How Much Land Do You Need for A Self-Sufficient Homestead?

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Dreaming of having your own self-sufficient homestead? Determining how much land you’ll need is just one factor to consider…

Many wanna-be homesteaders get very excited about the thought of creating a self-sufficient homestead of their very own and providing for all of their family’s needs through their own labors.

However, the truth is that even in the old days when most settlers in the Americas lived on self-contained homesteads, humans have always relied on each other to some extent. Complete self-sufficiency is neither realistic nor necessarily desirable. As this article points out, “Unless you are prepared to live like a caveman, at some point you are going to have to use money or the trade economy.”

However, it is quite possible to achieve a degree of self-sufficiency; you just need to determine what level of self-sufficiency you wish to strive for, and what this entails. With that in mind, many homesteaders desire to be able to raise, harvest, and process a large percentage of their own food. Others choose to live an off-grid lifestyle, using things like solar panels or wind turbines to provide their own electricity. Still others prefer to make some of their own clothing and other necessities of daily living.

Whatever your goal is, you will likely need at least a small patch of land to achieve your self-sufficiency dreams. But even then, the acreage you’ll need can be difficult to pinpoint. For example, if your goal is to raise most of your own food, the amount of land you’ll need will vary depending on a number of factors, including:

  • The climate where you live.
  • The quality of the soil.
  • How much sunlight the property gets.
  • Amount of rainfall.
  • What you grow and raise.
  • Your diet and lifestyle.
  • How many people you’ll need to feed.

Depending on whom you ask, you’ll hear numbers as low as ½ acre of land to be self-sufficient all the way up to over 50 acres.

Here’s what various sources say:

  • According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, the minimum amount of land needed for self-sustainable food in North America or Western Europe is 17 acres per person. This number assumes absolutely no land degradation, crop failures, or waste.
  • An infographic by 1BOG.org breaks it down to about 2 acres of land for a family of four. This includes approximately 12,000 sq. feet for wheat, 65 for eggs, 2640 for corn, 100 for dairy, 207 for meat, and 77,000 square feet for vegetables.
  • Proponents of aquaponics say that 90% of our dietary needs can be grown in 50 square feet.
  • John Jeavons of Grow BioIntensive says that a vegan diet can be grown in 4,000 square feet.
  • Permaculture advocates say that ¼ acre per person is adequate when permaculture is combined with poultry, fruit trees, and possibly aquaponics.
  • Clive Blazey in his book The Australian Vegetable Garden (Amazon Link) claims that 42 square meters of space is enough to support four people.
  • John Seymour in his book The New Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency  (Amazon Link) says that 5 acres is enough to be food sufficient in high-rainfall areas of the UK.

The General Consensus is 5-10 acres for a self-sufficient homestead.

Even though a lot of those sources put the number at a lot less, the general consensus is that you really need at least 5 acres of land per person to be self-sufficient. And that’s assuming you have quality land, adequate rainfall, and a long growing season.

Oh, and that’s also assuming that you are mostly eating a vegetarian diet. You probably didn’t know this, but meat used to be a luxury which people only ate on Sundays!

If you want meat in your everyday diet, you are going to need A LOT more land to be self-sufficient.

With livestock, you’ll likely need at least 30 acres.

You don’t actually need that much space for livestock to roam. However you need extra land so you can rotate their pastures. For whatever reason, those websites making claims like “you only need ½ acre to be self-sustainable” fail to mention pasture rotation!

Thus, if you are going to have cattle, sheep, or goats, you are going to need at least 30 acres for pasture, feed crops, and your veggie crops. 50 acres is probably more realistic though.

However, another important thing to keep in mind when buying land for your self-sufficient homestead is not just the size of your acreage, but the ability to build community in the place where you choose to live.

While it is great to work towards self-sufficiency, the reality is that no man is an island. As humans, we are stronger when we work together. If you really want to be free of all of the traps that come with modern living, then build a community of likeminded people.

So stop sweating about how much land you need to be 100% self sufficient. Instead, start learning ONE skill that you are really, really good at and would be valuable to others. Then start finding others like you with diverse skill sets.

Do this and you’ll find that practicing self-sufficiency on the homestead doesn’t just connect you more to the land, but also to your community.

Read More at PrimalSurvivor.net


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