The best books on self-sufficiency

Piers Warren Author Of How to Store Your Garden Produce: The Key to Self-Sufficiency
By Piers Warren

Who am I?

Aged six, I was first given a tiny piece of garden where I grew radishes and lettuces. I haven’t stopped growing my own food since! Everything about it is good for you and I have been writing about this for many years in various magazines and books. I have always been fascinated with the idea of self-sufficiency and love to read about methods old and new.


I wrote...

How to Store Your Garden Produce: The Key to Self-Sufficiency

By Piers Warren, Tessa Pettingell (illustrator),

Book cover of How to Store Your Garden Produce: The Key to Self-Sufficiency

What is my book about?

What can you do with a glut of tomatoes? How do you bottle plums and string onions? What can you do that is interesting with all those huge marrows? How do you keep potatoes through the winter? 

How to Store Your Garden Produce: the key to self-sufficiency is the modern guide to storing and preserving your garden produce, enabling you to eat home-grown goodness all year round. The easy-to-use reference section provides storage and preservation techniques for the majority of plant produce commonly grown in gardens and allotments.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The Classic Guide for Realists and Dreamers

By John Seymour,

Book cover of The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The Classic Guide for Realists and Dreamers

Why this book?

This is the classic book on self-sufficiency that started my interest when I first read it decades ago. John Seymour was the master and teacher and the book is crammed with practical methods with many useful illustrations. Many people I know who are fascinated with the idea of self-sufficiency, and successful practitioners, were initially inspired by this book.


Practical Self-Sufficiency: The Complete Guide to Sustainable Living Today

By Dick Strawbridge, James Strawbridge,

Book cover of Practical Self-Sufficiency: The Complete Guide to Sustainable Living Today

Why this book?

This is a very comprehensive book by engineer and TV presenter Dick Strawbridge and his son James. Not only does it cover the usual themes of food production but is also littered with many practical engineering projects that can help you lead a self-reliant life - such as methods for producing your own electricity, water. The many excellent photos help guide you through the projects in detail.


Home Farm

By Paul Heiney,

Book cover of Home Farm

Why this book?

The photography in this book is so gorgeous you can just imagine yourself on a sunny smallholding or homestead, tending your crops and looking after your livestock. The instructions are clear and concise from someone who lives the good life. It certainly encouraged me to have a go at various aspects of self-sufficiency that other books didn’t. A great book to dream over while you plan your future.


More Scenes from a Smallholding

By Chas Griffin,

Book cover of More Scenes from a Smallholding

Why this book?

This is a true story of Chas Griffin’s attempts at living a self-sufficient life on a new smallholding in Wales. Not only is it hilarious but describes all the ups and downs and unexpected disasters yet remains warm and inviting. Rather than just an instruction book, this will show you what it’s really like and possibly give you second thoughts! This was Chas’s first book and so good I went on the read his subsequent titles.


How to Live Off-Grid

By Nick Rosen,

Book cover of How to Live Off-Grid

Why this book?

I have read this book several times it is so packed with ideas and inspiration. The author travels to a variety of communities, some small, some larger, and investigates how the people are tackling their ambition for self-sufficiency in numerous different ways. If you’re thinking of an alternative off-grid life of self-sufficiency then you will learn just as many ways that may not suit you as those that do. A great education into the realities of this sort of life.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in self-sustainability, gardening, and renewable energy?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about self-sustainability, gardening, and renewable energy.

Self-Sustainability Explore 8 books about self-sustainability
Gardening Explore 65 books about gardening
Renewable Energy Explore 9 books about renewable energy

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times, The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency, and Lights Out: A Cyberattack: A Nation Unprepared: Surviving the Aftermath if you like this list.