Self-Sufficiency and Survival
Self sufficiency is a relative thing in our modern world. It can be as small and simple as a tomato plant in a container - a small crop of fresh tomatoes can be a wonderful and inspiring thing! Complete self sufficiency is another thing entirely - will require the right circumstances, a lot of knowledge, and complete commitment to have a chance of success! You have to choose where your comfort zone is along this continuum. We do recommend that you seek some self-sufficiency - it is hard to find a greater satisfaction!
How much to get by for how long? Personal or family self sufficiency is one answer, but in our Willits valley we are always working towards survival as a community. For most of us self-sufficiency and survival are first about community. The Transition movement out of England has the best tools yet for building this community. They have four basic principles:
That life with dramatically lower energy consumption is inevitable, and that it's better to plan for it than to be taken by surprise.
That our settlements and communities presently lack the resilience to enable them to weather the severe energy shocks that will accompany peak oil.
That we have to act collectively, and we have to act now.
That by unleashing the collective genius of those around us to creatively and proactively design our energy descent, we can build ways to living that are more connected, more enriching and that recognize the biological limits of our planet.
What books to include in this category? There is an argument for nearly every book we offer. We were strongly tempted to include How To Grow More Vegetables because you are not going to survive without a sustainable organic garden.
What we have included though, are the most obvious books - directly about self-sufficiency, resilience, basic tools, water management, and so on. Highly recommended is The Encyclopedia of Country Living - a true omnibus practically written by Carla who lived it her whole life. A necessary title for any self-sufficiency bookshelf.
Resilience is a hot topic these days, and means different things to different people. I like what Carol Deppe says in The Resilient Gardener, "These days we tend to design our gardens and our gardening for good times, times when everything is going well… My garden needed to be designed around the reality that life has its ups and downs. It has good times and bad… I needed to understand more about how to garden in hard times. I needed a more resilient garden."
Food For The Future, Now is about garden planning and how to lay out a successful and sustainable garden. The Resilient Gardener is focused on a home gardener with a small amount of land. It shows how an individual or family can thrive within a city or town. It is focused entirely on food. The Resilient Farm shows how a family or like-minded community that owns land can transform it into a total integrated, self-sustaining, and continuously-improving system encompassing food, water, energy, shelter, and "waste" management.
We suggest that you also refer to our Permaculture Books , that are also all about sustainability and resilience.