The Myth of ‘Fully Self-Sufficient’

Many times I’ve heard people claim to want to be fully self-sufficient. With a dreamy look in the eye, they think how peaceful it would be, how simple life would be growing all your own food and living ‘off the land’.

Quite frankly, I think these people are mental. They don’t realise how much hard work, skill and organisation growing all your own food takes.

Toby Hemenway, American permaculture expert and author of the excellent Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, seems to agree and explains the myth and reality much better than I would.

I don’t think this mindset is reserved for permaculturalists and idealists. I see it in those entrepreneurial types who’ve battled through and made ‘their own way’, doing it ‘all by themselves’. They generally think everyone else should have to too. It’s incredibly myopic thinking. Usually said with a sense of pride, it simply shows that they’ve forgotten, or disregarded, all those who’ve helped them over the years. Getting things achieved, you simply can’t do everything yourself. Living is not done solo.

Thanks to Ours Not Mine for the heads up.



  1. well said… we certainly do need to take note and remember this … the amount of advice that people must plunder to set themselves up alone.
    Great to find your site Anna… must read more!