Until 5 years ago I worked in the high tech industry, but moved on to a small 5 acre farm with the goal of creating the self-sustainability you describe. At the time the primarily reason was a lack of faith in retirement planning based on financial investments alone.
I am now 55 and have learned, believe me the hard way, how to grow and preserve crops to provide maybe 25% of my needs on an annual basis. What I am interested in exploring is if I should start to specialize in a few crops and use the surplus to barter for with others, or to try and "do it all". For example I keep no livestock, so do I move in that direction or barter my veggies for eggs & milk, etc.
Looking forward to this series.
Congrats on an astute analysis of the perils of relying on money alone, and taking steps. That takes some courage to go against the conventional wisdom.
You and I are of an age, so you may remember the great underground comic by R. Crumb called The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers; to paraphrase Free-Wheelin' Franklin Freak, "food will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no food". (It's paraphrased because Franklin was referring to a certain combustible herb, but the principle applies.)
You raise a very good point about 'doing it all' versus specializing and trading. You will note in the original article I included your network of friends and neighbours as an important tool for survival.
I think we will have a better shot if we create or re-create our communities by seeking out like-minded people and planning and acquiring resources together e.g. do half a dozen small farms located reasonably close together ALL need a tractor? Or a root cellar; or any other relatively big-ticket item that might be shared. That goes for skills, and food, and other stuff. If I can trade a couple sides of pork for a quarter of beef, probably both parties benefit. And if one farm has a good set up for processing chickens, maybe we have a few group 'chicken-plucking days' to take care of everyone's flocks. We might also be each others 'first line of retreat' if/when needed
Of course this works best if the relationships are established before TSHTF.
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