In Depth

No, you’re not self-sufficient and you never will be… And that’s ok.

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Is being self-sufficient possible? Is it even a goal we should strive for?

We love growing organic food and making things. There’s no way to express how rewarding it is to take a tiny seed the size of a freckle and nurture it all the way to harvest, producing delicious food and countless seeds for future growing seasons.

We also feel a deep kinship with other organic/permaculture gardeners and farmers. As such, we feel the need to provide some constructive criticism about certain language that we’d like to see get permanently “weeded out” of our shared lexicon.

We grow lots of organic produce using regenerative/sustainable methods, like these heirloom winter squash. But we're nowhere close to being self-sufficient, nor are we trying to be. self sufficienct

We grow lots of organic produce using regenerative/sustainable methods, like these heirloom winter squash. Our aim in doing so is to help grow a better world, not to become isolated from the world we want to make better.

Please, please, stop talking about how you’re self-sufficient or marketing your company’s products/services towards making people self-sufficient. It’s not honest and it’s not possible.

If you’re reading this sentence, you’re not self-sufficient. The phone, tablet, or laptop you’re using is made of products mined in dozens of countries and assembled in factories across the world.

You likely didn’t grow, process, and weave the clothes you’re wearing.

Your truck? You probably didn’t make that by hand either. If you walk around your home, you’ll likely find that most of the things in it were not sourced or made on your property by your own hands.

And that’s ok!

The only human beings that have ever truly been self-sufficient completely independent of other human beings are those unfortunate souls who happened to be marooned on an isolated island and forced to fend for themselves with every waking hour. That’s not a good way to live and it’s not attractive to people on or off that proverbial island.

In our opinion, the goal of permaculture or the organic food movement is to help build regenerative communities, economies, and ecologies, not to create social and economic isolation.

Just as plants thrive and are made resilient through interconnected, biodiverse ecosystems, so too are human beings and human communities. Friends, let’s aim for that target, and tailor our language accordingly.


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