Looking to the way of our ancestors and predecessors lays the foundation for confidence in providing for ourselves and our families. There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of knowing that even when the world is crazy and nothing seems sure, you can go outside and watch your beautiful fruits and veggies rise from the ground, ready to aid you in sustaining life. 

1. Understand that there will be trial and error. Enjoy the learning process and skills you gain. Focus on the benefit this will bring to you and your family for generations to come. 

2. Research! Learn about the best methods for you, whether you want your own garden, chickens or goats. The possibilities are endless with self-sustainability. The sooner you begin researching, the better. Decide on one specific topic to start, and get as deep into the information as you would like, then move onto the next topic. 

3. Stay creative and simplify. With there being so many options, you want to avoid information overload. Just try it and see if it works. The more you simplify the methods you use, the better. 

4. Spend time in meditation thinking about your ancestors and the way that they lived. Put yourself in their village or community, imagining the smells, tastes and sounds. What would their life have been like? What kind of food were they eating? What were the benefits to them of sustaining the life of their community without any outside help? 

5. Reach out to families, friends, or communities that have grown their own gardens or taken care of livestock. Tap into the creativity of others and ask them for advice on specific questions you may have. There are many online forums dedicated to farm-type life, and on almost any topic you may want to explore more fully. (SEE LINKS BELOW) 

6. Draw out a plan. After you are content with research, and ready to begin your projects, plan it out. Whether this be a blueprint for where to put your new vegetables, or a brainstorming list on what projects you would like to begin, get it down on paper so that you can organize the execution without burning yourself out. 

7. Decide which materials, objects, seeds, etc., you will need for your projects. You can find things around your house to repurpose, such as egg cartons to start seedlings or saving the toilet paper cardboard rolls that can be used to fill with potting soil and seeds.  Just plant in the ground after they sprout. 

8. Budget. Create a budget that works for you and calculate what you can save by moving towards sustaining yourself. You can use what you save to place in savings for future projects, or put it towards whatever you find valuable. One thing to be aware of, is that self-sustainability is not always cheaper than going to the store. Sometimes things will be more expensive than you originally thought. However, you may be able to find free soil and upcycled items on your local marketplace. Just stay conscious of this and do what is best for your family. 

9. Don’t be too hard on yourself and if one thing does not work, try something else. I can promise you that anyone that has worked on projects, has failed. Failure will teach you more than your success. 

10. If you don’t have the time, space or energy to sustain yourself, there are many options for supporting local farmers, butchers, and lowering your risk of supply chain disruption. The shorter the supply chain, the less risk of it being broken. Whether you are connecting with your local farmer, visiting a farmers market, or buying a share in community shared agriculture, any will bring you higher quality food and circulate abundance among families instead of furthering the riches of corporations. 

May your journey be blessed and may the fruits of your labor be bountiful and fulfilling. 

Ainsley

Resources: 

https://www.gardenary.com/#/ – Great resource to help you get started with your first garden, resources, and goal setting. 

https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/home-gardening-guide-for-your-family/ – Guides on how to grow various vegetables

https://www.thespruce.com/first-and-last-frost-date-2539701 – Learn the first and last frost date in your zone so you know when to plant seeds

Explore Indigenous Regenerative Agriculture Practices
Blanching tomatoes for water-bath canning