sustainable living

Sustainable Living Trend Becoming More Popular: ‘Secret Garden of Survival’ Author Rick Austin Interview

Author and public speaker Rick Austin is sharing his sustainability secrets to help more American develop an enhanced self-reliance skill set. Austin’s extremely detailed and easy to read new release, Secret Garden of Survival – How to Grow a Food Forest, harkens back to days of old. Rick as spent his adult life perfecting sustainable gardening and off-grid living techniques.

The renowned public speaker did not reinvent the wheel, he merely listened to the wisdom of our ancestors and expanded upon their efficient crop growing process. Although Austin’s book focuses on gardening, he is also an expert on off-grid living. He took the skills he learned as a young lad, infused them with green-living advancements, and built multiple solar-powered homes.

The lesson that “sharing is good” we were all taught in kindergarten was definitely not lost on Rick Austin. Sure, he wants to make a living selling his books and addressing crowds, but he is first and foremost a man on a mission. Folks who are interested living a more self-reliant or earth-friendly lifestyle will very likely find reading the Secret Garden of Survival – How to Grow a Food Forest or listening to Austin speak, extremely useful.

IQ – You have spent three decades studying permaculture gardening, solar, and off-grid living techniques. What prompted you to embark on such a journey?

Rick Austin – I learned to be self-reliant by growing up as a New Englander, where the winters are hard, and people’s mindset was always one of self-sufficiency. I learned to live with hardship, and often with the loss of power, heat, and access to the grocery store, for a week at a time. In that environment, you therefore learn to cook and heat with wood, preserve food in different ways, and find ways to keep from freezing to death in zero degree weather.

I learned about solar building techniques because when I was a kid, my Dad was a plumbing and heating contractor, whose claim to fame was probably that he installed more solar hot water and heating systems than anyone else in New England back in the 1970’s. I worked for him as a teenager and learned to appreciate the value of passive-solar, and green energy. For me it was not so much about saving the planet- per se, but more about saving myself, and money. I always figured that if the sun can heat your home and your water for free, why would you pay some utility to do it, especially, when the utility can’t be counted on during snow and ice storms?

I have built and lived in 5 solar homes since then, and each one has been more efficient and better designed that the last. Some of that is due to new technologies, like spray-in foam insulation, and super-efficient, argon filled windows, that allow for solar heat gain, and keep the cold out. As part of this self-sufficient mindset, I looked at ways to incorporate the entire landscape into my self-sufficiency plans. I wanted my home to work with the environment, and I wanted my environment to provide me with food.

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