Over the last few years, more and more people have realized the importance of self-sufficient communities. A self-sufficient community keeps the production of food and necessities local, investing back into its own economy. By removing the influence of large corporations and global supply chains, we guarantee resilience in the face of difficult times.
Living sustainably and communally is increasingly necessary. Focusing on self-reliance with a collaborative approach makes a strong community. Offering your skills, supporting local businesses, and giving back to your neighbors are a few ways to support the self-sufficiency of your community.
Using Your Skills to Support Your Community
We become stronger through independence. This is relevant on a communal scale, too. The less we need to rely on the larger society, the more sustainable we will be.
Self-sufficient communities work because everyone contributes their unique skill sets. No matter what your skills are, there is something that you can contribute to the betterment of your community.
Gardening and Landscaping
While local farms are extremely important, you don’t have to have acres of agricultural land. There are plenty of ways anyone can use gardening to promote self-reliance.
- Grow your food. Even a small home garden can be a communal contribution. Trade produce and seeds with your neighbors to diversify your food supply.
- Start, or help out with, a community garden. Community gardens are educational, put food on the table, and can even support local organizations. A town I used to live in had a community garden at our library. The food was free for anyone who needed it.
- Cater your landscaping to your climate and local ecosystem. A green lawn uses a lot of water and creates fertilizer runoff, polluting watersheds. It also doesn’t provide much of a habitat for wildlife. Native species benefit birds and pollinators and create a healthy environment.
Hunting and Fishing
Hunters know our responsibility for a sustainable future. A huge part of subsistence living relies on the land and what nature provides for us. Hunting and fishing can provide food, clothing, and other items we need. You can use these skills and resources to give back to your community.
- Consider donating game meat to local food banks, homeless shelters, or even your neighbors. First, you’ll want to confirm whether or not there are restrictions on this practice from your local game and fish agency or health department. Where possible, this is the best model for a self-sufficient community: everyone pitching in what they can provide, but others may not have.
- Your skills and knowledge as a hunter or fisherman are valuable. You might have neighbors who have always wanted to learn how to hunt or fish for their food but don’t know where to start. By passing this along to others, especially the younger generations, we are investing in the future of our entire community.
The convenience of purchasing everything from one big box store or online seller has made it difficult for smaller businesses to thrive. Combat this by shopping small.
- Farmer’s markets are my favorite place to buy fresh produce, dairy and meat. This is a fantastic way to connect with the people that grow or raise your food!
- Ditch the consumer giants as much as you can and patronize businesses in your neighborhood. I even shop at family-owned markets instead of big grocery stores.
- Stop at yard sales. My mom furnished almost her entire house through yard sales! I’ve found great things for cheap, too. The best thing is that your money either goes straight to your neighbors, or in some cases, you can support churches and schools.
- Eating out or grabbing coffee? Try somewhere that isn’t a chain. Chances are, the quality is better, and you’re contributing to the neighborhood’s success.
Volunteering and Teaching
Do you have skills that you can offer as a volunteer? Maybe you have extra resources you don’t need that someone else can benefit from? Even just a helping hand and some of your time can make a big difference.
- Your time can be put to use for a good cause. Volunteering for something you care about will also help others and make you feel great.
- Donate your extra clothing, food, furniture, books, or anything else taking up space in your home. Look into charity drives and see what you can give.
- If you have a specific skill that you can teach, consider offering community education classes. This could be something like computer skills, resume writing, or math tutoring. If you’re an artist, you could offer a beginner’s course on your medium. If you’re great in the kitchen, you can teach a cooking class. There are plenty of possibilities.
Good values and compassion will resonate through a community when people get involved. Your impact is only limited by how much you give back.
- Non-profits and charities are always in need of help. Whether that’s a food bank, an animal shelter, or anything else – your effort and dedication are incredibly valuable.
- If you are a natural leader, consider running for a local public office position. You could help the voices of your community be heard on a larger scale.
- Consider learning about and finding ways to support the environment on a local scale. Practicing sustainability and conservation is essential for the success and well-being of future generations.
- What do you care about? Activism and advocacy are where we can make the changes necessary for the future we believe in. Find what resonates with you and follow through.