Course CodeASS101
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to be Self Sufficient at Home

  • Grow your own food
  • Learn  how to preserve food to extend the shelf life
  • Provide for your food needs over extended periods, across the whole year 
When you know what to grow, how to grow it, how much to grow, and what to do with it after harvest; you then have a much improved capacity to save money, and provide healthier and more appropriate food for your family; all year long.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Diet and Nutrition
    • introduction to good health
    • basic nutrition
    • food allergies
    • food combining
    • a well balanced diet.
  2. Establishing a Kitchen Garden
    • deciding food plants that can be grown in your garden,
    • designing a productive garden.
  3. Vegetables
    • easy to grow vegetables,
    • long cropping vegetables
    • culture for specific types of vegetables.
  4. Fruit
    • cultural techniques for different types of fruits & berries
    • cross pollination
  5. Bottling
    • equipment & techniques for jelly/jam making
    • bottling.
  6. Freezing and Drying
    • harvesting and preserving techniques
    • freezing
    • drying
  7. Producing Milk & Eggs
    • milk from cows, sheep & goats
    • developing an egg production system
    • making cheese and yoghurt.
  8. Growing & Cooking with Herbs
    • selection and cultivation of culinary herbs
    • drying herbs
    • recipes for cooking with herbs.
  9. Egg and Cheese Cookery
    • storage and use of eggs & cheese
    • distinguishing different types of cheese, cooking with eggs & cheese.
  10. Grain
    • growing sprouts
    • cereals
    • baking bread, etc.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

What You Will Do

  • Visit a local nursery and inspect the food plants which are available in your locality. Talk to the nurseryman and find out what types of food plants will become available at other times of the year.
  • List those vegetables which you consider would be easiest to grow and give the best production for the effort you would need to put in. Consider such things as produce per unit area, time for maturing, susceptibility to pest and disease
  • Prepare a list of fruit which you would grow to provide an adequate year round supply for the needs of a family consisting of two adults and two children. List the number of plants which you feel would be needed for type of fruit.
  • Bottle something which you have never bottled before. Explain step by step the procedure you follow. Indicate the equipment you have used in your bottling.
  • List all of those foods which you feel would be worthwhile freezing, which are able to be grown by you on your property

Using Preservatives to Extend the Shelf Life of Food

Food preservatives are added to foods to serve a specific function. Preservatives may be used to retain the nutritional value of a food or to limit the action of microbes and subsequent food spoilage e.g. by maintaining the colour and flavour of food. Typically food preservatives attack the enzymes in microbes stopping them from catalysing reactions in food, or attack the cell wall of a microbe preventing its growth and reproduction.
Some preservatives are naturally present in foods, while others are added to foods either because they are not naturally present in the food, or because they are only present in small quantities.
Common preservatives include salt (sodium chloride), sugar and acid (eg. citrus juice). Supermarket foods are often treated with artificial chemical preservatives (eg. sulphates and nitrates), which are not particularly good to eat. There are other natural preservatives that can also be used; such as:
Rosemary Extract
Rosemary is extracted through the distillation of rosemary leaves. It is used to provide a distinctive flavour and aroma to foods and also acts as an antioxidant in foods, helping to prevent the oxidation of the constituents of a food and preserve characteristics such as the colour and flavour of the food.
Oils and spices
Oils and spices are used as preservatives e.g. in the preservation of pickles. Oil acts as a protective cover preventing contact between microorganisms and food and protecting food from contact with air - protecting it from oxidation. Herbs and spices also have a long history as preservatives. Spices that have proved particularly useful in food preservation include mustard, sage, oregano and cloves. The benefits of these spices may be due to their antioxidant properties, some spices also retard the growth of microorganisms.
Consists of two sugar molecules - fructose and glucose - and has a similar sweetness to sugar. Like sugar, honey has a very long history in food preservation particularly in the preservation of fruit, nuts and meat. Honey assists food preservation due to the fact that it has very low moisture content, a low pH value and because honey contains natural preservatives - enzymes added to nectar by bees promotes the production of hydrogen peroxide which has preservative functions.
As with sugar, the value of honey in food preservation is also dependent on protecting a preserved product from additional water as exposure to water will allow the development of yeast and moulds.
Alcohol is used as an ingredient in a range of food preservation techniques including in pickling and the production of jams and jellies. Alcohol is also used in the preservation of a variety of fruits such as plums, peaches and cherries. Alcohol is a potent inhibitor of microorganisms and kills bacteria and viruses at high concentrations.
Ascorbic Acid
Ascorbic acid (or Vitamin C) is another natural preserving substance. Ascorbic Acid is an anti-oxidant, so neutralises oxygen that comes into contact with the food, slowing the growth of microorganisms and the rate of decay of the food. Ascorbic Acid can be used in canned vegetables, bottled fruit, jams, and other fruit preserves.

Find Out More about Self Sufficiency -Talk with one of our Academic Staff.

Meet some of our academics

Adriana Fraser Adriana has worked in horticulture since the 1980's. She has lived what she preaches - developing large gardens and growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs and making her own preserves. In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certificate in horticulture and a few years later, completed a Advanced Diploma in Horticulture amongst other qualifications. Adriana has worked across a broad spectrum of the horticulture industry and has developed a strong network of contacts in horticulture around Australia and beyond. She has written and contributed to many books and magazine articles. She has a passion for plant knowledge and sustainability and a natural understanding of how people learn about horticulture and has taught in various institutions and organistions as well as ACS. Adriana has been a tutor with ACS since the mid 90's and based on the feedback from past students has been an overwhelming success in helping people develop their skills and further careers in horticulture.
John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Rosemary Davies Rosemary trained in Horticulture at Melbourne Universities Burnley campus; studying all aspects of horticulture -vegetable and fruit production, landscaping, amenity, turf, aboriculture and the horticultural sciences. Initially she worked with the Department of Agriculture in Victoria providing advice to the public. Over the years she has taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing

Check out our eBooks

Food PreservingThe Food Preserving ebook covers everything you need to know on preserving a wide range of food. Make the most of your bumper fruit and vegetable crop and learn to preserve them to eat at a later time in the year.
Fruit, Vegetables and HerbsHome grown produce somehow has a special quality. Some say it tastes better, others believe it is just healthier. And there is no doubt it is cheaper! Watching plants grow from seed to harvest and knowing that the armful of vegies and herbs you have just gathered for the evening meal will be on the table within an hour or two of harvest, can be an exciting and satisfying experience.
Organic GardeningFor decades farmers have relied upon chemicals to control pests and diseases in order to produce saleable crops. In the ornamental, vegetable and fruit gardens reliance on chemical controls has also been the mainstay for many gardeners.
PoultryPoultry are entertaining as pets and life sustaining as a commercial product! Whether you are seeking a book as a beginner poultry keeper or if you are embarking on a new career in poultry production or management, this book is for you. Easy to read, easy to understand and packed with easy to implement practical advice. Know how to care for the health and wellbeing of poultry and make production a commercially viable enterprise.



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