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How much land do you need to be self sufficient?

This is from the  website during the year. Food for thought maybe?

Tip of the Day - 21 Jun, 2012

How much land do you need to be self-sufficient?

What do you think? An acre? Five acres? This is a question many of us have wondered Im sure and Jim Cronin addressed it in great forensic detail at his course in GIY Wex last week. Jim reckons one needs the following to be almost* self sufficient for a family of four all year around:

- a polytunnel of 40x14ft
- outside veggie beds covering 30x50ft
- 8 hours a week to give to your GIYing

*he says "almost" self-sufficient because this amount of land would not be enough to produce spuds, carrots and parsnips (which require alot of land) 52 weeks of the year. It would produce enough of these crops to last until Christmas. A further 200x15ft would be required to be self-sufficient in spuds, carrots and parsnips all year round. Even with the additional 200x15ft this amount of land is still less than quarter of an acre! Of course it may take us a while to be at a point where we are productive enough and skilled enough with our existing land to produce such a large amount of food, but still - you have to admit the potential is breath-taking!

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Comment by Colin Robinson on June 25, 2012 at 22:56

I think those figures are based 'conventional' gardening techniques. The ideal to be self-sufficient is to produce one pound of food per square foot so with that amount of space it should be possible to get two tons of veggies. I'm not sure how many families of four get through that in a year.

With my small plot and greenhouse amounting to around 600 square feet I can easily get 500+ pounds of food per year and that doesn't include the fruit trees. This year I'm doing more vertical growing so I should surpass that. The only drawback is that it's very labour intensive.

Comment by Niamh on June 26, 2012 at 9:15

Wow - you are getting an incredible amount of food from your plot. I am still at the early stages of learning! Good luck with your growing!

Comment by Gareth Howell on October 21, 2014 at 11:51

Dont the experts insist on keeping a cow for self sufficiency? If you grow vast quatntities of beans you have got all your protein. All your spuds, all your carbohydrate, vitamins from fruit.....

It all depends on how sparse and frugal you are prepared to exist!

One hive of bees can produce 50kg of honey in a year, enough for two years consumption perhaps.

Self sufficient for how many people, a family of four? How many kilos of spuds would you need for four people eating them as staple every day? 10cwt?

Comment by Gareth Howell on October 21, 2014 at 11:52

Two Apple trees can produce a couple of tons of apples.

Comment by Gareth Howell on November 26, 2014 at 15:32

1 acre and a cow for self sufficiency.. but for how many people?

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