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Self Sufficiency

Rick Austin Interview — The Survivalist Gardener’s Top Tips

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If you think carving out a sustainable homestead on only a few acres while raising your own groceries is impossible, you would be terribly wrong. Rick Austin, also known as the Survivalist Gardener, has done just that in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.

Rick Austin Shares His Wisdom

Rick Austin and his wife, best known as Survivor Jane, are not just surviving off their land, they’re thriving. Several years ago, the couple became keenly aware of the many potential disasters looming. They realized just how unsafe they would be if SHTF while they were still city dwellers.

Rick and Jane left their highly successful careers in the city and moved to a beautiful — and sustainable — patch of land in North Carolina. There, they began utilizing their gardening expertise to fully embrace the preparedness lifestyle.

Since then, the Survivalist Gardener Rick Austin has become a nationally renowned off grid living, homesteading, and preparedness expert.

Rick Austin: A Prolific Survivalist

rick austin the survivalist gardener

rick austin the survivalist gardener

Austin’s first book, Secret Garden of Survival-How to Grow a Camouflaged Food Forest, is now the #1 Best Selling book in Garden Design. His newest book, Secret Livestock of Survival – How to Raise the Very Best Choices for Retreat and Homestead Livestock, is destined to become a top-selling homesteading and prepping resource manual as well.

All of the Rick Austin books belong in your survival library. Each one offers an easy-to-read and highly detailed explanation on the focused topic. Both newbies and seasoned preppers will close the cover knowing they’ve learned important lessons they can put into practice to help their family survive a disaster and live a more natural and sustainable life on a daily basis.

The newest book from Rick Austin offers a complete livestock guide that preppers on a budget or living on only a small homestead can easily put into practice. That being said, survivalists living on a sizable plot of land will also greatly benefit from Austin’s words of wisdom and detailed steps.

Secret Livestock book excerpt:

“When most people think of raising homestead livestock, they invariably think that they must have chickens and a cow. But truth be told, when it comes to raising livestock, there are a lot of reasons to avoid raising chickens altogether, and almost every reason not to own a cow. The Secret Livestock of Survival, will show you how to grow your own sources of food (in this case — protein) with a much better return on your investment of time, money, feed, housing and real estate, than with traditional homestead thinking. And these livestock animals are discrete, so most people won’t even know you are raising them.”

The Interview

What got you interested in prepping?

I have always been a Boy Scout and been always prepared. I grew up in New Hampshire, so I grew up with that New England Puritan work ethic where you are expected to take care of yourself. Growing up in New Hampshire, you learned to cook and heat with wood, because you could lose power for a week at a time in the winter due to snow and ice storms. At the same time, we would store our refrigerated food outside in the snow when we lost electricity for days at a time.

As an adult, I moved to Florida — the hurricane and lightning capital of the world. There you always had to be prepared for a storm, losing power — even losing your home. Nobody was going to save you — you had to save yourself.

What tips would you give to newbie preppers?

Stop being a consumer and start being a producer. Do something, grow something, raise something! Try something. Try DOING. Don’t just stock pile and buy food storage like so many preppers do. The time to learn to produce your own food is not when it is a matter of life or death for your family.

Even if you don’t have a homestead or property yet, you can start raising rabbits in an apartment or your garage. Should the SHTF, they can easily bug out with you.

Make the leap. The longer you wait, and the more you are stuck on the industrial food grid, the less money you will have later. Grocery food packaging is getting smaller, prices are getting higher, and the food is getting more poisonous with more and more toxic chemicals.

You need to stop being a slave to the system. If they control your food, then they control you. Being independent of the food grid will set you free.

How did your loved ones react to your desire to work in the survival field and become Rick Austin: Survival Gardener?

I have always been a “survivalist” before it was fashionable to be one — before they coined the term. My wife appreciated that I knew how to take care of the family in any disaster. When the housing market and stock market took a dive 10 years ago, crime became rampant. Orlando became the 6th most dangerous city in the country. We both retired early and left our corporate jobs to live off grid. We learned a lot the hard way. Unlike people 100 years ago, we didn’t grow up with living off grid.

rick austin prepper camp

rick austin prepper camp

Today, we teach other people how to live a sustainable lifestyle like we do through books, social media, podcasts, radio, television, and public speaking appearances. Today, we run the largest annual outdoor preparedness and homesteading event in the country, Prepper Camp.

Why did you become passionate about sharing your knowledge?

We look at it as our ministry to give back and to teach others. We get joy out of helping others become self-sufficient. It also helps the country and helps these people grow as individuals.

And of course, selfishly- the more people we teach to feed themselves now, the less unprepared people I will have to kill later after The End Of The World As We Know It – TEOTWAWKI.

What factors should a family consider when choosing where to live factor and put their preparedness plan into action?

I can’t get over how many people ask me how they can grow my camouflaged food forest in a place like Arizona. I have to ask, “Who can honestly consider themselves a ‘prepper’ and choose to live in a place without rainfall?”

Water is #1 most valuable resource. Without water, humans die in three days. Without water, you can’t grow crops. People who live in the desert import their water. If that gets shut off, you and your family are dead.

rick austin survivalist tips

rick austin survivalist tips

When we chose our last retreat — our final homestead destination, we could have moved anywhere in the world. Yet we chose the Appalachian Mountain region of the United States for lots of reasons.

In terms of specific attributes for choosing a homestead, south facing property for our solar home and growing a garden was important. South facing provides the most sunshine for energy, heat and growing food. We live on a mountain top for the view and security. High ground is always the best. It was important to find a location where there was adequate rainfall, climate, and a long distance from big population centers, to be out of the path of civil unrest.

What was also very important was the basic quality of the people who already lived in the area. The people here are basically good people. And they are for the most part self-sufficient.

I recommend that other people be strategic in their thinking — this is your life. Don’t be constrained by where you grew up or where your family/in-laws chose to live. Do what is right for you and your family as a survivalist.

What was your biggest prepping fail and what did you learn from it?

The garden growth has been incredible, more than I could have ever anticipated. The only thing I might do, if I had to do it over, would be to give more room to my perennial plants. You don’t realize that they will grow up and out to the point where they can shade out other plants.

Building on a mountain top has had its challenges. We sit on a slab of granite, which is fine for the home. But trying to put in a root cellar underground was difficult to do. We broke three backhoes trying to dig a hole 15-feet-deep and 12-feet-square to put our small underground little food storage area in.

What was the motivation for the Secret Livestock of Survival book?

After my Secret Garden of Survival book about my sustainable perennial food forest and my Secret Greenhouse of Survival book about my insulated sustainable attached greenhouse, protein production was the third leg of my food stool. Having sustainable sources of protein makes the whole sustainable/symbiotic homesteading food production come full circle. Not only do my sustainable livestock choices provide my family with protein — meat, eggs, milk, cheese, etc. — but my animals also give back to the garden and greenhouse from which they eat by providing the plants in my garden and greenhouse with natural fertilizer — poop!

What breed of goat do you and Survivor Jane have, and why?

We have Nigerian Dwarf Diary goats — not meat goats. They produce 1.5 gallons of milk per day from three small girls. They take little space, consume little food, and produce a lot of milk. And like my garden, greenhouse and my other livestock, they are discrete. They can hide in plain sight. Raising meat is best left for rabbits. I also raise meat from ducks and chickens, to some degree.

Basically, when you eat a small animal it is one meal and done, as opposed to big game or big livestock. With those, there is much more work to process and preserve the meat. Once you process a large animal, you have to store it. So, without refrigeration and a freezer, it could all go to waste. The last thing you want to consume is botulism in a grid down situation.

If you could go back and add one more bit of information to the book, what would it be?

In Secret Garden of Survival, I would show pictures as to what it looks like today. After six or seven years of growth, the trees are huge. They now produce huge amounts of food. Last year, we got over 1,000 peaches off of one tree — and I have several peach trees. But, I do show current day growth on my YouTube channel. That way, people can see the change and the volume of harvest on a very small piece of land.

rick austin homesteading

rick austin homesteading

What has changed since your last books?

Secret Livestock of Survival was released four years after my Secret Garden of Survival book. I had a lot more to share, and lots of tips and tricks that I would not have known without a lot of mistakes. In fact, it was hard to keep the livestock book short, because I had so much to tell.

My livestock book is my best book yet. I have included not only which animals are best to have on a sustainable homestead, but also how to care for them. I give people the most important information about each animal in the book. Therefore, I have kept people from having to buy about eight other books on each specific type of livestock. Plus, I put all my animal recommendations in order of ROI- Return on Investment, getting the most return for the least amount of input. So, if you only had to choose to raise one or two types of animals to start with, you could do so without having to use resources you may not have including time and money. That’s why I started my book with raising rabbits.

Have you heard of Rick Austin and his books? Let us know in the comments below!

Ready to take some of the advice from Rick Austin? Learn how to start with Planting for Preppers 101!

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Self Sufficiency

NYC Adds Nearly 4,000 People Who Never Tested Positive To Coronavirus Death Tolls

New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll Tuesday, bringing coronavirus-related deaths in the city to around 10,000 people.

The city decided to add 3,700 people to its death tolls, who they “presumed” to have died from the virus, according to a report from The New York Times. The additions increased the death toll in the U.S. by 17%, according to the Times report, and included people who were suffering from symptoms of the virus, such as intense coughing and a fever.

The report stated that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided over the weekend to change the way the city is counting deaths.

“In the heat of battle, our primary focus has been on saving lives,” de Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein told the Times.“As soon as the issue was raised, the mayor immediately moved to release the data.”

The post New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll appeared first on Daily Caller

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Self Sufficiency

How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

The thing about homesteading is you get to create your own ingredient right from scratch! Cheese, yogurt, butter and now sauerkraut, a delightfully sour and crunchy ingredient you can use on your meals — or consume by itself — while on a homestead, or while facing this health crisis!

This homemade sauerkraut is a great meal because it has a long shelf life. You can either make plain sauerkraut or mix it with herbs and spices. In this tutorial let us make Lacto-fermented sauerkraut that preserves all the good probiotics in a jar, good for your guts.

So how to make sauerkraut in a mason jar?

RELATED: How To Make Buttermilk On Your Homestead

Delicious Sauerkraut Recipe Every Homesteader Should Know

Why Make Sauerkraut?


Not only does sauerkraut spoil a long time, but it is also a meal in itself, and it is also easy to make! You don’t need to be an expert cook, all you need to do is follow these simple steps.

So let us get started. Here are the steps in making sauerkraut in a mason jar.


  • 1 head of cabbage or 2 1/2 lbs cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

Tools Needed:

  • knife
  • bowl
  • mason jar
  • smaller jar
  • rubber band

Step 1: Wash & Clean the Tools & Ingredients

Wash all the equipment and utensils you need. Wash your hands too.

You don’t want to mix your sauerkraut with bad bacteria, anything that is going to make you sick.

Next, remove the faded leaves from your cabbage. Cut off the roots and the parts that don’t seem fresh.

Step 2: Cut the Cabbage Into Quarters & Slice Into Strips

Cut your cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Then, slice it into strips.

Step 3: Place in a Bowl & Sprinkle With Salt

Put the stripped cabbage into a bowl. Sprinkle the cabbage with 1 tablespoon of salt.

TIP: Use canning salt or sea salt. Iodized salt will make it taste different and may not ferment the cabbage.

RELATED: Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Step 4: Massage the Cabbage

Massage the cabbage for five minutes or more to get the juice out.

TIP: You’ll know it’s ready when you see a bit of juice at the bottom of the bowl and will look similar to coleslaw.

Step 5: Press Cabbage Into the Mason Jar

Add the cabbage to the mason jar gradually. Press it in hard to allow the juice to come out. Do this every time you add about a handful of cabbage.

IMPORTANT: Food should be covered by the liquid to promote fermentation. Add any excess liquid from the bowl to the jar.

Step 6: Press a Smaller Jar Into the Mason Jar

You want to squeeze every ounce of that juice from the cabbage. To do this place the mason jar in a bowl and get a smaller jar.

Fill it with water or marble to make it heavy. Press it into the bigger mason jar. Allow any juices to rise to the surface.

Step 7: Cover the Jars With Cloth & Tie With Rubber Band

Leave the small jar on. To keep your jars clean from annoying insects and irritating debris, cover your jars with a clean cloth. Then, use a rubber band to tie the cloth and the jars together, putting them in place.

Step 8: Set Aside & Check Daily

Set it aside in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight. Check the water level daily. It should always be above the cabbage.

Step 9: Taste Your Sauerkraut & Keep at Cool Temperatures

Homemade Sauerkraut Cumin Juniper | How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

After about five days, you can taste your sauerkraut. If the taste is to your liking, tightly cover it with the lid and store in the fridge or cellar.

NOTE: If after five days it’s still not your desired taste, leave it for a few more days. This will allow the fermentation process to continue.

You can now enjoy your sauerkraut in a mason jar. Enjoy its goodness! You can use it as a side dish or mix it with your favorite sandwich.

Things to Remember in Making Sauerkraut

  • Store away from direct sunlight and drafts.
  • Colder weather will make the process longer. Spring is the best time to make them since the warmth helps activate the fermentation.
  • Always make sure that the cabbage is below the water level during the entire fermentation process.
  • If the water level decreases during the fermentation process, you can make a brine and add it.

Let us watch this video from Kristina Seleshanko on how to make delicious Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar!

So there you have it! Making Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar is as easy as slicing the cabbage into strips. Remember that as long it remains unopened, your sauerkraut can last for months. Best of all, you can partner this sauerkraut in many recipes.

What do you think of this homemade recipe? Share your best sauerkraut recipe in the comments section below!

Fellow homesteaders, do you want to help others learn from your journey by becoming one of our original contributors? Write for us!


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Self Sufficiency


Having plants in the house will bring peace to people. Having a little garden with vegetables is even better! You can grow these vegetables in your backyard garden easily as well!

RELATED: Microgreens Growing Guide

In this article:

  1. Tomato
  2. Eggplant
  3. Beet
  4. Spinach
  5. Pea
  6. Carrot
  7. Radish
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Asparagus

Growing veggies in your garden will give you an opportunity to understand what you eat and value it more. Early spring is when most vegetables are being planted. Keep reading to learn about 9 spring vegetables that anyone can grow in their garden!


Tomato is the most popular garden vegetable in the States! There are different varieties to choose from. Tomatoes need to be planted in early spring because they won’t survive a frost.

Because tomatoes are consumed daily, try adding them to your garden! They’re not difficult to grow either.


Eggplants are known to have low-calorie, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Plus, they are delicious! So why not plant them in your garden?

Eggplants shouldn’t be planted too early because they won’t be able to survive a frost. So you could consult an expert in your area before you plant your eggplants.


Beets are known to be a superfood for its various health benefits. They’re easier to grow in the garden, usually around late March or early April.

If the weather is always cool, beets will keep getting bigger and bigger. Once the weather starts to warm up, you’ll need to harvest them, or they’ll go to waste.


Spinach is a delicious early spring veggie, and it’s also very beneficial for health. And it’s not difficult to grow spinach in your garden!

Spinach needs cold weather to grow. Getting spinach to grow is easy, but keeping it growing will require some extra care.


Peas are usually planted in late April. Peas will die in freezing temperatures, but they also won’t survive the heat either. So make sure you plant your peas in early spring.

Peas are widely used in many different ways, and there are different types of peas. The soil you’ll be planting your peas should be suitable for them, so make sure you ask while buying seeds.


There are different types of carrots, but regardless of their size and color, it’s a fact that carrots are both delicious and rich in vitamins.

They’re root vegetables, so with proper sun and watering, they can be picked up as baby carrots as well.


A radish is an excellent option for beginners because it doesn’t require too much care. Radish is easy to harvest.

Radish grows fast, so it’s better to keep an eye on it after a few weeks. Radish usually is grown pest-free, but there’s always the chance of unwanted guests, so watch out for worms. Radish can be eaten raw or can be added to garnish recipes.


Cauliflower isn’t the easiest vegetable to grow at home, but it is very popular.

Cauliflower grows better in colder weather, so before you plant it, consider the climate of your garden. Cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked, and it is known to be very beneficial for health.


Freshly picked, tender asparagus is very delicious!

Asparagus plants get more productive with each harvest, and mature asparagus harvest can last for months! Make sure you plant them at the correct time, or else they might go to waste.

All the vegetables listed above are great for your healthy diet, and it’s fun to watch them grow. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your own veggies and eat healthy this spring!

So tell us which veggies will you be growing this spring? Tell us in the comments section!




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