Self-sufficiency definition and lifestyle

Do you truly know what self-sufficient living means? Self-sufficiency definition is basically having the ability to provide everything you and your family need to live and survive without the help of outside sources.This post will not only explain more about self-sufficiency but will show some places around the world to live “off the grif”.

Self-sufficient cities

El Hierro – Canary Islands (Spain)

El Hierro island has become a role model throughout the world thanks to its hydro-wind power station, which is nothing less than a wind farm and a water power station interconnected with the island´s power system. The hydro-wind power station enables an intermittent source of energy to be transformed into a controlled and constant supply of electricity. It also has a water power plant and a desalination plant.

El Hierro has thus become the first fully self-sufficient island in the world out of renewable sources of energy. Additionally, the whole island was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2000, joining the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO´s Man and Biosphere Program (MaB).

self sufficiency definition
El Hierro

Findhorn Ecovillage (Finland)

Talking about self-sufficiency definition, The Findhorn Ecovillage, is a great example to this, situated in the beautiful Findhorn Bay of Moray is a synthesis of the very best of current thinking on sustainable human settlements. Within the ecovillage, sustainable values are expressed in the built environment with ecological houses, innovative use of building materials such as local stone and straw bales, beauty in the architecture and gardens, and applied technology in the Living Machine sewage treatment facility and electricity-generating wind turbines. Sustainable values are also expressed in the community’s social, economic and educational initiatives.

A good deal of talks and workshops are held in the community where they explain how they have been able to become a sustainable community so successfully, receiving nearly 14,000 visitors from 50 different countries every year.

self sufficiency definition
Findhorn Ecovillage

Samso island (Denmark)

In 1997, Samsø was appointed Denmark’s Renewable Energy Island. This appointment was followed by a concrete assignment to prepare a 10-year energy plan for the island, for the purpose of inducing Samsø to modify its energy supply from fossil energy to renewable energy. It is widely known that the project was a success. In 2007, Samsø’s inhabitants were able to declare their island 100% energy self-sufficient based on wind, solar and biomass energy; an achievement that was largely due to wide support and investments. For instance, a great number of Samsø’s inhabitants have replaced their oil-burners and have insulated their houses, and joint local forces support the island’s district heating plant.

self sufficiency definition

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, Missouri (USA)

This eco-town is nestled in Missouri and is a result of a vision from three students of the ‘90s whose goal it was to grow to be a town of 500 to 1000 residents living self-sufficiency.

Each resident is committed to living a self-sufficiency definition lifestyle that is eco-friendly. While other eco-communities might try to exclude themselves from the mainstream life, Dancing Rabbit wants to function alongside it. “Although Dancing Rabbit strives for some level of self-sufficiency and economic independence, we do not sequester ourselves from mainstream America. Rather, outreach and education are integral to our goals”.

Dancing Rabbit

Ecovillage in Torri Superiore (Italy)

The medieval village of Torri Superiore is a little jewel of medieval architecture situated in the foothills of the Ligurian Alps, a few kilometres from both the Mediterranean Sea and the French border, close to the coastal town of Ventimiglia. Dating from the 13th century, the village consists of three main buildings with over 160 vaulted rooms, all linked by an intricate labyrinth of stairways and terraces, and has been compared to a labyrinth or fortress, built on the side of the mountain. 

The community warmly welcomes people who wish to learn about their off the grid lifestyle. They even invite the people and guests into the village to have a look at their lives. This small village is home to 20 residents who are permanent there, but they also gladly host guests from all over the world.

Torri Superiore

Masdar City (Dubai)

The ambitious plan for the first 100% environmentally-friendly and self-sufficiency definition city in the world began in 2008. It had been forecast to finish by 2016, but because of the world crisis it seems it will finish in 2020. Masdar City is in the middle of the desert, 17 kilometres away from Abu Dhabi, and in 2013 they decided to open a third of the city in order to receive tourists and its first residents.

This amazing city has a perimeter wall for holding back the desert´s strong winds and sand storms, apart from using currents to keep temperatures pleasantly cool and structure narrow streets for the same purpose. The whole city is provided with energy through solar panels to have electricity as well as for water treatment and urban transportVehicles consist of electric cabins which go all over the city in a few minutes, and they have an electric train, so there is not a single car using fossil fuel.

self sufficiency definition
Masdar City

What makes a place self-sufficient?

We explained about self-sufficiency definition We named some places where living sustainable and eco friendly is a lifestyle. But what factors contribute to becoming a sufficient place?


One way cities can move towards a self-sustainable power supply is by becoming energy suppliers themselves. Self-sufficient buildings generate their own food and energy with greenhouses for growing food, large sloping roofs covered in solar panels.


The biggest reward for self-sufficiency is knowing that you grow your own food, learn new things, and live free from others. It gives one the highest form of personal satisfaction. It gives one a greater sense of self-worth. Vertical farms are a developing area that will see cities able to feed themselves without relying on polluting, congesting deliveries from elsewhere.

Circular energyself-sufficient

A circular economy factors reuse and recycling into the demand for products and services, and the concept can be a real boon to cities pursuing sustainable self-sufficiency. In a fully circular economy, even waste isn’t wasted. The residences are based on circular energy play a key role and are sustainable as they are designed with a wooden structure; thus they define a new standard in ecology and functionality.


With the climate crisis an increasingly pressing issue around the world, having a reliable and self-sufficient source of water is becoming more important for many cities. Santa Monica in drought-prone California is working towards complete water self-sufficiency by 2023. This has involved building groundwater wells and an underground treatment plant. The city has also implemented strict ‘water neutrality rules. This mean that when a site is redeveloped, it cannot have greater water requirements than the previous development at that location.

Tips for being self- sufficient

You might be thinking that being self-sufficient might be of interest to you. However, maybe you aren’t really sure where to start. These are some of the basic tips to become one:

Suistenable house

When you decide to embrace a self-sufficient lifestyle, you have to let go of a lot of modern thinking. One of the modern ways of thinking is housing. You live in one house for a while, then you sell it for a bigger house. Most people do this quite a few times over their life. There are so many skills to be learned, like Canning Food, vegetable growing, saving energy…that will help with your journey to self-sufficiency. Learning each new skill will enable you to become more independent.

Gardening skillsself-sufficient

It is possible to create some type of homestead right where you are. If you are in an apartment and have a balcony, you can grow something. If you live in the suburbs, there are ways to grow some of your own food. Skills like building a greenhouse, composting, saving seeds, making your own fertilizer or collecting rainwater can help you to get as much food as your space will allow.

Producing your own energy

Planning on investing in solar panels is such a good investment for the future. The idea that you can produce your own electricity and pay less per month just changes your life. And once your solar panels are paid for, you get free energy. Regardless of what is going in the world, you will still have got electricity.

Environmental preservation

Self-sufficient people care very deeply about their environment. They reduce waste in their homes to a bare minimum. Organic practices are used. They reuse as many materials as possible. They use environmentally safe products. So you should think to work towards the protection of endangered life such as bees and wildlife.

A self-sufficient lifestyle is not easy to achieve. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and sometimes a lot of work. So it all depends on where you live and how self-sufficient you desire to be. We all have different goals and find ways to achieve those goals differently as well.

We hope we explained well the self-sufficiency definition and you’re a little bit more keen to the idea of living off the grif! If not you can watch last video on Youtube about living self-sufficiency!

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