For years I have watched the self-sufficiency movement with great interest and much yearning. The idea of self-sufficiency appeals greatly to me, it speaks to me emotively, intuitively and intellectually, and I have followed it enthusiastically through every kind of book imaginable, from John Seymour’s self-sufficiency books, to Jean Auel’s The Valley of the Horses (note how self-sufficient is the female protagonist in that one!) to the more recent Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Ever since I was a child I have dreamed of being self sufficient, yet I acknowledge that true self-sufficiency is something that very few people – and certainly not me – can ever attain.

But we can dream, and we can do what we can. And doing ‘what I can’ is my goal for 2010.

Firstly, simply, my mission. In 2010 I will be:

– 100% self-sufficient in herbs and vegetables. I will buy nothing in.

– 30% self sufficient in fruits. My fruit trees and bushes are still only very young and they can’t support me yet. What I do buy in I will buy as locally as I can (being also a firm believer in the locavore movement);

– 100% self-sufficient in all my sauces and jams and marmalades and whatever condiment I use. I will buy nothing in. I will make it all. (Easily attainable as I love preserving.)

Phew! It is a little scary but it wouldn’t be a challenge if it didn’t have a little of the scare factor. Already I am panicking over the number of onions I can grow. But I will do it. Come hell and high water and many onionless weeks, I will do it.

I am started already, of course. I have in my winter crops of onions and garlic and shallots which will feed me next year (yes, I am still panicking over the number of onions). I have put into place seven new raised beds and am filling them now. I have ordered new fruit trees (figs and quinces … for the 2015 challenge!!).

Why all this gardening, and preserving, and mumbo-jumbo about self-sufficiency?

Update on the Self-Sufficiency Project for 2010

The Self-Sufficiency Experiment: A Report