Books on Sustainable Living: A Guide to Self-Sufficiency and Skill Development

Books on Self Sufficient Living

Books on self sufficient living are a great way to learn about sustainable living and developing skills. For example, mending torn clothes helps extend their life and prevents waste from buying new ones.

Living a self sufficient lifestyle is about providing yourself and your family with the best that nature has to offer: organic food, space, community, and things money can’t buy.

The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery

Carla Emery wrote this encyclopedia to help newcomers in the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s learn self sufficient skills. Originally published in mimeographed installments, the book has been reworked over the years to improve and add content. This hefty volume is packed with practical information on food production. Topics include baking bread, making seed milk, preserving fruit, designing a root cellar, and raising animals.

A chapter devoted to herbs discusses growing culinary, aromatic and medicinal varieties. Other chapters cover gardening (including soil health, avoiding pests and diseases), and homesteading. Raising poultry (including chickens, turkeys, geese, quail and ducks) and sheep is covered in detail. Also included are tips on selecting animals at auction, building barns and fences, home veterinary care, and wool shearing. A chapter on wild foods covers trapping and hunting techniques. Other sections deal with weeds, roots and tubers, and berries. An appendix lists herb periodicals, nurseries and organizations dedicated to simple living.

The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan

The solution to fresher, organic, better-tasting food is as close as your own backyard. With just a quarter of an acre you can grow your own vegetables and fruits; keep bees; raise chickens, goats, or even a cow. This book gives you the tools to put your backyard to work producing all your food needs.

The back-to-basics approach starts with a vegetable garden, complete with planning charts and a thorough vegetable-by-vegetable growing guide. Then the focus shifts to fruit bushes and other trees, herbs, and nuts. A chapter on cooking and baking with homegrown ingredients rounds out the section on plants.

The meat and dairy sections include information on raising poultry for eggs and milk, and cows, sheep, and goats for meat and cheese. The final section covers wild foods, and simple techniques for canning, drying, brewing, and making herbal teas and homemade wine and cordials round out this essential resource. Storey’s trusted advice on gardening, cooking, preserving, and raising animals proves that it really is possible to be self-sufficient right in your own backyard.

The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency by Jim Nearing

First published in 1976, this book outlines how to become self-sufficient. It covers a wide variety of topics, including gardening (with plenty of specific advice on how to grow different kinds of vegetables), building houses, making firewood and cooking with it, woodworking and even the use of the dry toilet. Nearing also devotes a good deal of time to explaining the many skills involved in growing and raising livestock.

He travelled widely in Africa, and served as a member of the King’s African Rifles in World War II before returning to England penniless. He then built up a smallholding in Suffolk, where he learned all the skills outlined in this book.

Dick and his family’s life at New House Farm is documented in the series It’s Not Easy Being Green. James Strawbridge, who co-authored this edition with his father and was featured in the show, is a specialist in artisan crafts and traditional skills and lives in Cornwall.

The Self-Sufficient Homesteader: A Practical Guide to Living Off the Grid

While being 100% self-reliant is a rare goal for most people, striving towards it can lead to a more sustainable lifestyle. This book is an excellent resource for those interested in learning new skills related to growing food, preserving it, and reducing waste.

This book has 928 pages of high-quality information and offers step-by-step instructions for various homesteading tasks. It covers everything from chopping trees and harnessing solar power to raising farm animals like goats and chickens, and even making bread, brewing beer, and weaving fabric.

Another useful book on self sufficient living is the The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner by Carleen Madigan. This book is perfect for those who live in urban or suburban areas, and it offers practical advice on how to grow food and raise animals in small spaces. It also emphasizes the importance of sustainability and includes recipes that use the produce grown on the property. The author of this book also has several other books on sustainable living, including The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency.

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