Sustainability Thread- What is truly sustainable.


Sees Wine Dots
10 Years
Mar 22, 2009
Heuvelton, NY
Naturally when I think of sustainability I think of a completely balanced self sufficient farm. A balance between plant and animal life that needs very little outside influence to work effectively. I am currently working on FINALLY getting my farm. It is a well developed, organic CSA in Northern NY with properly maintained soil. We are going to put in wind and solar over time and grid tie. There is a barn, but it's small and I will need to ask the amish to help me raise a slightly larger one. The house is a bale house with a lot of green features. There is an orchard with 26 trees. I feel like a lot of it is already in place, but there are things I need input on from experience farmers. Like, for instance, do I need to plant a cover crop each year at the end of the season for soil erosion? Where can I get dent corn that I can harvest to crack some of my own chicken feed (I also have roblin wheat, oats, and other grains that I've grown for the blend). How much soy should I add if any? I have a bazillion books, am a voracious reader, but am a better talk about/hands on learner. Anyone willing to give this noob a little guidance?
I have no idea but I wanted to say hurray for you! That sounds awesome. Please take lots of pics when you move. Sustainability is one of our goals as well.
Lovins, have you checked out backwoodshome and how Jackie Clay has done it? She is amazing and a great example of how to go about it. Also, ask Jeremy about the dent corn and cover crops, he is a whiz at that stuff.
Is it a book Chris? If it is I dont have that one. I'll have to go to Amazon and look for that one. You have no idea how excited I am about this farm!
It is They are all about living off the land and self-sufficient living. I am pretty sure that Jackie has written a homesteading book, and if I am right, they will have it on their site for sale. She write a blog every couple of days and answers questions. Backwoods Home is a magazine that comes out every other month. Jeremy loves it and we have both learned tons from it. My only complaint is some of their "preaching" (political), but I skip over that and read the stuff that interests me.

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One thing that lots of people are going to argue with me about--canning.

I know we all enjoy canning--myself included--and eating bounty of gardens and farmers' markets well into next spring, but is canning truly sustainable? Not only do you need to buy lids every year, but jars get dropped and need to be replaced when accidents occur. You need a canner and rack that are manufactured in the steel industry (or granny ware industry). You need a way to heat the canner. Tongs--again something that can't easily be replicated, to lift out the jars are very helpful.

So, if society collapses, is canning truly sustainable?

Don't get me wrong, I'll continue to can, but for long term disaster planning, dehydrating is probably the way to go. And without my electric dehydrator here in cold and wet Michigan, that may not be fully effective either.
I have WHAT in my yard? :


Bottom of the page is the link to Sufficient Self! Get thee on over there! Lots of good folks with some really great ideas. See you there!

I will certainly get-eth my butt-eth over there
This was an issue for our great grandmothers as well. They had other ways of canning which we could use to learn. Additionally, we are working on learning how to root cellar properly. If you already have the equipment it would be foolish not to use it. And for disaster planning I stock up!! You don't need a canner or a rack or tongs. Jars, yes, lids (to me) yes but MIL canned with wax and flour bags. I don't think that is safe, nor did she, but she would can and be able to extend the life of things that she would cook the daylights out of before using. But, that was waaaay back in the day. She was raised on a a farm with no electricity and no running water.

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