Sustainable Living is a fairly new term for something our ancestors did every day of their lives.

Sustainable Living is a fairly new term for something our ancestors did every day of their lives.  They lived off the land, and they did the very best they could to support themselves with what they had.  For the most part they knew to use what they had and not waste it.

I realize that for those of you who make a garden, this is the harvest time of the year, but, I hope to do a few more columns on this subject over the cold months, ( my first project) so that many of us will be ready by spring to begin to implement this material.

In recent years, we have we become a buy everything, coupled with a throwaway society.  It isn’t healthy and it is very wasteful.

Now, with the uncertainty of living and today’s very unstable economy, many of us want to get back to basics, because of necessity. 

Sustainable Living or Self Reliance, could be creating a home with the goal of reducing one’s environmental impact on the earth, and returning to a home-based, family-centered, self-sufficient way of life.

Some living this way of life, takes exception to the term –‘Sustainable Living’, but want to call it Self Reliance, or even Urban Homesteading.  I don’t care what it’s called, but I feel like getting back to basics is important and necessary, and it is also a healthier way of living.

Doing my research on this subject, I found a good expression that I thought was appropriate. 

This expression is:  “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.”

Those are words to live by for many frugal self-reliant people.  It sounds like they don’t waste their resources.

Another reason many are becoming increasingly more self reliant is:  -- it gives them actual control over their lives and means freedom to them.   Doesn’t that sound like a pretty good reason to become Self Reliant to you?

One family I read about said this was a dangerous path to take, as it could lead to freedom.  He and his family make a living in Los Angeles County (Pasadena) on 1/10th of an acre.  They have created a truly amazing small home farm.  They are the Dervaes family.  He envisions an Urban Homesteading community of people who all want to be independent-- living close, each with their own home and with their own gardens and eco systems.  He states that his family grows 90% of their food, makes their own gas and produces much of their electricity, and the food they grow is all organic so they sell to those needing organic foods, like upscale restaurants.  They make about $20,000 each year with their organic “porch sales”.

Jules Dervaes tells us that after getting the garden going they began to expand by powering their home with alternative energies and fueling their car with home-brewed bio-diesel. (Made from grease from restaurants-I believe)   They are mixing new modern technologies, with the simple living of our ancestors.   They also keep some farm animals for egg production and manure,(chickens and ducks) cultivate honeybees, use secondhand goods to decrease their consumption of earth’s nonrenewable resources, and taught themselves a variety of ‘back-to-basics’skills. 

This is a model of an Urban Homestead and it now enjoys a beautiful degree of independence or freedom with an ever-decreasing environmental impact. 

My research has led me to couples and families living ‘back to basics’ in other communities, but now I want to see who in our community is going in this direction.  I met a family a few years ago that were doing a beautiful job of Self-Reliant living, but have lost touch with them. 

On Sept 5th there will be a Health Expo at our Community Center, and (if the lord is willing and the creek doesn’t rise), I plan on being there.  Please come by and visit. (Table 5) Besides wanting to know how this column can better serve this community, I want to talk to those living a Self-Reliant life or Sustainable life-whatever you want to call it.

I do hope to visit with you on Sept 5th.

I feel that this is a subject worth learning more about.

I hope you and those you love feel the same way.

Carmel Aaron lives in Heber Springs has a degree in biology and has been certified by Proevity in Nutrition and Glycemic Indexing. She can be reached at