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Katie Thear Obituary

Katie Thear died on March 18th 2010 after a long battle with cancer. Her contribution to the Self Sufficiency movement and her role in giving practical help to smallholders during the last thirty years has been substantial.

She founded the magazine Practical Self Sufficiency in 1975 with her husband David and it was an immediate success, meeting the needs of a growing number of people who needed information on growing fruit and vegetables organically and raising poultry and livestock on a small scale. The magazine always had a practical focus and, as readers sent in their own contributions, PSS quickly became a forum for people to share ideas and help each other.

Katie also practised the entire range of smallholding activities developing half an acre of fruit and vegetables and over time she and her husband kept a wide variety of poultry and livestock. She constantly experimented to adapt traditional techniques for the present day, being one of the earliest users of raised beds in her vegetable garden in 1976. She also taught herself how to make best use of the produce - including making butter, yoghurt and cheeses from the milk of dairy animals.

After twenty years, Katie stood back from the editorship to concentrate on writing more books on smallholding topics. She had twenty two books published, most of which are still in print. Katie Thear was both a pioneer of the Self Sufficiency movement and a substantial contributor in providing help to smallholders for more than thirty years, throughout which time she would readily help anyone who approached her with problems. The magazine that she founded thirty five years ago continues successfully today as Country Smallholding.

The following books are available from this website:


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