Self Sufficient Living

Swarm Collection 01752 516619

nearly out

Welcome... 2016

In 2005 our family decided to live a more sustainable lifestyle (living gently). We decided to see if it were possible to grow as much of our own food while living in a city, this site details our journey of discovery.

We have now been growing and rearing as much of our own food both organically and as ethically as possible. Using our garden and allotments, we grow, rear, catch and collect as much of our food.
So much so that we are venturing into running an urban smallholding here in Plymouth.
Leasing 2.5 acres from the City Council to grow food organically and sustainably using traditional and permaculture methods.

We plan on running day courses for adults initially and educational visits for school children too.

There is much initial work to do, clearing the site of felled trees, fencing and leveling amoungst some.
If you would like to volunteer to help even if its supplying refreshements please contact us on
01752 516619

Our journey during the last 11 years has been a real adventure, starting with keeping chickens and turkeys, to catching fish and game and making sausages of all kinds. We have made cheese and learning to pickle and preserve a wide variety of foods.

Smoking salmon, cheese and a variety of other meats has been really rewarding.

Occasionally we hatch and rear Ross Cob chickens when we can find the hatching eggs; finished weights range between 6-9 lbs.

The bees this year 2012 have been struggeling to survive let alone produce honey city  I have still been called out to rescue swarms but less due to the wet weather. The adopt a hive scheme is starting to gain interest which has helped with the cost of supplying new hives to rehome swarms, we have also kindly been given permission to keep bees at another 4 sites including and with the National Trust at Antony House. In 2011 we started running beekeeper experience  which is proving to be a popular gift to buy for Christmas and Birthdays, even holidays makers have visited.

Cheese making will resume this autumn if its not too cold, it needs to be above freezing and below 8 degrees C to mature the cheese in our workshop.

We are rearing two pigs again this year, Tamworths, last year we made 40lbs of pork sausages from our pigs which weighed in at 87 kg each, we will make turkey sausages again this Christmans from one of our 4 turkeys, with port and cranberry and chestnut and another batch with garlic and chilli . We invested in a vac-pack machine which increases the storage time for frozen and fresh foods by around 3 times.

We have launched an e-petition to try and get the meat industry to stop adding water and phosphates to meat, this is a deceptive practice to increase their profits although they will argue there are other reasons for doing it.

We stopped buying bacon because of the white gunge that oozed out of it when you cooked it
(water with added phosphate to bind it into the meat) If water were added to Scotch, the distillers would be prosecuted. If you want to add your name to the petition please use this link

The became too much of a burden and expense to justify its keeping, so it was swapped for a kayak catching more mackerel which we hot smoke and freeze the rest, which later we will turn into fish cakes, pasties and curry, which if somewhat unusual, is great.

Turkey Bronze

Over the last 11 years our focus has developed into one of living in a way that has as little impact on the environment as we practically can. Eden Canon a journalist from the US contacted us for an online article about urban self sufficiency use this link to read more.

Writing this article made me look at some of the principles and values we have adopted over the last 7 years below is a brief summary, I hope they will prove useful.

  • Be ready to learn everything you can.
  • Be prepared and determined before you start,
  • If you find failure hard, don’t start, mistakes are OK they are a part of the joy of the learning experience.
  • Don't do everything at once; take your time to establish a way of life that is sustainable.
  • Don’t borrow money to finance this life style, save up for things, make it self-financing if you can.
  • Invest in quality not cheap and cheerful equipment, it doesn’t last.
  • Look after and take care what you buy.
  • Buy everything local where you can, (if it doesn’t break the principle above).
  • Buy in bulk when possible, it saves road miles and time.
  • Always make what you can yourself, especially bread; the rewards are greater than just lovely bread.
  • Gleaning and catching wild food is fun, do it where you can.
  • If you are prepared to eat meat you should
  • treat it with respect, be prepared to rear it and kill it, humanely.
  • Use all your animal including its manure.
  • Make time to develop links and share resources and information.
  • Keep everything of use, like jars and bottles.
  • Recycle, reuse, reduce and repair repurpose all you can (where practical to do so).
  • Don’t live in a mess, (it’s easy to do if storing lots of stuff)
  • Beekeeping is wonderful but vastly expensive; it’s also a huge commitment and responsibility.
  • Take holidays locally it’s not just about where you go it’s about what you do together.
  • Accept living creatively is costly in more than one way.
    • Limiting the effect we have on our environment and ‘living gently in creation’ is truly rewarding but not easy, there is however ‘a peace’ and a satisfaction, not of just eating good food, but also knowing your endeavours will help yourself, those around you and the environment and those that follow after you.