A little while ago, I decided that I needed to break out of "survival mode" with my life and set some goals for myself. I decided, arbitrarily, that my goal was to be "self-sufficient" in as far as what I put on my table. For me, "self-sufficient" means I will only have to go to the store for bought food once in a great while - I will still need (or want, really, because we could just eat taro) bread flour and yeast and apples and things that just don't grow well here at all - things we would still want to eat.
I mentioned my arbitrary goal to a co-worker, and he started questioning me,"Are you going to drive to work? That's still dependent on corn. It's a futile dream." It kind of made me think about what my definition of self-sufficiency is.
For me, it is not having to go to a grocery store but every three months or even less. It means at least 80% of the time knowing where my food came from. It means finding economical ways I can do it myself. Someday, I hope this will be a reality for my table. I am still going to have to buy a quarter of a cow once in awhile, because I would rather not use that much of my 7 acres for one animal, but I would like to buy that from a local rancher rather than from the store.
For the barn and garden, I want to continue to find ways to make my own potting soil and soil amendments, and to learn what will grow "up my house" to feed the chickens and sheep and to supplement the grass enough so that I can stop buying imported alfalfa for my horse.
What dreams or definitions do you have for self-sufficiency?