The Annual Staple Crop Calculator exists to take some of the guess work out for those of us far removed from our subsistence farming past. If you've always wanted to grow 100% of your own food, if you want to attempt the Rob Greenfield challenge and go an entire year on only what you grow and forage, or if you've suddenly found that your food security isn't as robust as you'd hoped, this simple yet powerful tool can help you decide which crops to grow and how much you'll need to plant in order to feed yourself, your family, or your community.
The Calculator currently includes data points for 20 calorie-dense staple crops with more being added all the time. Crops include:
Winter Squash (Flesh)
Winter Squash (Seeds)
Simply decide what percentage of your diet you want to come from each crop. If there's something that you can't or don't want to grow, simply set it to 0. No clue where to start? The included Welcome page and FAQ provide some tips for deciding how much of each thing to grow. And you can update the numbers from year to year as you discover which things you'd like to eat more of, and which things you'd like to eat less of. Instructions are included for dialing in your diet after the first year of growing 100% of your food.
The Annual Staple Crop Calculator expands as your inner circle does. Whether you're growing for yourself, your family, your chosen family, or your entire community, The Calculator can accommodate it. Simply choose how many people you're growing for and what their daily calorie needs are. Need to consume more or less than 2000 calories? Easily enter your daily calorie needs and The Calculator will adjust its output accordingly. Don't know your daily calorie needs? Get an estimation with an easy to use online calculator. Feeding people with different caloric needs? Instructions are included for using The Calculator for meeting the needs of people of different ages, activity levels, or dietary needs.
Once you decide what percentage of your diet will come from each crop The Calculator tells you how many pounds you need to grow to meet your target and estimates how many plants it will take to achieve that yield. These calculations are based on conservative yield estimates that most gardeners should be able to achieve barring serious pest, disease, or climatic factors. The Sources tab provides insights into when you might want to increase, or further decrease, these yield estimates as well as what you might want to change them to.
The Calculator tells you your average daily intake for each crop in pounds, grams, and calories per day. This can allow you to see at a glance if you're growing way too much or too little of a given crop and adjust your plan accordingly.
The Calculator includes warnings if the figures you've entered come out to less than 100% of your caloric needs so that you don't accidentally go into the season thinking you need to grow fewer plants than you really do.
The Welcome page is the first thing you see and provides clear instructions for getting started with plenty of pictures, as well as basic documentation for all of the features included in The Calculator.
The Sources page includes references for all of the data included in The Calculator, as well as the basic assumptions underlying the math. If particular yield estimates seem especially high or low, the Sources tab will tell you why and how to change them. It includes both information about how I formulated the yield estimates, as well as how I came up with calorie values, especially for things that don't have calorie values provided by the USDA.
The FAQ answers the most common questions about what The Calculator is designed to do and how to use it. New questions are being added all the time to make The Calculator clearer, easier to use, and more powerful.
I'm making The Annual Staple Crop Calculator available to people regardless of their ability to pay because it's my mission to help people grow more of their own food. I never want cost to be a factor preventing people from using a tool that might help them become more food secure. To that end, I've set up The Annual Staple Crop Calculator on a pay what you want model. People who choose to pay $1 or more have the option of having their name appear on the Contributors page according to the level of their contribution level, from Wood Level at $1 to the Unobtainium Level at $35. Further, people who contribute at the Silver Level and up (that's just $10 or more) will have the option of including their website along with their name. Just fill out a short form after your purchase to indicate how you'd like your name and website to appear. Including a website is 100% optional. If you want to contribute without having your name appear on the Contributors page, just don't fill out the form, or enter Anonymous as your name. Feel free to use The Calculator free of charge for as long as you want and with all of the features included. If at any time you decide you're ready to make a contribution, please feel free to do so.
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