This is an important yoji to know, but for some reason, I thought Jeff had done this one already so I ended up going over a bunch of less pertinent phrases instead.
I, and I suspect many of you, live a fairly urban life, or perhaps sub-urban, lifestyle. I have a place of residence, a place of study/work, commute back and forth, and buy my food and clothing at local stores. I live within an interconnected and increasingly globalized network of production and consumption. Depending on your values, this is a good thing or a bad thing.
The place that you see and hear the phrase 自給自足 most these days is in the context of the "slow lifestyle." I can't claim to be an expert, but my understanding of it is that this mode of living puts a premium on non-industrial, organic, and community-based products and production. Taken further, many people opt to grow all of their own food, and even sometimes make all of their own clothing. Looking at the characters themselves, we see "self," "grant," "self," and "fulfill." I think it's fairly easy to see how this comes together. You might hear about people who retire from their big city jobs and begin farming their own food, or communities that share their resources so they don't have to buy anything from the outside or far away.
A related, and sometimes closely linked, concept is 自給率 じきゅうりつ jikyuuritsu. Literally, 自給率 talks about your "rate of self-sufficiency," or how much of a given resource or commodity (oil, rice, ability to write long-winded posts about uninteresting concep... wait...) you can provide for yourself. This is a word you commonly see used to talk about whole countries, rather than just an individual or group of individuals. It appears that economists (and The Economist) sometimes profess to being driven mad by this, but this is often placed at a premium politically in Japan, especially when talking about things like food and fuel, where so much of it is imported. In this context, as well, 自給自足 is often touted as an ideal.
Which brings us to our
These last few years, city life has really been stressing me out, and I'm at my limit. I want to quit my job, go home, be a farmer or something, and life a self sufficient life.