15 Aug 2006

The complete book of self-sufficiency




I suppose thinking about Bahro and Bookchin has led me on to other green prophets who have passed away. Not all the greens are anarcho-leftists, John Seymour is best known for the complete book of self-sufficiency, a beautiful book published in the 1970s. I suppose like Bahro and Bookchin it has a childhood resonance for me. Makes me think of BBC 1 'Good Life'.

Now ofcourse self-sufficiency is an absurd goal, very much the right wing male anarchism of the 1970s, stop the world I want to get off.

However producing more of your own fruit, veg, beer if you are a drinker, reducing connections with the capitalist economy can be a fine thing.

John Seymour's book, updated a year or two back, is a great practical guide to everything from worm bins to home made wine. We saw it on holiday in Cornwall and bought it, already inspiring us to grow more.

Seymour is not know for his political analysis but unlike the political analysts his work is a first stop for those contemplating a green lifestyle.

'God forbid that you are a victim of 'fashion'. This is strange disease which has been popular with humans for thousands of years' (p.296 self-sufficiency)

'POTATOES ...Quite simply you can live on them. They are one of the best storable sources of energy we can grow, and are our chief source of vitamin C during the winter' (p.63)

'Your allotment will, I hope, become part of a long-term relationship between your family and the soil' (p.28).

Ofcourse from the death of council housing to land enclosure to the hostility against practical green communities like Tinkers Bubble, we need to inject more politics into the bucolic vision...cheap housing, access to land, etc allow a green lifestyle.

However today on wednesday morning if you want to think about a greener lifestyle you could do a lot worse than getting hold of John Seymour's very attractive and informative book.

1 comment:

Geoff said...

While Bookchin was right about local face-to-face democracy and challenging dominator hierarchies, Seymore was a hands dirty diy solutions man. I bought a copy of his book Self-Sufficiency about ten years ago, sadly not done much with it. Must get myself an allotment sharpish. Thanks for reminding me of this talented individual.

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