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Old 04/14/11, 12:49 PM
DKWunlimited's Avatar
A year full of blessings
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: My cozy cottage, Oklahoma
Posts: 971
Total sustainability?

Okay, working on a hypothisis that start up money is no problem, create a totally self sufficient homestead with sustainability in mind... NOTHING leaves the home stead to a land fill so anything purchased must have a reusable option.. such as if you buy any canned or jarred food, you must have a use for the can or jars when empty... building house with gray water tank to use for watering garden? only toilets empty to the septic tank? incenerator furnace to burn trash to help heat? leftover food goes to pigs?

What would you do? I've given my kids the same challenge to see what they can come up with.

ETA... justify purchases.. such as HOW will you reuse the cans or jars.

Last edited by DKWunlimited; 04/14/11 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 04/14/11, 01:08 PM
Farmer Jane
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Willamette Valley Oregon
Posts: 375
It would be just short of writing a book to get a real in-depth answer.

Jars is an easy one; I reuse jars a thousand times refilling with milk, stew, soup, canning, etc.
Water is pretty easy too, at least here because there's so much rain a person could collect and use water without paying for it if it were legal.

You'd basically just do away with plastics, which would be healthier anyways. If a person was really self sufficient they might have some sort of kiln to make their own pottery; plates, cups, etc for when some break. I have so much clay in my ground I could be eating on new plates everyday if I knew how to make them.

To be really self sufficient a person would have to raise their own flour. Salt is probably about the only thing a person couldn't do without buying.

I've seen Discovery channel episode that showed how to make paper from elephant poo though I doubt anyone has elephants on their farm I think the same theory could be applied to cows or horses.

A couple dairy goats and chickens would suit dairy, eggs and meat categories. Or add a couple of geese to that mix and make your own pillows, blankets, etc from the down. An alpaca would make good spinning material and no worries about allergies.

If you had enough room you could grow all the firewood you'd need for cooking/heating/smoking. Smoking would be an easy cure for meats since you wouldn't want electricity. A deep root cellar or spring house if you had one would be your fridge.

The only real money would go into finding the property, equipment and the animals to start the endeavor.

That's just a start. But I love daydreaming about living off the grid so I bet that won't be the last I think of the question.
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Old 04/14/11, 01:16 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 17,225
If you need to use outside money after the initial investment it is not really sustainable. Instead of getting hung up on minutia I think it is much better to think about the economic aspect. To me, being sustainable doesn't mean that there is no outside inputs, but that outputs equal or exceed inputs. There will be things you need to buy that you cannot produce therefor you need to sell or barter items to obtain them. If you are buying food in cans you need to justify the purchase with outside sales. Cans and bottles can be recycled so I don't seed a difference in recycling cans through sending them to a recycle center, and recycling food by putting it through a pig.
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Old 04/14/11, 06:03 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: WC FL
Posts: 215
I have been working on this for about 2 years. It is my ideas for if the world as we know was to end, how could a collections of friends & family (and some of their friends & family) could live in an area and be able to get the most out of what we would have. I have included solar panels, but that is mostly for minimal refrigeration, but if not the panels, then even a low overhead water wheel could generate enough for a small fridge.

I have listings of animals, veggie & grains needed, even looked into desalination water treatments to make fresh water from salt, but then use the salt (after dried) to use in salting meats, as well as for cooking.

Everything is spelled out, even what outbuildings I want for what purpose. Now mind this is in mind for about 75- 150 people. This is for a small defensible village, and yes, I even thought about security (some powered by solar/water power). Even listed what professions that would be needed to cover all areas.

So, my ideas were based on colonial living, but with modern adjustments. Tried to think of everything that was NEEDED to make a comfortable living, and be able to do everything ourselves. In the beginning, I think we would be more interested in a town hall government (everyone has a say), and some bartering between people with any personal extras that might be had (example- if a hunter bags a deer, then the hide, horns, hooves, and half the meat & fat is the hunters- The rest goes for the community.) So that leaves room for those that are crafty to be able to barter between themselves & others for a little something extra. Hard work to make life better will be more rewarded than those that slough off.

So, self-sustainability is achievable, but it would take many, and some funds to be able to do it. I will be honest, it was reading these & a few other forums that I have been able to round out & tweek a few ideas that I have in my book. Thanks all!
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Old 04/14/11, 07:33 PM
lonelyfarmgirl's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Hoosier transplant to cheese country
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Originally Posted by JJFarmer View Post
I've seen Discovery channel episode that showed how to make paper from elephant poo though I doubt anyone has elephants on their farm I think the same theory could be applied to cows or horses.
I actually have a bookmark my dad got from the paper discovery center here that is made out of elephant poo paper.
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Old 04/14/11, 09:08 PM
postroad's Avatar  
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Hochfeld Manitoba
Posts: 1,955
I do not know if such a thing is possible?
Some folks are well off. I'm just a little off.
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