View across field to farm buildings, tall trees in winter sunshine.

Self Sufficiency in a Modern World

In November 2015, we moved to our small homestead in Monmouthshire to start a new life. We have taken steps towards self-sufficiency in our food through vegetable gardening and fruit growing. This has given us more self-reliance and food security, with the added benefits of improved health and resilience.

The farm’s productive area was created using permaculture principles. And we work with nature, not against it. We use traditional and natural methods to grow healthy, nutritent rich food. We grow biointensively to gain maximum yields from the space that we have.

Byther Farm is under an acre in size. It has a food forest, raised bed garden and a small market garden. The fruit and vegetable production area covers approximately half an acre, providing food for our family. We also grow for a small Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) veg box project.

On this site you will find

More than anything I hope you’ll find this website interesting and useful. I will continue to add fruit and vegetable gardening tips and ideas. You can also find useful information from other gardeners and growers.Shortcode

View of garden filled with edible plants.

What do we mean by self sufficiency in food?

We don’t expect to be capable of producing 100 per cent of our needs and wants from the land. We are working towards providing as much of our own food as is practical. Vegetable gardening and fruit growing provides most of our plant based food. Our poultry provide eggs and occasionally meat, but we still visit the local shops for some supplies.

About Byther Farm

Byther Farm, a 0.8 acre homestead – a smallholding in the UK – was designed using permaculture. The gardens produce approximately 85 per cent of the food and drink consumed at the kitchen table. It is home to Mr J and Liz Zorab. Liz runs courses in gardening and homesteading. She also writes, hosts a podcast (Gardening Demystified) and has a successful YouTube channel, Liz Zorab – Byther Farm. A local veg box scheme, run as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project, was successfully piloted in 2019.

‘We moved to Byther Farm in late 2015 to start a new life together. A gentler, greener lifestyle that would nurture our physical and emotional needs to live more with the rhythm of nature.

We choose natural methods to grow an abundance of fruit and vegetables – without using mass produced ‘chemicals’. And we raise chickens, ducks and turkeys which are fed on organic feed. They are given the freedom to roam on pasture areas and to express their natural behaviour.

We enjoy the freedom and resilience that this lifestyle offers. We are happy to do the hard work required for this level of self-sufficiency.’

Recording Our Story

Shows front cover design of book.

When we moved to this little homestead, I decided to keep a record of our daily lives. And also our progression through the years. Partly this was to share the experience and to have the record for us to look back at and enjoy.

I started by writing a blog, excerpt of which will appear on this website. After a year or so, I started making a video record of life on our homestead. Since then the YouTube channel Liz Zorab – Byther Farm has grown and developed. It now offers gardening instructional and tutorial videos together with vlog style videos and some social commentary. In 2020 I added a podcast to further explore gardening and growers ideas and knowledge. And I have now written my first book, Grounded – A Gardener’s Journey to Abundance and Self-Sufficiency.

  • Liz

Meet Liz

Liz Zorab from Byther Farm

Liz works full time on the homestead and as a content creator in various media. Her love of gardening started as a small child, but blossomed when she left home. In her own garden, she found joy in propagating plants and growing food for her family.

She worked for twenty years in the charity and community sectors including community development and strategic planning. Liz has a particular interest in innovative practices and promoting volunteering opportunities. She developed (with Fair Shares in Gloucestershire) the first Time Bank in the UK. And also the first mass employee volunteering project, Hands On Bristol (with Community Service Volunteers – now called Volunteering Matters).

More recently she worked in marketing and community liaison with Bristol Rugby Club, now known as Bristol Bears, developing and managing the youth supporters’ club, and event-based fundraising with its charitable foundation.

At her happiest when pottering in the garden, Liz now manages the half acre fruit and vegetable gardens and food forest at Byther Farm. Liz is available for talks and presentations about gardening, growing for food security and self-sufficiency.

Meet Mr J

Mr J from Byther Farm

Mr J works off-site for part of the week and works with Liz on the larger and cumbersome farm projects. He also manages the renewable resources projects at Byther Farm. These include maintenance of the reed bed water system.

He is a reluctant, but much appreciated, participant in videos, preferring audio productions.

Immediately before moving to Byther Farm, Mr J worked as the UK Operations Manager of an international behavioural research company.

Mr J describes himself as child of the Sixties and of suburban London. He has been involved in radio and the music industry for most of his working life. Further details and where to hear his radio shows can be found on his Facebook page, Titus Radio, here and you can listen to all the archive shows via Mixcloud (see below)

Link to Mixcloud for Titus Radio.

Couple walking through park in autumn with large trees and leaves on the ground.