Self Sufficiency I (Be More Self Sufficient)

Get away from the blind consumerism that plagues the world today, and become self-sufficient! Learn from tutors with many qualifications and experience. Study this great course from anywhere in the world!

Course CodeASS100
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Move toward a more Sustainable Existence

  • Explore how to become more Self Sufficient
  • Save Money, Live Healthier, Reduce your Environmental footprint
  • Learn from people who have done it in their own homes
  • Start your journey to "off the grid" living

“This course covers the basics of self sufficiency - how to change your thinking to meet the demands of a self-sufficient lifestyle - from personal health through to providing your own basic daily needs. It shows you what is realistic and what is not. Self sufficiency is gaining renewed and wide interest as self-reliance and sustainability become the key to the future world.” - Adriana Fraser Cert.Hort., Cert.Child Care, Adv.Cert.App.Mgt., Cert 1V Assessment and Training, Adv.Dip.Hort., ACS Tutor.

Learn to provide yourself and your family with the basic goods and services required to live, and gain a perspective on the broad range of alternative lifestyles that you might lead.


This course covers many aspects of self sufficiency, including:

  • How to live with lower income
  • Identification of essential and non-essential services offered by society
  • Identification of services that one can become more self sufficient
  • Identification of skills that can aid in self sufficiency
  • Skills that can be developed to assist in self sufficiency
  • Identify needs, wants and likes; and the purpose of prioritising needs
  • Identify items one can provide for oneself
  • Development of cost efficient meals
  • Identify purpose of fitness to self sufficiency
  • Plan a food garden
  • Identify crops plants most suited your locality to assist in self sufficiency
  • Use of bees hives, poultry and other animals for self sufficiency
  • Estimating carrying capacity of a piece of land for animal stocking
  • Importance of pasture
  • Multipurpose animal stocking and their uses
  • Energy alternative techniques such as wind, solar, water fire, etc.
  • Reducing present energy usage
  • Cloth and garment making processes
  • Food preservation techniques
  • Handicrafts techniques such as candle making or herb crafts
  • Identifying criteria when planning to set up a self sufficient lifestyle in a new location
  • Identifying criteria on how to improve self sufficiency in present location

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Understanding the possibilities
    • Understanding Modern Society and the Scope and Nature of Self Sufficiency
    • What is Self Sufficiency
    • What is Needed to make a Change
    • How to Start
    • Getting the Right Attitude
    • Being Realistic
  2. Health, Nutrition and Clothing
    • Introdyction to a Balanced Lifestyle
    • Health and Fitness
    • Understanding Anaerobic and Aerobic Exercise
    • Mental Health
    • Understanding Food and Human Nutritional Needs
    • Clothing Needs
    • Safety with Fabrics
    • Protective Clothing
    • General Care and Hygiene for Everyday Clothing
    • First Aid
  3. Horticulture - Fruit and Vegetables
    • Scope and Nature of Horticultural Production
    • Selecting and Planning for a Vegetable Crop
    • No Dig Growing
    • Review of Different Vegetabl;es
    • Growing Fruit
    • Berry Fruit
    • Nuts
    • What to Do with Excess Produce: Preserves, etc
    • Resources for More Reliable Information
  4. Horticulture - Herbs
    • Introduction
    • Cultivation of Herbs
    • Natural Pest Control and Companion Planting
    • Herbs for Different Situations
    • Harvesting Herbs
    • Handling Fresh Herbs, Drying Herbs
    • Cooking with Herbs
    • Herb baths
    • Propagating Herbs
  5. Animal Husbandry
    • Short Cuts for Animal Rearing
    • Chickens : Feeding, Watering, Housing, Health
    • Turkeys
    • Geese
    • Ducks
    • Bee Keeping
    • Locating a Hive
    • Honey Production
  6. Animal Husbandry ‑
    • Overview: Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Horses, and Pigs
    • Livestock Terminology
    • Feeding Animals on Pasture
    • Pasture Management
    • Housing, Shelter, Fencing
    • Animal Health and Disease Management
    • Breeding
    • Keeping Pigs
  7. Building
    • Introduction to Earth Building
    • How to Make Mud Bricks
    • Building Foundations
    • Laying Bricks
    • Wall Finishes
    • Using Fasteners : Nails, Screws, Bolts
    • Building Tools
  8. Energy
    • Scope and Nature of alternative energy sources
    • Comparing Renewable Energy Sources
    • Solar Energy
    • Wind Power
    • Solar House Design
    • Energy Conservation
    • Growing and Using Wood for Fuel
    • Choosing a Wood Burning Appliance
    • Environmental Aspects to Burning Wood
    • Care and Maintenance of Wood Stoves, Chimneys
  9. Craft & Country Skills
    • Scope and Nature of Crafts
    • Marketing Home Crafts
    • Protecting Your Work
    • Painting
    • Candle Making
    • Other Crafts: Pot Pourri, etc
    • Rustic Timber Structures
    • How to Join Timbers
    • Tool Maintenance
    • Cleaning and Sharpening Tools
  10. Making Decisions
    • Scope and Nature of Decision Making
    • Risk Management -Preparing for Emergencies
    • Preparing for Fire
    • Making Money - Small Scale Home Based Businesses
    • Growing things to Sell on a Small Property

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss the nature and scope of self sufficiency.
  • Explain the importance of good nutrition and health.
  • Explain the importance of suitable clothing and clothing care.
  • Explain the relevance and application of horticulture to self sufficiency.
  • Explain the cultivation and use of herbs.
  • Explain the main requirements for successfully raising animals.
  • Explain the fundamentals of caring for grazing animals.
  • Explain the available alternatives to eating meat.
  • Discuss various building techniques that can be used to construct buildings.
  • Discuss alternatives to conventional energy sources.
  • Determine and describe accessible craft and country skills that may contribute to self sufficiency.
  • Analyze potential changes in lifestyle to increase a person’s level of self-sufficiency.

What Does Self Sufficiency Mean to You?:

The concept of self sufficiency is all too often bandied around without people properly understanding what it all means.

Consider the following statements:

  • To be self-sufficient, is to produce the things which you need to survive without the assistance of outside people.
  • You can produce some of your needs and be partly self sufficient, produce all of your needs and be completely self sufficient.
  • An individual person can be self sufficient, a small group (eg. a family) can be self sufficient, or a large group can be self sufficient (you might think in terms of a whole society, city or nation).
  • To become self sufficient usually involves making certain compromises or concessions in your lifestyle. You might have to wear different types of clothing, adapt to a different level of mobility or change your diet. The degree to which you can achieve self sufficiency is usually related to the degree to which you are willing to make compromises.
  • Large areas of land are not necessary to become self sufficient. Depending on what you produce and how you produce it, you can become relatively self sufficient on even a standard suburban house block.
  • Bartering or swapping goods and/or services is often adopted by the person interested in pursuing a self sufficient life-style. This is not self sufficiency strictly, but like sufficiency, the barter system offers an escape from a dependence on the monetary system.
  • Along with self-sufficiency comes the idea of a system of living that is self-perpetuating - the basic structure of which works with the cycles of nature. The permaculture concept, companion planting and alternative medicine are all seeking to establish a self supporting system both economically and environmentally.

Self sufficiency means different things to different people.

The one thing that all fans of self sufficiency share in common is a desire to reduce reliance on goods and services supplied by others.

In reality, we will never be totally independent for one reason: it is in our nature to be social, and we all need to interact with other humans in order to be psychologically fulfilled.

We can however take far more control of our own destiny by doing two simple things:

  1. Increase our capacity to independently provide the goods and services we desire
  2. Change our attitude and lifestyle so as to reduce the demands we place upon ourselves to provide as many goods and services.



Sustainable living has been a passion for the people at our school for decades.

Our first office was a mud brick building, built from recycled materials by our founder and principal, John Mason. Along with John, several staff have been both living and writing about sustainable ways of living since the 1980's.

Tutor Adriana Fraser was a regular contributor to Grass Roots Magazine for more than a decade, as was John; and along with other staff, they now write most of the content for the green living quarterly": Home Grown. John is the author of "Sustainable Agriculture" published by Landlinks Press/CSIRO; as well as books on Herbs, Vegetables, Fruit, Bee Keeping and Food Preserving.

Tutor Melissa Leistra has achieved what we all aim for living off the grid on 200 acres in northern NSW.

Our UK tutor Maggi Brown spent most of 2 decades working with Garden Organic, helping gardeners and farmers across the UK to a more sustainable organic style of land management.

Tutors Diana Cole, Bob James and Marie Beerman are all PDC qualified permaculturists.  These are just some of the people who have helped develop this course and who provide support for students through our global school.

If you want to make a fundamental change and minimize risks -learn first from people who know and understand what is realistic and achievable - then move forward on an exciting journey that can really enrich both your physical and mental wellbeing.

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Rosemary Davies

Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c
Adriana Fraser

Freelance writer, businesswoman, educator and consultant for over 30 years. Adriana has written extensively for magazines including free living publications -Grass Roots and Home Grown; and has authored or co authored many books ranging from a biography
John Mason

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.
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