Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Join the self sufficiency challenge

Back in 2010 I set myself the goal:

It is Sunday the 7th of June, 2015 and after many years of practice I am now producing 80% of my families vegetables. I feel really chuffed with myself as this was one of my biggest challenges requiring patience and dedication . The garden is beautiful, rough and wild, a food forest. I love every minute I spend in it, feeling the rich soft soil between my fingers,and smelling the sweat tomatoes. My children regularly spend time with me in the garden. I feel proud of myself as a parent imparting practical and fundamental knowledge while also developing mine and their appreciation and spiritual connection with nature. I am reminded of this great achievement every time I sit down to eat.

On of the thing I have learnt about achieving goals is to make them public. Let as many supportive people as possible know about your goal and its progress. In doing so I have found I feel more supported, confident, accountable and energetic. Thus the reason I added the chart in the top right corner of this site. Nothing gets more public than a blog, except maybe a royal wedding.

Every time I harvest something out of the garden, close to nil at the moment, or purchase fruit and veg from the store, currently allot, I record it on the chart for you all to see.

It latter occurred to me there are probably many others aspiring to a similar goal as myself and just as many who are already living it. The ones who are aspiring I would like to encourage in making their goal public and those who have achieved it already I would like to also encourage to make it know to inspire the aspiring, like me.

So if you would like to join my challenge and have a blogger blog (sorry to those who don't) simply click the above button to add the chart gadget to your site. If I get enough takers I was thinking of putting up a list of participating sites. Love to hear your feed back and ideas.


If you have a goal target and are happy to make it public you can do so by entering the target value in the field labelled Goal. Your goal does not have to be 80% like mine.

When convenient, once a week, once a month, or ad hoc, enter the percentage of fruit and/or veg that your have grown vs purchased into the gadget. To do so open up the configuration of the gadget and enter the data into the field labelled Data. Put the date followed by an f or v (fruit or veg) then the percentage. Examples: On the 30 March 2011 you consumed 40% of your own home grown vegetables. Enter: 30Mar2011 v40

You can enter fruit and veg separately or in one entry. Example: On the 14 February 2011 you grew 30% veg and 70% fruit. Enter: 14Feb2011 v30 f70

It is perfectly ok to make multiple entries on a single day. Say in the morning you did some harvesting and record it, then in the afternoon you popped out to the shop and record that. You could also keep a paper log and make just one entry per month. It's up to you. The gadget will average it out.

Note the Preview - Update button does not work. I don't know why. If you find any other problems let me know.


  1. Intention + will power = pure determination, and with that you will no doubt meet your 2015 goal...I truly look forward to watching as you take on this impressive challenge.:) I'm curious, how many square feet to you have available to grow food on?

  2. Hi Jason I have added it to my blog, though Im pretty slack when it comes to recording food harvested, will try to make more of an effort to weigh it and record.

  3. Mr. H. Intention I definitely have, will power now that's something influenced by the wind. But with support from my friends, garden group, and wonderful blog followers my sails will remain full most of the time. I will be honest the fact that you think the goal is impressive does scare me. But I have read a number of books that say 80% is achievable in a surburban back yard. I hope they were not just giving their readers lip service. Anyway don't they say if you are going to set a target set it high. Regarding the size of my garden I will have to get back to you on that one.

    Kellee Yay! I am so pleased you added it to your site. You have already made the time invested all worth while. Thanks. And a BIG CONGRATULATIONS on already producing 10% of your own fruit & veg. The most I have ever done is around 5%. I feel more inspired already. When collecting the data my thought is not to get to concerned with accuracy. Even just guessing would probably do.

    Check out Kellee's site: Jungle in my garden

  4. Like my bloggy brother Mr. H. says, if you put your mind to it you'll get there. I'm thinking of adding that gadget thing although I'm notoriously disorganised when it comes to these things. I always admire those people making a running weight total of what they have harvested. I never weigh anything. only very inaccurate scales only go up to 2 kg. How would I measure servings?

    What I do know is that due to often not having any money at all, I spend 3 week periods not entering a shop, except for maybe buying yeast to make bread. Where abouts are you growing your veg?

  5. Heiko I admire those people too. And I find it very motivating when they publish their tallies on their blog. Regarding recording I am now thinking using serves might be the easiest option. As it doesn't require a true measure of a serve an approximation will do:

    1 cup of fruit or veg = 1 serve.
    1 apple would fit into 1 cup thus = 1 serve.
    2 apricots would fit into 1 cup thus = 1 serve.
    1 coli would fit into 5 cups thus = 5 serves.

    3 weeks without the shop... now that's inspiring. That's where I want to get to.

    I am growing the veg in my garden ;-) ok, South Australia.

  6. I love the idea...but this year I began weighing everything I harvested but it became a bit tiresome. I will definitely think about your gadget. I might be able to manage 'serves'.

  7. Hi there,
    I like the idea of your gadget, but I'm more likely to think of % harvest in terms of what I don't have to buy - ie during January, Febuary and March this year, I didn't need to buy veggies at all, but still needed to purchase fruit which I don't grow... Is there a way to modify the gadget?

    We gave away some veggies then when we had an abundance and neighbours and family who had later crops are now returning the favour, reducing the grocery bill ongoing...

  8. HAZEL & Paula I am pleased you like the idea. I agree the difficulty is in the weighing. But considering it's the ratio that is important, just entering a percentage is a good idea. And I think just taking a guess at the percentage would be good enough. What do you think?

    I could also change it so the chart displayed the fruit and veg separately. If I made these changes would you guys use it them?

  9. I think that going by % of veggies used would be good. I think that would be the most simple idea and I would use it on my blog if that was the case...
    Ideally, being able to relate costs saved would be great but that would involve knowing weights and costs etc and would take a considerable amount of time.

  10. Well it's done. It now uses percent. And yes that is much easier. I have updated this post to reflect the changes. Enjoy.

  11. I've only just found this blog and enjoyed reading for the last hour or so.....I've just started a blog about our backyard like you its a tool to help keep track of what happened when and a motivation tool when you feel like things aren't happening, you can look back and see they really are. I LOVE the idea of the % of produced V's purchased and will be adding to my blog. Thanks and keep up the work :)

  12. aus.keeys Welcome. I personally find setting goals and keeping track of progress quite important to maintain my motivation. I am glad you like the chart tool and I hope it helps.

  13. Hi Jason,
    I've just found your blog and have enjoyed reading it. Good luck with reaching you goal! I'm also growing both a garden and a blog, and really enjoying doing both. I've just added your % tracker to my blog to remind myself in the cold, wet, unproductive months how good this food production thing can be!!

  14. city garden country garden I just checked out you blog. Nice, I like the contrasting approach between city and country. And wow! 90% self sufficiency for January. Well done!

    1. Thanks Jason, although summer is probably going to be the high point, not sure it will so high all year! I think the secret in getting the % up is to make sure that some of the space is always taken up with the staple leafy things that will keep you going all year that don't take too much space to grow. I grew some delicious cauliflower and cabbage last winter, but only got a few of each on enormous plants in an area that would have otherwise grown 7kg of potatoes, enough silverbeet and kale to keep us going all winter or more cucumbers than we could possibly eat. Of course you need to grow a variety of those other things too, or will be thoroughly sick of eating the one thing every day!


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