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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
Learn Lots about Self Sufficiency
Explore how to change your thinking to meet the demands of a self - sufficient lifestyle - from personal health through to providing your own basic daily needs.

  • Develop your understanding of self sufficiency, food and nutrition
  • Learn about making the right decisions about changes in lifestyle
  • Discover how to be practical too by looking at a whole range of practical things such as mud brick building, making crafts, growing fruit, vegetables, herbs, and other crops; raising poultry, sheep & goats, extending the life of clothing, conserving energy, recycling, simple home medical care and first aid, and lots more.


Self sufficiency is gaining renewed and wide interest as self-reliance and sustainability become the key to the future world.” - Adriana Fraser Cert.Hort., Cert.Child Care, Adv.Cert.App.Mgt., Cert IV Assessment and Training, Adv.Dip.Hort., ACS Tutor.

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Make sustainability a reality and learn how to be self sufficient

  • This course provides a foundation for moving toward a more self sufficient way of living.
  • Explore the possibilities of self-sufficiency, health, nutrition and clothing, horticulture herbs, fruit and vegetables, animal husbandry and more.
  • Course Duration: 100 hours of self-paced study.  Start at any time and study at a pace to suit you.
There are 10 lessons in this course: 
  1. Understanding the possibilities.
  2. Health, Nutrition and Clothing.
  3. Horticulture - Fruit and Vegetables.
  4. Horticulture - Herbs.
  5. Animal Husbandry - Poultry and Bees.
  6. Animal Husbandry - Grazing Animals & Pigs.
  7. Building - Earth & Mud Buildings.
  8. Appropriate Technology/Alternative energy.
  9. Craft & Country Skills.
  10. Making Decisions - Small Scale Production, How To Make Decisions.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

  • Discuss the nature and scope of self sufficiency.
  • Explain the importance of good nutrition and health.
  • Explain the importance of suitable clothing and clothing care.
  • Explain the relevance and application of horticulture to self sufficiency.
  • Explain the cultivation and use of herbs.
  • Explain the main requirements for successfully raising animals.
  • Explain the fundamentals of caring for grazing animals.
  • Explain the available alternatives to eating meat.
  • Discuss various building techniques that can be used to construct buildings.
  • Discuss alternatives to conventional energy sources.
  • Determine and describe accessible craft and country skills that may contribute to self sufficiency.
  • Analyze potential changes in lifestyle to increase a person’s level of self-sufficiency.


  • Identify essential and non-essential services offered by society
  • Identify services that one can be self sufficient with
  • Identify self skills that can aid in self sufficiency
  • Obtain skills that can be developed to assist in self sufficiency
  • Identify needs, wants and likes; and the purpose of prioritising needs
  • Identify items one can provide for oneself
  • Develop cost efficient meals
  • Identify purpose of fitness to self sufficiency
  • Plan a food garden
  • Identify crops plants most suited to a persons locality that assist in self sufficiency
  • Explain the use of bees hives, poultry and other animals for self sufficiency
  • Estimate carrying capacity of a piece of land for animal stocking
  • Describe multipurpose animal stocking and their uses
  • Consider energy alternative techniques such as wind, solar, water fire, etc.
  • Reduce present energy usage
  • Candle making
  • Cloth and garment making processes
  • Practice food preservation techniques
  • Practice handicraft techniques
  • Identify criteria when planning to set up a self sufficient lifestyle in a new location
  • Identify criteria on how to improve self sufficiency in present location


You Can Do it with Passion, Knowledge and Persistence
Modern society is complex. It relies on a massive network of interrelationships between individuals and groups. Each part of society supports other parts. To live in modern society you need to be in a niche contributing to the system; in return the system supports you. To be more self sufficient than you currently are, does not mean you need to drop out, but it does require change.

Being part of society does have advantages:

  • It allows for efficiencies of scale i.e. when something is made in large quantities, it can be produced more efficiently: it allows for specialized development of skills (i.e. if a person is able to concentrate on one job they can become more proficient at that job).
  • It also buffers the effect of a mistake (i.e. if someone has an accident, the system supports the person until they recover - through an insurance scheme or government welfare; the expense of the accident is shared by many).


What is self-sufficiency?

The concept of self sufficiency is all too often bandied around without people properly understanding what it all means. Consider the following statements:

  • To be self sufficient is to produce the things which you need to survive without the assistance of outside people.
  • You can produce some of your needs and be partly self sufficient, produce all of your needs and be completely self sufficient.
  • An individual person can be self sufficient, a small group (e.g. a family) can be self sufficient, or a large group can be self sufficient (you might think in terms of a whole society, city or nation).

To become self sufficient usually involves making certain compromises or concessions in your lifestyle. You might have to wear different types of clothing, adapt to a different level of mobility or change your diet. The degree to which you can achieve self sufficiency is usually related to the degree to which you are willing to make compromises.

  • Large areas of land are not necessary to become self sufficient. Depending on what you produce and how you produce it, you can become relatively self sufficient on even a standard suburban house block.
  • Bartering or swapping goods and/or services is a way of living often adopted by those interested in self sufficiency; although this does not strictly fall in line with a true self sufficient life-style, the barter system helps by removing (mostly) dependence on the monetary system.
  • The concept of a system that is self-perpetuating, working within the cycles of nature is often part of the self-sufficient ideal. The concepts of permaculture, companion planting and alternative medicine all become part of that ideal - seeking to establish a self-supporting system both economically and environmentally.


What is needed to make a successful change?

Firstly In order to make the change from a reliant to a self-reliant way of living, a trade needs to be made: money for time. People who do successfully make the change often have a feeling of empowerment; they have reduced their reliance on purchased goods, finding that they really can live without the so called ‘trappings of modern society.’ Some have a sense of freedom; a narrowing of choice requires less energy. This time and energy must then be used to build, grow, sew, cook and so on in order to supply basic daily needs that were previously supplied by the money earned.

Once people realise they can trade money for time they need to consider their approach to everyday life; evaluate their real needs as opposed to their perceived needs. You may need to compromise to achieve a balance between the things you would like to have and the things you are able to provide yourself with. A self sufficient lifestyle might make you less dependent on society, but this might only be possible at the expense of giving up luxuries.

A good place to start is to look at and answer the following questions:

  • What can you live without?
  • What can’t you live without?
  • How far do you want to go in being self-sufficient?
  • What knowledge and skills do you have i.e. practical, management, budgeting and organisational?
  • What skills do you need?
  • Have you considered how much life will really change?
  • Do you understand the physical work involved?
  • Are you fit enough both mentally and physically?
  • Are you prepared to compromise?

On a practical level make up a list of all the goods and services you get from modern society such as, doctors, chemist (medicines), cleaning aids, meat, vegetables, cereals, clothing, and electric heating and so on. Then go through the list and note the goods and services that you think you could supply for yourself and also those you could not. Then have another look at the list and note all the skills that you already have and those that you will need in order to supply these goods yourself. From this you will gain a fair idea of where your skills and skills shortages are.





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Meet some of our academics

Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

Check out our eBooks

PoultryPoultry are entertaining as pets and life sustaining as a commercial product! Whether you are seeking a book as a beginner poultry keeper or if you are embarking on a new career in poultry production or management, this book is for you. Easy to read, easy to understand and packed with easy to implement practical advice. Know how to care for the health and wellbeing of poultry and make production a commercially viable enterprise.
Organic GardeningFor decades farmers have relied upon chemicals to control pests and diseases in order to produce saleable crops. In the ornamental, vegetable and fruit gardens reliance on chemical controls has also been the mainstay for many gardeners.
HerbsLearn to identify and grow dozens of commonly grown herbs. Explore how to use them. Herbs have a rich history dating back centuries. Used by monks, apothecaries and ‘witches’ in the past, herbs are undergoing a revival in interest. They are easy to grow, scented, culinary and medicinal plants. In a formal herb garden or peppered throughout the garden, herbs rarely fail! Find out how they are used as medicines, for cooking, perfumes and more.
Fruit, Vegetables and HerbsThe Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs ebook is ideal for students, professionals and home gardening enthusiasts alike. Fruit, Vegetable and Herbs provides an overview in techniques to produce food in the garden. Topics covered within this course include 1/ Food from the garden, 2/ Deciding what to grow, 3/ Successful growing, 4/ Fruits, 4-1/ Deciduous fruit trees, 4-2/ Citrus fruits, 4-3/ Tropical fruits, 4-4/ Berries, 4-5/ Nuts, 4-6/ Vine crops, 4-7/ Using produce, 5/ Vegetables, 6/ Mushrooms, 7/ Special growing techniques