How Much Land Does It Take To Feed One Person?
If you've decided to become more food-sufficient, I want to let you know that it's not an impossible journey. It's going to be tasking, but it's surely worth it. It's healthier, safer, and pretty exciting.
But even after you've made up your mind to tow this path, you'll still have several questions. And I'm sure one of them is -how much land does it take to feed one person? Just like you, many other homesteaders wonder if they'll need so much land to achieve their dreams.
Well, the amount of land you'll need would depend on several factors. I've mentioned these factors here. And in this post, you are going to figure out what size of land you'll need considering your diet.
You'll want to read through carefully to discover how you can achieve self-sufficiency. And the acres of land that would suffice your mission of food sufficiency. Let's get on with it!
First, what factors should be considered?
The size of the land you'll need to produce your own food will depend on vital factors like;
Quality of your land
The climate condition of your location
Amount of sunlight and rainfall
The crops you intend to grow
If you want to feed off your land, you will want to grow crops that are friendly to your climate. Try to grow things that are local to your particular part of the world.
So how much land does it take to feed one person?
Generally speaking, a person would likely require 5 to 10 acres of land. This will generally be enough to produce food and live comfortably. But like I said, we'll need to consider those big factors!
But let's hear from various organizations and sources too! Some of the studies are based on certain areas. Let's get started:
The Food and Agricultural Organization says that a person would need at least 17 acres of land. They say this will be enough to be food self-sufficient in Western Europe or North America. Keep in mind that this figure doesn't take account of poor land quality.
For permaculture advocates, ¼ acre per person is sufficient for fruit trees, poultry, and possibly aquaponics.
Going with the book - The New Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour. It says 5 acres of land is adequate. This would be enough for a person to be food sufficient in the high-rainfall areas of the UK.
How much land would I need considering my diet?
It would be directly impossible to ascribe particular acres of land that would be sufficient for every individual. Why so? Simply because of the individual dietary requirements. The space required to grow food for an individual would depend on if you're a vegetarian or meat-eater.
415 pounds of vegetables is often consumed yearly by an average American and 273 pounds of fruits. And so, 2300 calories of vegetables would be needed to feed an individual. This is quite considerable, due to the amount of energy asserted into daily farm work.
Based on the above stats, a 0.44 acre of land is pretty much enough for an individual to get their daily calories. This would consist of vegetables and fruits over the course of a year.
Therefore, 2 acres of land would be needed by a vegetarian to become food sufficient within a year. Of course with better climate conditions, to enable the growth of crops. This is very important since vegetables would be their main diet.
An individual can only take in an average of 300 eggs per year. A hen can lay an average of 250 eggs yearly without the administration of any drugs. This might seem like enough for one person, but they will be needed for a constant supply of such eggs. And so, about 3 to 4 hens should be enough. 0.01 acre of land would likely be required for the rearing of hens.
Ducks are great alternatives - the white layer duck can lay an average of 300 eggs every year. And so, you'd need about 3 to 4 ducks also along with 0.01 acres of land.
1500 pounds of corn is consumed yearly by an average American - About 4 bounds being consumed daily. 1 acre of land should suffice for the production of 130 bushels of corn - 1 bushel would weigh 56 pounds. For the production of 27 bushels, 0.21 acre of land would be needed - that is about 1500 pounds of corn will be required. That should be enough corn needed by an individual within a year.
0.6 pounds of meat is consumed daily by an Average American - that is about 202 pounds of meat consumed yearly.
120 pounds of meat is. produced by a pig, therefore a total of 2 pigs is consumed by an average American annually.
0.04 acres of land will be required for the rearing of pigs - that is about 162/square meters for 1 pig. And so, 0.8 acres of land space would suffice for 2 pigs.
A 1000 pound steer cow can yield about 439 pounds of meat in a year - this is more than sufficient for an individual in a year. 1.8 acres of land would be required for the grazing and survival of one cow.
Lesser meats are produced by goats when compared to pigs and cows. 40 pounds of meat can be yielded by a goat, therefore an average of 5 goats would be required to feed an individual in a year. 1 acre of land would be sufficient for the grazing and survival of about 4 to 5 goats.
If you were to use chicken or duck as an alternative, then an average of 145 5 pound duck or chicken would suffice for a year - this is because they can yield an average of 1.4lbs of pure meats without bones. 0.29 additional acres of land space would be needed for the rearing and survival of duck or chicken for the production of meat.
150 pounds of milk is consumed by an average American every year. And so, an average of 1800 pounds of milk can be produced by a Nubian goat - therefore, one goat should be sufficient for one individual in a year. 0.012 acres of land would be needed for the feeding and survival of one goat, which is about 50 Square meters.
If you want to use a cow as an alternative, an average of 1900 pounds of milk can be produced by a cow in a year. Therefore, one cow should suffice along with 1.8 acres of land for grazing and survival of the cow.
Wheat And Grains
The average person consumes about 180 pounds of wheat in a year. 60 pounds bushel of wheat can be grown for the yearly feeding of an average individual, and so about 3 bushels of wheat would be sufficient - that's about 0.75 acres of land would suffice for an individual in a year.
The use of these land spaces could overlap as they would likely cohabit close to themselves. The raw farm produce is food for the livestock which in turn produces fertilizers in form of dungs to the crops which are essential for their growth. And so waste is being eliminated naturally. For additional systems such as drains and storage, an average of 0.5 acres of land would be required.
In conclusion, the amount of land space that is required to feed an individual in a year is estimated at 5.5 acres. That includes the reading of 3 critters for meat and sufficiently 3 acres of land if only pigs are to be reared for meat.
What are the things to consider if one is after self food sufficiency?
There are things you'd have to take into consideration if you are seeking after self food sufficiency. This will likely reduce the stress and cost of always visiting the market to get your food. And above all, your own grown food is fresher as compared to getting from the market. So let see what you need to consider.
1. Vegetable Gardening
The fruit and vegetable market is currently valued at $104.7 billion, which clearly shows how important they are to how to diet.
Therefore, if you seek food self-sufficiency, then you have to want to consider owning your vegetable gardening.
While taking care of one might not be easy as you would have to protect the crops from disease and prevent pests from destroying them, it is well worth the effort at the end of the day.
2. Poultry Farming
Poultry farming is also important for the pursuit of food self-sufficiency. Raising chicken and duck are essential for the production of meat and eggs.
Raising birds is not quite an easy job, as they are prone to air-borne disease. Getting clean water for the birds can also be an issue. You will need to regularly vaccinate your birds, keep their home clean, and feed them properly.
That way, they'd survive and produce more eggs and meat for you.
3. Livestock farming
Livestock farming is also quite essential for you to achieve your goals. Livestock should be reared for the production of meat and milk. And just like other farming, you need to vaccinate them and get the best medical aid to keep them alive.
It can get hard dealing with diseases that affect these animals. But with medical help, you should be way off fine.
Growing your food can be fulfilling and satisfying. You are safe from the stress and cost of always visiting the market. Apart from that, there are a lot of benefits attributed to producing your food such as having a healthier and safer food option and a better environment.
However, this is certainly not an easy feat to achieve. You'd have to give a lot to achieve such type of goal. Nonetheless, it is very much possible to attain. The first few years might be hard for you but as more years come along, you should reach your goal of food self-sufficiency.
Now you know the acres of land that is needed. You can start producing your food as soon as possible.
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