Monday, 28 March 2011


Hello Ramsey... so you ask the questions... Alan


  1. Hi, I am Ramsey Fitchko, a student at Westmoreland County Community College in Pennsylvania. Currently I am researching for a paper on why people should become more self-sufficient and energy efficient with the benefit of saving money while also helping the environment. May paper won't really cover the entirety of how people can become self-sufficient and energy sufficient but will act more of a "point you in the right direction" start up guide of what people can do. Because I am writing this paper on self-sufficiency I wanted to ask you and your wife a few questions. To get the experts' opinions and insight on a few things.

  2. 1. What does it mean to be self-sufficient?

    2. Are there moderations of being self sufficiency? (food self sufficent, water self sufficient, heat self sufficient)

    3. When did you first start your campaign on being self-sufficient?

    4. What made you want to do this?

    5. Do you have any role models that gave you inspiration or ideas?

    6. What were some of your biggest challenges?

    7. Do you think becoming self-sufficient would be harder or easier for today's generation?

    8. What are some of the easiest and most basic projects that people can do to start becoming self-sufficient or energy efficient?

    9. What are some of the projects that saved you the most money?

    10. How much land would someone have to own to become more self-sufficient or energy efficient?

    11. Could someone living in the city make changes in their everyday lives to save money and live greener?

    12. What is some advise you would give to anybody who is considering to start the transition into becoming self-sufficient or at least to have a greener home.

  3. 1. For Gill and I self-sufficiency equates with self reliance…. Our mantra is.. “little out and little” We see our plot as a desert island – like Robinson Crusoe – he had no choice other than to produce his own food and clothes
    2. There are moderations… we started modest – with insulation and then worked forward with solar heating, growing food, livestock and all the rest.
    3. We started at Art School in the late 60’s and went on from there. We really made the move at the time of the 70’s oil crisis
    4. I drew inspiration from my grandpa… he could do everything. When I wanted a knife he made one from scratch… he made a forge, heated metal and all the rest… its what people did way back
    5. Role models… Thoreau, Robinson Crusoe, William Cobbett… stores Catcher in The Rye, Coral Island, Lord of the Flies… I loved the notion of doing my own thing
    6. Biggest challenge… doing stuff that parents/teachers/Church/friends say is wrong
    7. Much harder now when people seem to like being part of the herd… much more difficult now to…l “switch off, drop out and tune in”
    8. Insulate house, grow food and turn the house over to passive solar heating
    9. Insulation and working from home has saved us a huge amount of money… don’t have to spend out on car/fuel/cloths and stuff
    10. We have 4 acres… friend in Scotland has 2 acres and a shoreline – for fishing – guy in Spain has 50 acres of desert and scrub -….. it depends on your needs and aims
    11. Can be done in city… we have a friend who purchased a brown site – lots of concrete – he has bees and goats and trades at car boot sales… he is doing very well
    12. Start by listing your needs and ambitions. It all starts in your head. Most important of all its got to be fun. If you are going to wear lots of clothes in winter, burn wood, get a bike and all the rest… then you have to see it all as a pleasuresome and joyous activity.

  4. thank you so much alan :D
    I appreciate your time and willingness to do this.
    I actually had fun with this and learned a lot from a few questions.
    the biggest thing that I realized is that this is something that people have to want to do and take joy in it. And how you said that you think of your land as your own deserted island really put it into perspective.
    thank you again :)
    Ramsey Fitchko