Jane and nine of her friends have decided to abandon their office life, buy an uninhabited section of land, and make a self sustaining colony.

The setting is modern day.

Starting Parameters:

  • The land most likely will be in the continental United States, in a temperate environment, preferably near a river (for clean water and potentially power).

  • The team has roughly $10 to 15K to spend on starting supplies

  • Members are between the age of 25 and 35

  • All team members are reasonably healthy with no disabilities or serious medical conditions

  • Some members are able to work remotely, so there is a small steady source of income to offset running costs


  • The group is not necessarily interested in 'going off the grid.' Sure, they want to live apart from hustle and bustle of city life, but given the availability they could happily coordinate with and tap into nearby water/sewage/electricity/telecommunications infrastructure.
  • In addition, members have full access to the internet. Any knowledge or communication to the outside world that can be transferred online is available to them.
  • They can call upon and contract any service, limited only by the funds available. Electrician? Plumber? Architect? No problem.
  • A few members are knowledgeable in butchering and cooking from scratch


  • Office life has left little time to develop essential survival skills. The concepts of killing and cultivating food as well as living off the land will have to be learned in place
  • Team members have a limited background (non-military) in combat and will also need to learn to protect themselves from local fauna.
  • Assume the members do not have a background in any physical trade (wiring/plumbing/architecture) but can be relied upon to learn these skills and conduct manual labor.
  • A couple of the members suffer from mild to moderate depression and bipolar disorder. They will need special attention to cope with such a drastic change in lifestyle.

Specific Question to Answer

Given that Jane and Co have the entirety of human knowledge online available and access to modern goods and services, is it possible for this group of office workers to learn the skills necessary to cultivate and build on the land before their beginning resources run out?

(The more details, the better. I will be happy edit-in any additional details you request.)

--Edit 1: Thanks Philipp for helping clarify my question!

Edit 2: removed trading back goods and services parameter, heavily narrowed question to answer


closed as too broad by Philipp, Separatrix, Giter, RonJohn, EveryBitHelps Sep 28 '18 at 16:14

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Sep 29 '18 at 2:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Regarding the latest edits: $15K is still woefully tiny (you need to buy land), electricians and internet access (for that remote work you mentioned) require nearness to Modern Life and the only places you'll need to rarely need to defend yourself from "the local fauna" are places that are really far away from electricians and internet access. Bottom line: all the good land was claimed 100+ years ago, and building cabins is a lot harder than you think, while growing food is not only harder, but takes a year, and exposes you to the vicissitudes of the weather. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Sep 29 '18 at 13:55