The Myth of Self Sufficiency

`A question I have been asked a lot over the years is “are you self sufficient?

The answer is no and furthermore; we will never be. I have grown to realize that the idea of self-sufficiency drives a lot of people, but the important thing to realize is that while you can try to be as self-sufficient as possible, it is almost impossible to be entirely self-sufficient.

Fact: The amount of land most have access to is not enough to produce everything they need. Even with 11 acres, it would be very difficult to produce everything Matt, and I would need for the year.

Even in the old days, most people had inputs that they needed to keep their farms going. For example, keeping a few pigs would require corn if you could not free range. Coffee, sugar, tea, salt, etc were always store bought.

The goal should be to produce an excess of a limited number of items so that you can sell them to get cash to buy things you cannot produce. In a barter economy, the goal would be to produce useful trade items and necessities that could be traded with others for what else was needed. Many years ago people would use small livestock and more to pay bills such as the doctor or to trade at a general store or trading post.



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The Drovers Road system here in western North Carolina had stock stands and trading posts every 10 miles or so because that was as far as hog would walk in a day. You really cannot move a hog if they are very much done for the day and they don’t move fast for extended periods of time. People would either operate on credit and pay their bills after they got paid for their pigs or they would trade a pig to the merchant for what was…

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