26 Ways to be More Sustainable & Self Reliant

By The Petite Plantation - April 03, 2019

Ways to be more sustainable & self reliant!
Our family is always looking for ways to become more self reliant, responsible with our footprint and of course, save ourselves money so we can spend more time together on our tiny farm! Doing it yourself, making it yourself and putting in the extra work to be more self reliant saves us a ton of money so we don't have to work as much off the tiny farm, gives us valuable skills, and teaches our children how to do the same.

Below is a list of ways to be more sustainable and self reliant. Now, I'm not saying you have to do all these things, but starting somewhere is better than relying on grocery stores to feed us, power plants to light up our home and expensive services to repair things that we are capable of ourselves!

Cook your own food at home!

For some, cooking ALL your own meals at home can be a challenge especially if you are working and living in the city where convenience foods are everywhere but if you are able to cook all your own food at home rather than relying on these convenience foods, you will have more control over your food security. And you can also save yourself hundreds of dollars!

If you need inspiration, our Recipe Box is full of our homemade recipes made with real farm food ingredients.

Bake your own bread!

This was this first step we took to become more self reliant and now, we would never eat store bought bread because homemade bread tastes so much better and saves us hundreds of dollars each year. We started with this Easy Bread Recipe but now we love our Sourdough Bread Recipe because it's easy on the belly and we can grow our own wild yeast or Sourdough Starter.

Learn to grow your own food!

Anyone can start growing at least some of their own food no matter where they live. Apartment dwellers can start in pots, you can borrow someone's else yard, or rent a community garden plot. The more you are able to grow for yourself, the less you will need to rely on the grocery store. Here is a list of 6 vegetables that are easy to grow for the beginner gardener!

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Start a compost pile!

If you want to grow big beautiful and juicy vegetables, you will need to feed them to ensure they have the nutrients to do so but relying on the garden centre and buying fertilizer or manure can be expensive so why not grow your own compost pile for yard and food waste!

Eat seasonally!

Basically, eating seasonally means you are eating what is freshly harvested in your area, or your own garden. If you can learn to meal plan and eat only seasonal vegetables you will be less reliant on your grocery store to bring in off season vegetables or fruit, and you could even grow all your own food. 

For example, broccoli, cauliflower, swiss chard, spinach, brussels sprouts are all cold season vegetables that can be over wintered or harvested throughout the winter season so these are the vegetables you should be growing for and eating this winter!

Ways to be more sustainable & self reliant | Grow your own food!

Eat what you have available to you!

If you have a pantry full of food but you want Chicken Taquitos instead, although they are delicious, you should probably skip the trip to the store to get what you need to make the taquitos and eat what you have in your pantry. Relying on the grocery store to always be there to fill these quick impulse needs with cripple your self reliance.

Plant an orchard!

This may require you to have land to plant trees but if you can swing it, planting an orchard of fruit bearing trees is an amazing and abundant way to be more self sustainable and self reliant! Depending on your plant hardiness zone, you could grow hundreds of pounds of fresh fruit from your property to help you eat seasonally. Many of these fruits could also be preserved to fill your pantry!

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Grow perennial foods!

This is similar to growing an orchard of fruit bearing trees but depending on your zone, there are other perennial foods you could grow like raspberries, blueberries, asparagus, rhubarb and even horseradish! First you will need to check you Canadian Plant Hardiness or USDA Hardiness Map to learn what zone you are in so you will know what plants grow best in your area.

Forage for wild foods..

..because it is incredibly fun to get back to our roots and harvest wild foods in our own back yards rather than relying on the grocery store all. the. time. If you are new to foraging, be careful of what you are harvesting and find more information on what is safe to ingest. Look around on the internet to find local handbooks or guides that are specific to your area. We have harvested enough wild raspberries before to make a batch of raspberry jam!

Learn to fish or hunt!

Getting your fishing or hunting license is a rewarding way to become more sustainable and self reliant and it also creates a fun hobby, pastime, and even memories, with the right people, and you can fill your freezer with organic wild game!

Learn to preserve your food!

Again, the less you have to rely on the grocery store or super market, the more prepared and self reliant you can become. If you are growing an abundance of your own food, preserving it before it spoils ensure you can keep enjoying it. Canning, preserving, dehydrating and even freezing are all great ways to preserve your food!

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Dry your own herbs and spices!

If you are already growing your own food, consider adding some herbs in your garden because they are great for pollinators, can repel unwanted pests in the garden and can be harvested and dried to use in cooking. Just another item you can grow yourself!

Invest in the right kitchen tools!

When you are trying to be as self reliant as you can, you are taking a lot of time to do things you otherwise wouldn't have to do. Peeling hundreds of apples, mashing strawberries, grinding up pork or beef for the freezer rather than buying these finished goods at the grocery store takes so. much. time.

By investing in the right kitchen tools you are able to get more of these things done! Immersion blenders, meat grinders, apple peeler and corers are just a few gadgets you will want in the kitchen when growing and preserving your own food but you will quickly discover more as you go! Invest in the right tools, they are worth it!

Make your own household cleaners!

Making your own cleaners is really easy and another way to be more sustainable and self reliant! It's also better for your health to reduce the toxins and dangerous chemicals in your home. In this post, I have a great DIY All Purpose Cleaner we love and use everywhere in our home!

Care for backyard chickens

Caring for a backyard flock will give you fresh eggs daily but you could also have more chickens than what you need to sell, trade, or barter the eggs for other things you need around the homestead or to pay for your chicken feed.

Raise backyard livestock

They say that chickens are the gateway animal to more farm animals like rabbits, ducks, pigs, turkey, lamb and even a cow. Raising your own livestock to fill your freezer is a great way to be more self reliant. If you are new to raising livestock start with a small animal like chickens or rabbits!

Find your people to barter or trade

Seeking out neighbours and making friends with other homesteaders in the community is essential to becoming more sustainable. Other homesteaders may be growing different produce or raising different livestock than you and may want to barter or trade. It is difficult for one homestead to do it all so if you can find your people, you won't have too. Many homesteaders welcome trading or bartering and you probably have a Facebook Group for your specific area!

Learn basic carpenter skills

YouTube has a wealth of information for the beginner carpenter or handyman so you don't have to find someone else to fix your toilet, repair your roof, or change the oil in your vehicle. Gathering these skills as you need them is a great way to be more self reliant and can save you thousands of dollars over the years. We started with spark plugs!

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Make your own personal care or beauty products

As a woman, this can save you a lot of money but it's also better for your body! Reducing the amount of toxins and dangerous chemicals that are absorbed into your skin can help reduce the toxin load on your liver and improve your health! I make all our own personal care products and have an eBook in our market that gives you all the recipes you need to make all your own beauty products. If you are interested in the ebook and want to save 25% on it, subscribe to our email list and you'll be sent a coupon code!

Lessen your power consumption

Learning to live in a way where you use less power when connected to the grid will allow you to be more self reliant if you are a doomsday preparer or not. In my experience, using less power means a smaller power bill and less hours we have to work away from the home.

Invest in solar energy

This is another one where it kind of depends where you live but even if you were to pick up a portable solar charger for your cell phone, you would be more self reliant and have a lesser power bill. We love our small solar system and the freedom from the grid it provides. Here we shared how to estimate how much solar power we needed. But having solar power isn't just to lower the power bill, it also ensures you will always have power even when the neighbours don't.

Do your own car maintenance

Learning how to change your spark plugs, oil, brake pads and perform basic car maintenance are great ways to become more self reliant. Most vehicles come with a manual that will help you perform these tasks and will let you know when they should be done but if you don't have your manual, YouTube has lots of videos to guide you through it. Just be sure to check the warranty on your vehicle to ensure it won't be invalid for doing it yourself.

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Harvest rainwater

If your town or county permits, harvesting rainwater to water you gardens is a great way to be more eco friendly and sustainable.

Use wood heat!

Having access to a wooded lot and a wood stove is one of the most sustainable ways to heat your home. So if you have a choice when building your homestead, go for wood heat!

Save seeds!

Not only is seed saving a really fun and rewarding past time, it can save you more money when spring rolls around and you already have the seeds you need for the upcoming gardening season.

Find ways to work from home

There are all kinds of claims out there to work from home but I really only know of the ways that I have been able to work from home with our Market, this blog and with the natural wellness opportunity. If you have a skill or hobby you can earn an income from home with, go for it and be more self reliant!

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