Viable self-sufficiency

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Posted Feb 7 2016 by John Harrison of Allotment & Gardens
viable-self-sufficiency

Back 40 years ago in 1976, John Seymour’s most famous work –The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency – was published. It was billed as for dreamers and realists which was pretty accurate.

I think it’s hard for those who weren’t there at the time to understand the impact it had. Anyone who read it then came away with the feeling that they could escape the system and live off the land. Not just could but should, it was that inspirational.

What we’ve not seen for many years is an up-to-date self-sufficiency manual. The sort of book that not only inspires but also remains on the shelf as an authoritative reference.

The couple behind Home Farmer magazine, one of the last few independents in the magazine market have taken on the task of publishing an up-to-date, practical manual showing how to live off the land.

The authors, Tim & Dot Tyne, live on a smallholding in North Wales and are both respected writers. They have the in-depth knowledge, extensive experience and the ability to explain clearly that are required for a book like this.

Well, many books have been published over the last decade with the term ‘self-sufficiency’ slipped into the title, often with the implication that all it takes is keeping a few chickens, making jam and installing a couple of solar panels. This rose-tinted view, often based on the unrealistic ‒ at least for most of us ‒ business plan of selling off your London pad or winning the lottery in order to drop out and do your thing, misses much of the day to day reality of such a venture. Dot and Tim’s highly personal account of self-sufficiency acknowledges the sacrifices that must be made in order to achieve such a goal, while simultaneously celebrating the immense benefits gained in the trade-off. Rest assured, their version of the ‘good life’ comes complete with muck-encrusted wellies, very long hours, and hands that have clearly been anything but workshy.

Tim and Dot firmly believe that smallholding should be regarded as a genuine career option, and one to be entered into at any age, not just as an option for downsizing in later life. Having done this themselves, straight after leaving university, they know full well that it is achievable, and how to succeed. Throughout the book they keep it real, walking a fine tightrope between the realistic and the inspirational.

This is the book that tells how it really is and how to do it. Inspirational, yes but also a real reference work.

All well and good except that publishing a work like this is an expensive business. Unlike the multi-national corporations who are increasingly dominating the book world, Home Farmer doesn’t have pots of money and they stick to their principles.

For a start, they don’t believe that it fits their ethos to have this book printed in the Far East or China and shipped half way around the world – even if it’s cheaper. So the book is being printed in Scotland by the only printer left in the UK who can handle it.

I think this book is needed and valuable to our knowledge base. As a published author myself, it’s a book I would love to have written if I’d had the knowledge and experience. I’m really looking forward to reading it though.

What they need is your support and I’m asking you to join me in backing this project.

Here’s a lot more detailed information, and how you can help.

Here’s a 24-page extract.