the woodsman that gets all his friends, and even a good number of complete strangers, to help him build a stick house in the woods where he lives meagerly on making a bit of charcoal and killing a few squirrels and birds. All lovely and fluffy until 10 million others say that looks like a good deal. When you've finshed on that stick house I'll peg mine out over here.

    Having said all that I don't think you'll bring society down with a few chickens and a veg patch.
  • Lotus-eater
    Lotus-eater Posts: 10,789
    First Post Combo Breaker
    I don't think we have to discuss the majority of the population becoming SS, just a few people that want to.
    Obviously there are different levels of SS, even more so today then in years gone by, mainly because of the level of efficient manufacturing, as said above, the cost of things in real terms, has plummeted. However, in general the standard of those things has also plummeted, so you need to buy them more often.
    Even John Seymour, never lived the life, it would be very hard.

    I think if you had a very large cashflow to start with and could get yourself set up properly with modern, good quality equipment/house/heating/tools/land/woodland/animals etc, you could do most of it with hard work, without having a massive detriment to the quality of life.

    I think it is an interesting conversation and I'd like to know what people think they would need to buy in while being SS.

    Off the top of my head.
    Internet/computer hardware/software.
    Animal feed
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
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