Media Workers and TV Researchers - Please seek permission before posting on this site or approaching individuals found here by phone or email - write to the Editor - mail to

Home Forums General Discussion Off the grid on TV

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #63051

    Hi all,

    I sincerely hope you don’t mind me asking some basic questions and posting here. I’ve always had a massive interest in survival and self reliance. I work for a TV production company in England and we specialize in making adventure adn survival documentaries for the likes of National Geographic and Discovery.

    Currently we are hoping to make a new survival show that highlights the techniques and bravery of the original American pioneers. By taking a look back in history we hope to learn more about self reliant methods. To do this we would love to enroll a series of off-the-grid / survivalist families to take on a new, uninhabited ranch, and make it sustainable. It would be a great opportunity and no doubt would reveal some fantastic self-sustaining tricks and tips.

    Is it something that might interest people? It would be great to get some thoughts and feedback, and perhaps some of you might even be interested in taking part.

    Where would be the best place to go? What basics would you need from a location?

    Many thanks



    hi simon,

    Interesting proposition and situation.

    Effective pre off grid energy usage.. and mind set.

    off grid realization to extend of wastefulness .

    diy awarenes can do attitude arising found?

    some thoughts for you to ponder.

    A deep reverence possibly for the planet earth.. and individual response to the

    changing climate, hurricanes, tornadoes, meltdowns (financial / nuclear)

    A direct connection to ones survival and control over how one lives..

    vs. taking what options are available..

    I would plug into some established organizations that sell the stuff..

    I personally would like to see an array of various stages of evolving awareness

    levels expressed by the lives each individual or group.. espouses to and is actually living and working towards,

    some grist for the millstone

    desert deb

    My interests are less complicated, i want easy pictorials on installing different types of systems to make off grid life easier and better planned. I want a one stop shop for answers to any thing off grid. If i have an idea i want to network that idea in one place. Just deciding what i wanted to do at my place has evolved into a year and half project, not to mention research time. This off grid site helps with the discussion boards but i think it too could go a little further. Off grid has become a catch word but it means different things to each of us. Some just want off the power grid, some want to completely turn their lives around. Some are looking for something in the middle. Some cant decide how or where to start, or even where to locate. It is a slow process and it takes time and all i see on these sites are people rushing to get off grid, communities are a big poster on most of these sites but if you dont know what you personally want out of it no one else can help you get there.


    Would be good to get some further ideas from this forum about what we should show in our upcoming series. the idea is to feature 12 families living off the grid.

    What do you think?


    @simon5653: Are you still in the concept stages of your project? The answers to some of your questions are in my new ebook: The Truth About Simple Unhooked Living. I’m not just trying to get you to buy the book. I can tell by what you wrote and the responses that you need this for your preliminary research.

    Two of the basics needed are: the LIBERTY to live a simple low impact life close to earth, and easy access to water. The first cannot be taken for granted. Also, I would say that you should consult with modern day veterans of simple off grid living, not necessarily with “established organizations that sell the stuff.” I lived w/o either conventional power or water for 14 yrs and I can say that I didn’t have most of the stuff advertised on those websites. Business is business and survival is survival and the two don’t necessarily meet.


    Hi admin. I’d attempted to contact you regarding the documentary project through a couple of channels that didn’t pan out, so I hope you are really there!

    I hope you don’t just show middle class families with savings accounts or the rich living off grid. My experience has been exclusively with poor people living off grid on the fringes of modern American culture.

    In addition to the how and why people do it, there are some interesting dynamics going on. One is that while nobody was paying attention it became illegal to live simply without mainstream power and water in many parts of the US. (I’m not talking about people with money, but the rest of us.)

    I think the social aspect is interesting. Is living off grid the right thing for a single person, a couple, a nuclear family? Or are intentional communities and cooperatives a more practical arrangement? If so, what is the best way to structure these new “tribes” both legally and internally? Also, the people interested in this span left wing progressives to right wing militia, which means that people who are usually at odds are thrown together with some intimately basic things in common, against a mainstream that has a deep revulsion for the lifestyle.

    Anyway, I lived the life on and off for 14 years, and recently completed a book about the topic, so there is lots more to say. I will try to answer any questions you want to ask.


    I have lived off grid totally, full time 14 years. Self built with wife and young son as helpers. All permits and engineering required. Deep well with absolute water rights. Earthship, gardens in and out, composters in and out, 4WD hybrid, and Staber clothes washer with green ball. I have been an eco type person all my life, but far from left wing. More of the Teddy Roosevelt type conservationist conservative.

    Definitely not the live out of your car/van/trailer “off grid”, or “off grid” shanty/tent bums and criminals.

    It took a lot of skills, research, hard work, good credit, thinking ahead, avoiding profiteers, finding sales, and fiscal responsibility. We were not rich, but for the past six years have been mortgage free in addition to 14 years of no electric bill. Still have to pay for insurance, taxes, propane, and most food. Plus any maintenance items. We are still saving at least $1200/month, and contributing little to the demise of our biosphere.

    However, we do have a land phone (can’t get wireless out here), satellite TV (LED), internet (LED), two flush(low water use) toilets and one compost toilet, 2 low water use showers and one is in a bath tub (next to toilet, so water is re-used), and I have a Commercial Grade HEPA Carpet Pro 10 amp vacuum cleaner. Unlike the super simple stuff in the book, but we also have no dryer and use out door and indoor lines. No dish washer. But I do have electric guitars and loud amps(solar powered), and play mind blowing acid music. “Between the eyes and ears there lie the sounds of color and the light of a sigh.”

    Here is the link and synopsis of your book:


    Simon: I have a host of articles at dedicated to off-grid living topics. Home water production and processing, Home Energy Production, Home Sewage treatment, Home fuel production. etc. I also have some articles related to owner building style cheaper and green building stuff. Including Green design, Earth construction, Timber Frame, Log Cabin, Yurt, Small Metal structures. These articles might give you some perspective and insight into the modern difficulties in off-grid or pioneer lifestyle. I don’t claim to be an expert though, these are written from my point of view from my own personal research. I also point out some books that might have info which would give you some pieces of insight into past pioneer life. Be sure to check out the comments in each article as I sometimes post links and info there myself.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.