The Self-Sufficiency Bible: From Window Boxes to Smallholdings – Hundreds of Ways to Become Self-Sufficient is a book full of ideas for projects to start the average person on their path to self-sufficiency.
In 2000, the author Simon Dawson and his wife, Debbie, gave their modern urban lives in London and moved to a twenty-acre farm. This book is the culmination of that journey from consumer to provider.
“Whatever your comfort level on the scale of self-sufficiency, be it a chilli plant on the kitchen windowsill and a little homebrew happening in the back room, or a full-on 8-hectare/20-acre smallholding with enough meat and vegetables to keep your whole family fed for a year, there are always moments when you can indulge in a little creativity. It might be making a candle or knitting a rug, carving a spoon or weaving a basket, but it will be homemade and that is what makes it special.”
The book starts with an overview of vegetable gardening. Siting the garden, preparing the soil, necessary tools for gardening, irrigation, preventing weeds, greenhouses, and how to make compost are covered. The author then lists easy veggies to grow and how to grow them and even includes recipes for those vegetables.
Subsequent chapters look at home baking, with an examination of nutrition and lots of recipes; home dairy, which starts with milk already in hand, not with how to milk, and lots of recipes for butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.; homemade beauty and health products; and reusing bits and scraps from other projects.
A home brewing chapter has a range of projects starting from brewing from kits and ending up with “bucket mixed leaves” and some other ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen right now to make beer from scratch. The chapter also includes wine, cider, mead, and natural soft drinks. I admit this chapter has inspired to look into home brewing a bit more. I might actually try it soon.
There’s more in the book: a very general chapter on livestock (bees, chickens, pigs, sheep and goats, cattle, and fishing), meat preparation and basic butchery, curing and preserving, foraging, and harnessing renewable energy. Most of the Self-Sufficiency Bible contains ideas to get you thinking about making changes toward self-sufficiency. The author adds more detail to some of the ideas and a few ideas have enough information that you could do these projects with just the information in the book.
The Self-Sufficiency Bible is available on Amazon for about $12. It’s also available on the Kindle for $8.99.