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Home Forums General Discussion A rough Guide to how much land it would take to feed a family of four Re: A rough Guide to how much land it would take to feed a family of four


Jay – The HTML code to add that image to a web page is:

<img src="" alt="Backyard farming" />

Plus any other formatting you want to add.

But in looking at the chart, I have several issues with it.

1. .44 acres of vegetables per person is high. I have close to a 500 sq. ft. vegetable garden (7 raised boxes 8×8) and if I wanted to feed my family of four only from our garden (we prefer a variety from the local farmer’s market too), I would plant 1500 sq. ft. at the most. That’s less than a quarter acre for a family of four. It’s actually 0.034435 of an acre. This would give you plenty of space to replant throughout the year providing you with veggies year round. If you’re vegetarians, go with 3,000 sq. ft., which would still only be 0.068870 of an acre.  I leave the corn and wheat to the people who have the equipment to economically harvest it. I will trade pork for the corn and wheat we need.

2. Three pigs would feed two families of four. I also raise pigs and two pigs are more than enough for a year. Two pigs do better than one (social creatures). We do two for a family of four and give/sell/trade over half a pig to our less fortunate neighbors. Two pigs do fine on 100 sq. ft. indoor pen and 100 sq. ft. outdoor pen. I wouldn’t go much less than that because pigs poop plentifully. And there’s your source of fertilizer or methane.

3. I also disagree with the chicken data. I have 14 hens in a 120 sq. ft. area. I would free range them but there are too many coyotes, raccoons, eagles, owls, and mink up here. I lost 12 chickens to a mink in one night once. The chickens lay enough eggs for my family plus I use eggs to barter with the locals for things like honey and blackberry wine. I used to give the homeless people around here eggs every week, but Arild had a better idea so I now hard boil those eggs first. The manure is also good fertilizer or can be used to produce methane.

I wonder why the chart doesn’t mention turkeys. They are a good food source that requires relatively little room. We try to raise 12 turkeys a year (one for each month) and they take up as much room as 2 pigs need (200 sq. ft.).

Arild – I love the block of ice analogy. BTW from calf to slaughter a beef cow takes two years to grow unless you want veal. ;-) Veal usually comes from a yearling male milk cow. You need to breed a female milk cow to bring her into milk, if her offspring is a female you keep her for milk production, if she has a male you would either keep it for a breeding bull or sell it for veal. Most dairy farmers will go the veal route because the world is already too full of BULL.