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GrowYourOwnGroceries. And there are certainly viable scenarios where food is unavailable forever. hormones. chemicals. being able to grow your own food is a critical skill. and antibiotics. I also assert that knowing how to provide this most basic need for yourself is a part of being a mature adult. We certainly live in some interesting times and many of us are re-evaluating what is important. there is the practical reality that we could be facing situations where food supplies are disrupted for months or years. growing your own food right now makes a lot of sense as the commercial food supply contains high levels of toxicities. There is a huge amount of medical evidence .com Being able to grow your own food is a cornerstone of true personal liberty. GMOs. Liberty and maturity aside. You can only store so much before you run out. Certainly.How Much Land Do You Need To Be Food Self-Reliant? Marjory Wildcraft www. Even without concerns of disaster.
demonstrating that the rampant chronic disease in our population is primarily due to lack of nutrition. and universities that are all concerned with how to grow their own food. and make a pretty good estimate. by looking at extremes. And whenever you have a complex question such as ‘how much land does it take’. Over the years. . ‘sustainably’ means you can grow food forever only needing minor amounts of inputs to your system over time. So how much land do you need? The exact answer to that question depends on several factors. The most common question I get asked is “how much land do I need to be able to sustainably feed for my family or group?” Let’s go over that word “sustainably” for just a second. you can learn a lot. In this article. Over the years. Over the many decades of conventional farming the soils have been depleted to the point that most of what commercial agriculture produces is only empty calories. I’ve worked with many different people from lone individuals. to preparedness groups. to missionary organizations. Sustainability has come to have so many meanings we need to define it here. you actually enhance the soil and productivity versus depletion and soil erosion.
Let’s first start off with the land required for a pure hunter/gatherer. Consider a hypothetical young man who heads out into the Texas Hill country after the rioting begins in Austin. we will look at two extreme scenarios which cover the range of maximum and minimum land use. Just how much land does . If he is doing this in a sustainable fashion. But let’s say he just takes a few so there are enough breeding pairs and plant colony left behind to regenerate the food supply. He gets a good distance away and at his first camp he kills a rabbit and starts munching on prickly pears. Let’s look at the land needed for this scenario.In this article. to demonstrate the alternatives. I often hear this strategy from those concerned about a sudden collapse of civilization. Especially from single young men with no family whose plan is that once the shit hits the fan they will take their rifle and a few supplies and head out to the wilderness to live off the land. If he decides to stay and go ahead and eat everything – wiping out the entire edible wildlife and plant population in an area – he will still have to move on in a short while anyway. he can only takes a few rabbits and cactus before he moves on.
There are numerous studies and authors that cite this number and one of the most accessible is Jared Diamond. author of the popular title Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed.400 acres – and that is for one person. Another excellent source is Tending The Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources which is a wonderful book detailing how sustainable wild-crafting is more about tending the land. California’s lush and diverse landscapes were able to support some of the highest native population densities known in North America with the highest being almost 1. and the few places where they do still exist tend to be jungles which look nothing like anything in North America. The plant and animal communities in the Santa Barbara area have . rather than simply taking stuff. we will turn to anthropological data. The quick and easy answer is that traditional peoples used on average.5 people per square mile living on the coast of the Santa Barbara channel.it take to support him in order live sustainably as a hunter/gatherer? How far does he need to roam before he can come back and eat there again? Since there are so few actual hunter/gathers left alive on the planet. about 10 square miles per person. 10 square miles is 6.
As another comparison. the good news is that small-scale intensive agriculture is definitely more productive than large-scale commercial agriculture. this is our first example of extreme land use. fire starting. tanning. And of all the types of agriculture. desert regions of California had roughly 1 person per 12. livestock.5 square miles. shelter. many. tool making. OK. so you won’t be going that primitive. And as I mentioned at the beginning. Agriculture has gotten us the these high population levels so far anyway. fiber and cordage. food plots. Ten square miles per person is a lot of land and not a very realistic scenario for most of us. trapping. and so much more. botany. and perhaps .been largely destroyed by modern peoples and that density is no longer possible today of course. Clearly agriculture is much more productive in terms of producing food. Growing your own food in gardens. orchards. Before we head off into other more obtainable land use scenarios. lets pause for a moment to acknowledge that in addition to having access to a huge tract of land for living the hunter/gatherer lifestyle. hasn’t it? Yes it has. weather cycles. skills of living such as tracking and hunting. you also need to have the many.
If the hunter gatherer is the one extreme of requiring the most land. The BioIntensive method has been implemented worldwide and is used to alleviate hunger and malnutrition. but the short answer to how much land you need can be summarized as approximately 8. That is also assuming you have four growing seasons per year.ft. So how much land are you going to need for your families food supply using the small-scale intensive agriculture? The answer to that question was started back in the 70’s by a very forward thinking man named John Jeavons. Jeavons has continued his research ever the decades and developed a system called “BioIntensive Gardening”.000 sq. .a bit of hunting or fishing has the highest density yields possible and is the way to go for most people. There is a wealth of detail in the entire Bio-intensive method. for a complete diet for one person (you need 4. small-scale home-grown agriculture is definitely the other extreme.ft. The Bio-Intensive system is the most thoroughly researched and documented method for sustainably growing food.000 sq. for pathways and access). of actual growing space and at least 4.000 sq/ft.
accidents. Anyone who is already gardening or growing livestock knows of the many problems that can arise.560 sq. But having that benchmark figure of 8. the average U. miles. So the extremes we are considering is a huntergathering lifestyle that requires about 10 sq. an acre is 43. So in a more southern climate. For another comparison.ft. diet with conventional farming requires 15.000 sq. per person because you’ll have crop failures.0000 sq.S. you could theoretically support about 4 people per acre. and just general losses.e. per person is a place to mark as a minimum on our scale of extremes.ft. The absolute best reference for the Bio-Intensive method is the book How To Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You Can Imagined by John Jeavons. and is done in such a way that it diminishes soil – i. it is not sustainable.ft.So if you can only get two growing seasons. For reference.000 sq. .ft.000 to 30. then you need to double the space needed per person. In the real world you are actually going to need more than the minimum 8.
I highly. I mean something on the order of a single 50 sq. Below is a photo of me in my home garden-rabbitry. A large part of the bio-intensive method is used for growing compost materials to rejuvenate your soil. the Bio-Intensive system is sustainable and the foundation of sustainability is building and maintaining soil fertility. don’t let the somewhat large size of a quarter an acre per person put you off.ft. bed. then you really don’t need the entire 8. per person. or 100 sq. and add more beds each season. of bed space going.000 sq. which can be done on about a quarter of an acre.ft. Remember. The biggest mistake made by beginners it to plant too large of an area. This is not a completely sustainable system as I import hay and wood chips .200 sq. Also.ft. As you gain experience. or simply purchase compost. Don’t try to plant the entire survival garden in the first season! When I say start small.ft.ft.and the Bio-Intensive method. of bed space. but I could thin down my paths and fit in a total of about 1. If you can gather compost materials from off-site. if you are just starting. I have about 750 sq. highly recommend you start small. If you are living in a suburban backyard.
for mulch. orchards. you want to start small anyway. My experience is that 2 acres in a temperate region will completely wear you out and is enough room to comfortably support a family of four with a variety of food sources such as gardens. But I produce at least half of my own food supply from this fairly small space. And remember. I point this out to encourage you to start with what you have. and about half of the feed for the rabbits. small .
and of course. and wild crafting. drawing dimensions are approximate . I get more than enough exercise working this area of land every day! Note. Additional acreage is definitely useful for larger grazing livestock.livestock. Below is a layout of our homestead and the circled area is about 2 acres. . Believe me. everyone always wants more.not to scale You can still do a lot in less area.
NaturalNews. World Hunger Relief Missionaries.GrowYourOwnGroceries. Marjory’s website is www. But on a day to day basis. and The Weston-Price Nutrition Foundation. Her videos are endorsed and carried by such notables as The Permaculture Activist. Alex Jones’ Infowars. and growing food on a family-scale. The Organic Consumers Association. it really is difficult to intensively work more than a few acres. vibrant.000 copies of her video are being used world-wide. wildcrafting. . Marjory Wildcraft is passionate about self-reliance.co m. life-giving nutritious food. Over 250. Marjory teaches people with no gardening or agriculture experience how to successfully grow healthy. She is the creator of a widely acclaimed video tutorial titled Grow Your Own Groceries. and general buffering.woodlots.com. primitive skills.
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