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What happened to the self-sufficient people of the 1970s?

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default What happened to the self-sufficient people of the 1970s?

Post by Chilli-head on 13th April 2016, 11:29 am

I was very interested by [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in yesterday's BBC magazine section.

Interesting to see that the dream of self sufficiency has become diluted - perhaps made more realistic - where it has survived.  I was very impressed by John Seymour's writings,  but as mentioned before ([You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and I'm sure elsewhere) I'm not sure humans are naturally self reliant; we are a social animal and have always specialised and relied on others.

The tales of how people found it too hard remind me, in a little way, of the enthusiastic new starters at the allotments who send in with vigour at the beginning of the year, fail to keep on top of it, and give in by the end of the season.  I've always thought TV gardeners do a disservice by not showing much of the real hard work that gardening entails.

Terribly sad to read of his split from his wife, and his daughter's comment that "He came to think that self-sufficiency was too difficult to achieve in a family unit."  Perhaps it is.  Especially when combined with the requirements of living that life in the modern world ?

Still, we can do what we can.
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default Re: What happened to the self-sufficient people of the 1970s?

Post by Dandelion on 13th April 2016, 9:12 pm

Thank you for sharing this - I had seen it when I quickly looked up the weather forecast in the morning but forgot to go back and read it later.
We live near a settlement of Chartist houses, which were built in the middle of the 19th century by people who also had an idealistic dream of living off the land (and owning a property which would make them eligible to vote.) The experiment failed because they were city dwellers who tried to run smallholdings which would support them, without any experience or knowledge. The houses near us are all privately owned, but in the holiday we had a chance to look round Rosedene, which is a Chartist cottage owned by the National Trust, in Worcestershire. It was a trim little cottage in four acres of land, and on a sunny day looked idyllic. We did however notice a big gap all around the (original) front door - it must have been cold in the winter!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by freebird on 14th April 2016, 7:14 am

That was an interesting read, CH. Much as I like the idea of self sufficiency, I'm realistic enough to know that I would find it a chore. I think we are incredibly lucky to live in an age where we can choose (to some extent, at least) how we live. There is a whole world of difference between choosing self-sufficiency and it being the only possible means of survival.

Having said that, I strongly believe that producing one's own food is an important life skill, along with preparing and cooking it.
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Post by Ploshkin on 14th April 2016, 11:36 am

That is interesting Chilli Head. I completely echo what Freebird has said. I do think that people who are partially self sufficient would be able to have a fair crack at being entirely so if the need arose. A large part of it would be sharing and bartering not only produce but skills too. That is something that happens quite a lot here anyway. There is a community of tipi dwellers still in existence not far from us. The settlement started in the 70s with the communal living / self sufficiency ethos. Many of them still live in tipis but they also have moved away from complete self sufficiency and many go out to work. I know quite a few of them very well as they are beekeepers and members of our Association. The one thing they all have in common is that they are incredibly kind, caring and generous people, always the first to come forward when anyone needs help.
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Post by Dandelion on 14th April 2016, 9:12 pm

That sounds wonderful Ploshkin

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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