One thing we realized a few years ago is that it is hard to be self sufficient alone. We gathered a group of friends, all of whom had spent time at our kitchen table, enjoying home-grown meats, cheeses, and produce, and asked them if they'd be willing to start a collective growing effort with us. After the almost perfunctory wife-swapping-hippie-commune jokes, we agreed to plant a large garden together at one family's house, and share in some of the duties and meat from growing pigs and meat chickens.
We grew the meat birds, and asked those who wanted the meat to help us process them. It's gone much more quickly and been less difficult the last few years, doing it with friends. The people that want the chicken, pay us for the basic cost of buying the peep, and the grain. Another family has done the pigs for the last two years, and when they escaped last week, we all came running.
The garden is 120'x60' and we grow root cellar vegetables to be able to eat local year round. It also makes it easier if you gather to plant, then gather to harvest, then split up the watering and weeding throughout the summer. The families involved live in the Manchester/Dorset/East Dorset area, and are teachers, doctors, and business people. We have regular potlucks year round to discuss the last season, the current season, or the upcoming one.
We have a pretty dedicated group now - some of the first families dropped out because it was more work than they were interested in - so it isn't tough trying to get people to turn out to pick the beetles off the potatoes mid-summer, if necessary. We mulch heavily to keep from having to weed too much.
This year we're growing black turtle beans, garbanzos, Jacob's cattle beans, Vermont cranberry beans, and kidney beans for drying, along with potatoes, onions, Gilfeather softball-sized turnips (a real Vt local product), carrots, beets, 3 types of squashes, and pumpkins. Last year the garden was half potatoes - this year much less. Next year we might grow corn in place of the beans - but we won't decide until the season is over and we meet at the fall potluck.