Self sufficiency is freedom — it is choice. The more of your own needs that you can meet independent of a volatile employment market or fluctuating food prices, the more choices you have.
Furthermore, time and again, it has been revealed that the food you buy is either less nutrient-dense than it used to be due to soil depletion or less healthful than you’d like because of contamination. The one person you can trust more than anyone else with something as crucial as food is yourself.
If you are able to produce a substantial amount of your own food, and stop paying others for your bread, beer and wine, that can make a difference in the need to work a second job or allow a spouse to stay home and home school children. It can increase the quality of your life by giving you time with those who matter the most to you.
Likewise, we live in a time of accelerated change. While many of these changes have opened unprecedented venues for cooperative effort, such as the Internet, others have made us less safe, such as a wider net of terrorism — often aimed at financial centers. A society that is simultaneously more reliant on increasing levels of technology at a time where threats directed at that technology are on the rise is vulnerable to unanticipated disruptions in supply. Most commodities are delivered via “just in time” methods that are aimed at reducing warehouse time, with over the road trucking serving as a warehouse on wheels and the average food item traveling over 1,000 miles. Disruptions of as little as three days can severely affect food supplies.
In addition, globalized supply chains have led to increased energy usage in places such as India and China, and their increase in energy usage is so great that in only 20 years, just those two countries will be using more energy than the rest of the world combined. The Government Accountability Office has already reported that the oil supplies that fuel the global economy will peak in production and start declining within a few years, causing shortages and major spikes in price. With commodity agriculture methods being so dependent on fossil fuels, food supplies will reflect unprecedented increases in price. The more self-sufficient you are, the less you will be affected.
But aside from gloom and doom, food you make yourself will be substantially more healthful and taste better, and there is a certain pride that comes from giving a friend a can of chicken soup in which every single ingredient excepting maybe pepper is something made with your own hands. It’s hard to put a price on that.