It’s a popular term these days, but what does it really mean?
The term itself is new, but the concept is old as the hills, literally. Humans were self-sufficient long before pre-history. Their lives depended on it, but how did they do it? They didn’t have coffee-table books full of glossy pictures, YouTube videos, lifestyle tv shows or ex-Navy Seals to show them the way.
They did it just as we should: together. They watched, talked and listened. To the successes and failures of their neighbours, their Elders and Ancestors and the patterns and surprises within the natural world.
Of course, self-sufficiency had a different name back then: survival. In order to survive, families had to plan, to prepare and co-operate with each other. This they did, and because they did, we are here today.
Is it just me, or is there a sense of resurgence to the simple living of our Ancestors? Increasing numbers of us are coming to realize we cannot rely on ‘the Government’ to provide for us or look after us. We see that in times of sudden change: such as natural disaster, or economic downturn, the assistance we can expect to receive from a Government is limited. I believe we must look to ourselves, and each other, to sustain healthy and resilient communities.
So, what can we do to better look after ourselves and our loved ones? It’s easier than you might think but… it depends on your expectations. If your aim is to live a good life where your basic needs are met and anything else is honey, you’re in luck and… you’re in the right place to learn how.
I strive toward a realistic self-sufficient lifestyle but, I am a realist. I am not trying to go ‘off-grid’. I have children to feed and educate and I enjoy living in a community. In fact, I believe it’s almost impossible to be fully self-sufficient, producing all your own food, water, electricity, medicine and every other thing you need (soap, clothes, etc). I’m not saying it’s impossible to do, but such a level of self-sufficiency would be difficult to achieve and even harder to maintain in the modern day.
Here is the good news: you don’t need to be fully self-sufficient.
You need not do as I did and move your family from drought affected mainland to lush green Tasmania. You need not live in the country. Whether you live on a small parcel of land or an inner- city apartment, I will help you learn basic skills, and introduce you to lots of interesting ideas and people.
Feel free to pick’n’mix, take from me what makes most sense to you, or what skills or ideas you are able to adapt to within your own lifestyle.
So, if you’re ready to ditch the hype and get some dirt under your nails, read on and join me, and my special guests, on our path to no-fuss self-sufficiency.
ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.
Yes, I used the word in the title of my site: Prepper.
Prepper. Why do we hate that word? It is a regular word. Derived from Preparation or Prepared, surely it is a good thing, a good word. Another title which has been maligned is Survival, or Survivalist.
So why do these words have such a bad rap? Perhaps it raises images of a crazed gun toting loner protecting his horde of barrelled grain or some dude hunkered down in an underground bunker waiting for the bomb to fall? It implies extremism. Those who shun mainstream society and seem to almost want something bad to happen to affirm their choices.
In recent years there have been many examples of this stereotype of a ‘Prepper’ and ‘Survivalist’ in mainstream media. They are strangely amusing, almost mesmerizing, like a potentially dangerous circus act. The crazy ‘Prepper’: entertaining to watch from a distance, but you wouldn’t want to live next door to one.
I remember my Mother, back in the 1970’s, carefully checking and stocking the pantry shelves. As an adult and parent myself now, I look back and see that she was a ‘Prepper’. With four children and one income, she always ensured the pantry was well stocked. If we used a can of baked beans, she would replace it with 2 cans of baked beans. We never ran out, and if we had a lean week with lots of big bills, there was always enough to feed the family. She was a ‘Prepper’ before it was considered good or bad to be a ‘Prepper”.
And we weren’t alone, lots of families did the same thing. Putting a little money away every week to cover the bills, or Christmas, that’s prepping too. Thinking ahead, planning, preparing.
We should none of us be ashamed or embarrassed for our interest in, or efforts toward being prepared. No matter where you live, your financial status or family situation, being prepared makes sense.
I believe that prepping and self-sufficiency are two sides of the one coin, so closely linked that to be self-sufficient means that you are prepared… and to be prepared means that you are (at least partly) self-sufficient.
So, I ask you to reject the stereotype of the crazy ‘Prepper’ and at every opportunity remind yourself and others, that in truth, prepping is self-responsibility, self-care and most of all, smart.