To be self sufficient is a personal thing, not unlike so many who just want to “get away” and have everyone leave them alone. I am, and was one of those. However, things often must change, and do. NOFA puts on event up here in New England, and I went to a hog butchering class today. There I realized that to be self sufficient, there must be a community.
It does sound strange, but it is, and always has been, true. In the cities we often forget this fact of independence. Often we can live around millions of people and be completely alone. This is sad, true, but it is only because there are communities of self sufficient communities of people that support such lifestyles.
Aloneness is important. Being alone we can often find our “true self”, and what we find is often a bit disconcerting. But the self sufficient ought to be able look that self in the eye every morning and meet it head to head on those nights when we wake up feeling so alone and vulnerable. One way to do this, is to realize our dependence on healthy communities.
Unfortunately, self sufficiency is often correlated with those who have opted out and see survival as a pile of rations and guns. This is a misconstrued view of self sufficiency. Self sufficiency is an education and there are many great teachers out there that are willing and often able to teach those willing to learn. To realize that the community of the self sufficient are not these radical outliers one only has to reach out to learn, well, to be self sufficient.
At the class, there were seven of us, we each took turns learning to cut the 1/2 hog in such a way that would do justice to the animal, and to those who had, and will continue to create a community of the self sufficient.