Self-sustainability is becoming quite a big theme in my life at the moment. As I learn more about it I discover that there are small communities all around the world that are living ‘off the grid’ and grow their own food in a variety of methods conducive to the health and the longevity of the land and surrounding environment. These communities manage to meet the majority of their needs from the land they live and as a result they develop a much greater connectedness with nature and their food. I have come to learn that the ‘industrialisation’ of food and the convenience presented by grocery stores has contributed to our feelings of disconnection from each other and the environment.
Some of the communities that I have read about sell their excess produce to make an income that allows them maintain their self-sufficiency, others make products from organic materials, or provide education and training to other people exploring the alternatives to today’s social norms. A couple of the places don’t make/have any money at all. One guy in particular gave up money entirely, lives in a caravan on solar power and grows/forages for his food. Check out the video below from TED…
The more I look into these ‘intentional’ communities I discover that more and more people are opting out of their hectic, busy, cyclic city lives in favour of a return to nature, a return to source. And I can certainly appreciate the benefits of doing so! Just imagine if everything you ate was grown by your own hand, free from harmful contaminants, you knew it was fresh, it didn’t have the ridiculous amounts of additives that you need a degree in chemistry to read. Imagine that the transportation of your food from the ground to your mouth didn’t require being hauled by boat, or truck halfway around the world from a huge production line. If you didn’t eat anything that you couldn’t grow/raise then how could you possibly be unhealthy? It is continuously being proven that most of today’s biggest health concerns are a result of the combination of various chemicals in factories, packaged and marketed as food. It goes right back to one of the biggest benefits of eating Paleo.
I have heard about an organisation called WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, that provides a link between volunteers and organic farms and above-mentioned communities all around the world. Basically, you go and work on their farm in return for board and food. I think it would be a fantastic way to learn more about organic farming and to meet some amazing people who are at the forefront of this growing movement. Come August I will be heading off from where I am now in a truly minimalist way, carrying just a backpack with the necessities and generally heading north. I think that WWOOFing is the way to go!