Working toward food self sufficiency

I wanted to get started on this topic. Food self Sufficiency. Is it even possible? I know that I have never made it happen despite some years of concerted effort. However the way of the world today requires making the effort to provide as much food from your own labor as you can. I won’t get into the present politics of the assault on the food supply by the people hoping for complete population control. Even if that was not in the mix, the foods you get are weak and contaminated. You can’t pull crops out of a field in Florida or California, stick it in a truck for days, park it at a distribution center before the super market and expect any vitality or life force to remain. So this thread is for us to share how we go about growing our own nutrition.
One has to admit things are a little shaky right now and it would be wise to have some reserves of food on hand. Personally, I buy produce year around and dehydrate it for storage. A good dehydrator is your best prep. Prices are unstable, but for some time I have been buying five pound bags of carrots for less that 4 dollars, 10 pound bags of potatoes for 5 to 6 bucks. Broccoli and cauliflower for less I can grow them. These is from places like Sam’s Club or Costco. I imagine Europeans have similar stores or all of us have farmers markets. So for all the non- growing months of the year I weekly or bi-weekly run a batch of these vegetables through the dehydrator, vacuum seal them and store them. Cheap insurance. During the harvest season the dehydrator runs pretty much full time for weeks on end. I know there are many brands of dehydrators. I have been using the same Excaliber brand for 13 years now, many thousands of hours without any issues. You may not want or need to spend that much money but it has been well worth it to me. But drying purchased fresh or frozen food and drying it is only a quick start that still suffers from the above mentioned issues. Canning is another food storage option which I use but which takes a lot of space. I can dry 10 pounds of carrots or potatoes for example and when done and vacuum sealed each will fit in two, one quarts sealer bags. They are then good for years of storage. Hundred of raw weight produce stored in each plastic five gallon bucket.


Tom, ten years ago I met Dutch John. He just moved from woodgas to a more basic way of living. He did that the same way as he builds his gasifiers. His food was based on permaculture principles. It worked really well but he still went to the supermarket once or twice a year. What I want to say, it is very difficult to cut yourself lose completely. Another thing is that everything has to be KISS as possible. Dehydration is better done by the sun? I know a few people that use this drying chambers and it works quite ok. No electricity needed … Hydroponics is a no go for that reason if shtf.

In the meantime I keep dreaming of living that way and just have to work clock round and get re-incarnated a few times to get morgage free. No problem, I like my work and I like my golden cage… Dutch John retired at the age of 48…choices, choices


Electricity and of course good company is the main reason I’m here Joep. I have no intention of living in the 1800’s like many do. I have so much time and thought into small food production that I could go on for hours and probably will but I’m really interested in how others approach the problem. I will mention that among other easily stored foods canned milk, and cheese are perhaps too often overlooked. Luckily, due to the web there are endless videos of all these procedures. It is a wonderful thing that the farmers in your country are standing up to the WEF and it’s absurd climate change agenda.


I am just starting, my focus right now is getting the equipment,


The Excalibur is one of the best dehydrators out there, I have dived deep into researching which dehydrator to get a couple of years ago and came to the decision that the Excalibur is the one.
Haven’t bought one yet though but that is more a money issue.

We are also trying to grow and raise our own food here and we put up a 240m2 (2500sq feet) tunnel greenhouse two years ago that I picked up for free some five years ago, only had to buy the plastic for it. We have chickens for eggs plus we are growing our own pastured meatchickens and bartering them for other meats, some smoked and other frozen. Jams and jellies and some drinks are homemade. We are diving into it more this season (and last one)because we cut down on our for sales production and focusing on streamlining the buisness and making more for ourselves.
So I can very much relate to this topic, thank you Tom for starting it.


I bought a freeze dryer , 25 years storage retains 97% of nutrients. The problem with store bought food is how it is raised, sprayed with glysophate(round up), or fed grains sprayed with it.


Hi JoepK. along the same time frame as your personal visit to D.J., he sent me a wonderful picture book about an old fellow still on his small plot still living a before tractors; before food stores, way in your country. “Het leven van Evert” (The Life of Evertt)
That old-man was one of the living examples D.J. then wanted to evolve down into.

How this relates TomH is foods “needs” simplification.
In the Netherlands as those two then were choosing, then no more imported in new world bananas. No more citrus fruits from the Mediterranean or South Africa.
Fruits to dry, or heat canning store only as they could on their properties grow. Using glassware for the dried down storage. No more plastics usages for them. So, no need then for mechanical refrigeration’s.
Chickens; yes. Dairy products only as could be daily on property be produced. Cheeses, yes. Knowing all dairy capable stock need six months wintering over support in grown, harvested stored feeds. More needed to plant, grow and harvest then. By hand.

I split the extremes wanting personal refrigeration and deep freezers foods storage. Be making electrical power for other base supply uses anyway, so why not.
Why not a electric needing vacuum assisted foods dryer.
'Cause you know she is going to insist on keeping an automatic clothes washer. Electrical driven.

My Nurse Wife has seen many people now reverse or put into arrest cancers and other chronic conditions by eating a cup a day of berries fruits. We both grew up on local heat process canned fruits. Cherries, prune-plumbs and pears. The berries were always made into highly sugared jams and spreadable preserves. Only consumed a spoonful at a time.

She in our busy, busy marriage, with her daily visiting nursing traveling around has evolved into Big-chain stores and specialty stores hopping to be able to bring home weekly fresh harvested blueberries, strawberries, red raspberries and blackberries. They are labeled as from Peru, Chile, Mexico and California. Planes, trains and long-haul trucks.
1/2 cup of these sliced up, a bit sugared for each of us daily. And she hovers over us insisting we eat these. That she works hard to buy them. Then hand select, and lovingly-hand prepare them. And we WILL now eat them.
All of these we can grow here seasonally. Are the easiest to spread out and pan freeze then either plastic freezer bag, or glass jar fill for deep freezer storage. No sugar needed. No actual need for the plastics either.

I’m with you. I want more food diversity and variety then the old thru 19th century ways. Very limited variety in foods choices is current for a percentage in the world still.

And I’ll say first and foremost: chickens, chickens, chickens. Gives back four ways. Eggs. Meat. Feathers. And shits and carcasses soils enrichments. They take very little in winter overing supplemental feeding. They are naturally omnivorous. Will flock for multiples of reproduction.

So JoepK., you or anyone seriously doing chickens for one of your foods mainstays are 30% there.
Or ducks.
Or geese.
Or Guinea fowl.
The self-foragers.
Steve unruh


Tom, I’ve always considered our family far from self suffiicient, but since you mention the subject I started to scrutinize our habits. Here are some guesstimated numbers, starting with the things with our highest percentage of self sufficiency.

Electricity: 400%
Only for the past year - with solar

Berries and mushroom: 300%
Excess is either gifted to our still apartment living children or sometimes traded for moose, deer or fowl.

House heating and hot water: 100%
Firewood has always been part of our daily routine. Hydronic solar covers 90% of the summer months needs.

Motor fuel: 70%
Almost 7 years now, thanks to Wayne, Chris and the rest of the community.
Wife’s still running dino and so are some of my equipment, which explains the mediocre number :smile:

Potatoes: 60%
This is our bulk food. Our root cellar keeps them in ok shape until Jan-Feb.

Fish: 5%
Occational recreational fishing.

Fruit: 5%
Apples and plums.

In the past when our children were still living with us we used to have a greenhouse and grew all sorts off weggies, even melons and grapes, but we lost interest over time. I still grow some peas, more or less just for snacks and fun, but that’s about it.


Well this paycheck went towards a knock off kitchen aid mixer stand / food processor with all the attachments and I bought a small slow cooker.

Next items on the list

Presure canning system. Figured if I get the presure canner I can get a bath kit and the pot can double as bath canner.

Canning Jars (That will be an ongoing purchase)
Cast Iron Pots / Pan set
Delux Baking Pan set
Mr Destiller (for water perification of coarse :wink: )
Cheese Making Stuff ( strainers basically)
All new Utensils etc.

Im sure Ill be adding more as I knock this list off.

I also buy on a regular basis: pre sealed flour, bulk spice assortments, bulk sugar, general purpose soaps, advil ( yeah lots of Advil LOL) banking soda etc.

Looking forward to learning more from you all. The more I get into this the more I realize how very little I know about this. If SHTF I am not prepared you can only store so much pre made foods. Learning to grow and preserve food for the long haul; I think is a skill we are all going to need here soon. If not well this is all stuff we should know anyways. My parrents this was common knowlege not so much for my generation.


I’m liking the looks of that Suteck alcohol still. Can hardly believe the price. I know you didn’t mention it but I saw it when I looked up Mr Destiller.


Haha, my Polski friend sold that on our national marketplace. Imported from Poland. After a few weeks he got a phone call from the police and they asked him kindly to remove the add, if not, they would fine him. Tickets arent cheap. No idea why and how because every one is making home brew beer.

And Tom, about our farmers. I think there is a wrong view about them. On paper they are the richest people, in real life the hardly have anything to spent. Why? To much subsidy, if yu take that money you have to listen what is told. The last year was a chance to change some. They are standing in a corner where the blows/ knocks are big. Just the other week there were elections, the new farmerparty was a big hit and blew the establisment away. So it seems, but if you follow the money, it appears the brand new party is financed by agri banks, big cattle foodfactory and supermarkets…… farmers are happy now, flags are mounted normal, not upside down anymore…. We will see what future brings, more of the same for sure, probably wurse. In my opinion the only way for farmers to get out of that corner is going bio and without subsidy. If you see the fields totally brown and dead because the are sprayed with roundup, where is the connection with nature? Let go of the idea to maximize your production but close the circle instead. Remember the meat example? Soya from South America and we export a lot of meat. Where stays the shit? So we really have a N2 problem overhere, the most people dont want to admit. Lot of not farmer voted for the BBB ( farmer party), but if there was chosen to close a few airports for N2 compensation they would have never won. No more hollidays to Thailand, Indonesia or city trips to the other side of Europe for €25. No the N2 produced by airplanes is not falling on the ground, it is blown away?!? People really believe this. Anyways, in short, agrisector has to change and that hurts. But maybe they have the chance to start growing real food again, not the plastics of today.
And if you dont want that this affects you, you have to start your vegtable garden. We tried, and do every year, but it takes to much time. Easier to work an hour extra and run to the supermarket. The things we did are based on permaculture principles, so we can start again. I really like that, it is kind of Garden of Eden idea but for real.

And yes chicken or ducks belong there too. Chicken is my favourite.
Mr Steve, do you mean The Good Life from Helen and Scott Nearing. They were USA, very inspiring and DJ took that as his Bible. Me, I was halfway the book and realized this was hppenening 100 years ago. I recommended it to Kristijan once. I think he didnt read it because the Scotts are veggies😃.

Anyways Tom, you will never get lose from the system, but the idea you are controlling some gives good energy.


Of course we never get the real picture here Joep. Even the Alt media seldom takes the time to dig into the real story. What you report makes sense in it’s own twisted way. Somehow, many Americans, me included, have the idea that Europeans, with their longer history, still maintain more of the fundamental values as far as agriculture go.
The main reason I wanted to discuss these things here is that your statement about working an extra hour and running to the supermarket can no longer be a reliable path of action. If someone else controls your water and your food then you are no better off than the cattle on the feed lot. But there is the misconception that the average person, even the suburbanite, cannot make substantial in-roads into greater self sufficiency. I once believed the same but much effort and study has proven to me that those beliefs were wrong. I am sure there are many gardeners and growers among the folks on this site that are far more adept at growing than I am and I am happy about that. It’s a chance to learn from actual doers rather than big talkers. Thousands of them on various homestead sites around the world.


Hi JoepK. I do not currently have a copy of Helen and Scott Nearings book. I have had. Read more than once. Gifted away. Not my climate. Not my soil types. But especially not my chosen ethic. I/we have shelves and shelves of others:

It would be impossible for me to select down to just one.
The ONE I do use for inspiration as many use the Nearings book is H.B. Kaines, “Five Acres and Independece”. 1940’s old, eye’ya.
He used electricity for lighting, water pumping and refrigeration. He’d operated farms using the small stationary IC engines for multiplication of man-hours. He, old then; horses and mules for the first 50 years of his life gladly did use the then in-service rubber wheeled small tractors.
His five acres then downsized developed for personal/family Independence meant something very high value grown, harvested, or craft-made that could generate the money to pay taxes, and buy-out reasonable’s. To him back then USA/Canada it was much more reasonable to buy out a small farms used gasoline and tractor-fuel (a gasoline & kerosene waste product derivate). He could see only the feed growing usefulness in a cart goat. A guardian dog to protect the chickens, ducks and that one goat, 1-2 sheep. Not breeding numbers of these. But bartered for Spring birthed out extras by someone else.

Survivalist and now Preppers put too much efforts into stocking up and preserving. Not enough in when-this-goes-on year after year, and even generational. food growing. Packs of seeds don’t come with having done it experiences.
New-Agers (regardless of their decade) for their self-imposed moral/ethical reasons aways seem to be willing to handicap themselves NOT acknowledging let alone using the surrounding current lay-abouts. Millions and 100’s of millions of small internal combustion engines already here USA and Canada. Nothing new needed.
“Closing the Loop” is developing the your-use fuel for the man-hours multiply-results using what can be grown/generated on your multi-use ONLY five acres.
And I’ll say that only a one acre woodlot can do this. Plus heat your home. Pump and heat your water. Provide dark-of-winter electric lighting.
Heavy PV invested folks can disagree with this. True Freedom is allowing others the Independance to make their own mistakes. Batteries heartaches.

On Topic: for northern latitudes and other areas you will need to have grow lighted and heated greenhouses for winter good nutrient fresh greens. Wood-for-power.
TomH., you had it right all along.
Steve Unruh


First of all, It is just my opinion. My father and I totally disagree on this subject. We will see… And remember we have Wageningen universaty, slowly the accent is turning from maximun to quality. But that will take another generation of farmers to practice new ideas and then teach those.

We lived from our garden one year. My wife had the time, I build the raised beds. A year of superfood and dito experience, but man, it takes a lot of time. The same with wood, it is the freedom fuel. But it isnt free😃. But garden and wood both make you free and keep you busy.


Haha, yes I can understand. Veggie and raw food. But that saves a lot of cooking time. Nevertheless a very inspiring book.

This one from Mark Sheppard is too. His chapter about pesticedes really sticks. From that moment we dont use any, and exactly nothing. No mather how high the weed is.

And for the guys in the south, weekend has started.

In theory I should be a veggie. If you cant prepare your own, you are not allowed to eat it. But man, this is tasty :grinning:


I get a kick out of this guy but he has some good thoughts on food supply.


Don, l like his mentality. “You dont have to be self sufficiant in everything, but you can be self sufficiant in something”.

This is a topic wery dear to me. Most of my time is still devoted to it, connected to food production in one or the other way. Even my charcoal buisness was born out of nessesity to clear the land of young growth to produce farmable land.

Its fun working on an abandoned farm. A few days ago l noticed there might had ben a small feald (it seems) just naybee 50m away from our house. Completely hiden from sight, overgrown with blackberry and alder. Jungle, unpenetrable. Hidden in plain sight. One day of work and it went from jungle to potatoes planted.

For clarification, we do live on a mountain and level ground is a rare comodity. Hence the excitement of such a find.


Ok l “bragged” a bit, now lets talk food self sufficiancy :smile:

There is one real good news. In my opinion, preety much everyone with at least some even remotely farmable land can be food self sufficiant. And with minimal work involvement. Example. Plant half a feald with potatoes and half with beans. You got your energy and protein sorted out. After the harvest, in August, you throw a few fistfulls of turnip and rutabaga seeds over the harvested feald. Thats your veggies, can be harvested and stored in a root cellar, or preserved for years by fermenting. Even if left in the feald over winter, the crop does well even quite deep in freezeing temps.

A surprising amount of different dishes can be produced just with those 4 ingridients and you will “thrive” on them for years probably, just following this planting pattern. But will you be happy long term, eating the same (even thow well ballanced) diet every day? Probably not. But what l wanted to show is a baseline. In the recent year l met people that gave me a new perspective on life and its needs. Guess what. The basic needs of a human body arent realy that high… we are just spoiled.

And l, my self, choose to be spoiled for as long as possible :smile: but then things get complicated…

Working on the example from above. We expand our veggie pallet a bit, thats ok. Some cabbage, tomato… onions make every dish better right? We may want some grains. Corn is the best option, as it also doesent require procesing. Then we step on the more difficult territory. True grains. I have had grain wheat last year for the first time. Lets just say l praise the dayly bread a lot more now.

Only now we start to enter the real challange of food self sufficiancy. The animals! Chickhens? Hmm. They seem ideal on paper. Untill you realise how much food they actualy need. Yes, they forage. But lets be real, thats probably less thain 50% of its diet, max. If not provided with good calory and protein dense food, they stop laying and you achived nothing. Thats not a problem if you got a feed store 2 miles down the road, but is that realy self sufficiancy?
In a real life scenario, where survival is at stake, and you alond are responsible for your food productiin you got an option of either feeding a hens dayly grain dose of say 150g to your hen, and maybe you get one egg out of that. Or eat the grain your self, and you get a hefty loaf of bread from that grain portion…

So. In my opinion, the only real self sufficiant, SHTF animal options are the animals that can eat the food we cant. Rabbits and goats are on the top of my list here, althugh not without their own problems. But thats a topic for a nother day.


Great information and thoughts Kristijan.
Again some real Depends, Depends, Depends.
Traditionally our Families had cows and chickens. Seasonally spring weaner pigs.
Never goats. Never sheep. Only once my father did rabbits.

A lot of us live in regions with lot and lots of bugs. Plant eating bugs. Wood eating bugs. Bllod sucking bugs. And bug eating bugs.
And here for us lots and lots of plants destructive slugs.
Rabbits and goats (or sheep) help none with any of these.
We’ve had Muscovy ducks for the slugs. No noisy quacking with Muscovy’s. Obtained solely to clean out the garden destroying slugs. They DID!! Very little supplemental feed needed in the dead of winter. Grat self-breeder replicators. Great eggs layers. Much easier to carcass clean and prep that chickens. None here liked their darker oily meat.
Some here have done domestic geese for the bugs and slugs reduction too. Works also. Little wintering over feed needed. Eggs some yes. Not reliably. And noisy. Aggressive with children. Thier meat, less strange new taste than duck is a developed taste too. Nothing really tastes like chicken, but chicken.

We had one road-side dumped off Guinne Fowl for two years. Noticeably less of any ground crawler bugs. Extremely noisy. I liked it. Others: not so much. Two years lonely third Spring he became aggressive with the chicken hens. That’s a top three, Steve-gene de-selection in a chicken rooster.
Here at this North place far too many settled-in bugs of all types.
I advocate with my SWMBO for trying Guinee fowl next.
Dead-enders now I would like their screeching loud awareness alerting activity. Eggs? Meat? Unreliable information. Wintering over feed . . .he ate less than any chicken except the bantees.
I’ll lose. We will be bringing up our now 90% self-sufficient bantees chickens. Not the full sized. The bantees rarely if ever get coyote caught. Up here I can go back to shotgunning the winged predators. Shoot. Shovel, bury the evidence. And then Shut up about it. :zipper_mouth_face: SSS

Miniature pigs; and you are now the experienced, Krisitjan. Do they eat bugs too?? :thinking:
Steve unruh


Indeed. It depends. Those are the litle things that can make a huge difference. Bugs are not something we need to worry about. In your case, its a different story then.

I have had similar experiances with fowl as you Mr Steve. Let me just add turkeys to the list, some of my favourite animals and l dont know why. The hens are somewhat gracefull on caracter…

Minipigs will eat everything. I have often seen them smell, then digg out a grub several inches in tge soil.
Since on the topic, minipigs are great and can be 90% self raised but do require a lot of land to forage… acres.

Edit; l have been aproached by the chief hunter of the region and he asked me to pen my pigs because of some stupid disease that isnt even present in our country. Now l need to prepare them the food and most of their advantiges went away… proof that its the small details that play a key role in this topic sometines…