It Is Not Too Late To Be Self Sufficient Nigeria
Nigeria, do you know that Britain has been through this same road you are experiencing now? What turn the tide is their attitude.
Forty years ago in England, a new book offered city dwellers a way to escape the rat-race and go back to the land. The author of the “bible” of self-sufficiency, John Seymour, convinced thousands to change their lives.
“I have met people who said my father ruined them,” says Anne Sears.
Anne’s dad, John Seymour, was an author and idealist known as one of the fathers of self-sufficiency. His books published in the 1960s and 1970s urged readers to return to a more traditional way of life and be less reliant on the outside world. He believed this would free people from their dependence on a damaging industrial society.
“It is going forward to a new and better sort of life, a life which is more fun than the over-specialised round of office or factory, a life that brings challenge and the use of daily initiative back to work,” he wrote.
Seymour had put his principles into practice and set up a farm on rented land in Suffolk, driving a horse and cart instead of a car. His books and articles, which are thought to have helped inspire the BBC sitcom The Good Life, urged others to follow his lead.
His message met a receptive audience. A global oil crisis and striking coal miners in Britain had made the public realize how reliant they were on fossil fuels to heat and light their homes. The environmental movement of the 1970s had also made them more conscious of green issues.
People were so inspired by Seymour they would turn up on his doorstep.
During the 60s and 70s, dozens of alternative communities sprang up around Britain. However, many who tried self-sufficiency found the labour-intensive way of life too tough.
“People sold up but then couldn’t make it work. It was probably harder than they thought it was going to be,” Anne says.
While most of the communities folded over the years, a handful are still running today. One of them is Laurieston Hall in Scotland. Patrick Upton, now in his late 60s, joined Laurieston in 1973. He had seen an advert in Time Out magazine when he was a trainee teacher living in London.
“There were ten adults and seven children at the start, and we were all under 30. Most of us had no agricultural skills,” he says.
The group lived in an Edwardian mansion, which had 12 acres of land. Although full of enthusiasm they lacked the necessary knowledge to create a sustainable community.
“Our first potato crop turned brown – we were surprised because none of us knew about blight.
“There have been many challenges living here from working out the ancient plumbing to keeping the tractor going. We’ve had to learn everything we’ve had to do.”
John Seymour’s book, The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency, provided welcome advice. Published in 1976, it covered everything from how to plow a field to how to kill a pig and sold more than a million copies.
“It was great because self-sufficiency wasn’t accessible for beginners at that time. My parents had been novices, so they understood the challenges involved,” Anne says.
“We built our first goat pens using Seymour’s books,” Patrick says.
“We soon learned goats were cunning and agile. One time they got out and ate the rhododendrons, which are poisonous. I had to make them ill with warm oil and stay up with them all night.”
The community at Laurieston flourished over the years. Today the community keep cows, pigs, hens and bees on the 135-acre estate and grow most of their fruit and vegetables. Stream water is used for toilets and baths, while a spring provides drinking water. A hydro-system generates the estate’s electricity while wood from the forest is used for heating.
“I have a real sense of place and belonging here. I’ve planted woodlands that we are now using 20 years on. I think we had the right mix of people at the right time, and there is enough space here to fall out but come back together again. We’re a family.”
Anne continues to receive emails from people inspired by her father’s books. She still lives and works on four acres of the original farm with her husband. “We aren’t textbook self-sufficiency. We have occasional pigs and chickens and a big garden where I grow most of our vegetables and fruit.”
This “do what you can” attitude is prevalent among those practicing self-sufficiency today. Rosie Beat and her husband Alan run courses on self-sufficiency and smallholdings at their home in Devon. They do what they can to live a sustainable lifestyle, using wood from hedging thinning, keeping farm animals and growing their organic vegetables. Rosie also knits jumpers with wool from their pet sheep Humphrietta. However, they stop short of growing their own fodder or crops and buy in what they don’t produce.
“We’re practical about it – we don’t have a ‘hair shirt’ attitude,” she says.
I think of it as self-efficiency, not self-sufficiency. We do what we can, but we’re not perfectionist about it. You can’t be,” Patrick says.
Now, my people, we are in a different age and setting. Technology has made things much easier. There are so many “how to” on the internet. You have the luxury of reading or watching it on YouTube.
So the questions are:
- Do you think complaints and grumbling about the economy will help us any result?
- Can we recover the stolen oil money that is already down the drain?
- Should our dependency only be on oil?
- Should we resign to a state of failure and death as a Nation?
- Do the solution to a Nations problem only lie with its government?
The answers should be, No. Now, what are you practical about?
Look at that yard at the side or back of your house or street, its rich enough for Tomatoes, Pepper, Corn and Vegetable seeds. Within a short time, you all will be smiling, if you till that ground. If your yard is small, work together with the people in your community or neighborhood and commence a Community Garden Project.
It’s time to commit to transparency, fight corruption, be patriotic and commit to self-sufficiency.
We all have a part to play in the revival of Nigeria’s economy and its survival as a Nation. Make a conscious effort to make a difference in your community not only your house.
Remember African continent is a blessed land. Britain hardly produce anything but they are blessed, the difference is in the attitude of her people. Patriotism Commitment and Resilience.
Please lets stop complaining. Stop the abuse. Be a part of change. Educate those around you. As a Black man or woman we are strong and talented enough to push through.
God Bless You and God Bless Nigeria.