There are significant challenges to living, “off the grid” that multiple if one has a modern standard of living. If living off the grid means a cabin with a wood stove and a garden, something along the lines of Thoreau’s Walden, then if is probably pretty easy and can be established with little start up cost in about one season. However, there have been quite a few examples of people living off the grid who have access to all the comforts of home. One of the first and major priorities is energy. Using wood stoves and masonry stoves (a highly efficient type of woodstove) for heat is a great way to ensure that you are not dependent on outside energy sources for heat, cooking, and water. Of course there are significant difficulties involved with cutting and hauling one’s own firewood. I believe that a a more convenient option is to use solar and wind power to provide heat and power needs. The next step is the establishment of a food and water system. Building a simple greenhouse is a great way to have a controlled, extended season envrionment for growing food. There are also many small livestock options like chickens and rabbits. However, you will always have to maintain contacts for livestock and seeds in order to maintain genetic diversity in the long term. The best way to get started is to start very small. If you have a small house you will be able to dived your energy more evenly. This way you will be able to devote a little energy to each of the neccessary steps. My friend was able to achieve a moderate level of off the grid independence by renovating an old trailer on 20 acres. He just set up a simple solar powered battery set up and generator for electricity. Most of his heat comes from a wood stove but there is also a propane flash heater for water, a propane cookstove, and a propane base heater. He routed some irrigation line from a well up on a hill. The gravity fed system allows him some level of water throughout the warmer months. He also collects rainwater, again small diversified projects are key to getting started very quickly with little resources. However, if you have a lot of time to devote to the development of an off the grid lifestyle then yout process may be more systematic. The first place to start would be to get a subscription to some magazines that cover living off the grid. Some examples are, “Hobby Farmer” and “Mother Earth News”. Also, John Seymour’s books are an excellent planning guideline.
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