I have been doing the square foot gardens. I have also had good success with aquaponics. I am looking into earthbaging, cob, strawbale, shipping containers, and permaculture. How many acres should I be looking for for a family of five? I expect I would like fruittrees, raspberries (a lot of raspberries), and full garden. I am sure I can dream up a lot of other trees and plants.
According to research done by Ecology Action, the minimum land needed to grow a nearly complete vegan diet for one person is 4000 square feet, under ideal conditions. Under less than ideal conditions of heat, drought, flood, cold, etc, you'll need more. According to Eliot Coleman in "The New Organic Grower" the maximum land one person can manage to grow vegetables intensively is about 2 acres, as a full-time job. So that gives you some minimums and maximums for vegetables anyway. For grazing livestock, you need to know the carrying capacity of the specific parcel of land. This varies enormously. In the Eastern US you can raise one cow on one acre of pasture. Here in Central Texas it takes at least 20-25 acres per cow. To the west it may take 100 acres per cow. Carrying capacity can be greatly improved with proper management (see the work of Alan Savory) but the initial carrying capacity of the land, what you have to start with, is important so you don't overstock at first, which can cause more damage.
If you plan to use timber from the land to build with, as well as cooking and heating with wood, you'll need to have some acres of woodland. There are some threads about how much in the Woodland forum.
From my own personal experience, I've found 20 acres, with woodland, to be the minimum for privacy. We have 20 acres and can neither see the neighbors nor usually hear them unless they're outside talking loudly or their dogs are barking. On the other hand, 20 acres is far more than I can personally manage properly. A younger or more energetic person, or someone with the resources to hire help, could probably manage that much or more just fine.
I don't know if this helps at all. "How much land" is one of the perennial Big Questions!
To be serious, climate has a lot to say about it too. Up North, you have to figure you really only have a few months of vigorous growth. Here, things grow all year round. Generally speaking, the tropics produce 4 times as much (as a minimum) of growth in trees than the North. The same applies for anything you grow to eat.
I know here, a quinta, which is 2 to 5 hectares, is considered plenty to live on. A hectare is 2.47 acres.
Sustainable Plantations and Agroforestry in Costa Rica
this is one of those "how long is a piece of string - prennial questions", that is there is no difinative answer.
lots to take into account not only climate but micro-climate land aspect, and what you realy want to achieve, so if raising ones own meat is involved then grazing rates on a rotational paddock basis for whatever type of animal needs to be taken into account. also east coast to west coast presents different opportunities, rainfall is high on the list so the average rain per year will be important. not into aquaponics but maybe it doesn't realy need much more than a back shed?? many don't realy research what type of house design might truely work where they want to live, quiet common to see dream time ideas coming under the being seen to be different criteria, we researched what might work in our climate and came up with an affordable winner.
would suggest in the right area maybe 5 to 30 acres in the not so right area 100 acres or more might not be enough. the thing is don't buy an albatros for around your neck, if worst came to worst would someone else buy what you have in reasonably short time, see it all too often by with the heart then can't sell it.
Thanks for the heads up with these answers. I know you have to get specific with permaculture based on location. I think I want to get some sheep. Wool products are very expensive and getting more so. I also want chickens. Maybe some goats if I can find some milk goats I like. While I like cows I don't think I will have room for them unless there is a miniature version of a cow (hmm maybe a niche industry there, grass feed mini cows!)
There is a lot to consider. The answers you have already put down have started a brainstorm list going. I expect I may just put down a shipping container home after getting some land. They are quick and easy. I will want to expand with earthbag building then turn the storage containers into storage. It sounds like a great time anyway.
gardenlen gardener wrote: the thing is don't buy an albatros for around your neck, if worst came to worst would someone else buy what you have in reasonably short time,
That is a tough standard. Land for sale sits unsold here for years. May be different in other parts of the world, but here in Central Texas, I would not count on being able to sell land quickly unless you're prepared to sell well below market price.
Christian McMahon wrote:While I like cows I don't think I will have room for them unless there is a miniature version of a cow (hmm maybe a niche industry there, grass feed mini cows!)
Yes, there are mini cows of most breeds. I have mini belted galloways. You can fit 3 per acre instead of one. An 18 month old bull should be about 750 lbs live weight - enough for a family of 4 or 5 for a year.
My project thread Agriculture collects solar energy two-dimensionally; but silviculture collects it three dimensionally.
can understand that, that is why i say to otehrs, usually when people reach a stage to sell it is more a need to sell to move on, so having land go stale on the real estate market, especially nowadays when buyers can research what is available on line, means that fater oh i dunno 2,3,5 or more years sitting there having to be maintained in some way for some like slash grass or fences, goveernmanet rates etc.,. then any who may be interested are going to be offering below you ask, maybe up to 30%. it happened here we had to get proactive and feel the market out to get interset in the first say 9 weeks before it goes stale. we simply could not move on until the sale occured then we had to find land to buy in a market where the real estate people have overpriced the commodity. we had to sell discounted and we had to buy discounted.
if you are in an area where selling land is difficult then value the land yourself and make that your offer, if you pay too high that helps the seller move on but might take 20 or 30 years for you to sell at break even. that is why i say buy with the head not the heart, i can only generalise from my experiences, seen many people we need to move on for medical or otehr needs they can't sell sl they can't move, so they can't move on.
don't listen to real estate people when it comes to real value of land. develop the walk away attitude, there is always another parcel of land and another day, that's the head talking.
hope to help where we can, can't cover all bases, we are here and you are there chuckle.
With peace and brightest of blessings,
"Be Content With What You Have And
May You Find Serenity and Tranquillity In
A World That You May Not Understand."