January 29, 2015


I’ve been thinking about this word for some time. How everyone needs to feel part of a community. There have been moments where I have thought that I don’t need others, and how it would be ideal to live in the countryside with no one around us for miles. But the truth is, we do need others. In all the years O and I have been married, it is interesting that the people who have become a part of our lives, are the friends we have in common, our community.

But there are many types of communities. In this video, community is seen in an agricultural setting. What makes this setting work, is that working together is important for the welfare of individuals and sustainability of communities. There is little value in working as separate families but when a cooperative is formed, and the workload and skill sets are shared, livelihoods improve because everyone has access to employment opportunities which in turns alleviates poverty. I’m sure there are other benefits too.

Which brings me to self-reliance. I can see the wisdom in being self-reliant, but to be fully self-reliant, you need to learn many skills. Like a truck load of them. But let’s say there are 20 families in a community doing the same thing in their homes. Wouldn’t it be more productive and beneficial if each family focused on a single skill set each and if needed, sell or barter with each other instead?

When O and I first got married I introduced him to the idea of food storage. The concept was foreign to him. O grew up in a community where families specialized in a specific vocation. If you didn’t grow your own vegetables or raise your own chickens, families still had access to fresh food as well as tradespeople. Each family had a specific skill set and each benefited from each other’s services, making the community a sustainable one. And because families focused on a specific skill set, they became experts at what they did and in turn had excellent products.

So that’s where I’m coming from. Do I become a jack of all trades and produce work that is mediocre in all those areas, or become a master of one and produce the one thing that I can call excellent.