Self sufficient living
Until March 2013 I lived with my partner in a small terraced cottage on the edge of Midhurst, West Sussex, where we tried to be as self sufficient as possible in organic fruit, veg and eggs from our garden. We grew 45 different vegetables and 18 different fruits and kept chickens and quail for eggs. I reared pigs on a friend’s land nearby and we helped to manage a sustainable coppice woodland for another friend. We have now relocated to Pembrokeshire and are living in a mobile wooden shepherd’s hut that we designed and built (see latest news – pastures new). We would love to eventually design and build our own house but at the moment we are not sure what direction life will take us next!
With an input of around 8 hours a week we produced up to 23kg of fresh organic vegetables and 38kg of fresh organic fruit in a month [Aug 2011] from 43m² of growing space in the garden (which is one fifth the size of a standard allotment plot). With careful planning and design and by eating seasonally and preserving foods we did not have to buy eggs, veg, fruit, herbs, jam or chutney.
In 2010 we won the title of “Smallholder of the Year” through Country Smallholding Magazine. Following this we joined The Permaculture Association as a LAND Learning Centre – becoming part of a demonstration network of projects growing food following permaculture principles.
Other awards include “Best vegetable garden” and “Most sustainable garden” from Chichester District Council and several awards from Midhurst in Bloom.
I aim to inspire others by writing articles about microholding and self sufficiency and offering talks to local groups. I also offer advice (initial advice free of charge) and a garden design service (see Consultancy and Talks)